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  1. #1
    What??? Only 2 wheels? jimmuller's Avatar
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    Is this old rim usable?

    Fiamme Yellow Label, square label, 27in, Schrader valve hole, 36 spokes of course. Probably dates to late 70's or early 80's. It's been hanging on my garage wall for much of this time. I measure it as round to 2mm, which is to say +/- 1mm, and flat to within 1mm. It has been lightly to moderately used, shows no sign of abuse. The spoke holes are all good. The braking surface is not worn. It is not flared anywhere from hitting a pothole. I see no fatigue cracks and it would not have seen much use to develop any.

    I ask because I want to build it up on a 126mm hub freewheel. My LBS (a well-know shop which normally supports vintage bikes well) took it to build the wheel I wanted. I discussed all this with them at the time. Now three weeks later they didn't bother to call me and say the builder wouldn't do it. Since I'm not saving any time having them do it I might as well do it myself. But I figured I'd ask here first.

    (I have a matching rim on the front wheel already.)
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  2. #2
    Senior Member due ruote's Avatar
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    I see no reason not to use it. Did the shop give any explanation for their refusal?

  3. #3
    rhm
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    multimodal commuter rhm's Avatar
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    I'd use it. Build it yourself.

  4. #4
    What??? Only 2 wheels? jimmuller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by due ruote View Post
    Did the shop give any explanation for their refusal?
    Ah, mumbles about not heat-treated, old, unknown roundness, blah blah blah. I think the fact that the rim was probably older than the builder may have had something to do with it. (I'm sure the whole bike is older than the builder. It's older than that rim.) Actually, the guy who seemed to be the head mechanic offered to do it when I fumed enough, even maybe do it today. But I walked out with the rim because I was miffed.

    Now I just have figure out what spoke length to use, get the hub I want, find the time, do all the work. Minor details like that...
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  5. #5
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    I say build it yourself however, if there are no eyelets I would look for the little washers that go on the nipples. I am not a big fan of rims without eyelets.

    the shop of course is concerned about liability. I would also venture to say that most new rims are never perfectly straight and round.
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto, '90 Campione del Fausto Giamondi Specialisma Italiano Mundo, '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '86 Volpe, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

    Others but still loved,; '80 RIGI, '80 Batavus Professional, '87 Cornelo, '09 Motobecane SS, '?? Jane Doe (still on the drawing board), '90ish Haro Escape

  6. #6
    PanGalacticGargleBlaster Zaphod Beeblebrox's Avatar
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    I thought those little washers were for the spoke heads. Or are we talking about different washers?
    --Don't Panic.

  7. #7
    Seņor Member 4Rings6Stars's Avatar
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    Jim, what shop if you don't mind me asking? I recently had a non-vintage friendly experience at International in Allston. I'm looking (though addmitedly not that hard) to find a good reliable shop that will handle my vintage and modern needs. I will venture out to Harris one of these days....

    Bianchigirll, I think International has changed since you were in town (or maybe I just went the day they had two clowns working)...they told me my DA 7400 wasn't worth spending the money to get a new axle for and I should just replace it with something new.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Citoyen du Monde's Avatar
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    The Fiamme yellow label clincher rims were never that good to start with. I would not dare ask money to build a wheel out of such an old Fiamme yellow label that has previously been built without having seen it built up to judge if it is round and straight. I think they are right to turn you down. If you are building it yourself that is a different question.

  9. #9
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    I agree with Citoyen. It was notoriously prone to bending under normal loads. Don't use it!
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
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  10. #10
    What??? Only 2 wheels? jimmuller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4Rings6Stars View Post
    Jim, what shop if you don't mind me asking?
    In fact, the shop was Harris.

    Quote Originally Posted by Citoyen du Monde View Post
    The Fiamme yellow label clincher rims were never that good to start with. I would not dare ask money to build a wheel out of such an old Fiamme yellow label that has previously been built without having seen it built up to judge if it is round and straight. I think they are right to turn you down.
    The problem isn't that they turned me down. I took them the rim 20 days ago thinking they might say no. I showed it to them and discussed the issues, acknowledged that it was an old rim. Eleven days ago they even told me on the phone "on Monday". I have few opportunities to get by the store, but when I finally got there eight days later I found that the wheel builder had decided not to go ahead. I would have expected the courtesy of a phone call. I went to them in the first place to save time. And to let them worry about spoke length.

    The thing is, they had the rim for weeks. They could measure it for flatness and roundness just like I did. They could examine it for cracks, or put a caliper across the outer surface around the rim looking for flares. I can find no obvious flaws, but since I have nowhere near the wheel-truing experience either you or they do I thought I would ask.

