18 January 2014

Wheel No 00016

Spoke head washers
Last weekend, my ride with Jerome was cut short by a broken spoke on my rear wheel.  I was riding the last rear wheel I purchased from a third party before I started building my own.  It consists of a White Industries H3 hub, Velocity A23 rim, and 36 DT revolution 3-cross spokes.  This wheel has seen me through numerous long rides, including Tohoku 1700, Cascade 1200 and Rocky Mountain 1200 in 2012.  The 36 spoke design was intended for such events.

But its spokes do break from time to time.  It was a mistake to use DT Revolution spokes on the drive side (as I learned after reading The Art of Wheelbuilding, by Gerd Schraner).  And Hiroshi had recently suggested that as long as I was using 36 spokes, I should try 4-cross for the strongest result.

Still, even if I do break a spoke, it is possible to finish a long ride on a 35 spoke wheel without feeling as if one's equipment is compromised or dangerous.  And it is easy to use a spoke wrench to true the wheel laterally and ride on.

Last weekend, as well, the bike was still rideable with a broken spoke, but it had some rubbing at the brake pad.  I did not have a spoke wrench with me for what had been planned as a short spin.  We were near Y's bike shop on the Tamagawa, and so ducked into a fast food restaurant in Tachikawa to get some coffee and wait until Y's opened .  They were kind enough to lend me a spoke wrench.  But when I trued the wheel laterally, the wheel developed a "hop" -- a bump where it was not quite round.  And even when I tightened the relevant spokes, the hop remained.

I had had enough.  Time to rebuild!   There are still years of life in the rim and hub.  Here is the rebuilt wheel, with DT Competition 2.0/1.8mm spokes on the drive side, and DT Revolution 2.0/1.5mm again on the non-drive, with 36 spokes in a 4-cross pattern.  And, of course, spoke head washers.  No, not the lightest design, but with this build, the spokes are no longer the weakest link.
Number 00016 -- A new wheel, with used rim and hub.
In the truing stand.  Label on hub lines up with valve hole -- check.

These hubs have seen many thousands of kilometers/miles.  I hope they will see many, many more!

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