1) The “wrong” way
This way is the simple way. Buy a new hub, and put it on your bike. Lacing it up is another issue (and another article, wait a bit and it’ll be out :D). This takes the drive side of the hub and flips it to the other side. But, that’s all that it will cost you.
The next few steps are to remove the crank arms, flip them, and put them on the opposite way (left crank arm on the right, right on the left). Along with flipping the arms, you will flip your chainwheel and BB hardware at this step. If you need help with this, you can see guide #8 for crank and chainwheel installation.
That above step of flipping the arms is only if your cranks are single-side-drive cranks. If you have
A) Dual-drive cranks
B) Spline-Driven chainwheel
Then flipping the arms is just to be ignored, just flip your chainwheel and crank hardware on the opposite sides without flipping the crank arms.
When you flip your arms (if you did), then you may notice something about your pedals….they’re backwards. THIS is where the engineers may yell at you, and this method becomes “wrong”.
The left pedal is threaded in the opposite direction as the traditional “lefty-loosey, righty tighty” method. (this is another guide, and I am actually working on it). But the simple answer is that when you ride, the pressure put on the pedals will cause them to tighten with the [right] thread directions. That is why the left pedal is threaded “backwards”, in order to prevent the pedal from loosening.
Now when you flip your pedals around, the right is threaded “backwards”, and the left is threaded “correctly”. The issue may be clear. If they are threaded that way to “tighten” them, and prevent them from loosening when riding when on the correct sides, if they’re flipped, won’t that make them loosen? The answer is Yes. That is why an engineer may bonk you on the head for cheating a few bucks to do this.
I want to add another step in here though. Remove your pedal bodies, and flip them. In other words, swap the spindles. If you notice, your pedals have an angle to the surfaces. The platform is a bit forward of the spindle, no matter which side is facing up. When you flip them around, the platform is a bit BEHIND the spindle. So, swapping out the bodies will fix this issue, and make the pedals feel like they’re on the right side.
Just a word of warning, if your pedals are unsealed, there are a lot of little tiny bearings that can/will fall out of your pedal when you remove the body. When you open it up, do so in a small container or something like that, so that you don’t lose any of them.
Here’s where you MAY want to spend a litttttle bit more. Get a product called “Loc-Tite”, or something along those lines. It acts like a glue and stops 2 parts from rotating in each other with threads. I’ve never used/needed it personally, so I don’t know how it works/how well it works, but there should be a small bit for instructions on the packaging.
Well, there’s your cheap way of getting a different drive side…well, cheapER than the “correct” method.
2) The “correct”, and costlier, way.
This is the way you will see engineers doing this, also people who want their bike set up the “right” way, etc. I’m not down talking the “wrong” method at all, I used it for a year or so and dealt with tightening my pedals all the time (I kept an allen wrench on my pocket, 3 cheers for keyed spindles!). Anyway, this way will cost you a bit more.
Now, if you have
A) Spline driven chainwheel
B) Dual Drive Cranks
You have become lucky. This is the way YOU will be doing this. If you have a crank with only 1 drive side, you’re unfortunate here and will need to follow this part if you want to do it “right”.
First, you’ll need a new hub. However to do this the “right” way, you’ll want to have your cranks driven on both sides, or the side you want the drive side to be. “driven/drive side” means which side the drive bolt mount is on, and which side you can mount your chainwheel.
If you don’t have a mount on the side you want, you’ll need one. Aside from a new hub (as both methods call for), this method also calls for a new crank arm. If you run 48-spline cranks, finding a new crank arm is fairly simple. A lot of companies sell solitary arms, both drive and non-drive, for both the left and right side. If you run another type of crank (Primo’s square spindle, 8 spline, etc), you may need new cranks altogether.
Follow guides #7 and 8 for installing your cranks, but put your drive side on the desired side. That’s the only difference. Put on your cranks, chainwheel, and pedals, and have at it. The “correct” method is done.
Both methods will accomplish a common goal: changing your drive side, and making it “feel” normal. However, one will have an issue with pedals, and one will not.
I’m sorry this guide does not include any pictures. It’s boring and a lot of text, hopefully people will be able to survive.
Q) Do I need to flip my pedal bodies?
A) Nope. But, it’ll feel weird.
Q) I have 1pc cranks. Can I change the drive direction?
A) Probably, but I would rather burn them in a pit of fire and molten metal instead of dealing with 1pc cranks. When you do this, the [threaded] crank hardware is swapping sides, so you will have to use the loc-tite on that and keep an eye on it. I would rather buy a new crank though.
Q) I have a dual drive hub…do I need a new one?
A) No. You are lucky. Contact the company about how to swap the drive sides.
Q) Should I buy a dual drive hub?
A) Yes. There are only two right now (when I am publishing this guide) that I can think of. The G-Sport Ratchet and the Eastern Bi-Rectional hub. I would suggest the GSport for dual drive and just a simple hub that you don’t want to flip as well, it is a decent hub, but that’s beside the point. WTP has published info on their 2011 line, which includes a generic/stock quality dual drive hub. Primo’s hub, the Mix, has a dual drive DRIVER, however the hub is only mono-directional. WTP also has their Switch cassette out which is dual drive. There are probably more, and will continue to be more, but at the time of this guide that's where it stands.
Q) What color loctite do I need to get?
A) Ask someone else. I may revise this guide later on, but I don’t know at the time, so I won’t lie and claim I do. If you go to an automotive store, there should be someone who may be able to help you.
Q) Does swapping the drive side change how the bike ‘feels’?
A) Nope. And the reason is in the cone-spacers. The non-drive spacer is wide enough to ~equal the width of the drive-spacer with a chainwheel. When you flip them, they should feel about the same. If there is any difference, it would only be a few millimeters and be verrry simple to adapt to.
Q) Why should I switch sides?
A) If you grind on the left side, then the chainline on the left may get in the way. Same goes for the right side.