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  1. #1
    Senior Member Indie's Avatar
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    Wheelbuilding vs. wheel buying

    For older bikes, if you had a bad rim, would you buy a new rim and have everything relaced/rebuilt? Or would you just try to buy a wheelset that was the same size, and replace the whole shebang?

    I'm trying to figure out what's going to be the best option for my Twenty-clone. The old steel rims are apparently known to blow off tires at high pressure (anyone have any experience or knowledge of this?) but riding at lower pressure is causing pinch flats. I think I'm going to have to replace the rims but I'm not sure what's the best way to go about it.
    Sterling - 1976 Triumph Trafficmaster 20" folder

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    That age I'd replace the lot.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Indie's Avatar
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    Funny thing, these old English bikes... the frames will last until the sun burns out, but all the bits and pieces that wear out have proprietary fittings and odd sizes. This is not a restoration job, I just want to keep it on the road. I'll look for a pair of BMX wheels.

    Is there anything weird I have to look for to make sure the wheels I get will fit, aside from just getting the 20 x 1 3/8 size? (I realize I could probably go with a different 20" size, but I just bought a pair of really nice tires.) Anyone here done this on a Twenty before?
    Sterling - 1976 Triumph Trafficmaster 20" folder

  4. #4
    Raleigh20 PugFixie, Merc LittlePixel's Avatar
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    Replacing the rims is a good thing to do for better breaking and reduction of weight. All you need to know is the size and number of rim holes you'll need to match the existing hubs. Most US Twentys have the BMX 20" size, (aka ISO 406) but European Twentys came with the larger and harder to get ISO 451 size - also (confusingly) often called 20". From the wee pic that goes with your username it *looks* like your bike is a 451 model (the frame and everything else is the same - just the rims and brake calipers are different) As for width - modern 451 sizes tend to be used on higher end folders (Bike Friday) and recumbents so are usually in narrower widths than the 1⅜" size - likely to be 1 or 25mm.

    FYI your Triumph isn't a 'clone' in the true sense - more a 'badge engineered' Twenty. Raleigh bought up most of the smaller manufacturers in the 20th C and sold Twentys under lots of names - kinda like GM is Chevy, Cadillac, Pontiac etc and puts out cars based on the same major parts.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Indie's Avatar
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    Yup, it's the 451. The story I got with it was that it came from England with a previous owner and then just sat in storage for years until it ended up at a flea market.

    I knew that Raleigh bought Triumph and sold bikes under different labels. I call it a Twenty-clone because it's the smallest number of words that will explain what it is. It's a Twenty with different stickers on. Lots of people know the Twenty but not as many seem to know the Trafficmaster.

    Click the link in my sig to see a bigger picture. And thanks -- size and number of rim holes, check. I've found matching wheelsets that I can buy online, if I can't find a pair locally.
    Sterling - 1976 Triumph Trafficmaster 20" folder

  6. #6
    Senior Member Indie's Avatar
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    Yeek... how does this work, exactly? The Sturmey-Archer hub assembly on the rear is part of the wheel -- the spokes are actually attached to the housing. Does replacing the rear wheel entail relacing the spokes onto that hub?
    Sterling - 1976 Triumph Trafficmaster 20" folder

  7. #7
    eight spokes somnatash's Avatar
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    That bike is beautiful, love the colour...and the new reflectors in orange and red, very cute
    To your question: I would say: "wheel building" because the hub should probably be fine so with new grease (sometimes when not used long the grease can go hard and even damage the hub) it is probably worth to keep it. But for braking improvement better get alu-rims...hmhm, what do you mean by: "does replacing the rear wheel entail relacing the spokes onto that hub"? I would say: yes, of course...how can one do a wheel build without doing that? But probably I don't really understand your last question which may well be my lack of proper English!

  8. #8
    The Metropolis, UK
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    Another +1 on new and lighter rims. Work with modern components around the frame and you can still maintain the lovely classic look.

    Somatash apologising for her poor English again? If someone was as fluent in German I'm sure they would be pretty happy!

  9. #9
    eight spokes somnatash's Avatar
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    Okay, but what does Indie mean with: "the spokes are actually attached to the housing." or "entail relacing the spokes"?

