Touring - I would like some help with a wheel decision
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09-02-08, 05:42 PM
I am building myself a nice strong touring bicycle (I weigh 210 lbs.) using a 1985 Raleigh Elkhorn Mountain Bike. The frame is 23 inches and everything is pretty much stock. Most of the touring that I will do will be on paved roads and forest service dirt/hardpack/gravel roads. I've got a question about the wheels. Right now the wheels are from 1985 36 spoke Araya 26 x 1.75 rims with a six speed freewheel and solid axles. Should I just go with that or buy a new set of wheels--let's say 36+ spoke freehub system? There is a local bike shop that can fix me up with a new set of wheels that have shimano hubs and Sun Rhyno Lite rims.
What would you do?
09-02-08, 07:01 PM
If the Araya rim is steel I would check that brake pads work well to stop it. If the Araya rim shows no serious signs of wearing, you have no loose or cracked spokes, and the 6-speed freewheel has a large ring (34 teeth) and the rings show little to moderate wear, I would stay with that rear wheel. I'm stilling riding wheels from 1990 that perform well. I did, however, recently tightened all my spokes on those wheels to help prevent spoke breakage.
If, however, the rear wheel is showing signs of wear, I would upgrade. You may need to spread the rear dropouts to 135mm to take new rear hubs, but that is easy.
09-03-08, 10:46 AM
Thanks bwgride. The Araya rims are alloy and not steel. I don't want to spend any more money than I have to---I know silly me! But I'm also wanting something that is going to be strong and reliable.
I appreciate the advice.
I'll look at your question from a different aspect.
I'm building up an old MTB as a tourer, and am going with a newer generation drivetrain. In my case I'm salvaging a group from another bike I allready own.
Being a heavier rider, it may prove better for you in the long run to go with a cassette system rather than freewheel. I recall freewheels have loose bearings, and offcenter- some aspects which can easier lead to breaking/bending axles.
As for more reasons to switch from 6 speed rear to 9spd-I like closer gear ratios & should I go on another long tour, I know I'll be able to pick up replacement bits near anywhere. With a cassette I can change it out with a pocket tool (hypercracker). I don't know if there are pocket tools for freewheels.
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