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How practical is it to have multiple sets of wheels for the same bike?

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How practical is it to have multiple sets of wheels for the same bike?

Old 05-09-22, 03:00 PM
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Herzlos
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How practical is it to have multiple sets of wheels for the same bike?

Not wanting to have more bikes, I'm considering getting additional sets of wheels to cover different purposes (so the gravel bike with road and gravel tires, mountain bike with wet and dry tires). I've heard indications that I'm likely to need to have to tweak the rear derailleur when changing between wheels, is that the case?

Would I be better getting exactly the same wheels for both pairs, with the same cassette and discs, or will I be able to get away with swapping between the stock wheels and some upgraded ones?
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Old 05-09-22, 03:12 PM
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It makes a lot of sense, especially if you're dealing with tubeless. My son and I share 4 sets of wheels between our 2 CX bikes. Different treads and widths for the conditions, but same cassettes makes that part simple. We've been lucky that we haven't had to do any futzing with the RD. As for discs, I don't know. These are rim brake wheels.
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Old 05-09-22, 03:18 PM
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I've always liked to double check the derailleur adjustment when swapping wheels.

However, if you have the same brand/model of hubs and cassettes, then the changeover should be easy enough. The size of the sprockets shouldn't make a huge difference as long as your chain works with the largest cassette.

If you have tire clearance, and have DISC brakes, then you may be able to use both 650b and 700c on the same bike.
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Old 05-09-22, 03:31 PM
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I hadn't actually considered changing down to 650b but that's actually a great idea. That means I can potentiall run 700x32c and 650x50c on the same bike
Both bikes are tubeless, which is part of why I was considering it. I don't mind changing tubed tires over since it only takes a few minutes, but I don't fancy having to deal with sealant every time I change tires.
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Old 05-09-22, 03:36 PM
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Personally I have 6 pairs of wheels, but all of my bikes are also singlespeed and fixed gear so it makes it a little easier to swap wheels.
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Old 05-09-22, 03:40 PM
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I have two sets of wheels for my touring/commuter bike. Swapping them out requires no adjustment. I am very likely to get a second set for my gravel bike.
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Old 05-09-22, 03:55 PM
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This is done all the time if you race --- might have a set of wheels for different conditions plus a set of time trial wheels

TT wheels will have a tighter cassette generally but normally not much to ever have to fuss over. I used to race track - ditto there - had multiple sets of wheels. Spoked trainers, race wheels, discs, 3 spokes, 5 spokes etc etc


I have a burly set of Enduro spec wheels on my mountain bike for durability reasons , but id like to try a speedier set of XC wheels --- seems like the same principle - just have to have the same size disc rotors, rear spacing and a cassette in a similar dimension to your current one --- a chain and rear derailleur optimized to run with a 11-46 might not play nice with a 10-51 for instance

But alas , in the end it seems like a lot to futz with so i havent done it
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Old 05-09-22, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Herzlos View Post
I can potentiall run 700x32c and 650x50c on the same bike
I run 700x28c and 650bx47c on the same bike. The tire/wheel combo is the same circumference, so I donít even have to make any changes to the speedo/odometer settings. For optimum performance youíll probably be running different sized cassettes for each wheelset. I just adjusted the b screw to split the difference and have never had an issue.
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Old 05-09-22, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Herzlos View Post
I hadn't actually considered changing down to 650b but that's actually a great idea. That means I can potentiall run 700x32c and 650x50c on the same bike
Both bikes are tubeless, which is part of why I was considering it. I don't mind changing tubed tires over since it only takes a few minutes, but I don't fancy having to deal with sealant every time I change tires.
I was thinking that the idea is change wheels not tires, One dedicated set for road and another set for gravel or off road.
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Old 05-09-22, 10:26 PM
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In theory, multiple wheel sets should work. In practice, not so much…especially if you want to ride the same bike over very different terrains. The wheels are of less importance than the frame and drivetrain when being used on varied terrain.
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Old 05-09-22, 10:55 PM
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Of course it's a compromise compared to having the budget and storage space for two unique bikes, but the gearing doesn't have to be exactly the same, for example one could run an 11-34 on the 650B wheels for looser gravel and an 11-28 or 11-32 on the 700c road wheels, and since the latter are closer spaced subsets within the range of the former the chain length should still be viable with the RD capable of wrapping the bigger one.

