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How do I build a rear bicycle wheel for use on the indoor trainer?
August 19, 2012 2:51 PM   Subscribe

I want to get a new rear wheel for my bike so I can swap it out when I put it on the indoor trainer and not wear out my current tires. How do I do this? Do I just need another wheel, another hub and another cassette?

I've been riding through the winter without changing my tires. The summer's ending, and one of my tires is starting to wear through, with the sidewall material appearing in the treads. It's still a good tire though.

I thought what I might do is use this tire when I'm on the trainer. I thought it would be easiest to buy a new rear wheel to put the old tire on. Is this very difficult or expensive? I see rims going for $30, and a 9-speed cassette going for $10. Would I need a hub too? Or would it be better to just change my tire? I hate changing tires. Thanks!
posted by Borborygmus to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I thought it would be easiest to buy a new rear wheel to put the old tire on. Is this very difficult or expensive

No, not so much. This is a fine idea. Rear wheels can be had for cheap if you have a modicum of patience.

I see rims going for $30, and a 9-speed cassette going for $10. Would I need a hub too? Or would it be better to just change my tire?

Don't buy components, buy an already put-together wheel and then slap a tire on it.
posted by cog_nate at 3:09 PM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you visit your local bike shop, they may be able to give you a junk/old back wheel for really cheap. I got mine for free that way and swap it in when I ride indoors.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 3:32 PM on August 19, 2012


Depending on the type of trainer they can go through tires very quickly--heat and resistance. I agree--buy a already assembled rear wheel but I would not use a frayed tire. Small cost for the relief of not soon having to change tires.
posted by rmhsinc at 4:42 PM on August 19, 2012


A new rear wheel is a great idea. Check what your LBS (local bike shop) or bike co-op has on offer; you can also get good handmade wheels online from Handspun. If you go that route, you might want to use your current wheel for the trainer and use the new wheel for outdoor riding, if it's nicer.

You do need a hub (the spokes have to attach to something!), but it will be part of a complete wheel. You can't have a wheel without a rim, a hub, and some spokes. You'll want another cassette, since swapping the cassette is nearly as much work as swapping tires. Buy a cheap one.

As for tires, I'd get the cheapest one you can find that has thick rubber on it. It doesn't need to be a great riding tire. But trainers can wear through tires quickly, as rmhsinc wrote. I have two wheelsets for my main fun bike (as opposed to the commuter), one built by hand for outdoor use, and another (the original wheels) built by machine, which I use on my rollers during the winter.
posted by brianogilvie at 4:56 PM on August 19, 2012


P.S. Another reason to have a second wheel is to easily swap gearing depending on what you're going to do. My original rear wheel has a stock 11-34 9-speed cassette, for touring. My second one has a Harris custom 13-30 cassette, their "Century Special," which gives a good range for unloaded rides in hilly country.
posted by brianogilvie at 5:00 PM on August 19, 2012


Buy a whole new wheel plus cassette. You should be able to get a cheap one for $50 or so. Then put a tire designed especially for trainers on it.
posted by ssg at 6:13 PM on August 19, 2012


Thanks! Upon doing some research, I think I might buy a new wheelset as a gift to myself and use the old one on the trainer.
posted by Borborygmus at 7:11 PM on August 19, 2012


FYI, Vittoria makes a trainer-specific tire. It lasts a long time and doesn't give off as much tire dust.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 8:26 PM on August 19, 2012


You are on the right path with the suggestions here, but I want to emphasize that an indoor trainer tire really does work out well. They don't slip or shred rubber on the floor and they are also quieter. Just don't ever accidentally ride it outdoors.
posted by dgran at 9:13 AM on August 20, 2012


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