I have recently come into possession of a Coventry Eagle that I want to turn into a single speed bike.

The Coventry Eagle has a three speed internal Sturmey Archer hub gear, obviously on a single speed this isn't wanted or needed.

Being a frugal sort is it possible to remove a hub gear and keep the existing wheel? Or should I just get a new rear wheel?

I know I can just set it in the gear I want it to be in and leave it at that but the hub gear adds considerable weight to the back of the bike, and also ruins the look I am going for.

I carry out almost all of the maintenance on my bike and fit new components as and when needed. I can and will learn new skills if needed.

This is a project bike intended to pass time and be a bit of fun, so keeping costs low is slightly more important than the time taken. However if it gets to a point where I am getting nowhere with something and it stops being fun I will seek professional help / buy something more suited to the job.

As a side note:

I want the bike to have a similar riding position as my road bike, so I will most likely have drop bars on it. If 700cc tires would make this easier to achieve then the removing of the hub gear becomes a mute point.

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    It is possible to swap hubs in a wheel, but unless you do the work yourself (which requires wheel-building skills) it would be more expensive than just buying a new wheel. Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 12:45
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    Could you also say what your goal is? I think whether you value your cash over your time, this will drive the answer. Building wheels is a good skill to have, but there is an associated learning curve.
    – PeteH
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 13:18
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    @PeteH hopefully I have now addressed this Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 13:23
  • I am unsure as to what the gearing really is. Is it an internally geared hub? A freehub? Or a freewheel?? If it is a freehub, you can probably remove the gears and replace them with some spacers and a single gear. If it's a freewheel, you may be able to find a single speed freewheel that would take the center space and also be cheap to change out. Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 13:42
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    Put the old wheel aside with the shifter and cabling in case you want to revert, or sell it on ebay/CL/etc to cover the cost of your replacement singlespeed wheel. Or buy a new hub and spokes/nipples and a nipple tool, and learn build a wheel yourself.
    – Criggie
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 19:28

1 Answer 1


is it possible to remove a hub gear and keep the existing wheel? Or should I just get a new rear wheel?

If you remove the hub, what is left? A rim and some spokes... if your goal is to reuse as much as possible, you could possibly lace a new hub to the rim. The problem is that it is pretty unlikely that the spokes will be reusable. Going from one hub to the next, you can occasionally with some decent planning get that to work. With an internal hub going to an externally geared hub it is pretty unlikely as usually internal hubs have a large hub body and very tall flanges. This causes them to use very short spokes that would never reach the flanges of a standard hub. You could look into it, using online spoke length calculators, and see if there is a hub that would let you reuse the spokes.

However, building a wheel this way is not a great introduction to wheelbuilding! Used spokes, used rim.. it will all behave differently and go together with more difficulty than new parts due to inconsistencies and wear.

If you would like to take that on AND you can reuse the spokes, it will probably be cheaper than a new wheel. If you can't reuse the spokes, it would end up being cheaper to just buy a new rear wheel (not even taking into account that you may get a small amount of money for the current rear wheel).

  • An old Sturmey Archer three speed doesn't have as large flanges as some hub gears. If he really really wanted, and was happy to possibly spend lots of money on it, he probably could find a single speed hub with the right size flanges. I agree that, as the question is worded, it wouldn't be worthwhile though.
    – armb
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 15:52

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