When replacing the cones for a front hub with new ones, is it okay to tighten the lock nut directly against the cone nut? Or must I use some kind of spacer / washer / shim in order for some other reason than spacing?

The reason I ask is that I am replacing the cones on a front hub that was correctly spaced at 100mm. The old setup has

Lock nut - Washer - Cone nut - Hub/Cups - Cone nut - Washer - Lock nut

The replacement cones I got match in the old ones in all ways except that they are slightly wider (i.e. take more space of the axle). So, instead of getting two more cones ($20 more dollars!), I figured I could just leave out the old washers and leave the setup like this, which would be spaced about 100mm:

Lock nut -      New Cone nut - Hub/Cups - New Cone nut      - Lock nut

So, would this be alright? Does the original washer play any other role than just making the spacing correct?

  • 3
    Having washers between the two nuts is probably more the exception than the rule. Jul 11, 2013 at 3:29
  • Freewheel axles often needed a long spacer between the cone and the locknut. However its unusual on freewheel axles.
    – Criggie
    Dec 1, 2018 at 1:55

2 Answers 2


I've just rebuilt a totally stock Shimano wheel set and it had locknuts touching cones all over the place. Go for it.

  • 1
    Can I assume you mean that the stock wheel had no washers before the rebuild?
    – PositiveK
    Jul 11, 2013 at 23:51
  • 2
    That is exactly what I meant.
    – alex
    Jul 12, 2013 at 2:31

Some axles [Maillard, Campag etc.] have a keyway along the threaded portions. An internal-tabbed washer slides on , between the cone and the locknut, to prevent locknut rotation also spinning the cone itself. It's a good system; and in that case, the tabbed washer should be used. With Shimano hubs, where the keyway-&-tab system has been abandoned, the washer serves no purpose, except as a space adjuster along the axle. So can be left in or out, as suits you.

  • 2
    Welcome to bikes.SE! Thanks for a great first answer and hope to see you around more.
    – RoboKaren
    Nov 30, 2018 at 18:57

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