Replacement Bicylce Wheel
May 25, 2005 6:07 PM   Subscribe

My rear bicycle wheel was stolen (annoying) and thus I need to replace it.

I basically live in the boonies which makes it difficult for me to get to a bike shop (the bike is my only form of transportation aside from my feet). I am incompetent with tools. Ideally, there is a website where I can submit my specs and they build a wheel and send it to me. I've failed thus far in finding such a site. Do any of you know where I can find such a thing on the internet? Maybe your local bike shop does something like this?

Thanks for your help.
posted by panoptican to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
P.S. I have this kind of bike.
posted by panoptican at 6:16 PM on May 25, 2005

Err... nevermind. Specialized has a flash based site so no permalinks.

It's a 2003 Specialized Expedition Sport.
posted by panoptican at 6:17 PM on May 25, 2005

Online stores generally don't do custom builds -- that's what LBSes (local bike stores) are for. One that will go out of your way to serve you is Harris Cyclery -- and they won't charge an arm or a leg either.

But I can't imagine why the scores of pre-built 700c road wheels or 26" MTB wheels that webstores sell won't be suitable for you, unless you have a REALLY unconventional configuration.
posted by randomstriker at 6:18 PM on May 25, 2005

Hmmm...your bike has standard 7-speed Shimano-compatible hub, 32 spokes and 26"x1.5" rims. What's so "custom" about it? Any 7-speed MTB rear wheel will suit it just fine.
posted by randomstriker at 6:20 PM on May 25, 2005

Like I said, when it comes to this sort of stuff I'm pretty incompetent. By custom I meant having it built to the specs, i.e. Alex Z-1000 rim, Specialized spokes, Specialized tire, Specialized tube. This is what the bike came with. The impression I get from your answer is that I can buy any old wheel that will fit. Correct me if I'm wrong.
posted by panoptican at 6:24 PM on May 25, 2005

Sorry, when you said you were incompetent with tools I did not understand that you are also unfamiliar with bike parts. I hope I did not come off too snooty. Yes, ask for any MTB wheel that can accept a 7-speed cassette.

This one is on sale for $44.95 + shipping. I think you should go for it.
posted by randomstriker at 6:37 PM on May 25, 2005

I've had very good luck with Colorado Cyclist. I'd give them a call rather than trying to order off the website to be sure you get exactly what you need.
posted by Carbolic at 6:41 PM on May 25, 2005

I guess I didn't really specify that I was incompetent when it came to anything beyond tools so... yeah.

Thanks a lot though for your help. I'll go for that one.
posted by panoptican at 6:41 PM on May 25, 2005

I should add that since you will be changing the wheel yourself, you will need a chainwhip and lockring remover to extract the cassette (cluster of cogs) and stick it on the new wheel. Get a copy of Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance while you're at it -- it is very easy to follow and well-illustrated.
posted by randomstriker at 6:43 PM on May 25, 2005

The wheel was stolen. I assume the cassette went with it. When you order the wheel you will need to also order the cassette (the gears on the rear wheel.)
posted by Carbolic at 6:47 PM on May 25, 2005

posted by randomstriker at 6:49 PM on May 25, 2005

Just to clarify. When you order the wheel just indicate that you want it with the cassette installed. Whoever you order it from make sure you talk to a human being. I would recommend either looking to a local bike shop or to one of the smaller operations that do mail order. Nashbar and Performance are the big online bike shops. I'm not sure that their customer service people are really all that technically proficient. The one online retailer that I've used who does have technically proficient customer service is Colorado Cyclist. But, I haven't really used them since I plopped down an insane amount of $$ for a BEAUTIFUL road bike that I purchased about 2 years ago and have ridden approximately 100 miles on since(It really is a beautiful bike. It hangs on my living room wall).
posted by Carbolic at 6:58 PM on May 25, 2005

Also - and these are minor points - you can put any kind of compatible tube inside a bike wheel and it's probably worth changing the tire on the front wheel to match the new tire on your shiny new back wheel.
posted by lumiere at 7:18 PM on May 25, 2005

In addition to the ones already listed, Jenson also has wheelsets. As does Performance. And a friend of mine likes Price Point. I've never bought anything from them, but he says they're good.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 7:21 PM on May 25, 2005

Consider ordering it from Specialized. They'll have an ideal replacement wheel at a decent price and they'll probably put the gear cassette on the wheel for you.

On preview: Performance is good, too.
posted by loquacious at 7:26 PM on May 25, 2005

since when does specialized sell individual wheels?

politely ignore what loquacious said (unless something radical has changed at specialized in the last 2 years... they have never in the past sold wheels direct-to-consumers).

do what carbolic said.

or, better yet, get a friend (you do have one or two of those out there in the boonies, doncha?) to drive you into town to the bike shop WITH your bike in the trunk, on the roof of the car, whatever.... they'll set you up with a new wheel, true it, install the right cassette, identify any issues specfic to your bike, and get you running again in a jiffy for less than $50. if you decide to mail order, be prepared to mistakenly order the wrong part(s) and thus return-to-sender at least once, perhaps twice until you get the right thing.

and find a new place to park/lock your bike so that this doesnt happen again.
posted by RockyChrysler at 9:46 PM on May 25, 2005

If you're not prepared to tune your rear derailer you should probably find some way to get to a bike shop. Call around ahead to check stock and prices.

On preview: lock you wheels (both) to you frame and your frame to something that can't be picked up and put in a truck.
posted by mexican at 1:43 AM on May 26, 2005

What rockychrysler said. There has to be a bike shop around. Take a trip there, get exactly what you need/want, although wheel/cassette/tire/tube plus assembly/installation is probably closer to $100 than $50. Second the recommendation for a lock or locks.
posted by fixedgear at 2:20 AM on May 26, 2005

There are two types of ways to attach "the cogs".

Cassette or screw-on. Cassettes are stronger and last longer.

Also, if you change "the cogs" you almost certainly need to buy a new chain as well. Chains and rear cogs tend to age together.

Old chain+new cogs=problems. And vice versa.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 3:08 AM on May 26, 2005

install a fixed gear rear wheel from IROcycles. that would be fucking great on a specialized expedition.
posted by yonation at 6:31 AM on May 26, 2005

Don't bother with a freewheel---the screw-on type---they're a pain in the ass to maintain. The more modern cassette-freehub setup is much easier to maintain and Shimano's new freehubs are MUCH more durable than any freewheel setup. The new freehub bearings are right out at the end of the cassettes, right by the frame. Older freehubs (and many non-Shimano ones) and all freewheels have the drive-side bearings at the base of gear cluster, almost at the mid-point of the axle.

The upshot is that the older axles had a very long, 60 to 70 mm, section of unsupported axle. The first thing I check on a bike is for a bent rear axle, particualrly with freewheel bikes. It's a very common problem, particulary with solid axles---the quick-realease, hollow axles are generally stronger. The new Shimano freehubs largely solve the problem. I've never seen a bent axle on one of their newer wheels.
posted by bonehead at 6:43 AM on May 26, 2005

Also, pre-built wheels, unless you really have something specific in mind, are the cheapest, simplest way to go. The most expensive way to buy stuff is always in individual parts. You'll get a much better deal as a built-wheel package.

Pre-built wheels do tend to come with too low a spoke tensions, non-stress relieved, etc... Get a decent wheel mechanic to look over you new wheel and bring up the tension and stress-relieve it. That keeps the wheel truer (less wobble) and prevents spokes from breaking. Most mechanics in my area charge about $10 (Canadian, yet) for this.
posted by bonehead at 6:48 AM on May 26, 2005

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