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Is it worthwhile to reuse old rims and/or spokes?

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Is it worthwhile to reuse old rims and/or spokes?

Old 01-17-19, 07:21 AM
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pepor
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Is it worthwhile to reuse old rims and/or spokes?

Hi,

I've recently completed restoring my beloved Schwinn Aluminum road bike from 1991. I found a fine wheelset online, which I'm currently using, but it has Shimano 105SC (1055) hubs while the rest of the bike is using Shimano 600 Ultegra (6400) parts. I already have a fitting 6400 hubset, and I would really like to try my hand at building the wheels myself, using Sheldon Brown's tutorial on wheelbuilding.

I still have the original wheels that the bike came with (Sun Metal M-13, silver anodized). The hubs are gone beyond repair, however. I was wondering if it's a possible (or even a good idea) to disassemble the wheels and put the "new old" hubs in. Rims, spokes and nipples look okay to me.. The wheels are even fairly true after all those years.

What are your thoughts on this? Should I try to reuse the original rims (and possibly spokes) or is that a waste of time and energy? I'm not keen on having an accident because of old parts failing on me..
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Old 01-17-19, 07:51 AM
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The original wheels have old 6400 hubs in poor shape and you want to substitute newer 6400 hubs for them, correct?

Assuming the spoke count for both pairs of hubs are the same, the substitution will be a "drop-in". If the old rims are straight and not badly worn at the brake tracks and the spokes and nipples are good quality (DT, Wheelsmith, Saipm or equal) then disassembling them and relacing them with the newer hubs should be practical.

If you aren't comfortable in your wheel building skills, you could do the disassembly and relacing yourself and have the final truing and tensioning done by an experienced builder.
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Old 01-17-19, 09:57 AM
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I've got a set of wheels that I did that same exact thing with, and have put lots of miles on them. You need to find a spoke length calculator to make sure all the components are compatable. Of course there are two or three tools that you might want to acquire if you don't already have them (truing stand, tensionometer, maybe spoke speed wrench). If you've never assembled/laced a wheel, that is a very good first endeavor into something every cyclist ought to experience (IMO), even if you have no intention of becoming a more frequent wheel builder.

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Old 01-17-19, 10:28 AM
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So, for your first wheel build, you want to save money by reusing 25 year old rims and spokes.

Your 25 year old rims may be perfectly okay, but I doubt it. I haven't seen your rims but my general experience is that hubs routinely outlast rims. Anything you can do to check for flatness, roundness and minimum wear on the brake track is definitely worth doing. One accurate measurement is worth 1,000 "educated" guesses. If your existing rims have a wobble, you're going to be forever chasing trueness and spoke tensions. I always recommend starting with good quality components for one's first wheel build.
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Old 01-17-19, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
So, for your first wheel build, you want to save money by reusing 25 year old rims and spokes.

Your 25 year old rims may be perfectly okay, but I doubt it. I haven't seen your rims but my general experience is that hubs routinely outlast rims. Anything you can do to check for flatness, roundness and minimum wear on the brake track is definitely worth doing. One accurate measurement is worth 1,000 "educated" guesses. If your existing rims have a wobble, you're going to be forever chasing trueness and spoke tensions. I always recommend starting with good quality components for one's first wheel build.
Well, the OP already has the old wheels and replacement hubs so there is nothing to be lost by trying, only his time. If it doesn't work out there is little damage and if the wheels build up well, he is ahead. He can always spend the money on new components later.

I would like to know how anyone ruined a pair of Shimano 6400 hubs other than by extreme neglect or abuse.
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Old 01-17-19, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
Well, the OP already has the old wheels and replacement hubs so there is nothing to be lost by trying, only his time. If it doesn't work out there is little damage and if the wheels build up well, he is ahead. He can always spend the money on new components later.

I would like to know how anyone ruined a pair of Shimano 6400 hubs other than by extreme neglect or abuse.
My time is far more valuable to me than the cost of new rims and spokes. I enjoy building wheels, but will not spend the time to disassemble old wheels unless it is a very special rim or hub - and then I just cut the spokes after a slight de-tension.

Sum M13 rims are not special.
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Old 01-17-19, 12:10 PM
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OP needs to measure . the braking friction may have worn your rim thin over time & miles , and if that's true,

I'd suggest; You are facing a waste of time and money.. , and the tire can blow out the rim at any time and you could be injured....



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Old 01-17-19, 01:04 PM
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...I have reused a few older rims that were still flat and round when I needed something to match another rim on a build for a classic bike and did not want to build up two wheels. Even then, I used new spokes and nipples. As stated earlier, you can buy brand new M13ii rims for about 30 bucks each online. So in my case, I would go with new rims and spokes in this situation.

