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  1. #1
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    Downtube Nova Rear Wheel Upgrade -- Fail...

    Ok guys, I guess this is a story of measure twice cut once...

    So I wanted to upgrade the gearing on my dowtube nova. Great, I head over to the downtube website for the spacing of the wheel I need:



    130mm. Great!

    So, I weigh my options, post a thread asking for opinions, and get an offer from a member offering to sell me the wheel off his nano. Fantastic!

    A couple emails, and a paypal transaction later, the wheel arrives:


    Wonderful!

    ... but wait a minute.. what's that white stuff? Is that the original rim tape? .. and why is there a tear in it?




    A quick email later, and I find out, it's actually electrical tape (doh!). Ok, no worries.. I can just remove it and put some real rim tape on.



    Hm.. in holes on the inner rim are pretty rough:




    Some of the holes have really sharp burrs still intact. No matter.. I can sand it down, but wait... how come the valve hole is so small? It's sized for a presta valve instead of schrader! (fail #1)



    The inner hole is actually big enough for a schrader, but outer hole is presta sized. All my tubes and spare tubes are schrader, and I don't want to carry two types of tubes for flat repairs.

    No matter.. some research later, and it sounds like it's ok to enlarge the hole. Robin, get in the car, time to go shopping:



    Rim tape, check. As close to 8mm drill bit as I can find, check.

    (Continued on next post...)

  2. #2
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    Ok, let's drill this badboy out:



    Now let's smooth out all the rough edges:



    Ok, but does it fit?



    (does a fat guy like cake?)

    Ok, great. Time for the rim tape, but look what the electrical tape adhesive residue and sandpaper did:



    No problem. Some rubbing alcohol, lots of rubbing, and some persistence later:



    Now, let's transfer the tire from the old wheel:



    Sweet jesus, how do you get this thing on:



    Literally, hours later (every one of my fingers is sore), and a tip from a guy on how to use tire levers to install tight tires:



    (If this thing gets a flat, I have no idea how I'm going to repair this on the road)

    OK! Finally! Let's get this show on the road and install this badboy!

    (Continued on next post)

  3. #3
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    Wait.. wait a minute.. something's not right:



    That's a pretty big gap... I wonder what the original rim looks like:



    Now the nano's wheel again:


    What? how can that be? What's going on here? Who's in charge? I wanna talk to your manager! What do you mean, no manager? Fine, bring out the ruler!




    That's right folks. 135mm. The thing has a 135mm frame spacing!

    After all that drilling, all that sanding, all that scrubbing to get the rim tape on.. then all that torture to get the tire on... it's not the right size.

    [cue price is right losing music]

    Welps.. there you have it. Many fails, one story. The frame is aluminum, so I'm not sure if it's a good idea to compress it to fit.

    The downtube website should probably have a note about this.

    What do you guys think? Any way to save this? I might still just compress the frame and try riding it, but let's see how brave (dumb) I feel tomorrow.
    Last edited by lighto; 09-08-11 at 08:47 PM. Reason: claify a picture

  4. #4
    Senior Member kamtsa's Avatar
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    Add spacers?

    BTW, since the rim is double walled, you can use vello plugs.
    Happier than a camel on wednesday.

  5. #5
    jur
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    Install a 1.5mm washer each side and just force the rest - it will be fine.

    Great chronicle! This could be me...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jur View Post
    Install a 1.5mm washer each side and just force the rest - it will be fine.

    Great chronicle! This could be me...
    hee hee, Jur, I wish this was anybody but me, but i guess it's a lesson learned.

    I actually just compressed the darn thing to fit (I succumbed to my fatigue and frustration), and adjusted my brakes and derailleur for the new wheel. It didn't spontaneously explode or anything, but I'm guessing that's the type of thing that happens when you hit a giant pothole on an already stressed frame via compression... maybe while riding by a spark generating gas tanker truck sliding on its side.

    But seriously, I'll try to find some washers/spacers tomorrow. Otherwise, I'll just have to see how robust this frame is.

  7. #7
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jur View Post
    Install a 1.5mm washer each side and just force the rest - it will be fine.

    Great chronicle! This could be me...
    If you think that the axle is more robust than the frame, according to Sheldon you should be able to use 2.5 mm on each side and have a smidgen (3 mm) of axle on each side.

