BMX Wheel & Hub: Answering All Your Questions

Wheel and Hub Installation Instructions

How do I adjust the slack in my KHE Geisha, Alienation Rush, Federal, St Martin Darwin, or Stranger Coastersarus freecoaster hub?

To see detailed instructions of the adjustments, click on the link below.

Freecoaster Hub Adjustment

What are the different lace patterns and their benefits?

There are primarily five different lace patterns, which are radial, 1cross, 2cross, 3cross, and 4cross. Generally, on a 36 hole wheel, 3cross is strongest and on a 48 hole wheel, 4 cross is strongest. If you wanted to save some weight you could run a lower number cross pattern like a 1cross or 2cross. Some wheels are even built with a radial lace also known as a 0cross. The most common application for a radial lace wheel is a front race wheel where the rider is either very light or very smooth. The reason a 1cross or radial wheel weighs less than a 3cross or 4cross wheel is the spoke length. For instance, if a 48 hole wheel laced 4cross has a 185mm spoke length then that same wheel would use 172mm spoke length if it were laced radial. That is a difference of 13mm per spoke, which is equivalent to removing 3.4 185mm spokes.

How do I determine my lace pattern?

You will count the number of times each spoke crosses another spoke, starting just behind the hub flange and work your way to the rim. Here are a couple examples to help you.

3 crossed lace bmx wheel

3 Cross Lace

4 crossed lace bmx wheel

4 Cross Lace

What are the benefits of running a cassette hub over a freewheel hub?

There are a few reasons to run a cassette hub over a freewheel hub. One reason is the ease of changing rear sprockets. With a freewheel hub you have to have multiple freewheels and sometimes freewheel tools. A freewheel can be very difficult to remove depending on how long it has been installed. On a cassette hub you have cogs that are changed. Most cassette hubs come with multiple sizes of cogs. The tools to remove the cog from your cassette hub are the same for all cogs as long as you are using the same cassette hub. The next reason is reliability. Freewheels go bad over time. Once a freewheel goes bad you have to throw it away and buy a new one. On a cassette hub, the freewheel mechanism is built into the hub and is called a driver. If the driver goes bad, it is completely rebuildable. With a cassette hub you have the ability to run very small gearing in the rear. Currently, with a cassette hub you can run as small as an 8T cog. The smallest a freewheel hub can go is 13T.

What are the advantages of running a smaller gear on my cassette hub?

There are a couple of advantages to running a small drive train. The first reason is weight savings. With a small rear cog, you can run a smaller front sprocket. Smaller means less material, which makes the parts lighter. A smaller front sprocket and rear cog require less chain than a larger combination. Less chain is always lighter. A smaller drive train is usually up and out of the way. When doing some tricks and stunts, a large drive train can hang down under the bike and be in the way.

When would I choose left-hand drive over right-hand drive?

Running left-hand drive moves the sprockets and chain to the left side of the bike. This is good if you use your right pegs the majority of the time and you feel that your drive train is in the way. If you use your left pegs most of the time it may be best to stay with right-hand drive.

Should I run 36-hole or 48-hole wheels?

48 hole wheels are usually stronger than 36 hole wheels. If you are hard on wheels and have trouble keeping 48 hole wheels true, then 36 hole wheels are not for you. 36 hole wheels are for smooth dialed-in riders.

What does the gauge of a spoke refer to?

The gauge of a spoke refers to the diameter of the spoke. The smaller the gauge the larger the diameter will be. For instance a 14g spoke is 2.0mm in diameter and a 15g spoke is 1.8mm in diameter.

What is the difference between a straight gauge spoke and a double-butted spoke?

A straight gauge spoke is one diameter all the way down the spoke. A double-butted spoke changes diameter twice. Usually, a double-butted spoke will start out at the head of the spoke as 14g, change about 20mm down to 15g and change back to 14g about 20mm before the threads. Basically, it is 14g on the ends and 15g through the center.

Straight Gauge Spoke

Straight Gauge Spoke

Double Butted Spoke

Double Butted Spoke

What are the differences between brass nipples and alloy nipples?

Brass nipples are known to be very strong, come in two colors, black and silver, and weigh more than alloy nipples. Alloy nipples are not as strong but they weigh less than brass and they come in a variety of colors.

Should I buy 14mm hubs or 3/8" hubs?

The biggest determining factor for this question is your dropout sizes. Check your fork and frame dropouts to determine if they are 14mm or 3/8". 3/8" is really close to 10mm so a 14mm dropout will be about 4mm bigger than a 3/8" dropout. If you are purchasing everything new and don't have a frame and fork yet then consider how hard you ride. If you are really smooth then you may be ok with 3/8" axles. If you are a very hard and extreme rider, then running 14mm axles would be a solid plan.

Can I make my 3/8" hub 14mm or vice versa?

You cannot put a 14mm axle in a 3/8" hub. You can give your 3/8" axle the appearance of a 14mm axle by using axle converters but this does not increase the strength of the axle. If you have a 14mm hub and need it to fit a 3/8" frame or fork, you can check and see if a 14mm slotted axle is available for that hub. A slotted axle is an axle that will fit a 14mm hub but is machined flat so it will fit in a 3/8" dropout. A 3/8 axle will not fit in a 14mm hub.

Can I convert my unsealed hubs to sealed?

No. Unsealed hubs have to stay unsealed and sealed hubs have to stay sealed.

How do I know what sealed bearings I need for my sealed hub?

If you remove the bearing from the hub there should be little numbers on the seal of the bearing. These numbers are the bearing numbers. All you have to do is write these numbers down and give us a call, then we will match your bearing numbers up with a bearing that we have in stock. If you have any questions please give us a call.

What does the number 1.75 on rims mean?

1.75 on rims stands for the smallest size tire that will fit on that rim. This does not mean that the rim will measure 1.75" wide. A 1.75 rim will not accept a tire that is a 1.5 although a 1.5 rim will accept a tire that is 1.75.

Will a 20 x 1-1/8" rim work on my 20" bike?

No. A 20 x 1-1/8" rim is bigger in diameter than a regular 20 x 1.75" rim. A 20 x 1-1/8"rim was designed for mini race bikes.

Can I run a left-hand drive freewheel on my flip flop hub?

No. A flip flop hub is a hub that will accept a 16T or bigger right-hand drive freewheel on one side and a 15T or smaller right-hand drive freewheel on the other side. If you are wanting to run left-hand drive your hub has to be a left-hand drive hub. Flip Flop hubs are not left-hand drive.