Sunday 19 August 2018

Wheels with history

There are items we all own which have a special value for us. For Guy, these wheelset were special as they were custom built and they carried him many times through Swiss, Italian and French Alps, including Haute Route. 
Like always, each wheelset has it own limited life cycle and when rims are worn it's time to think about the new set. New set doesn't always mean to trash-buy new ones... sometimes it's worth to make the rebuild and keep part of the old wheels for next adventures.

Few Haute Routes, few crashes, many, many miles and breath taking landscapes - all this with one hoops composed from DT Swiss rims, CX-Rays and Hope Mono III hubs. 

Before this year's Haute Route, Guy came to me to check his hoops and make sure they are in a good condition. Last thing you want to have is failing equipment on such big event. 
Surprisingly I discovered that wheels are not reliable anymore. Four different spoke types, highly uneven tension where NDR had almost 0 kgf and very worn rims. Different spokes were used by Mavic during Haute Route service when after crash they had to replace spokes in emergency mode. Unfortunately the spokes were way too long so I couldn't tension them properly anymore. Since only the hubs were in a good condition I suggested the rebuild. New rims, spokes and nipples and old Hope hubs.

Hubs were 28 front and rear so I had to think about pretty light set which would be applicable for racing and training during the season. The choice went for DT Swiss RR411 rims, silver CX-Ray spokes and alu nipples.

RR411 rims are reasonably light and stiff. They come with symmetric and asymmetric version. Symmetric goes on front and assymetric goes on rear to help NDR tension.
DT Swiss claims 435g weight but in reality they are closer to 450g. Still, pretty good result for 18mm inner width rims with thick spoke bed. Rims come with nipple washers which are a must and DT Swiss Squorx ProHead nipples which I'm not a fan of. Nipples have locklite compound already applied which dries in few hours after the build is started so it's recommended to finish a build in one go. For those who are looking for numbers: ERD with washers and Squorx nipples is 601mm and 599mm for washers and standard Sapim nipples. 
It is possible to use standard nipples, however they do not sit that well on asymmetric rim due to very narrow spoke hole drilling.

Silver Sapim CX-Rays were used as original wheels were silver too and matching very well to the bike.

I changed the lacing as initially front wheel was laced radially and rear 2x/radial. As I could not influence on the spoke count anymore I made the best out of it by making a stronger build and lacing both front and rear to 2-cross. No weight penalty, only benefits by having a stiffer set.

End result: very interesting build. Definitely unusual as silver components and cross lacing spokes are rather old school. However those innocently looking wheels are strong, stiff and fast. Silver spokes, gunsmoke Hope Mono III RS hubs and black/silver rims are matching together very well.

As with every build I invested a significant amount of time for laying properly the J-bend spokes, proper tensioning using calibrated tension meter and stress removal during the build. All that resulting in no tension drop after the first rides. 

Wheels got tubeless tape (2x layers) for standard tubes or tubeless system in the future.

Wheels are ready for Haute Route 2018 - Good luck Guy!


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