Will Any Wheel Work for a Single Speed?

Discussion in 'Singlespeed' started by DrnknMstr, Apr 7, 2014.

  1. DrnknMstr

    DrnknMstr New Member

    Apr 7, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Hi, I've been spending the last 30 min looking for info on this through the forums and Google. No such luck.

    I've been riding a single speed for a while now. My spokes are breaking on me, and I decided it might be time to upgrade some wheels anyway.

    I found a decent set for a good price, but the only thing is I don't know if they'll work for single speeds or not. I'd have to provide my own skewer and cog, which is fine, but the seller doesn't know either if these would be fit because they're coming from a his 21 speed road bike. The diameter is the same as mine, but I don't know if the other dimensions would work. I'd like to know beforehand because I want to disassemble parts only to find they don't fit.

    Will any set of 700cc wheels work provide they have the right skewer? I was just planning on swapping them out of my current wheels. Any try this? Or do single speeds really have to have wheels solely for those bikes?


    ANY info would be helpful, thanks!

  2. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

    Jul 23, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Whether or not a particular wheel will "fit" depends on your frame's dropout spacing + the wheel's so-called "Over-Locknut Distance" (O.L.D.) ...

    • if your frame has horizontal, "Track" type dropouts, then you probably want a wheel whose OLD is 120mm ...
    • if your frame is a converted Road bike, then (depending on its vintage) the rear dropout spacing could be anything from 120mm to 135mm ... if the frame is steel, then the dropout spacing can be adjusted
    • if the frame is not steel, then you can add spacers to a wheel which has 120mm OLD

    The Bianchi Reparto Corse wheels have 130mm OLD spacing.

    FWIW. IMO, if you are breaking spokes, then you probably want a rear wheel which has MORE spokes than your current rear wheel has and/or one which is actually laced symmetrically on either a "track"-or-Single-Speed rear hub or an "old" Freewheel-type rear hub which has been re-spaced to be symmetrical.

    BTW. The wheel coming from a 21 speed bike probably has 126mm rear spacing AND is dished asymmetrically.

    While you could probably use it, you would probably want to ...

    1. remove the 7-cog Freewheel
    2. possibly, remove spacers IF your frame has 120mm spacing & re-space the flanges so that they are symmetrically offset
    3. re-dish the wheel (de-tension the spokes & re-tension, accordingly ... new spokes may be needed)
    4. install your Single Speed Freewheel

    So, do you get that you need to measure YOUR frame's rear dropout spacing before deciding whether or not a particular wheel will be a suitable replacement?

    And, WHAT does your current rear wheel look like?

    How many spokes does the wheel have?

    Is the current rear wheel symmetrically laced OR asymmetrically laced?

    You should be able to buy a "generic" Single Speed wheelset for under £100 ...

    Alternatively, you could spend that much-or-more for JUST an unlaced Shimano Dura Ace rear "Track" hub if you wanted to ... and then, add the cost of a rim + spokes/etc. + the cost of building the wheel if you can't DIY.