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How easy is it to replace a rim?

Old 06-26-17, 08:24 AM
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How easy is it to replace a rim?

I have 27 1 1/4 non-hooked rims on my 70s atala bike. I've been reading that because of the non hooked design, it's possible for the tire to blow out if above a certain psi. For piece of mind, I'd rather just get a new rim if possible. I don't have enough right now for a completely new wheel. So my question is really how easy would it be to replace the rim with one of the same size that is hooked? Could I use all of the spokes and the hubs and everything from my old rim on this one? They're all in good condition. Any help is appreciated, thanks.
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Old 06-26-17, 08:47 AM
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If the new rim has the same effective rim diameter (ERD) as the old one, it can be as simple as loosening all the spokes and transferring them one by one to the new rim. But having the same ERD is not a forgone conclusion, as ERD depends on a number of factors that may not be the same as the original rim. If you know the ERD of your original rim (or the make and model of the rim), you can look in the databases of the on-line spoke length calculators to see what rims might match.

Otherwise, if the ERD of the new rim is different, you'll need to buy new spokes of the proper length, and lace and tension the wheel from scratch. As long as the hub is in good condition, there's no compelling reason to replace it.
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Old 06-26-17, 08:50 AM
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If you can find a rim exactly the same size, it can be re-laced. ERD is the spec you're looking for. Used 27" wheels should be a dime a dozen in co-ops and bike shops which have been around for awhile.
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Old 06-26-17, 12:47 PM
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contrary to what the above responders say... it's NOT easy to swap in a new rim.

go find a different wheel, or ride what you now have.... the fact that you had to ask about how easy it will be, leads me to the conclusion that you have never laced a wheel, let alone trued one after installing a new rim.... you will regret attempting the task... you will not have the tools needed...

go get a different wheel assembly, or ride what you have, ok?
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Old 06-26-17, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by maddog34
contrary to what the above responders say... it's NOT easy to swap in a new rim.

go find a different wheel, or ride what you now have.... the fact that you had to ask about how easy it will be, leads me to the conclusion that you have never laced a wheel, let alone trued one after installing a new rim.... you will regret attempting the task... you will not have the tools needed...

go get a different wheel assembly, or ride what you have, ok?
I agree here.

My guess is the OP has never trued a wheel, let alone laced one. While after some experience (and a really good truing stand) building a wheel isn't hard... per se, without a good truing stand you'll likely find it impossible. It is NOT as simple as "loosen spokes on one wheel, tighten spokes on next." Even if you do get the wheel build correctly, it likely won't hold its true unless you pay particular attention to get spoke tension even. And no, that's not just "tightening each spoke the same amount," especially with used spokes.

It's not something that most people can just pick up and do. There are entire BOOKS written on how to build wheels (which is essentially what you want to do.)
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Old 06-26-17, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by corrado33
It's not something that most people can just pick up and do. There are entire BOOKS written on how to build wheels (which is essentially what you want to do.)
Right - it's easy if you know what you're doing.
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Old 06-26-17, 02:09 PM
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You can get good NEW spokes for $.25/ea.

If you are new at this, you really don't want to use old spokes & nipples.
Corrosion etc. will make the threads extremely, inconsistently "grabby". Chances are the old nipples will have to be removed destructively, since this rim would probably be 30+ years old.

NEW spokes & nipples have a smooth, consistent feel that allows you to bring the wheel up to equal tension nicely.

I built a pair of 27's using a Sun Rims CR-18. I'd highly recommend it for a good, stout, meat & potatoes rim that's suitable for tandems, Not obsessively heavy and a reasonable price.
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Old 06-26-17, 02:11 PM
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Depends if the hubs are worthwhile, too. I wouldn't build new rims onto low quality or damaged hubs.
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Old 06-26-17, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Helix Lamont
I have 27 1 1/4 non-hooked rims on my 70s atala bike. I've been reading that because of the non hooked design, it's possible for the tire to blow out if above a certain psi. For piece of mind, I'd rather just get a new rim if possible. I don't have enough right now for a completely new wheel. So my question is really how easy would it be to replace the rim with one of the same size that is hooked? Could I use all of the spokes and the hubs and everything from my old rim on this one? They're all in good condition. Any help is appreciated, thanks.
You can rebuild the wheel, or pay someone to do it. I wouldn't use the old spokes, so there is that expense. And the cost of the rim. If the hub is in good condition you can re use that. Or you can just buy a new wheel.
https://www.niagaracycle.com/categor...eels/wheels/27
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Old 06-26-17, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Narhay
Depends if the hubs are worthwhile, too. I wouldn't build new rims onto low quality or damaged hubs.
I also agree here.

