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convert a front wheel to a rear wheel?

Old 11-11-16, 11:15 AM
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practical
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convert a front wheel to a rear wheel?

I have a cyclocross bike and the rear wheel is becoming worn out. I have a good spare front wheel. Can I switch out the hubs on these wheels and install a rear hub on the front wheel?
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Old 11-11-16, 11:24 AM
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If you have to ask, probably not.

Actually, it can be done but there are a number of details to consider. If you have to pay somebody else to do it for you, it will probably be more cost efficient to just buy a new rear wheel.
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Old 11-11-16, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
If you have to ask, probably not.

Actually, it can be done but there are a number of details to consider. If you have to pay somebody else to do it for you, it will probably be more cost efficient to just buy a new rear wheel.
Good advice. What's possible and what's practical are not always the same thing, practical.
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Old 11-11-16, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by practical
I have a cyclocross bike and the rear wheel is becoming worn out. I have a good spare front wheel. Can I switch out the hubs on these wheels and install a rear hub on the front wheel?
That would depend on what you mean by worn out.

If the rear rim is failing AND the spokes and hub are fine AND the front rim is the same with the same number of holes, you could rebuild the rear wheel using the newer rim from the front wheel.

The problem is that if you didn't already know how to do this, then you're going to have to pay somebody that that starts to make it not worth while.

If the rims aren't the same, then you have to buy new spokes too. Once again, additional expense.

Facts like brand and type of rim and hubs, number of spokes in front and rear wheels and such would allow us to give better advice.

Originally Posted by thumpism
Good advice. What's possible and what's practical are not always the same thing, practical.
It's all Practical in this case. He's the one asking the question.
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Old 11-11-16, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by andr0id
It's all Practical in this case. He's the one asking the question.
That name is going to get him into trouble unless he can back it up.
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Old 11-11-16, 11:44 AM
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As Retro says, yes, but ... the wheel is a hub laced to a rim with either individual spokes or an integral CF spoke system. I will leave the second alone. The first consists of a hub, spokes and a rim. You will need a new hub with a freehub for the cassette. This new hub will almost certainly have different flange diameters and require different length spokes. It will also require lacing and truing.

So for the cost of a rear hub and spokes plus building a wheel (unless you do it yourself) you save the cost of a rear wheel and you have front hub and a pile of used spokes if you unscrewed each one carefully. Say $70 for the hub. $30 for the spokes. $40 labor. $140 plus you have the start of a front wheel (but if yuo go to a different rim, you may well need new spokes there as well.) Or buy a new rear wheel. Say $200. And you have a working front wheel. Sounds to me like an extra $60 well spent.

Now, if you love building wheels ...

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Old 11-11-16, 11:52 AM
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That is a Fat Bike Thing , though they Made the front fork 135 wide..

Of course if you have an Extra wheel Trailer , then the rear most wheel,That of the trailer, is another front Wheel.

Now to Mechanics..
Identical rim to the damaged Rear ? NB: It will take a while ..
#1) carefully loosen all the spokes of the front wheel a little bit as you go around the wheel... so You Dont warp the Rim.

#2) tape the front rim to the rear Wheel's bent rim, lining up the valve stem holes..

#3) loosen all the spokes and move them 1 at a time to the former front Rim.
then untape and remove the Rear rim , then True up the new combination.


Is this Your first wheel building Rodeo, cowboy?






Last edited by fietsbob; 11-11-16 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 11-11-16, 12:05 PM
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If they're Cinelli Bivalent wheels, no problem.
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Old 11-11-16, 12:10 PM
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How the heck do you wear a hub out? Hubs usually out-last the rim, spokes, frame, and owner...
Bearing can usually be cleaned or replaced, and replacement freehubs are available for the more common models.
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Old 11-11-16, 01:59 PM
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Actually, I have a personal friend who did exactly that.

While on a week long tour he trashed the 48 spoke rear rim on his tandem. Fortunately, it happened to be a Santana tandem which is dishless (160 mm dropouts). Overnight he disassembled his 48 spoke front wheel and transferred that rim onto his rear hub. Then he acquired a replacement stock wheel for the front and completed the tour.

The trick, of course, has to do with the rim's effective diameter and the spoke lengths. Also, previous experience building wheels helps a lot.

This example is significant because it involved a 48 spoke tandem rim. Nobody is going to have one in stock so using the front as a donor was a stroke of genius. For a run-of-the-mill 32 spoke wheel, unless you can do the work yourself, it is almost sure to cost more than a stock replacement rear wheel.
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Old 11-11-16, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by practical
Can I switch out the hubs on these wheels and install a rear hub on the front wheel?
I must be too thick headed but how can you install a rear hub on a front wheel?

Or are you just talking about taking the rim that is on the front hub and replacing the rim that's on the back hub.
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Old 11-11-16, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by gsa103
How the heck do you wear a hub out? Hubs usually out-last the rim, spokes, frame, and owner...
Bearing can usually be cleaned or replaced, and replacement freehubs are available for the more common models.

It's easy to do and service shops see this frequently. Riding a hub with over tightened bearing adjustment will work harden the hub shell pressed in cup. In time this results in a brittle condition of the cup and it cracks, usually around the ball track. What's sad is some will continue riding the wheel and the, now what's a really bad sleeve bushing of, the axle/spacers/cone, running on the hub shell/broken up cup result in the axle usually wearing down so far that it can fracture while the hub shell gets wallowed out. Andy.
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Old 11-11-16, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by longbeachgary
I must be too thick headed but how can you install a rear hub on a front wheel?

Or are you just talking about taking the rim that is on the front hub and replacing the rim that's on the back hub.
Exactly. You are either replacing the hub or the rim depending on your viewpoint.
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