Tuesday 2 April 2019

Fixed February

A small recap from February: two selected fixed wheels projects
  • Gigantex 50mm with Miche pista hubs 
  • H+Son Archetype with Miche pista flip-flop hubs
What's so unusual about these? Well, mainly the weight and type of spokes but to find out why, you'll need to read further.

For me and I guest for most of us the fixed wheels are mainly associated with heavy weight. Two kilograms it's quite a lot for a wheelset, especially that the fixed hubs are pretty light. The majority of the weight comes from the rims and spokes. In the fixed wheels we often see 28 or 32 spokes (which is good) but also we see 2.0mm thick spokes (which is not always necessary). 

And so, here is the case where custom build might be very helpful. If it's well done the builder should collect some essential parameters about the rider and wheel's requirements such as:
- weight of the rider
- generated power
- purpose of the wheels 
- yearly distance
- conditions in which wheels will be used (snow, salt etc.)
- budget

Such data allows to carefully select each and every single component so the wheels will offer the best possible performance and riding sensations.

The first build was based on H+Son Archetype rims in 28/28h drilling, Miche pista hubs with high flange and flip flop version, D-light spokes and brass nipples. 

H+Son rims are pretty stiff, good looking and very often used in fixed builds. 
Miche Primato hubs are very budget friendly. High flange version allows to achieve good bracing angles and therefore high wheel stiffness. 
Because fixed hubs do not need any cassette, the distance from the hub's center to both flanges is almost the same. That causes a very good tension ratio between both sides and therefore allows to use a bit thinner spokes than we usually see on other fixed wheels.

The next trick which can be used is lacing type. In this case I laced the front with 2x cross and rear with 3x cross. 
Front wheel won't get any high torque so 2x cross lacing with D-light spokes is totally fine and so by doing that I saved few grams as the spokes in 2x cross lacing are shorter vs 3x cross. The rear wheel was flip-flop version so here no shortcuts, maximum crossing possible.

Total weight - 1820g
Price - 459CHF for a wheelset, spare spokes with nipples and two layers of tubeless tape.

Second fixed build was even more interesting and I must say, the most time consuming ever. Everything was discussed for a very long time including the decal's design. However the overall result is just stunning:

- Gigantex 50mm in custom 28/28h drilling
- Sapim Laser silver spokes (YES, silver spokes are looking awesome with carbon rims)
- Silver alloy nipples + washers
- Silver Miche pista high flange hubs, fixed
- Custom decals

These beauties are an eye-catcher, especially that they will be mounted on a very beautiful frame.

Spokes used in this build - Sapim Lasers are kind of rounded cx-ray's version. By using a high profile of the rim (50mm) and hub's high flanges the 3x crossed sapim lasers did the job very well. The wheels are stiff like a stone and during spoke stress relieve I could not make the spokes going slack, even if I was pushing with all my weight on the wheel. 

Worth to mention that the gigantex rims are high quality ones. Very well finished, with custom 28/28h drilling were perfect match for this project. 

Alloy silver nipples were used (without anode) therefore I gave also the nipples washers to prevent carbon-alloy corrosion. Spoke threads were protected by "spoke-prep", nipples and washers greased with Park Tool grease so all was build with time and precision.

Spokes were tensioned using calibrated tension meter and nicely laid on the flanges - that's what I like.

As mentioned before, the decals were designed mainly by the customer. Vinyl cutter allows to make super nice designs but with my skills I'm not there yet. This project was a good learning and I mastered the cutter a bit more than before. One step further :-)

In total the weight without rim tape was 1730g. Not bad result!

Price wise: 849CHF including custom decals project.

Final comment - some could say that further weight reduction could be done by using less spokes. Yes, it's true however I wouldn't recommend that. In the above 28h spokes configuration during a standard load, spokes will take about 300N of load. If 24 spokes would be used, then the load would go to almost 450N. If the rider would have stronger leg, the load would go even higher. Those values could cause the spokes going slack during each rotation which would be very unhealthy for the whole wheel. 
It is much safer to user thinner but more spokes rather than less and thicker spokes.

Thanks for reading

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