Sunday, August 17, 2014

Wheel Building... A Magical Art

For those who have followed this blog from its inception you will know that I have tried to become a little more proficient in bike maintenance, though  my skills are very limited and it takes me ages.  It certainly isn't cost effective!  However I do enjoy it and it keeps me occupied

The series consists of

and as I succumbed to the realms of fantasy, ignoring the fact of my ageing body and general overall lack of fitness, I started to look at potential performance gains through the use of  improved wheels

This post takes the whole process to a much higher domain....

The Magical  Arts of Wheel Building

I am quite good at planning and  reading instructions, it is just the following them that causes me difficulty. So the preparation part of my project was good fun;  researching the different sort of rims, the advantages and disadvantages of various spoke lacing patterns, the intricacy of  various hub materials and construction with particular emphasis on the bearing quality. Then there were decisions to be made about spoke thickness and colour to mention nothing of the finer points of material degradation between Brass and Aluminium for nipple construction. And of course I also had to consider the choice between rim tape or the much lighter velo plugs; after all, that saving of 20 grams could be all the difference on whether to have a cream cake or toasted tea cake on my next ride.

After much pondering I came down to purchasing

 23mm width H plus Son Archetype Rims drilled for a 20/24 spoke combination.
Novatech F482SB / A291-SB  Hub set
Alpina AC1 F1 Silver SSDB spokes with brass nipples
and, because Velo Plugs do not fit these rims I went with Velox Cloth Rim tape

All I needed now were some tools, and a helpful experienced advisor who could act as my mentor.  Fortunately just such a man lives close by, and in return for showing him some of the best local Cake Stops ( for which I am rapidly becoming an expert ) he offered to let me borrow his tools and help me with the build.

I chose a radial lacing pattern for the front wheel and a 2 cross pattern for the rear. The whole build process was extremely satisfying, though I expect that Rob found it tediously slow compared to his normal pace. By taking my time and tightening each spoke  in many small incremental steps, the spokes gradually developed that beautiful ' ping ' tone as they came into synchronous tension. ( Though this was helped by having a tensionometer to ensure things were going OK )

When finally finished I installed them on my Giant Advanced TCR SL3 and I do think they look grand

and they certainly ride well.

The only problem that I now have is that I seem to have only 4 bikes BUT I have 6 sets of wheels!
I must think of a constructive solution.