    In fact there was another problem with this transaction. They had said the Quando was the only 126mm freewheel hub available. The tight feel of the sealed bearings has bothered me ever since. Today I asked about the Suzue listed on their website, and they showed me one. Apparently it exists after all. It was noticeably lighter, better finished, with smoother bearings, and somewhat more expensive. So why wasn't it an option three weeks ago? If they had actually built the wheel we discussed then I would have ended up with a lower quality hub. So it's a blessing in disguise.

    As for it being prone to bending, I'll just say I have the identical rim on the front. I weigh only 170lbs. And I sure don't cycle competitively. I know it isn't perfect but I've ridden them before with no trouble.

    I'm just trying to get a lighter rim, to get a real 126mm hub instead of 120mm hub washered out, and to upgrade from a 5-speed to a 6. (I'm entering the 1980's!) This didn't feel like a serious effort to help maintain a vintage bike. So now nothing has changed. I am still staring at a slightly sub-optimal rear hub and a perfectly usable lightweight rim to hang on the wall, and wondering what to do next.
    Last edited by jimmuller; 07-27-10 at 04:36 PM.
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  11. #11
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Why not build it yourself?
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
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  12. #12
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    Good advice from noglider. I learnt to build my own wheels in the previous century with the little book "Building Bicycle Wheels" by Robert Wright and the wheels are still in use.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Citoyen du Monde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
    In fact, the shop was Harris.


    The problem isn't that they turned me down. I took them the rim 20 days ago thinking they might say no. I showed it to them and discussed the issues, acknowledged that it was an old rim. Eleven days ago they even told me on the phone "on Monday". I have few opportunities to get by the store, but when I finally got there eight days later I found that the wheel builder had decided not to go ahead. I would have expected the courtesy of a phone call. I went to them in the first place to save time. And to let them worry about spoke length.

    The thing is, they had the rim for weeks. They could measure it for flatness and roundness just like I did. They could examine it for cracks, or put a caliper across the outer surface around the rim looking for flares. I can find no obvious flaws, but since I have nowhere near the wheel-truing experience either you or they do I thought I would ask.

    In fact there was another problem with this transaction. They had said the Quando was the only 126mm freewheel hub available. The tight feel of the sealed bearings has bothered me ever since. Today I asked about the Suzue listed on their website, and they showed me one. Apparently it exists after all. It was noticeably lighter, better finished, with smoother bearings, and somewhat more expensive. So why wasn't it an option three weeks ago? If they had actually built the wheel we discussed then I would have ended up with a lower quality hub. So it's a blessing in disguise.

    As for it being prone to bending, I'll just say I have the identical rim on the front. I weigh only 170lbs. And I sure don't cycle competitively. I know it isn't perfect but I've ridden them before with no trouble.

    I'm just trying to get a lighter rim, to get a real 126mm hub instead of 120mm hub washered out, and to upgrade from a 5-speed to a 6. (I'm entering the 1980's!) This didn't feel like a serious effort to help maintain a vintage bike. So now nothing has changed. I am still staring at a slightly sub-optimal rear hub and a perfectly usable lightweight rim to hang on the wall, and wondering what to do next.
    Let me start off by saying that I have never been into the Harris shop, nor have I ever bought anything from them. Lastly let me be a heretic and say that I found that about 50% of all that was said by Sheldon Brown was absolute nonsense. I therefore have no horse in this race, but I feel that the tone of your post is completely uncalled for.

    Did you speak to the actual person who was going to do the building of the wheel? In most better shops there is one person who specializes in building wheels and nobody is allowed to speak for them. From many years of experience, I know that it is the common policy of most experienced shops to make "vague" and "non-committal" promises about the potential for using old and used components. Are you sure that they said that they "would" rebuild the wheel with your rim, or did they say that they "would try" to rebuild the wheel. Measuring the roundness of a wheel is simply not possible in any timely manner. To do it properly takes more time than to actually build the wheel. When I previously said that the rim model did not have a good reputation, I was simply trying to diplomatically say that they were absolute junk and not worth spending any time or money on. Doubly so if it had previously been built up and might have encountered some unknown stress. Rims are comparatively cheap when you consider the overall cost of building a wheel (spokes, rims and wheel build cost), so don't waste your money rebuilding this rim that will not last as long as a higher quality rim.