    From the picture I cant identify if there is some special connection between spokes and hub...perhaps I should just shut up and let Raleigh 20 owners answer

  10. #10
    Senior Member Indie's Avatar
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    No no, I guess I'm being a bit of a n00b here asking obvious questions. I see fully-built wheels for sale and I was wondering how to get them onto the bike. I looked at my own bike and realised it would be more difficult than just unbolting it, taking it off, and putting another one on. Wheelbuilding is way over my head so I guess I have to buy a pair of rims and pay someone to put them on. (20 x 1 3/8" ISO 451, with 28 holes.)
    Sterling - 1976 Triumph Trafficmaster 20" folder

  11. #11
    The Metropolis, UK
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    I think it isn't so much your English as use of lingo. I presume it means that they aren't easily detachable and can new spokes be adapted to the older SA hub? Not being a techie but making an educated guess, I presume the hub can become part of a new wheel rebuild with a more modern rim and new spokes.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong!

  12. #12
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by mulleady View Post
    I think it isn't so much your English as use of lingo. I presume it means that they aren't easily detachable and can new spokes be adapted to the older SA hub? Not being a techie but making an educated guess, I presume the hub can become part of a new wheel rebuild with a more modern rim and new spokes.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong!
    You can relace the old hub onto a new rim. This is only cost effective in one of two ways -

    1) You can buy parts at or near cost
    2) You can build wheels yourself
    3) The hub is in really mint condition
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  13. #13
    The Metropolis, UK
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    You can relace the old hub onto a new rim. This is only cost effective in one of two ways -

    1) You can buy parts at or near cost
    2) You can build wheels yourself
    3) The hub is in really mint condition
    Yes I'd love to do a course in bike mechanics. I have just bought a prebuilt front 16" wheel off a dodgey German dealer (joke!) with a pantour hub. I'd love to be able to just file the forks to the few mm without messing up my beloved Brompton and fit the wheel. If it was an old bike project I would take the risk. You are so right about getting good value parts too. That's why ebay UK or things like craiglist in the US arse so great for sourcing.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Indie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    You can relace the old hub onto a new rim. This is only cost effective in one of two ways -

    1) You can buy parts at or near cost
    2) You can build wheels yourself
    3) The hub is in really mint condition
    I'm not going to say that money is no object, but since I have this frame and it's in great shape, I want to replace the parts that need replacing.

    I'll keep an eye out for cheap rims but I may just have to take what I get. As if 20-451 rims weren't already hard enough to find, they have to have 28 holes as well, and it seems like most of the BMX stuff has more holes than that.

    The hub itself is in great shape. I'd like to learn to build wheels eventually -- if I can get a replacement tube on this wheel I'll at least be able to ride to the bike mechanic workshop I signed up for next month, and maybe do a wheelbuilding workshop afterwards. But I need a more immediate fix than that.
    Sterling - 1976 Triumph Trafficmaster 20" folder

  15. #15
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    There is no reason to replace an SA 3 speed hub unless you want more speeds, or it's one of the rare ones that gives trouble. Generally, they keep going longer than you do.

  16. #16
    rhm
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sammyboy View Post
    There is no reason to replace an SA 3 speed hub unless you want more speeds, or it's one of the rare ones that gives trouble. Generally, they keep going longer than you do.
    I agree, but I'll add another reason: if it has the wrong number of spoke holes! It may be easier and cheaper to find a 36-hole hub and a 36-hole rim than it is to find a 28-hole rim; and if so, there's no reason not to change the hub.

    Building wheels is really a lot of fun, and with the excellent instructions available on-line (i.e. from the late great Sheldon Brown), there's no reason not to build your own wheels. Don't tell yourself you don't know enough about bicycle repair to build wheels; building wheels is a completely different skill from patching a tube, or painting a frame, or whatever; if you need a wheel and have the time to do it yourself, you can do it.

  17. #17
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    I just built a set of wheels with a SA8 speed hub. It worked out perfectly.

    This video is a complete guide to wheel building for newbies:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTb3x5VO69Y

    It's not that hard, but you'll need a truing stand and spoke wrench, at a minimum.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Indie's Avatar
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    SesameCrunch and rhm, thanks for the encouragement. I'm really getting into the mechanical stuff, and I have a knack for that kind of thing anyways, which is part of why I didn't mind going with a vintage foreign bike. I like doing it myself.

    Wheelbuilding and truing are things that I've been told should be done by people who know their stuff. But if you think it can be done by a n00b... well, it can't hurt to try. It'll be more fun than dropping it off for someone else to do. There's a place in Toronto that rents out space and tools per hour, so I can go there and work on it.
    Sterling - 1976 Triumph Trafficmaster 20" folder

  19. #19
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    If you have a knack for working with your hands, you'll actually quite like wheel building. It's fun and challenging. It's one of those things that you can't hurry through, have to take your time and patience with.

    It sounds to me like you're a great candidate for building your own.

  20. #20
    rhm
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    Quote Originally Posted by SesameCrunch View Post
    If you have a knack for working with your hands, you'll actually quite like wheel building. It's fun and challenging. It's one of those things that you can't hurry through, have to take your time and patience with.

