Hey everyone - I'm looking for opinions and experience regarding a set of touring wheels. I have an '83 Trek 520 with the (in)famous 27in Matrix Safari rims and Helicomatic hubs. I've been riding the bike for about 6 months but recently found a replacement free wheel and got some new tires.
The quandary is that I'm planning a cross country tour this summer that will include the Lewis and Clark trail but can't decide if I should replace these wheels now or after they die. On the one hand, I have a certain amount invested in them and have spent a bunch of money getting equipment for my bike(s) and camping. On the other, new wheels are sweet and would be more reliable.
Sheldon proclaims his mistrust and hate for these wheelsets and others seem suspicious as well. Has anyone had experience with their failure? I've looked at the cups and cones in the hubs and they seem to be in could shape. I've kept them in good adjustment since I purchased the bike but don't know their earlier history. Do you think I'm crazy to risk wheel issues on a trip that long and in sparsely populated areas? Do you think they'll make it? What kinds of problems might I be in for?
I suppose I should also mention that I'll probably be touring alone for most of the trip and that I am no twinkle toes. At least that the beginning of the ride I will be a little over 200lbs. If I were going to replace the wheels I would probably do it with xt hubs and mavic a 719 rims. I would appreciate any opinions about replacements, my current wheels, or even my route. Anyone thinking of the same route could give me a shout too.