Swapping frames instead of multiple bikes (HT to FS and back), is it feasible?

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  • Swapping frames instead of multiple bikes (HT to FS and back), is it feasible?
  • Conan257

    I reckon you could swap over in 10-15 minutes if you’re sensible with parts……and depending on how complicated your setup is.

    2 frames, both with same headsets and bottom brackets installed. Swap over all other parts. I’d suggest 1×10 for this to save setting up a front mech.

    Rear brake hose/gear cable would likely be too long on the HT as the FS will probably be longer. Headtube would be different so you’d need spacers on one but not the other. All cables would need to be externally mounted using zipties I think, otherwise you’d be breaking down cables/hoses each time.



    IF you got something that fitted all the bits and your expectations.
    Headset? BB? Seatpost/clamp, gear cable routing, brake hose length…..

    Some people try to swap wheels, but mixing up your drivetrains does them no favours in the long term.



    You’ll be buying new cables every time you swap, for a start. And brake hoses will likely need to be different lengths. And press fitted stuff etc? No chance.

    I’d be looking elsewhere within your collection to see where one bike can replace two.


    What do you mean too many bikes?? I don’t understand that sentence 😉


    hmm, i would probably have a partial build on the FS frame (headset, bottom bracket, seat clamp)

    The gear cables would need to be changed as they are exposed at the mo.

    Brake hoses are external currently.


    it will be a bit of a ball ache for the annoying little things you don’t think about like you’ll have to run full length outers and make them easily removable (ie not run through cable guides). The gears won’t be quite set up right when you move them across due to slight differences in hanger thickness etc. The brakes will need to be adjusted relative to the rotor.

    Swapping the forks over will actually be the easy bit (as long as you use the same headset or use split crown races like Hope).

    Removing some parts will also be quite damaging – eg cranks as taking the splined arms on and off will eventually end up wearing them.

    By all means have one set of wheels and forks to swap over but I’d keep the gears, bars, cranks etc on each frame.

    But then you will soon end up with a fork that needs servicing or wheel that needs truing and you won’t be able to use either bike.

    n+1 is the answer. Not n+0.5


    1 nice road bike
    1 commuter road bike / cx
    1 pump track bike
    1 hardtail
    1 utility bike (shared)
    +wifes (2) kids (3)

    garage is bursting already and the kids are only on 20 inchers!

    Premier Icon richmtb


    Gear cables are the tricky bit.

    I would suggest as a minimum you would want shifters and mechs on both bikes, this would save a lot of hassle.

    Then you would be swapping forks, stem , cranks, bars, brakes and wheels

    Would take about an hour


    i think it would be a complete ball ache

    enjoy building a bike up but wouldnt want to do it all the time


    I think you will quickly find out which bike you prefer for the majority of your riding.

    Then you’ll probably end up buying a load more parts to build up the other one anyway. This is probably a good thing.


    Sounds like the best way to make mountain biking even more faffy.


    How bad can a £500 kona stinky be anyway? 🙂

    Premier Icon porter_jamie

    if you have complete outers on the rear gear cable and it isnt threaded through guides you dont have to touch the rh handlebar at all. make sure the rear cable is long enough for the biggest frame.

    if you use a matchmaker on the lhs you can undo the two bolts holding the brake on then undo the steerer clamp bolts pull the bars off and the forks are out. you don’t even need to take the front wheel out. 2 minutes tops. cut the cable ties for the rear brake and swap the whole rear brakes over. 5 minutes including re cable tieing.

    ht cranks, 30 seconds max to get out. use the same headset and keep the spacers stacked ready with the frame. bb already in other frame. i’d keep a front mech fitted on both frames, with the lh shifter bolted to a matchmaker, that would make removing things really quick. no need to remove grips then.

    i reckon 20 minutes easily including tweeking in the gears. i’ve built a bike from a brand new frame in the car park near 18bikes in about 45 minutes, so if all your cables and everything are the right length it will be easy.

    you might have two seat post diameters, so get another saddle to save having to swap them over.


    Does anyone regularly swap frames instead of having multiple bikes?

    I quite fancy complimenting my hardtail (150mm C456) with a chunky full susser but have too many bikes as it is and don’t want the hassle or expense of a full bike.

    If I got something that fitted all the bits from the on one how quickly could I swap over?

    Premier Icon nedrapier

    I reckon you need to get your pump track bike involved in this too.

    Keep the fork and the wheels and sell the rest, so you can set the 456 up rigid ss for the singletrack (no front brake on the rigids)

    So you’re one bike down already and there’s space for the full susser. Or you can get nearly all of a full susser, and use the “normal” 456 wheels. And maybe the forks as well, depending on what they are, then the brake and the disc stay together. You’d want a front brake you can take off without removing the grip, though.

    3 bikes, 2 frames, 2 sets of wheels and fairly easy to get any one of them set up.


    I do this.

    I couldn’t afford/didn’t want the expense of two bikes, so switch between a Soul and a Prophet frame.

    I leave a few parts on each – headset, bottom bracket and front mech. I’m also lucky enough to have a fork in each frame. The hoses aren’t wildly long on the hardtail or too short on the Prophet, so it all seems to work out. If nothing goes wrong (important!) it takes about an hour, once you’ve routed all the brake hoses and index the gears etc.

    But, that’s an hour I can’t often be bothered with and I get annoyed with buying cables all the time – so the Prophet was built for about three/four weeks last year and I rode the hardtail the rest of the time. I’m currently slowly gathering parts to run two bikes.

    Premier Icon coolhandluke

    I used o have 2 fully set up frames and one set of wheels. That was pretty quick to sort out as I need to take the wheels off my bikes to get them in the car anyway

    Eventually bought another set of wheels though.


    Bought my Soul with the same thought and swapping everything from one bike to the other…eventually have ended up with two full bikes.

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