The title mostly says it all. Is there a reason to or a reason not to replace the back wheel or rim if I replace the front wheel to get a dynamo hub?

The only reason would be aesthetics, to keep the wheels the same, but that doesn't sound like a good enough reason for me.

My bike is a hybrid Specialized that is maybe 3 years old, but with only 100 or so miles on it. I have been commuting to work and looking into getting dynamo powered lights.

  • 100 miles in 3 years of commuting? That's a short commute!
    – gerrit
    Nov 5, 2014 at 20:25
  • 2
    With such a short commute, modern battery powered LED lights will last a very long time between charges. That said the connivence of always attached light is great even for short commutes.
    – Rider_X
    Nov 5, 2014 at 23:20
  • 1
    There is no need to replace both wheels, unless you really want them to look the same. Nov 5, 2014 at 23:53
  • 1
    On top of that, note that a dynamo hub is a lot of money (several hundred dollars for a decent one excluding the cost of a rim and having the wehel built), especially when a rechargeable battery light can go weeks between charges for many short commuters.If you really want a dynamo, and your commute is short, you may want to consider a sidewall dynamo.
    – Batman
    Nov 5, 2014 at 23:55
  • Several hundred dollars? US dollars? I recently installed a hub dynamo, and prices were around €20–30 for a basic model, €50 for a somewhat better (lighter) one and €80–100 for a high-end one, other parts or assembly not included – can't imagine prices in the US differ that much. The mid-range model should be fully sufficient for a commuter bike, even the basic one is probably better that a sidewall dynamo – less friction, more reliablity.
    – user149408
    Nov 6, 2014 at 14:57

3 Answers 3


You should replace the rear wheel only if there is another well justified reason to do so, but generally both wheels are mostly independent, so you can perfectly change only the front.

The first scenario I think of is where you are changing only the front hub (and spokes) and keeping the front rim. Why would you change the rear one?

Easier task is to replace the front wheel (i.e. rim+hub+spokes), sometimes they are even sold this way, so it's only matter of mounting the tire and installing the cables.

Rear wheel can be changed at this time if there are reasons on its own, for example the hub or rim are already close to the end of the useful life or are worn out completely.

Other reasons may be:

  1. You bought a wheelset that included both, or your current rear hub is a dynamo (and you don´t want two dynamos in one bike).

  2. The rim you are putting in front is a different width or size, or is intended for a different use (e.g. from super light rims to utility ones) and you want to match the rear for usage.

  • Really you think OP bought a front dynamo and had a rear dynamo?
    – paparazzo
    Nov 6, 2014 at 0:56
  • Of course not, those lines where put thinking of future readers of the question+answers.
    – Jahaziel
    Nov 6, 2014 at 0:58

The rear wheel is not even aware that the front has been replaced.
No reason to replace the rear.


As others have said, there is no reason at all to replace the rear wheel (other than to match the size/appearance of the front wheel if that matters to you).

You can get "commuter grade" (as I read Peter White) dynamo hubs from Sanyo, Shutter Precision, and Shimano that are decent quality and reasonably priced. I have a front wheel built on a Sanyo H27 hub ($47 from Peter White), so far so good, but I've only got about 1000 km on it.

I really like the "always ready" aspect of dynamo lights, and since the output is AC you can do cool things with the taillight – B&M makes a light, the Toplight Line Plus BrakeTec, that uses the frequency of the AC from the generator to infer when you are braking and modulate the brightness of the taillight.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.