A lot depends on how much you think you'll ride this, and how long you want the wheels you build to last.

If your time in doing this is not an issue, and you've never built a wheel before, it might be worth it to you to just rebuild using your new hubs with the old spokes and rims as a practice exercise. A lot of people learn wheelbuilding using used stuff, mostly because newer spokes are so much more pricey than they used to be.
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Old 01-17-19, 01:17 PM
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If you're just practicing wheelbuilding, go for it. But if you plan to ride it I would at least use new spokes and nipples. The old spokes have taken the brunt of the tension and the nipples may already be on their way to being rounded-out.
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Old 01-17-19, 01:46 PM
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I've rarely had hubs that were gone beyond repair.

I suppose the one thing that might kill off a hub was deep pitting rust on the bearing races.

A lot of things can be replaced. Axles, cones, seals, freewheels, freehubs, etc.

Anyway, if you have a pair of hubs... in the wheel and out of the wheel, I'd carefully consider whether you could swap parts between the two.

But, as far as rebuilding... it should be straight forward enough, although I do like stainless spokes, brass or even aluminum nipples, and often double butted spokes.

So, I would consider at least upgrading spokes.

I rarely build wheels with "new" rims.
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Old 01-17-19, 02:09 PM
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Thanks a lot for your responses. I think I'll be better off throwing the old stuff away and building "new old" wheels. Reusing the rims would just have been for sentimental reasons - apart from the frame and the seat clamp, there's nothing left from the original bike, and that way I'd have kept something. Rebuilding the bike has been pretty expensive so far and I doubt I'd have done it if it weren't that special to me.

But since I do want to ride the bike instead of just looking at it, and also stay alive..
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Old 01-17-19, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by pepor View Post
Thanks a lot for your responses. I think I'll be better off throwing the old stuff away and building "new old" wheels. Reusing the rims would just have been for sentimental reasons - apart from the frame and the seat clamp, there's nothing left from the original bike, and that way I'd have kept something. Rebuilding the bike has been pretty expensive so far and I doubt I'd have done it if it weren't that special to me.

But since I do want to ride the bike instead of just looking at it, and also stay alive..
Reminds me of "Jason and the Argonauts."
The wooden ship Argo was slowly rotting away so Jason and his crew rebuilt it bit-by-bit as the boards rotted. At what point is the ship no longer the original Argo but a brand new ship?
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Old 01-17-19, 03:07 PM
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Old 01-17-19, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by pepor View Post
Thanks a lot for your responses. I think I'll be better off throwing the old stuff away and building "new old" wheels. Reusing the rims would just have been for sentimental reasons - apart from the frame and the seat clamp, there's nothing left from the original bike, and that way I'd have kept something. Rebuilding the bike has been pretty expensive so far and I doubt I'd have done it if it weren't that special to me.

But since I do want to ride the bike instead of just looking at it, and also stay alive..
I'd be another vote to have you reconsider this decision and give it a shot. Anyone who posts about any project is going to get about 5 responses saying it's going to blow up and kill them. They just auto generate, like pop-up ads.

Break it down:

Spoke nipples don't wear out. They are little chunks of threaded brass. If someone puts the wrong tool to them, they can ruin their wrench flats, but otherwise, that threaded piece of brass is still a threaded piece of brass. Spokes break, brass nipples don't.

The rims you said look good, spin round and true, or close to it. If they would be rims you'd ride now, they aren't going to be made worse by rebuilding them.

Spokes are the one issue, and potentially the one that undoes my whole argument. For your first wheel build, it will really help if your spokes on all sides of both wheels are exactly the length you want. If your old spokes happen to be the exact length you need, they're still 30+ years old. Good newish spokes are fine to rebuild with, especially the really fancy ones, but breaking spoke after spoke once you complete this project isn't what you deserve psychologically. So, here's the bad part -- the spoke prices might make my encouragement to do your project unconvincing. I was at a bike shop recently where they wanted $3 per spoke. That'd put your project at over $200, at which price you could easily find a really nice set of 6400 wheels. But if you can find spokes for more along the lines of what shops pay for them (10 cents), go for it -- it's very satisfying to log a bunch of miles successfully on wheels you laced yourself. Especially to nostalgic rims that keep the spirit of the bike alive. Do it for your own sense of joy.

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Old 01-17-19, 09:52 PM
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You should be able to find standard stainless steel double-butted spokes, cut to required length for $0.5-$1 in one of your bike shops around.
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