I commute every day on my trekking bike and when it is snowy/icy, I replace my normal tires with some studded tires.

The studded tires are ace, but replacing the tires is a real pain in the ass.

So I'm thinking of buying a replacement set of wheels to fit the winter tires onto.

What do I have to consider when buying new wheels?

  • 4
    Cost, for one. How long do you reckon you'd need them, in terms of weeks per year? I'd suggest that you spend in proportion to your needs. Or alternatively, get some nice new wheels and put them away until the good weather, and start thinking of your current wheels as your "winter" wheels. Again, depends how much you want to spend.
    – PeteH
    Jan 21, 2013 at 12:23
  • Yeah, all you really want is wheels the right size. Forget about fancy bladed spokes, et al. Jan 21, 2013 at 12:25
  • Also same cassette size
    – ttarchala
    Jan 21, 2013 at 12:28
  • Is it possible to buy wheels with cassette already fitted? Would I need a new chain to fit the new cassette?
    – GarethOwen
    Jan 21, 2013 at 13:06
  • 1
    how often do you switch to studded tires? I switch only once per year, and keep them on till spring. Jan 21, 2013 at 13:58

1 Answer 1


I also considered doing this.

Firstly what type of brakes you have will depend on what you need.

You need to look for

  • size. Most important get the same as you have already. Also check the rim width with rim brakes as mentioned in comments below
  • weight -if you have money to spend get some quality lightweight ones. If they are better than your existing ones, consider these you new summer ones and use the old ones for winter
  • brakes (disc or rim) If you have disc brakes you will need rotors too, or you'll be swapping them out all the time too.
  • cassette. You'll need a wheelset which can accommodate a cassette that matches the the current one on your bike. There's no need to replace the chain if you are getting the same speed (number of cogs) cassette. Genreal consensus in the comments below is also to replace/swap the chain.

Also cleaning the chainset will help a great deal in looking after your bike for the winter

So in summary you will need a new cassette and new disc rotors if you have disc brakes to save you swapping these out all the time.

How often do you change the tyres? is it worth the cost if you change them 4 times a year?

  • 3
    As to the cassette: You do not only have to consider the number of cogs, but also the wear level. If you install a new cassette on your winter wheelset and have a cassette with some thousand kms on your summer wheelset, the chain will likely slip.
    – sarnu
    Jan 21, 2013 at 14:57
  • 1
    Also, depending on what winter is like in your area, the salt will destroy your chain anyway, so it's best to get a chain that's cheap and you don't mind having destroyed for the winter. I actually have a completely separate bike for late fall/early spring (winter isn't worth riding in my area) so that I don't total my good bike.
    – Kibbee
    Jan 21, 2013 at 15:14
  • Also also, make sure when using rim brakes that you're purchasing wheels with the same rim width so that you don't have to totally readjust your brakes when you swap (or in some cases, wind up with a rim that is physically too wide for your frame.)
    – WTHarper
    Jan 21, 2013 at 16:03
  • 1
    One could, of course, swap a single cassette between wheels. But that's probably a bad idea, as the risk of cross-threading would increase with frequent swaps. The cassette should be the same number of cogs, of course, but can have a slightly different tooth count if desired -- but hopefully not enough different to require changing chain length. Jan 21, 2013 at 16:36
  • 1
    Re the chain, probably simplest to use the "summer" chain through winter and then replace it when swapping wheels the last time in the spring. Jan 21, 2013 at 16:38

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