My rear wheel has been showing around the rim some wear on one side. Perhaps something to do with my braking.

I was wondering if I can exchange the front wheel with the rear one (in other words, can the gear sprockets be uninstalled and put on the other wheel)? My bicycle is a Trek 4500 (and the wheels say Matrix 750 on them).

If the above is not plausible then can the rear wheel be flipped (that is, the side be changed), again with the gear sprockets being replaced and placed appropriately?

  • You could swap rims, but it would probably cost more to pay for them to be swapped than it would to buy a new wheel. – Daniel R Hicks Mar 6 '20 at 1:03
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    Welcome to the site! Consider inspecting the brake pads for metal pieces embedded in them, or excessive wear of the pad. You can remove any such pieces or have the pads replaced to slow down wear. A brake tune up seems appropriate if there is wear on one side of a rim, you want to find out why its occurred, not only solve the symptoms. – Swifty Mar 6 '20 at 10:00

No, not possible.

Front wheels are front wheels and back wheels are back wheels.

The gears are a cassette of cogs that slide onto the freehub which is the bit that lets you go forward when pedalling and coast when not. You can’t flip a back wheel in the drop outs.

“Some wear” is normal on a trail bike with rim brakes, but your local bike store will be able tell if it’s too far gone and advise you if you need a new rim or possibly more economical a new wheel. However rims are very durable and should last at least a few years even with grindy winter mud sessions.

Also the spec claims the hubs are disk ready. If that’s true and you can afford to spend a little money you may be able to upgrade to disk brakes.

Ask a bike mechanic first.

  • Thanks very much. I took it to two local stores, the first said that I needed a new bike with a new crankshaft, gear sprockets etc and then when I asked for a quote for repairs, gave me an arbitrary astronomical, the second said I only needed new gear sprockets and a new front tire. He thought that the slight concavity on the left side of the rear wheel was not that serious. I was wondering if I could cover both concerns (in case the first guy was even partially correct). Thanks for letting me know that neither exchanging with the front wheel or flipping a rear wheel is possible. – user3236841 Mar 5 '20 at 21:53
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    It’s hard to say. If the bike has a lot of wear in the drive train and wheels then the first mechanic isn’t lying. Big repairs to bikes at that price point can often come near to the original purchase price. Depending on where you live there might be a bike co-op / tool share place that can help you. – Warren Burton Mar 5 '20 at 21:59
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    I wouldn't trust a bike store that says anything about crankshafts. – ojs Mar 6 '20 at 10:46
  • Thanks, I will ask about the disc brakes. I thought that that was not possible with my kind of bike that had brake pads. – user3236841 Mar 6 '20 at 14:59
  • I suspect your bike probably needs new chainrings/cassette & chain which is what the second mechanic is talking about. These don’t need to be expensive parts but do need the correct special tools and a little knowledge to install. This video is a good explainer youtube.com/watch?v=h9FLP4yPL0s – Warren Burton Mar 6 '20 at 16:28

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