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  1. #1
    Ex-Lion Tamer Bklyn's Avatar
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    Replacing the 25-year-old Rear Wheel?

    So happy with my 1981 Lotus Legend. It sat untouched in my parents' garage until I retreived it 6 months ago. It was essentially never ridden until this year. Surprisingly, there were few adjustments needed; wheels had to be trued after a while, that's about it. But I just busted a spoke yesterday, and I was informed by the LBS that if another spoke goes, the wheel's total failure was coming soon. Apparently the rim (Ukai, and pretty narrow) has some dings that can be hammered out only so much.
    So what are my options? Rebuild the wheel? New rim? New wheel? It's got a Shimano 600 freewheel (6 speed); I have to stay with that, right? (I have friction shifters, if that's a consideration.) Thanks for your expertise.
    Quote Originally Posted by unkchunk View Post
    Sure, that sort of behavior might be acceptable in California, where people are all concerned about color video and feelings.

  2. #2
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Spokes breaking = rim failure is utter nonsense, at least for vintage rims.

    However, the dings that you describe (and the fact that they've been hammered out) are a cause for concern. Is this rim steel or aluminum?

    If it's the latter, you can kiss it goodbye, for aluminum is prone to cracking when deformed. Steel is considerably more malleable however, and in many cases, can be bent back if necessary. It's not a pretty fix, but in the case of harder to find rims, its a suitable fix.

    Take care,

    -Kurt

  3. #3
    Ex-Lion Tamer Bklyn's Avatar
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    I'm fairly certain they're steel. Don't have the bike handy at the moment. The mechanic told me that the rim walls were bent, and that's why the spoke broke. I'm not sure how things can deteriorate, but I've read that once spokes start breaking, you've got to replace something. Just trying to figure out what my options are.
    Quote Originally Posted by unkchunk View Post
    Sure, that sort of behavior might be acceptable in California, where people are all concerned about color video and feelings.

  4. #4
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    What end of the spoke broke? I bet near the hub, not the rim, locating a replacement rim can be a chore, but not impossible, generally not worth the $ to rebuild if the rim has had a hard life. Or use the opportunity to build one yourself.

    I am still riding a rear wheel I built up 31 years ago, with a used rim, (customer wanted clinchers) very used hub, Campagnolo 3 pc. Gran Sport and cheap Union Cad plated spokes, I used them as it was a training wheel and did not want to spend much at all, now with rusted spokes, but it does not need a true and can't be trued! Some wheels cannot be killed.

  5. #5
    100% USDA certified the beef's Avatar
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    I would just go for a new wheel if I were you. Less chance of failure, and would add some life to your bike. It's more than likely that your bike uses 700c wheels, just find one with an older freewheel hub or even with a freewheel cassette already attached, they're fairly common, check Craigslist.

  6. #6
    Curmudgeon Wil Davis's Avatar
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    If the rims and hubs are OK, you could rebuild with new spokes, using the same design. If you wanted to improve the choice for gearing, you could do what I did.

    I recently built some new wheels for my Schwinn Super Sport - the old wheels were still OK, but I wanted something which would give me more choices for gearing. $30 for a pair of Shimano Ultegra 600 hubs from eBay; $60 for a pair of Mavic MA3 rims (LBS); ~$50 for the spokes (LBS). That was for two wheels, and I did the work myself (LBS charges ~$40 to build a wheel). I now have a rear wheel which will take Shimano HG cassettes. Even with the downtube friction shifters, the shifting is so much better with the newer cassettes.

    I've used the old wheels and hubs to play around with different designs. They're UKAI and are quite dated (no eyelets, but the holes are offset), and are single-walled. I've noticed that the old rims are much easier to bend when stress-relieving than are the Mavics which being of a much newer design (double-walled) are stiffer.

    - Wil
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  7. #7
    Senior Member divineAndbright's Avatar
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    I ride a bike regularly with at least 6-7 broken spokes on the rear wheel, they snapped long ago - came off a donar bike thats been sitting for a good 10 years, I never had anymore break since putting em on the bike (A good 45-50 pounder!), the wheel is still true also for some reason!

  8. #8
    Yet another vegan biker
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    I ride a bike regularly with at least 6-7 broken spokes on the rear wheel
    Why?

    =================

    For the original poster:

    If you're not into wrenching -and I recommend that all vintage lovers take up a wrench- then that beat wheel sounds like its time for a replacement.

    Used freewheel-ready rear wheels aren't to hard to come by -- nor are they expensive if you are not in an overnight kind of rush. I'm assembling a decent collection (I need them all(:-) ) from garage sales, police auctions, trash. You should be able to find some soon.

    I've also built several sets of wheels from good hubs I cut out of bent/wrecked wheels. I'll be glad to look up a link for a tutorial for you if you want.

    The wheels I have on my commuter were the first pair I ever built. They've held up well for nearly a year of constant use. It's a great feeling to ride on wheels you laced yourself.

  9. #9
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    I have a 1981 Lotus Exell, it has 27 in aluminum rims and mostly Shimano 600 components with Shimano 500 brakes. I really think that the Exell was the bottom of the Lotus line. I would be fairly certain that your rims are aluminum.

    Nashbar has Velocity 27 in. rear freewheel wheels for about $60. You would just need a freewheel. What you are describing as a freewheel is probably an early Uniglide cassette.

  10. #10
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by divineAndbright
    I ride a bike regularly with at least 6-7 broken spokes on the rear wheel, they snapped long ago - came off a donar bike thats been sitting for a good 10 years, I never had anymore break since putting em on the bike (A good 45-50 pounder!), the wheel is still true also for some reason!
    I'll wager that your rim is one of those steel, dual-walled bulletproof drop-centers from the '40s...

    -Kurt

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