The Wheel Thing….pt2

Much anticipated this week, as I have travelled the nation escaping volcanic ash clouds amongst other things, has been the arrival of a new set of wheels for the Thorn.  I ordered them about ten days ago, and, 28 miles into my ride last weekend, I took a phone call from John at Spa Cycles advising me that he was about to dispatch said wheels by FedEx for delivery Monday.

Well, it’s now Thursday night and I’ve been away all week, so I was excited to pick the wheels up in a huge Dawes cycle box this afternoon.  They had been delivered spot on time and were well packed.

The new wheels at last

The new wheels at last

They are a pair of handbuilt hoops, with Deore LX hubs at their centre, 36 stainless spokes radiating out towards Rigida Snyper rims and finally shod with a spanking new pair of Conti Gatorskins running at 28mm width.  These, you may recall, replaced a super light, ultra roadie set of American Classic Victory wheels that had made the leap from my old road bike, and whose comfort for longer rides on the Thorn was called into question.

So, hauling out the chain whip and cassette lock ring removal tool, I set about dismantling my HG 9-speed cassette and wincing at the amount of grease and abrasive road grime lurking within.

Clean them up!

Clean them up!

A pot, a stiff brush and a generous draught of Gunk were soon ordered up, and I scrubbed away at the cassette until it looked new-ish, gently feeding each ring and spacer onto the shims.

Shimano 9-speed cassette lacking dirt

Shimano 9-speed cassette lacking dirt

With the front wheel already fitted (springing the front and rear forks was not an issue with the steel frame.  These hubs are 135mm OLN as opposed to the 130mm hubs I had before.  Wheel dish is reduced on these wheels.

I then tightened the lockring, and eventually guided the rear wheel into the dropouts, having realised that the problem was caused by both rims being considerably wider than the previous ones, so brake re adjustment was also needed.  This done, it was a case of pumping 100 psi into the rear tyre and going for a short test ride.  They feel fantastic – smooth, comfortable and surprisingly light.  The bike also looks better as well, and I shall post a ride report as soon as I have managed to find time to ride the bike again…..

The finished product

The finished product

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