    As far as the hub goes, what you feel by moving the axle in your fingers has virtually nothing to do with what is felt once the wheel is installed in a bike. It would not surprise me in the least that both hubs will be equally good in use. Had I been in Harris' place, with a customer in front of me trying to squeeze out some extra use out of a rim that has obviously already past its best before date, I would take for granted that you are equally as worried about getting the most out of your money from the hubs.

    Lastly, in which way did Harris not make a serious effort in maintaining a vintage bike? What vintage bike are you speaking of? From your description, you have nothing more than an old bike.

    My read on this whole story is that one of the clerks who does not do the wheelbuilding likely took in the wheel in good faith, then gave it to the wheelbuilder who either made a quick attempt at assembling the wheel only to see the sub-optimal quality of the rim, or through experience was able to recognize the poor quality of the rim and the likelihood that a customer would quickly become dissatisfied with the shop for a wheel that would not hold out long term. He then put the work order aside to allow the clerk who took the job in to be able to give you a call about teh job. then because of conflicting schedules (rarely do all shop employees work the same complete schedules) or perhaps a busy time in the shop the call was put off and you ended up visiting teh shop before they got a chance to call you.

    As Noglider has stated, why not build yourself.

  14. #14
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
    Ah, mumbles about not heat-treated, old, unknown roundness, blah blah blah.
    They didn't mention that you'll DIE because it doesn't have a machined brake surface?!

    I think the fact that the rim was probably older than the builder may have had something to do with it.
    That, and they'd surely make more money if they could sell you a new rim.

    Now I just have figure out what spoke length to use, get the hub I want, find the time, do all the work. Minor details like that...
    That shouldn't be too much of a problem: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard/spocalc.htm

  15. #15
    What??? Only 2 wheels? jimmuller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Citoyen du Monde View Post
    As far as the hub goes, what you feel by moving the axle in your fingers has virtually nothing to do with what is felt once the wheel is installed in a bike... Had I been in Harris' place, with a customer in front of me trying to squeeze out some extra use out of a rim that has obviously already past its best before date, I would take for granted that you are equally as worried about getting the most out of your money from the hubs.
    Perhaps, though I've never felt drag like that from loose bearings properly adjusted. Nevertheless, the other hub was an option not mentioned. The clerk's job is not to guess what the customer wants and then present only the options which he thinks are appropriate. He (actually they) just didn't think about it very far.

    Quote Originally Posted by Citoyen du Monde View Post
    Lastly, in which way did Harris not make a serious effort in maintaining a vintage bike? What vintage bike are you speaking of? From your description, you have nothing more than an old bike.
    I didn't give you a description of the bike. I will say that it is a Reynolds DB 531 frame, well-known brand, made in 1973, came to me from Harris as a mostly bare frame a few decades ago, has all more or less period-correct components (except the saddle) though not all original, and earlier this year was complimented "That's a beautiful old ..." (a direct quote) by another Harris employee. In any case, this has nothing to do with what kind of bike it is. It is about a customer who wanted something obviously non-typical (an obsolete 126mm freewheel hub, 6-speed freewheel, with a vintage rim), and they didn't demonstrate much interest.

    Quote Originally Posted by Citoyen du Monde View Post
    He then put the work order aside to allow the clerk who took the job in to be able to give you a call about the job. then because of conflicting schedules...or perhaps a busy time in the shop the call was put off and you ended up visiting the shop before they got a chance to call you.
    Yeah, and after telling me it would be ready in two working days they waited 11 days to not tell me it wouldn't.

    Quote Originally Posted by Citoyen du Monde View Post
    As Noglider has stated, why not build yourself.
    As I've said before, I would build it myself but I have very little free time. I can't even get to the shop all that often. At $45 per wheel that's a job I will gladly pay for. (I am happy to pay a premium price for someone to do a job well.) Had they expedited the task or simply called me I could have made a different decision and would have had been able to ride on it or another new wheel for these past two weekends and the upcoming weekend. But now it is likely to be September before I have this particular upgrade. I'll probably end up doing it myself anyway. It may not be as well-built as the job I would gladly pay them for unless I work at it for more time than I'd like.

    The reason I started this thread in the first place, since I might end up building the wheel myself, was to ask about the rim and whether I might have mis-read its re-usability. I didn't intend to dump on Harris. That's why I didn't mention the name until someone asked. But I was miffed when I walked out of the store because I felt they hadn't made any effort to deal with me. Most shops care about their customers, particularly when they can't accommodate them.
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  16. #16
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zaphod Beeblebrox View Post
    I thought those little washers were for the spoke heads. Or are we talking about different washers?
    I think you are right. You can buy small washers for the hub. But can't see how they'd fit the rim.

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