    It sounds to me like you're a great candidate for building your own.
    +1.

    You may not even need a truing stand; if you can turn the bike over and rest it on the seat and handlebars, you can true the wheel in the dropouts. You'll need a total of one tool: spoke wrench!

  21. #21
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    I've been planning a similar project, so I hope you'll let us know how it turns out. I screwed up and bought 36 spoke rims to re-lace my 28 spoke SA hub on an old Sears bike. Oops. Not a huge mistake since I wanted a 36 spoke wheel anyway, but now I have to track down a hub I can use with new rim.

    And that's what you have to watch for: if you buy a wheel that's already built, you'll have to buy it with the hub attached, which means not just a new wheel, but a new hub as well, which can be pricey. Alternately you might be able to get some one to build you a wheel using the old hub, to save on the cost of the hub. But the cheapest way is to get yourself a rim and build it yourself. I haven't done this myself, yet, but as I said, I'm the process of getting the pieces together to do it.

    The front tire will not have the specialized parts (correct me if I'm wrong), it's just a regular, old, front hub. So if you wanted to buy a new front wheel, pre built, you might have an easier and cheaper time of it and you wouldn't have to worry about matching the spoke count of your current tire, because the new wheel would come pre built with matching rim and hub. The only thing to keep in mind there is the spacing on your front fork. I just went through three front tires for my 20" bike trying to find one that had the right spacing. So, especially if you're buying on line, make sure you have that measurement handy. That goes for the rear tire, too, if you're buying a complete wheel. You know your original hub will fit, but a lot of the newer Internally Geared Hubs run a little wider, so you want to double check the spacing before you buy.

  22. #22
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhm View Post
    You may not even need a truing stand; if you can turn the bike over and rest it on the seat and handlebars, you can true the wheel in the dropouts. You'll need a total of one tool: spoke wrench!
    I agree with rhm here, but I personally am kind of anal-retentive about wheels being true . I can't stand to see a wobble, so I have a truing stand. But, certainly, one can build a functional wheel without a stand and just using the brakes as a guide.

  23. #23
    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SesameCrunch View Post
    I agree with rhm here, but I personally am kind of anal-retentive about wheels being true . I can't stand to see a wobble, so I have a truing stand. But, certainly, one can build a functional wheel without a stand and just using the brakes as a guide.
    I like wheels with a wobble, they make me laugh alot, at least for some time.. Had some great rides with my son laughing over wheels that is not round..

    I also decided on buying a truingstand this winter. Has been alot of wheelbuilding lately and using fork and brakes is not ok in the long run, especially I dislike the "horizontal dropout truing".

    My "Wheelbuilding light" system, this is how I started, learnt it from a friend:

    1. Remowe tyre, tube and rim tape from old wheel.

    2. Loosen (do not remowe) all the nipples.

    3. Put the new rim on the floor (or on a table or on your lap). Put the old wheel on top, make sure the two holes for the valve is exactely on top of eachother.

    4. Make sure that if the holes in the rim is not all in the center (but one right, one left) you keep the "right spokes" in the "right holes" and oposite.

    5. Start with the first spoke after the rim hole. Loosen the nipple enough to remowe it. Mowe the spoke to its right hole in the new rim. Fasten loosely with the nipple.

    6. Do this to each spoke, one by one.

    7. If you did this right the wheel is now "loos" but ready to be trued. Do it little by little, or take it to the shop. After doing this some few times you`ll feel ready to go more adwanced.
    Last edited by badmother; 08-11-08 at 12:19 PM. Reason: correcting

  24. #24
    Senior Member Indie's Avatar
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    Well, I seem to have located some rims:

    Sun CR18 20-451 with 28 holes, at EBikeStop

    Alienation Anklebiter 20-451 with 28 holes, at Airbomb

    I'm... still confused about the ISO sizing standard. Does 451 always mean 1 3/8", or not? That second one may be a 1 1/8".

    I'm going to look and see if anyone has them locally, but if not I'll have to order them.
    Last edited by Indie; 08-12-08 at 10:32 AM.
    Sterling - 1976 Triumph Trafficmaster 20" folder

  25. #25
    rhm
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    Quote Originally Posted by Indie View Post
    ... I'm... still confused about the ISO sizing standard. Does 451 always mean 1 3/8", or not? That second one may be a 1 1/8".
    ...
    In theory "451" refers to the rim diameter while "1 3/8" refers to the width of the (intended) tire. The 1 1/8 rim may be a little narrower than the 1 3/8 rim, but it's probably just a nominal difference. Any 451 tire **should** fit on any 451 rim.

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