I was doing some maintenance on my road bike. I took the front wheel off, removed the quick release skewer from the wheel, set the wheel aside, and put a drop of tri-flow on the skewer to lubricate it.

When I returned to the wheel to reinstall the axle I knew the quick release goes on the left/non-drive side of the bike's fork due to previous pictures I have taken of the bike. However, when returning to the wheel I had set down, I cannot remember which side of the front wheel was the "left side". 

My main concern is that while I have the quick release in the correct position relative to the fork, did I accidentally flip the orientation of the wheel? The bike has v-brakes so I cannot reference a disc to make sure I am returning the wheel to it's original orientation, and it has slick tires that do not have a "rotation/directional" arrow.

The only comparison I can make is that when looking down from a top view of the bike towards the center (right in between the spokes) on the hub the word "prowheel" reads from left to right in the middle of the rear wheel. So I installed the front wheel also to match the word "prowheel" reading from left to right.

Essentially I want to ask if it makes sense the way I returned the front wheel to the bike? Can you even put a front wheel with a slick tire and no disc brake restriction on "backwards"? Does my logic make sense with returning the wheel to match the wording on the front and back inner hubs?

Thanks in advance for your time, let me know if you need pictures to make what I am trying to describe more clear.


Update: I wanted to add a few pictures so I am making it more clear.

Thank you! One slight edit to my post is that the hub says "Chosen" not "prowheel."

Yes, here are pictures.

Picture 1 is a picture of the wheel and slick tire. enter image description here

Picture 2 is the orientation of the wheel in which I perceive to be correct, I put the quick release skewer into the front wheel with the handle to the left with the hub writing saying "chosen" reading from left to right when looking down at it. enter image description here

Picture 3 is the wheel flipped 180 Degrees and installed and what I perceive to be incorrect, the quick release handle is still to the left but with the hub writing of chosen is reading right to left/upside down which I think could be the wheel on backward / to be incorrect. enter image description here

Picture 4 matches the orientation seen in picture 2 with the rear wheel. It was my way of comparing the front wheel'S orientation to the rear's and seeing that chosen is written the same way from left to right when the front wheel is in this orientation. enter image description here

Hope the pictures help! Let me know if I have it correct in picture 2 or if it still doesn't matter either way! Thank you.

  • 2
    Thanks for the pictures! The front wheel (the rim and the hub) looks absolutely symmetric to me. It even has a radial spoke pattern making it also symmetric in relation to braking forces. I suspected that theoretically there might be some spoking patterns that favor one wheel rotational direction to another, but for radial it's geometrically the same thing. As already mentioned in this thread, just keep the labels on both hubs directed the same way, simply for aesthetics. Jul 31, 2019 at 20:42
  • Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    – user44660
    Jul 31, 2019 at 20:44

1 Answer 1


The front wheel itself (for rim brakes) should be symmetric and can be installed both ways, unless you can find direction marks printed directly on its rim. The tires, however, can have recommended direction printed on them, which you should follow.

For fully slick tires both directions are equivalent. For tires with tiny tread it is not as important as it may seem, but you should still follow the rotation arrow printed on them in order to not look like a novice. For tires with aggressive tread the direction is important and, interestingly enough, the same tire often should be installed differently depending on whether it is on front or back wheel (then there are two marked rotation arrows on it).

  • 1
    Thank you! Yes the rim doesn't have a directional marking and I didn't see any directional arrows on the slicks. This is my first road bike and I am always used to directional arrows on my mtb tires but figured because these are road slicks that's why there was an absence of the arrow. I am also used to simply aligning the front wheel orientation to fight the disc right into the front caliper. Thank you for confirming the road bike front wheel is symmetrical as there is no "drivetrain side" nor disc to align to and this road bike front wheel that it will be balanced either way it will roll.
    – user44660
    Jul 31, 2019 at 8:37
  • 3
    As part of my OCD of bike appearance I always install the hub so the writing on the hub is readable from the seated position and the lettering on the tire is centered on the valve stem. Functionally unless otherwise directed from the manufacturer it makes no difference..
    – mikes
    Jul 31, 2019 at 10:21
  • 4
    @mikes - That's "CDO" -- the letters must be in alphabetical order! Jul 31, 2019 at 11:40
  • 2
    One slight asymmetry that can be present in an otherwise symmetric front wheel: The lacing of the spokes. If the outer spokes on each side of the hub go in the same direction, then you can disambiguate the direction of the wheel. If the outer spokes go in opposite direction, the lacing is fully symmetric. Jul 31, 2019 at 15:24
  • 2
    @mikes : Having the lettering at the valve has a practical reason. If you get a flat and you're able to locate the 'intruder' in the tyre, finding the hole in the tube is easy.
    – Carel
    Jul 31, 2019 at 15:50

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