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Old 04-19-05, 08:58 AM   #1
peripatetic
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cost-effective wheel upgrade

I have this vintage '80s Takara steel bike, and it weighs a ton right now. I'm thinking of upgrading the wheels for weight purposes (NYC apartments just are NOT bike friendly.) Their steel rims right now. My questions are several:

1. Anybody know anything out there that's not going to break my bank? Links? Nashbar, Performance, ...? I don't need anything fancy, this is going to be used mainly for mellow city riding. I was even thinking about getting some used wheels from someone, but on Craigslist, etc., people are selling pairs for $150. It seems like I could get something of lower quality but cheaper elsewhere.

2. SunTour friction shifters--what do I need to look for in terms of freewheel compatibility? Will any new wheels I buy require some major adaptation, will it be less costly to get a new freewheel/derailler?

3. The bike, when I can get it down the stairs, rides beautifully, esp. on the potholes here. Are aluminum wheels going to dramatically affect this ride?

4. Would I be better served just changing the rims, and maybe using it as an opportunity to try a little wheelbuilding?

5. Am I just barking up the wrong tree? Should I just replace the derailler first? Or is the main issue with the weight still just the frame? Maybe I'd be better served converting it to fixed gear or single speed...


I'm sure that there are some classicists out there rolling their eyes at this whole endeavor, but right now, the bike is really just far too heavy for the city. I bought it off a woman who had brought it with her from California, and now, here in NYC, it needs to shed some pounds.
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Old 04-19-05, 09:23 AM   #2
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An LBS can get some compatible wheels fairly cheap, $100 a pair, I think) through Quality. Fairly decent box section alloy rim with a threaded hub. You might have to go to 700c rims and tires to open up your options(If you do not already have them)
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Old 04-19-05, 09:33 AM   #3
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I got some SunM13II with Shimano hubs for $70/set at one of the LBSs. At the I couldn't really find a better deal on the net when I factored in shipping. I haven't had a riding related problem with them (someone did taco my rear one night by kicking it or something while it was parked) for over a year.

Aluminum rims are definitely going to be lighter, and they will improve braking performance, especially in the rain.

If your going cheap: http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=
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Old 04-19-05, 09:40 AM   #4
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I converted an old bike for a friend of mine from steel components to AL.
The big hitters are the wheels and steel cottered cranks.
The seatpost, stem and handle bars are next and the brake calipers and deraullers last.

Total savings (8 lbs.)

Enjoy
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Old 04-19-05, 09:59 AM   #5
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Yeah, man, those cottered cranks are NOT pretty.

But what about compatibility? If I get a new wheel set, do I have to also get a new cassette, or can I just transfer the old freewheel over to the new wheels? What about things like spacing, axle length, etc.?

Powers, was there anything given up in terms of the ride of the bike when you switched over to the AL wheels/components?
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Old 04-19-05, 11:44 AM   #6
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You can reuse your old freewheel so long as you get a rear wheel with freewheel threads.

If your hubs are in good condition you could just get a pair of rims, spokes, nipples, truing stand, and spoke wrench and build your own. You probably won't save any money (even if you have the truing stand) over a pair of $100 wheels but it would be a cheap lesson in wheelbuilding. That's exactly how I learned.
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Old 04-19-05, 12:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peripatetic
Yeah, man, those cottered cranks are NOT pretty.

But what about compatibility? If I get a new wheel set, do I have to also get a new cassette, or can I just transfer the old freewheel over to the new wheels? What about things like spacing, axle length, etc.?

Powers, was there anything given up in terms of the ride of the bike when you switched over to the AL wheels/components?
You will have to get a wheel with free-wheel threads on the hub and do a transfer (takes a special tool) If you get a used wheel with a freewheel cogset chances are good that the spacing will be the same.

The only thing you are going to give up is the pain of dragging all that weight around.
Imagine going up a hill with a gallon jug of water on your back.
Then imagine dropping the jug and sprinting up the same hill.

The bike will be safer (Steel rims do not stop well), more agile and responsive and certainly faster.

Enjoy
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