I only build/rebuild wheels with decent hubs. If I have to take a wheel APART to get to the hub, then it'd better be a damn good hub with races that are in good condition. (Dura ace, ultegra, 600, campy, etc.)
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Old 06-26-17, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by corrado33
It's not something that most people can just pick up and do. There are entire BOOKS written on how to build wheels (which is essentially what you want to do.)
While I definitely agree that it is not an easy task, I think these two statements are somewhat at odds with one another. They're both correct, I think, but the second should temper the first just a bit. If a person with sufficient patience, access to the right tools and basic mechanical skills follows the instructions in one of the books written on the topic (or even one of the web pages providing instructions), it can be done.

Yes, what the OP is asking about does amount to building a new wheel. And, no, this is not an entry-level skill. However, it's not so high and lofty that an average person can't learn to do it. Not knowing anything about the OP's mechanical abilities, I do think it's prudent to provide warning that this is not likely to be in any way easy. However, I wouldn't want to discourage anyone with the time and interest from pursuing it as long as they understand the scope of the project.
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Old 06-26-17, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K
While I definitely agree that it is not an easy task, I think these two statements are somewhat at odds with one another. They're both correct, I think, but the second should temper the first just a bit. If a person with sufficient patience, access to the right tools and basic mechanical skills follows the instructions in one of the books written on the topic (or even one of the web pages providing instructions), it can be done.

Yes, what the OP is asking about does amount to building a new wheel. And, no, this is not an entry-level skill. However, it's not so high and lofty that an average person can't learn to do it. Not knowing anything about the OP's mechanical abilities, I do think it's prudent to provide warning that this is not likely to be in any way easy. However, I wouldn't want to discourage anyone with the time and interest from pursuing it as long as they understand the scope of the project.
Agreed.

It certainly CAN be done, but if a person doesn't already know how to true wheels, it'll be an exercise in frustration. I'd never discourage anybody from learning a new skill, and when people come into the coop I actively encourage them to build a wheel... but I also encourage them to bring it in and have us watch them do it.

I usually watch them closely 'till they get to the point where it's basically just truing and final tensioning. If they already knew how to true wheels, it's hard to screw it up from that point.

OP: If you do decide to build your wheel, a few common pitfalls are this.
  • Spokes laced incorrectly so valve isn't accessible
  • Spokes not "crossed" under the 3rd other spoke.
  • Very uneven tension
  • Incorrect lacing in general.
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Old 06-26-17, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by maddog34
contrary to what the above responders say... it's NOT easy to swap in a new rim.

go find a different wheel, or ride what you now have.... the fact that you had to ask about how easy it will be, leads me to the conclusion that you have never laced a wheel, let alone trued one after installing a new rim.... you will regret attempting the task... you will not have the tools needed...

go get a different wheel assembly, or ride what you have, ok?
Often learning to do a new task is fulfilling in itself.

The skills one learns while building one's wheels may transfer over to performing critical emergency repairs while on the road, or saving one from having to head off to a shop every time a spoke breaks or the truing needs touched up.

Building one's wheels is neither hard nor easy, although the first few wheels will require a little extra patience.
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Old 06-26-17, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by corrado33
I agree here.

My guess is the OP has never trued a wheel, let alone laced one. While after some experience (and a really good truing stand) building a wheel isn't hard... per se, without a good truing stand you'll likely find it impossible. It is NOT as simple as "loosen spokes on one wheel, tighten spokes on next." Even if you do get the wheel build correctly, it likely won't hold its true unless you pay particular attention to get spoke tension even. And no, that's not just "tightening each spoke the same amount," especially with used spokes.

It's not something that most people can just pick up and do. There are entire BOOKS written on how to build wheels (which is essentially what you want to do.)
If you can get a rim with the same ERD, it is fairly simple to replace the rim. The lacing bit is the hard part. The rest is just details and, as you said, there are entire books written on the subject but that makes the whole thing easier. I teach people to build wheels from the parts up and most have been able to grasp the concepts quickly.

And you don't need to be all that nitpicky about spoke tension. A whole lot of wheels get built and ridden that shouldn't work at all but some how they manage

Originally Posted by DiabloScott
Right - it's easy if you know what you're doing.
...and it's not all that hard to learn how to know what you are doing.
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Old 06-26-17, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun
You can get good NEW spokes for $.25/ea.

If you are new at this, you really don't want to use old spokes & nipples.
Corrosion etc. will make the threads extremely, inconsistently "grabby". Chances are the old nipples will have to be removed destructively, since this rim would probably be 30+ years old.

NEW spokes & nipples have a smooth, consistent feel that allows you to bring the wheel up to equal tension nicely.

I built a pair of 27's using a Sun Rims CR-18. I'd highly recommend it for a good, stout, meat & potatoes rim that's suitable for tandems, Not obsessively heavy and a reasonable price.
I'm not sure where you are getting new spokes for $0.25 each. That's about half the going price of spokes. But even at $0.50 each, they are cheap enough.
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Old 06-26-17, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by MRT2
You can rebuild the wheel, or pay someone to do it. I wouldn't use the old spokes, so there is that expense. And the cost of the rim. If the hub is in good condition you can re use that. Or you can just buy a new wheel.
https://www.niagaracycle.com/categor...eels/wheels/27
Again, if you can find the proper rim, there is no problem with swapping out the rim. If you were to tear the wheel completely apart, then yes, use new spokes. But if you aren't changing the position of the spoke there's usually no problem with using the old spokes.

