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Old 10-29-05, 01:16 PM   #1
chajmahal
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Rebuild wheel with old hub and rims? help pls

I have the original set of 27" wheels on my 1970 Raleigh Grand Prix. The spokes are rusted badly and the steel Rigida rims are pretty heavy but the alloy No0rmandy hub is in good shape. I feel that I should rebuild the wheels since the spokes look terrible, this isn't just surface rust, this is flaking crusty rust.

Options would be:
1. Save cash and rebuild the wheel with ss DT spokes, the same steel rims (I'm not concerned about weight, only strength, I'm 220 lbs) and Normandy hub.

2. Scrap the rim and use new aluminum rims and ss spokes with old hub.

3. Buy new wheels.

Thanks,
a horrible newbie
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Old 10-29-05, 01:21 PM   #2
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Is the raleigh grand prix a nice 531 or columbus bike? Or a hi-tensile beater?

If its a higher-end one, I'd rebuld with new 27" alloy rims, and dbl butted spokes. If you know how to build wheels, and you have time to build wheels, never buy wheels. Hand built is so much better.
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Old 10-29-05, 01:42 PM   #3
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I'd keep my eyes on ebay. If you find a deal on appropriate 27" alloy rims first, buy rims and rebuild; if you find a wheelset first, just buy wheels. I wouldn't bother with modern 27" wheels, as the only current-production ones I've seen are pretty low-end.
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Old 10-29-05, 01:50 PM   #4
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Don't forget that for a heavy rider braking is important as well. Steel rims don't brake very well, especially if they get wet. I am not sure of the qualty, but I think in another thread someone pointed to 27" rims at Nashbar for about $10 each. I am considering a pair for my 1979 Suburban.
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Old 10-29-05, 02:46 PM   #5
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I'd recommend a whole new wheelset. Those Normandy hubs were never exactly first class and thebearing surfaces are sure to have become pitted through the years. It seems a shame to me to take the time to lace up a cruddy old hub.
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Old 10-29-05, 03:34 PM   #6
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The 1970 Grand Prix isn't 531. Not sure if it's the Raleigh seamed tubing but it's some sort of high tensile steel, nothing special. I just like the look and it was free. For $0 plus whatever I spend on handlebar tape and the wheels, it will be good to get an old bike out on the road again.

I guess I'll try building them up myself with some new rims and ss spokes when I find them for the right price. The rims aren't pitted now. Yet. Wait, I've read some threads about spoke tension and fatigue. You can't reuse spokes right? Meaning, if I build up the Normandy hub and it bites it, I can't use the same spokes on another hub?
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Old 10-29-05, 03:50 PM   #7
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I used these 27 inch rims on my Varsity rebuild, they worked out quite nicely.

http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=

Nothing wrong with Normandy hubs, provided that they are in good shape. The best way to test the hubs is as follows:

1) Disassemble the hubs and wash out all the grease.

2) Run the tip of a ball point pen inside the bearing cup where the balls make contact. If you can't feel any roughness, the hubs are OK.

3) Reassemble with new ball bearings and grease.

I like the look of high flange hubs on old bikes, so I've rebuilt quite a few Normandy hubs.

The experts say that spokes should not be reused once they have been tensioned, but I've successfully reused spokes. When I was a kid, I used to ride moto-cross and I tacoed a number of wheels. I almost always reused the spokes when building new motorcycle wheels and I'm still alive. Proceed at your own risk.
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Old 10-29-05, 04:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
I'd recommend a whole new wheelset. Those Normandy hubs were never exactly first class and thebearing surfaces are sure to have become pitted through the years. It seems a shame to me to take the time to lace up a cruddy old hub.
ditto that. the axles are also pretty soft and prone to bending/breaking. the schwinn approved ones seem a tad better but still wouldn't bother.
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Old 10-29-05, 04:50 PM   #9
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reduce, re-use, recycle...

Can anyone describe how to differentiate good guality rims or good quality hubs (esp. vintage) from the bad quality? Is it just brand name? I have a number of old 27" wheels of different brands, and I'd kind of like to be able to rank them by quality.
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Old 10-29-05, 05:47 PM   #10
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First thing to consider is why do you want to rebuild the wheels.
From what you say, I think the wheels are fairly straight; for a cosmetic problem, you could use steel wool on your spokes and then wipe them with WD-40 or oil every 2-3 months and you will have relatively nice looking wheels.

If you want to improve your wheels, there are a few issues to look at (apart from aspects seen above):

- If the braking is uneven, it may be because your rims are uneven (flat spot somewhere) or have some surface rust or scratches. New rims could improve (see further down).
- Spokes. Quite frankly, I have used and re-used spokes without problems. It may not be wise for a repair shop to do because it takes longer and you might have a weak spoke or two that will break 2-3 weeks after you re-built the wheel. That spoke would have failed anyway (IOW it was about to die), except now the shop is facing an angry customer who had just paid for a rebuilt. But since you are providing the labour (free $), why not re-use?
That being said, if you have surface rust on spokes, you are likely to have rusted spoke threads, i.e. frozen nipples. And it's quite likely that you will round a few heads or even snap some spokes near the threads. Will you break 2, 5 or 10 spokes? That's anybody's guess.
- Rims: I don't know them, but considering the level of the Grand Prix and the fact you have steel rims, others' comments don't surprise me.

OPTIONS:
- Since you are prepared to spend some money, check if one or both sets of brake pads can be lowered by 4 mm. You may even replace the current brake pads with some that have angled washers like these; that way, you'll get an extra 0,5 - 1 mm.
If you can lower the brake pads by 4 mm, it means you can install 700c wheels instead of the 27" wheels you have.