That also seems like it could partially undo changing from a 50/34 to a compact 46/30 crankset - sure, the very highest gear would be lost, but the people missing 50:11 and finding 46:11 insufficient are probably precisely the people unwilling to do their road rides on a gravel geometry / tire capacity frame. Plus someone could presumably swap the hill-gears cassette to the road wheel for the occasional mountain climb event run on a well paved road.

Of course to really take advantage of this, I'd probably need to buy not just the 650B wheelset, but another 700c, because the rim width of what I have is more suited to mid-30's gravel tires than road tires; but that also means it's an all-around compromise that does most of what I need, though I wonder a little if I'm wearing out the tread of the gravel tires riding 90% on roads. I've considered just getting some 32mm slicks...

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Old 05-10-22, 12:40 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
The wheels are of less importance than the frame and drivetrain when being used on varied terrain.
+1 on the drivetrain and terrain you ride.
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Old 05-10-22, 05:48 AM
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Every time Iíve tried a second wheelset it ends up growing into a whole new bike.
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Old 05-10-22, 06:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Venturiano View Post
+1 on the drivetrain and terrain you ride.
At the top end, I'm sure. But I'm not in a position I think I'll notice. My 36/48x11-36 on the gravel bike will do me fine or gravel or road; I could maybe do with a larger front cog for the road and a smaller one for gravel but I manage both with the same bike now. Ditto for my 34x11-46 on the mountain bike, it's been fine for everything so far. I just want slicker/faster tires for when I can use them, and knobblier ones for when I need them.

Originally Posted by cyclist2000 View Post
I was thinking that the idea is change wheels not tires, One dedicated set for road and another set for gravel or off road.
It is. I want to be able to pretty quickly change the bike between modes. Currently I can do it on tubed bikes by changing the tires on the same wheel but that's a 10+ minute job instead of a 1 minute job.
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Old 05-10-22, 06:26 AM
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It worked ok for me with my old 26er MTB but turned out to be unnecessary. I had a set with smooth tires for warmer dryer weather and a second set with small knob tires for winter.

Turns out I like having the Race King with small knobs in front all the time and I made it through winter trail mud with the Speed King in back. So the bike is plenty fast on smooth stuff and plenty stable on muddy trails with no need to swap tires.

I still have an extra rear wheel but I gave the spare front wheel to my son when he smashed up his front wheel when he first started riding again.

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Old 05-10-22, 08:26 AM
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very practical if you are a road rider & have limited time/weather to ride in.
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Old 05-10-22, 08:56 AM
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I'm a huge fan of multiple wheel sets. I have one bike (Specialized Roubaix, endurance) and use it for road (30mm Conti GP5000 S TR, Roval CLX50), gravel (35mm Conti Terra Speed, Light Bicycle WR50), and winter studded tires (35mm Schwalbe Marathon Winter Plus, DP Swiss wheels). No the frame is not 100% perfect for gravel but it is 95% perfect.

I have the exact same disc brake and cassette setup on all three wheel sets and I generally don't need to re-align anything when I swap wheels. Its a 2-minute operation.
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Old 05-10-22, 09:22 AM
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often toyed w/ the idea but never pursued it. but then, I have 3 bikes
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Old 05-10-22, 09:28 AM
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I cannot imagine only having one set of wheels for a bike.

Not a big deal to change wheels.
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Old 05-10-22, 09:58 AM
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I have several wheel sets and chains for my gravel bike. My rear cassettes 30T; 34T; 40T.

