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New MTB Wheels on old Specialized with 7 sprockets

h1bda00h1bda00 Posts: 11
edited October 2011 in MTB buying advice
After not having done any MTB in the last decade, I'm now trying to start riding my old Specialized Hardrock again. Don't know what year it is exactly, between '95 and '97. For the most part, still in good shape, but I need to replace the wheels.

MTB gear has changed quite a bit since I was riding 15 years ago. I have a 7 sprocket cassette (at least I think it's a cassette) on the back wheel. The wheels are unidentifiable, size 26". I started looking on-line for wheels, but most of them are for Disc brakes (! didn't even know that existed), otherwise they mention V-brakes, and mostly they are 8-9 speed compatible. So here goes:

1) Are V-brake wheels compatible with older cantilever brakes?

2) Will I need to get a whole new drive train with 8 or 9 speeds to work with new wheels, or are these sometimes compatible with 7 speed cassettes?

3) Is there any problem with hub widths now, compared to in the mid-90s? i.e. have these grown wider so that new hubs may not fit in my old frame?

Thanks in advance for any comments / advice.


  • paulboxpaulbox Posts: 1,203
    1) Yes, they both work on the rim so are fine.

    2) You should be able to get a spacer that will make new wheels capable of handling your old casette.

    3) As far as I'm aware overall widths have remained the same.

    XC: Giant Anthem X
    Fun: Yeti SB66
    Road: Litespeed C1, Cannondale Supersix Evo, Cervelo R5
    Trainer: Bianchi via Nirone
    Hack: GT hardtail with Schwalbe City Jets
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Overall hubs widths have changed a few times over the years - measure the distance between the insides of your frame dropouts.
  • h1bda00h1bda00 Posts: 11
    Many thanks for the advice.

    Anybody happen to know the width of the spacer that would be required - is this standard or does it depend on the wheels?
  • davewalshdavewalsh Posts: 587
    1. Yes.
    2. It is a standard spacer to mount a 7 speed cassette on a 8/9/10 speed hub, however all modern hubs have casettes secured by a lockring. If yours is a lockring type it will be fine with a spacer, otherwise if it's the older screw-on type then you'll need a modern cassette as well as a spacer to fit your new wheels.
    3. Modern hubs are 100mm wide between the front drop-outs and 135mm at the rear. Get your tape measure out !
  • h1bda00h1bda00 Posts: 11
    OK, many thanks for all the helpful replies.
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