Sunday, January 01, 2006

Radial Redux...

Three's a Crowd

So, last Thursday evening I built my tenth wheel, necessitated by a sidewall blowout that occured last fall on a pretty casual MTB ride. Since I had built a back-up wheel with a Surly hub (nice and rugged for the winter conditions) months ago, the sweet, light, and oh-so-smooth Paul WORD hub from the damaged wheel sat around all lonesome for quite a while until I felt it was time.

Ordered a Salsa Delgado rim and some DT Swiss spokes a while back from the shop, and Mike had shot me an email the previous Friday to let me know they were in. On Wednesday, I hit the WholeFoods in Vienna to pick up a little liquid thank-you for the hookup, placed it in my new neoprene six-pack tote (keeps 'em cold and cushioned), loaded that in my trunk pack, and headed out on the W&OD Trail to Ashburn.

The ride out went quickly, the trail surface devoid of any vestiges of the ice sheets that had coated parts of it recently. I got to the shop, dropped off the six, hung out a bit shooting the proverbial breeze with Mike, picked up my rim and spokes, zip-tied the rim to my rack, and headed back. Nice ride, lots of folks out taking advantage of the relatively mild weather and probably hoping to burn off some holiday poundage. About midway back, the irony of actually driving the meager 34 miles round trip to pick up, of all things, a bicycle rim, struck me and I had to smile. Made it home with a couple hours of daylight left and the following evening, I gathered together the parts and tools and popped the top off a 'Hop' Wallop.

It had been a while since I built a wheel, and yet this one came together the quickest and with the least amount of tinkering for the necessary tension and trueness. Props go out again to Jobst Brandt for his excellent, no-nonsense wheel-building book (I suggest you pick up a copy of your own if you're interested in this most meditative of bike-related undertakings, assuming Satan Claws didn't see fit to leave you with a copy over the holidays).

I've been running the 29er Delgados on my Karate Monkey, and even though they were originally designed as a cross rim, they've held up well and stayed true, so we'll see how well their little brother does saddled up with the big meat. I'm a fan of Sun rims, but this baby seems very well-made and is nicely machined to the point where I can't detect by sight or touch the seam in the sidewall where the hoop ends were joined. NIce!

It's a new year. Get out and ride more!


DiscoCowboy said...

looks like a wheel for a kids bike, it's so small!

gpsser said...

nice build, my very first set of wheels that I built this fall were Pauls hubs laced to Delgado Cross rims

riderx said...

Mmmmm, Hop Wallop...

Another wheel building book recommendation:
The Art of Wheel Building by Gerd Schraner.
The old man knows his stuff!

iconoclasst said...

Yep, have that one too. It's a little easier to handle on the job, since it's a ring-bound paperback, but I kinda prefer Brandt's approach.