Transforms bike between GP5000 28mm carbon wheels 30T; 32mm gravel kings 34T; 38mm knobby tires 40T

TBH now I mostly just ride with the 32mm gravel king slicks. It's a little slower on the road and dirt but can do both. If I riding with my road buddies I have to use the carbon wheels and GP5000. If I am ridding with mnt bike people I need all the help I can get. I still can't keep with them on descents though.

If you don't need extra speed ( to keep up with your friends, chasing strava segment times, etc..) you might just be happy with just one wheel set with 32mm gravel king slicks.
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Old 05-10-22, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Herzlos View Post
Not wanting to have more bikes, I'm considering getting additional sets of wheels to cover different purposes (so the gravel bike with road and gravel tires, mountain bike with wet and dry tires). I've heard indications that I'm likely to need to have to tweak the rear derailleur when changing between wheels, is that the case?

Would I be better getting exactly the same wheels for both pairs, with the same cassette and discs, or will I be able to get away with swapping between the stock wheels and some upgraded ones?
You can certainly use a gravel frame with multiple sets of wheels to cover a variety of terrain. I can install 1 of 3 sets of wheels on my Aspero (with 25, 32 and 38 mm tires) without having to adjust the brake calipers or the rear derailleur.
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Old 05-10-22, 10:18 AM
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It's pretty practical if you're only talking about two wheelsets and if you tend not to flip-flop between modes frequently.

Limiting it to two wheelsets makes things nice because it's easier to get things like rotors in agreement (if the positions are slightly off, shim the inboard rotor out to the position of the other rotor; IOW, you can shim a rotor outwards, but not inwards) so that you don't have to fuss with anything when you swap out. And I may just be lucky, but I haven't had to do any RD adjustments to accommodate the cassettes of different wheelsets on a disc bike, but I'm sure that mileage will vary.

That said, I'm kind of lazy and don't want to swap out wheels multiple times per week, but that's usually not a problem.
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Old 05-10-22, 03:40 PM
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Very practical as long as you can use the same gearing. I had three sets of identical wheels built, specifically for that purpose. Since the rims are the same (Sun CR18) and so is the rear cassette, I don't even have to adjust the brakes.

Nothing makes a bigger difference in the way a bike handles and performs than wheels and tires, so having multiple wheelsets is almost like having completely different bikes only cheaper and doesn't take up as much room. I can switch from smooth pavement (Panaracers) to dirt and gravel (Maxxis Ikon) with a quick wheel change, and for something "in between" I can throw on the Continental Contacts when road conditions permit. It truly is like having three different bikes and it literally takes under 5 minutes to switch.

It's definitely the way to go if you can make it work for you, specifically using the same gearing for all road conditions.
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Old 05-10-22, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
Every time Iíve tried a second wheelset it ends up growing into a whole new bike.
I had this problem. It started when I bought a new frame for an extra crankset.

The good thing is there is a very simple cure: Buy yet another wheel-set.
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Old 05-11-22, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post
I had this problem. It started when I bought a new frame for an extra crankset.

The good thing is there is a very simple cure: Buy yet another wheel-set.
Yeah, I find that keeping extra parts around does not end up saving me the cost of buying new parts. It makes me want to use them to build another bike which entails buying more parts.

In the end, second wheelsets just donít work out for me. If different use-cases are different enough to warrant extra wheels, rotors, and a cassette just to have different tires, then there are always other things that I want to change as well (e.g., gearing, cockpit setup, suspension, fenders, racks, or just how tempting it is to thieves).

The only tire swapping I do is putting studs on the commuter in the winter, and some years I swap out the rear tire on my FS mtb for a particularly wet or dry season.

On my Pavement/Gravel bike I just run 38mm Rene Herse EL slicks for everything from pavement to gravel/dirt roads.

Last edited by Kapusta; 05-11-22 at 07:08 AM.
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