I'm looking to upgrade the wheels on my touring bike to a lighter set of road wheels. The frame is aluminum. According to Sheldon Brown you should be able to just put extra spacers between the locknut and cones and that's it. Apparently only 2 or 3 mm sticking out past the locknut is enough to to properly secure the wheel.

Is the above procedure really advisable? Would it be a better idea to take the existing 135mm (146mm actual) axle from my existing wheel or would it make no difference and I would be better off not doing such modifications to a new wheel?

The reason I'm thinking of doing this is because all the 135mm wheels I've found seem to be disc brake wheels, and the rims have no braking surfaces. The only other option seems to get a custom wheel build which will bring up the cost of the wheel quite a bit and basically eliminates the ability to buy anything at a discounted price.

  • Where are you looking for wheels (and what size+freehub type)? 135 mm ones with rim brake surfaces are pretty easy to find.
    – Batman
    Apr 3, 2017 at 19:00
  • Shimano freehub. I'd prefer 11 speed for future compatibility, but I only run an 8 speed cassette currently. 700c rims. 28 mm tires.
    – Kibbee
    Apr 3, 2017 at 19:05
  • Well, the road-only 11 speed freehub body and 135mm OLD is going to be a problem to find.
    – ojs
    Apr 3, 2017 at 19:13
  • 3
    To be completely frank, most frames (especially standard steel ones) have enough flex in them to allow a 5mm difference in hub size without major problems. Yes, purists will have a cow over this, and it's better to avoid it if possible, but the world won't end if it happens. And if you're going smaller you can split the difference with spacers. Apr 3, 2017 at 19:35
  • @Kibbee - well, you're several generations away for a 11 speed touring bike (if it ever happens)... But an 11 speed 135 mm hub wheel with rim brakes is likely a custom job.
    – Batman
    Apr 3, 2017 at 19:53

1 Answer 1


The QR (on the outside of the dropouts) and the locknuts (on the inside) are what hold the wheel in place - you could have the axle ends flush with the dropouts and it should be fine (Sheldon describes this setup somewhere, with only the skewer going through the dropout, to allow perfecting chain tension on a fixie with vertical dropouts) - but 2mm axle projection vs 4 or 5 makes no difference. Definitely DON'T "spring" an Al frame to fit a hub of different width - generally ok with steel if it's only a few mm. If you want a wheel that's not available off the shelf, don't be afraid to build your own - it's really quite straightforward, again SB has the clearest instructions I've found (at least, they were what I started with) and you will very likely end up with better wheels for less money that a factory wheelset.

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