Wheel axle question (front is ¼" and rear is ⅜")



May 8, 2016
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New to bike builds and I have been posting questions and getting very good advice from you guys and now I have another question. Quick back-story…working on an early 60’s 24” Road Master Saturn. The bike is in need of replacing the 24” wheels and I have posted in the wanted section in hopes of finding something. But as was I tinkering in the garage today I discovered that front wheel axle is ¼” and the rear wheel axle is 3/8”. Now I am really having a hard time as it is in finding affordable wheels but will this make it impossible? Also I am not sure if drop out for the front fork will handle a 3/8” axle. Any thoughts?
 
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I file the axles flat and parallel on each side so they will fit the drop outs. I don't file or grind the drop outs. You can get replacement axles if you later want them round again. For me the nuts have still tightened on the axles well enough to hold the wheel in the drop outs. The other problem is that the new hubs may be wider than the originals, depending on the age of the bike. In general old bikes have narrower front and rear drop outs. You can spread the front and rear drop outs with a threaded rod, washers and nuts if it's made from steel. Tighten the nuts from the inside to spread the dropouts until you get the desired width. It will spring back but keep trying until the steel sets in the right place. You have to expand it more than the desired width accommodate the spring back. Some people jam/pound or pry with a 2x4 into the dropouts to spread. I don't like this method but others pry them apart with good results. You can always reverse the process if you want it original again. If you pry it apart make sure the wheel is still in the center.
 
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Oct 18, 2008
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That front axle is more likely actually 5/16".

The 3/8 - 5/16 combo is very common on older bikes (and cheaper new bikes).

Any shop can order you a pair of basic chrome steel wheels. No reason to expect any weird issues, IMHO.
 
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Feb 19, 2011
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Yeah, the issues won't be weird... the rear wheel is going to be drop-in easy if you're going to a new SS coaster; the front is a bit different b/c, as @us56456712 mentioned, your fork is probably like 91mm at the ends, and new hubs are typically 100mm between the nutz. The 3/8" filed flat to 5/16" is easily done, as is spreading the fork, but if you get a 5/16"-axle front wheel, it'll probably be spaced at 91mm anyway.

Like Bendix said, your shop should be able to score some of these for you, but if not, here's some available online:
http://www.niagaracycle.com/categor...ycle-wheel-24-x-1-75-36h-steel-bolt-on-silver
http://www.niagaracycle.com/categor...ster-brake-24-x-1-75-36h-steel-bolt-on-silver

$40, plus the ride. If you need other stuff, shipping is free over $150.

HTH
 
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That front axle is more likely actually 5/16".

The 3/8 - 5/16 combo is very common on older bikes (and cheaper new bikes).

Any shop can order you a pair of basic chrome steel wheels. No reason to expect any weird issues, IMHO.
Aren't the new replacement wheels with 5/16 axles just flatted 3/8 axles? Perhaps some are available with real 5/16 axles? My old bikes have 91mm spacing and sometimes I replace it with a modern wheel with has a 100mm hub. The fork has to be spread for the new wheel to fit. I can't locate new replacement front wheels with 91mm spacing anymore. Sometimes the replacement coaster brake spacing is a little too wide or narrow for the frame. It is usually pretty close, if not right on only about 3/16 inch off one way or the other in my experience. I just put an old Sachs coaster in a frame that a SA coaster came out of and had to squeeze it down a little. I have several sets of 24 inch wheels that I pulled of of tossed out low end kids bikes. One of these could be used in this case if the axle was filed and the fork spread, but you would have an alloy rim. It seems like modern stuff used on old bikes causes a lot of fiddling around.
 
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