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Can a rear wheel be moved to the front once the cassette is removed?

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Can a rear wheel be moved to the front once the cassette is removed?

Old 10-09-13, 01:42 PM
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Can a rear wheel be moved to the front once the cassette is removed?

As I prepare to purchase my first road bike (been riding since February), it occurs to me that I might be able to avoid having both a front and rear wheel built for the new bike (I'm enormous). The stock rear wheel is the same spoke count (and approximately the same specs) that I would want on a front wheel. I'm going to build a rear wheel, but maybe I don't have to build a front?

Is it possible to remove the cassette from a rear wheel and turn it in to a front wheel with minimal expense? Or are they generally incompatible? (I ask as a general matter--I'm aware that the ultimate answer may very well be bike and/or wheel specific.)
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Old 10-09-13, 01:53 PM
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On almost all bikes the rear dropout spacing is considerably larger than the front.
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Old 10-09-13, 01:55 PM
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No. The spacing is very different between the dropouts on the front and rear. Probably 100 mm on the front of your bike and 130 mm on the back.
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Old 10-09-13, 02:01 PM
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The above answers are correct.

It's worth noting, as well, that your front wheel won't experience the loads that your rear wheel would, which is why it's more important to build a sturdier rear wheel i.e, worry more about the rear and less about the front.
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Old 10-09-13, 02:53 PM
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Exactly what I needed to know. Thank you all. That's what I suspected, but I hoped I was somehow wrong.

Alas, both wheels it is, then--emphasis on the rear one.
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Old 10-10-13, 10:26 AM
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What's wrong with your current wheels?
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Old 10-10-13, 01:48 PM
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All the info above is correct, but there *is* one exception. Most Fatbikes run a 170mm hub spacing in both front and back, allowing you to swap wheels out. I know a guy with a single-speed Pugsley and he put a bailout gear on his front wheel so that if he ever gets stuck anywhere he can swap the wheels and have an easier gear.

But generally speaking this is uncommon.
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Old 10-10-13, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun
What's wrong with your current wheels?
Nothing. This is for a new bike where the stock wheels aren't up to the strain I'm going to put on them. To call me "large" would be understatement to the point of absurdity.
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Old 10-10-13, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Mithrandir
All the info above is correct, but there *is* one exception. Most Fatbikes run a 170mm hub spacing in both front and back, allowing you to swap wheels out. I know a guy with a single-speed Pugsley and he put a bailout gear on his front wheel so that if he ever gets stuck anywhere he can swap the wheels and have an easier gear.

But generally speaking this is uncommon.
except the early fatbikes that ran 135mm front and rear... I ran a 1/2 fat 29er with a 135mm rear SS hub on

but to the OP... yes the rear standard has changed over the years and based on what sort of bike it is (track, road, mtb, tandem)...

this is a good bit of info to learn
https://sheldonbrown.com/frame-spacing.html
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Old 10-10-13, 04:33 PM
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You aren't providing many details such as your weight and what wheels come on the bike.
IF you are "THAT" big, maybe a road bike isn't up to the task?

Getting wheels PROPERLY tensioned before using them can dramatically prolong their life, but again, without any details.........

IF the rear wheel has more spokes, the RIM may be usable up front, although you'd need a new hub and probably 1/2 new spokes. (Typically, NDS rear spokes are very close in length to front spokes)
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Old 10-11-13, 08:08 AM
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Why would a road bike NOT be up to the task?
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Old 10-11-13, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun
You aren't providing many details such as your weight and what wheels come on the bike.
IF you are "THAT" big, maybe a road bike isn't up to the task?

Getting wheels PROPERLY tensioned before using them can dramatically prolong their life, but again, without any details.........

IF the rear wheel has more spokes, the RIM may be usable up front, although you'd need a new hub and probably 1/2 new spokes. (Typically, NDS rear spokes are very close in length to front spokes)
My apologies. There's already a lengthy thread discussing my purchase of a road bike, which one I should pick, and which one is best suited to "the task." I'm 6'10" and 350--down about 50 lbs since February. Riding 20 miles per day, 25+ on weekends. I've established to my satisfaction that certain road bikes are up to the task. I just wanted to know if I could get away with having only one wheel built instead of two. In any event, though, it seems likely that the wisest move is to build both wheels.
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