- For the rear wheel, a major improvement would be to by a wheel with a freehub rather than a freewheel. You could get a freehub-based wheel that fits with dropout spread of 126 or 130 mm. Spreading your bike from 120 mm to 126 mm is trivial, and spreading it to 130 mm is fairly easy to do.
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Old 10-29-05, 06:10 PM   #11
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One absolute recommendation is to trash the current rims and replace them with alloy (aluminum) rims. Steel rims are worse than just heavy, they brake abominably in wet weather. As to keeping the hubs, that's your call and depends on their condition and their sentimantal value to you.

If it were me, I'd get a complete new wheel set.
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Old 10-29-05, 06:26 PM   #12
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Given that the bike is such a beater, take it to a local bike co-op (if there is one) and look for used alloy wheels that you can give a bit of grease and install. New parts seem a bit much for this bike.
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Old 10-29-05, 07:48 PM   #13
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It may be cheaper to buy a new set of wheels than build up your own with a new rim, spokes, and nipples. But, if you build it yourself you'll know you have good quality spokes. There aren't many options on 27 inch wheels anymore so a prebuilt wheel may not come with good spokes.

If you want to build up a wheel, the QBP catalog has two 27 inch rims available. They're both pretty iniexpensive, but the higher cost rim is a double wall and narrower than the cheaper single wall rim. I've used both with good results, but I prefer the double wall one. Get good spokes, DT or wheelsmith. If this is a beater, don't bother with the more expensive double butted spokes. Straight gauge is fine and is surely what your bike has had all these years anyway.

Before you build the wheel, check you hubs to be sure the bearings are in good condition. If the cones are in bad shape, you may not be able to get compatible replacements. There's no reason to buld up a wheel with a bad hub.
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Old 10-29-05, 10:12 PM   #14
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Looking at the old weinmann centerpull brakes, they seem to have space for 700c wheels. 700c are a little smaller diameter than 27s right? Making it a 700 is an option.

Nashbar has pretty cheap deals on 27" rims and spokes seem to be cheaper there. I don't think San Diego has a bike co-op but I've been told there are a couple of used bike/used parts shops in the city like Ye Olde Bike Shop and Pedal Pushing. I'll try there for alloy rim 27" and 700 wheels or rims.

Either way it will be my first wheel build so I'll learn something and this isn't my commuter so I won't be stuck without wheels if I totally hose this up. Anyone see these "hybrid" wheels on Nashbar? http://tinyurl.com/87rpe $70 seems like an okay deal for both wheels new. Any problems with the width of these rims? I'll be running 28-32mm or 1-1/4" wide tires and the Grand Prix has the space between the stays.

Thanks for all the replies. Lots of good info I didn't have. I'm ping-ponging between choices but $ will probably make the decision for me. EDIT: forgot to mention $ is code for wife. Ah yes, the dreaded keeper of the checkbook. I fear her.
EDIT 2: Forgot about Michel Gagnons post " Since you are prepared to spend some money, check if one or both sets of brake pads can be lowered by 4 mm...
If you can lower the brake pads by 4 mm, it means you can install 700c wheels instead of the 27" wheels you have." I definitely have 4mm of space right now.

Last edited by chajmahal; 10-29-05 at 10:19 PM.
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Old 10-30-05, 08:12 AM   #15
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If you are on ebay, I have seen decent used 27" wheelsets sell for what spokes will cost you. Almost bid on a set with Champion Gentelman rims but I already have more 27" wheels than I need now.
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Old 10-30-05, 10:44 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chajmahal
Anyone see these "hybrid" wheels on Nashbar? http://tinyurl.com/87rpe $70 seems like an okay deal for both wheels new. Any problems with the width of these rims? I'll be running 28-32mm or 1-1/4" wide tires and the Grand Prix has the space between the stays.
The rims will be fine (provided your brakes will reach). You're more likely to have trouble with the hub. Measure the distance between your bike's rear dropouts in millimeters. You'd like your new wheelset's OLD (over lucknut dimension) to match. If the new hub is only a few millimeters too wide, don't worry about it. It might be a force fit, but your Grand Prix frame will be fine. If you find that you are going to have 15mm of difference it's still possible, but you'll probably have to rework the hub by removing some spacers and installing a shorter axle.

If your Grand Prix has a bolt on front wheel you'll probably have to file out your front dropouts to fit the fatter QR axle.

Last edited by Retro Grouch; 10-30-05 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 10-30-05, 10:55 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chajmahal
Anyone see these "hybrid" wheels on Nashbar? http://tinyurl.com/87rpe $70 seems like an okay deal for both wheels new. Any problems with the width of these rims? I'll be running 28-32mm or 1-1/4" wide tires and the Grand Prix has the space between the stays.
Nashbar says in the "more info" link for these rims:
"This wheelset is built with S23X rims to fit 700c x 23-28mm"
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Old 10-30-05, 11:15 AM   #18
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Same problem. These are 700C rims so you have to be able to lower your brake shoes 4mm to align with them and the rear width may be too wide for your current frame spacing. What "speed" does it say? 5, 6/7 or 8/9/10? All three have different width hubs.
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Old 10-30-05, 11:25 AM   #19
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I read on a Sheldon Browns website about "cold setting" frames. Looks like the Nashbar hybrid wheelset is for 8-9 speeds and my rear is set up for 5 spd freewheel. Apparently going from 120mm to 126 is easy but to 130? you have to cold set rather than just popping it in and out. Or use a smaller axle and less spacers as Retro Grouch mentioned. Thanks so much. Because of this forum, I've been doing most of my own maintenance lately. I'll check out ebay and see if I can get anything good that won't be overpriced by shipping.
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