    Typical quick-release axles are 11 or 12 mm longer than the spacing of the hub locknuts. This gives 5.5-6 mm of axle protrusion on each side. You don't actually need nearly this much, so for respacing hubs to wider spacing, if you're not adding more than, say, 5-6 mm of spacers, you don't need a new axle. As long as you have 2 or 3 mm sticking out on each side, that's plenty.

  8. #8
    New usename ThorUSA brakemeister's Avatar
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    story of my life .... very well documented and humor even ... congrats
    you always could get a new axle which is longer .... maybe your local dealer has a trash bin with exploded wheels .... you actually might be lucky to find one which fits.... but as the others saying ... you should be fine just as well .... just dont use titanium skewers :-0

    thor

  9. #9
    Mister Bleak! mconlonx's Avatar
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    +1 for new axle and spacers. Hopefully a standard axle diameter and threading, but certainly looks like a standard axle.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nicodemus regarding mconlonx View Post
    You, I don't generally think of you as clueless. You're kind of ok.
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

  10. #10
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    So, I went to the hardware store today and found some washers that sorta fit, but then something occurred to me: there's probably a good reason the outer axle nut is grooved:



    And here's my caveman engineering washer that completely covers up the grooves:



    The washer is too big to fit on the other side of the locknuts, and I'm not sure if I have all the proper tools to to insert them on both sides even if they did.

    Anyway, with one on each side, the remaining gap is pretty unintimidating:



    My only concern is the smooth face of the washers contacting the inside frame instead of the grooved locknuts. It is a semi vertical dropout frame though, so it's pretty difficult for the wheel to spontaneously fall out right?

    Do you guys think this is safe?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
    If you think that the axle is more robust than the frame, according to Sheldon you should be able to use 2.5 mm on each side and have a smidgen (3 mm) of axle on each side.
    Interesting. I saw this too, but had trouble visualizing what takes the brunt of the upward force when the wheel is only resting on such a small amount of axle. Is the force spread between the contact points of quick-release<-->frame, and the axle locknuts<-->frame?

  12. #12
    jur
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    Quote Originally Posted by lighto View Post
    Interesting. I saw this too, but had trouble visualizing what takes the brunt of the upward force when the wheel is only resting on such a small amount of axle. Is the force spread between the contact points of quick-release<-->frame, and the axle locknuts<-->frame?
    This is one case where I would not accept Sheldon Brown's advice. Aluminium is too soft for this. Need more axle. Perhaps Brown was writing about steel frames?

  13. #13
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    If you are trying to maintain the serrations against the frame, you could hunt up some serrated lock washers at the hardware store.. I've used them for something similar ..



  14. #14
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    Finally got a chance to test ride the bike with the new wheel (with washers). I think it's fine, as-is. The wheel didn't feel like it was working its way loose or anything, and besides some rough feedback from the chain at the large cogs (guessing it might be a combination of chainline and semi-worn chain), the bike rides just fine. Going from a max of 14t to 12t is a nice little bump when riding down hills!
    Last edited by lighto; 09-10-11 at 11:20 PM. Reason: fix typo "was" -> "way"

  15. #15
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    How are you liking the Kojak tires? Btw, the cogs look much more precise on your cassette then the DNP freewheel. No pictures of the whole frame with the finished product?!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by matchpoints View Post
    How are you liking the Kojak tires? Btw, the cogs look much more precise on your cassette then the DNP freewheel. No pictures of the whole frame with the finished product?!
    The kojaks are ok--pretty overrated IMO. I didn't really notice any significant performance differences from the stock kendas (except a bumpier ride). If I had to do over, I would have just waited till the stock tires wore out.

    i'll post a picture of it later. It doesn't look a whole lot different than any other nova though

  17. #17
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    Sorry that I can't post a picture of this, but my IXFS has a pretty chunky spacer on the non-drive side of the rear axle - it's easily 5mm wide.

    On the other side there is nothing so that the serated nut rests against the frame.

    Maybe try getting a 5mm wide tube to fit over the rear axle on the opposite side to the cassette?

  18. #18
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    I bought my Nova a little over a month ago and reading this was fun. I'm also interested in getting a higher top speed out of my bike but don't know where to start.

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