Monday, February 18, 2008

Neat front wheel

This turns out to be a good way to build a front wheel. For many of the wheels used to resuscitate old bikes that I ride, I'll make it a point of pride to use old stuff from my many and varied junk boxes. This is a good example-an old NR hub, spokes from some old French castoff, and a rim from something else. The spokes turned out to be too long, so this occurred to me as a solution. It took some figuring with the lengths and crosses, and about four times longer than normal to build, round, true, dish, stress, and tension, but it's a happy result. Nice and stiff, snappy, and cool too. Pretty damn durable, as well-this one is on its second bike, and sixth or seventh season of commuter fixxie hell. For myself and for a few customers, I've built a dozen or so wheels like this, putting one or two winds on the third cross, or one wind on the second cross, or one each on the second and third crosses (all plenty time-consuming and a good November project), and they're all still in service as far as I know. One of my rear wheel experiments, however, turned into a Pringle on the test ride: that one, if I remember correctly, I twisted at the second cross-I think that it caused torsional force from the hub to increase spoke tension ninety degrees opposed to a decreased spoke tension, which defeated the evenness of my truing stand work. Another rear wheel with a single twist at the fourth cross is more stable, but it clicks and creaks and snaps as the crossed spokes rub against each other. Net result: front wheels only!

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