For advanced wheel builders, I would even go so far as to say that you could use a rim with a different ERD...within limits and if you happen to have a way to rethread spokes. I've done this on a wheel recently where I could find a rim with a slightly different ERD. But I have a tool for rethreading spokes and it was quite time consuming. I would normally have just changed spokes but I needed the bike back in service quickly.
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Old 06-26-17, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
I'm not sure where you are getting new spokes for $0.25 each. That's about half the going price of spokes. But even at $0.50 each, they are cheap enough.
Various posters have stated Danscorp has Sapin for that price.
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Old 06-26-17, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Helix Lamont
I have 27 1 1/4 non-hooked rims on my 70s atala bike. I've been reading that because of the non hooked design, it's possible for the tire to blow out if above a certain psi. For piece of mind, I'd rather just get a new rim if possible. I don't have enough right now for a completely new wheel. So my question is really how easy would it be to replace the rim with one of the same size that is hooked? Could I use all of the spokes and the hubs and everything from my old rim on this one? They're all in good condition. Any help is appreciated, thanks.
What you may have to ask yourself instead is whether you actually have to replace your rim at all. Many, many cyclists rode untold hundreds of thousands of miles on 27 x 1 1/4 tires on non hook bead rims with no problems at all. For the most part, the recommended pressure for tires like this was about 70 psi. There is no need whatsoever for more pressure than that in those tires unless you are very very heavy. I remember one time on my Peugeot UO8 when I inflated my tires at a local service station. The ride was very harsh, so when I got home I checked my tire pressure. It was 130psi. The tires did not blow off the rim. Stop worrying. If you inflate your tires to the recommended pressure you are in no danger, they will be fine
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Old 06-26-17, 04:59 PM
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Everyone that has built a wheel learned sometime.

And not everyone used the latest and most fancy tools and gauges.

My Dad built a wooden stand years ago that has served us well, although it was always a pain to get both hops and wobbles out.

One can true a wheel on the bike, which has the advantage that it can be dished to take into account any slight alignment imperfections in the old bike.
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Old 06-26-17, 05:02 PM
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@Helix Lamont Read this: https://www.sheldonbrown.com/wheelbuild.html then you decide. It is not difficult, but LOTS of patience is required. I found that I also needed a truing stand (home built) with a dial indicator to measure the trueness. Many people can eye ball trueness from the brake pads, I can't.
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Old 06-26-17, 06:28 PM
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I appreciate everyone's help and advice on the issue. I think after reading everybody's responses I'm going to stay on the safe side and just go with the new tires only. The risk of not properly truing a rim, or damaging a spoke, or buying the wrong erd-sized rim is just too high. I'd rather go with the risk of blowing a tire. According to a lot of research I've done it won't blow if it's in a safe psi. And even if it did it'd be less expensive to replace. Thanks everyone.
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Old 06-26-17, 07:06 PM
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You might also look at the brakes to see if you think 700c wheels will fit. The pads will have to come down about 4mm. That would open up a wide number of tires from narrow to wide.

100mm front hubs should be pretty common, but you may find yourself doing some custom work on the rear for 126mm spacing.
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Old 06-26-17, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Helix Lamont
I appreciate everyone's help and advice on the issue. I think after reading everybody's responses I'm going to stay on the safe side and just go with the new tires only.
My experience here is limited, but I've read that wire bead tires are a better bet on hookless rims than folding.
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Old 06-26-17, 08:17 PM
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Building a wheel isn't difficult...

...if you can follow directions accurately.
...if you're patient, careful, and meticulous.
...if you have tools and some mechanical aptitude.
...if you're working with rims, spokes, hubs, and nipples that are in good condition.
...if you have appropriately-sized spokes, which may require math and/or accurate measurement.

Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun
You can get good NEW spokes for $.25/ea.
Originally Posted by cyccommute
I'm not sure where you are getting new spokes for $0.25 each...
Dan's Comp sells 14g stainless Sapim spokes, with brass nipples included, for 25 cents each. Sapim double-butted stainless spokes are 40 cents. You can find 'em listed on the web site, but they only take spoke orders over the phone.
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Old 06-26-17, 08:24 PM
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My input is essentially a summary of what has been said, with my slant and additions. Building a wheel, given the proper spokes and good instruction is easy. I've taught persons as young as 13 to do it. Truing up even a new rim and spokes takes patience and care in order to get the wheel true, round dished and properly tensioned. Doing all that on a very old freewheel hub seems a poor choice. Finally, I would question the necessity. Yes, hook bead rims hold more pressure, but rims of that period often handled 85lb pressure tires. If the OP has fairly wide section tires (at least 1 1/8 inches) I would advise not worrying about the tire blowing off, as higher pressure is not necessary.

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