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Sturdy 7-s wheels?

Old 05-29-17, 01:24 PM
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Sturdy 7-s wheels?

I'm running Araya CTL-370 rims, 28 spokes front, 32 spokes rear, on my Panasonic DX-5000. I have at least a mile of extremely rough road and parking lot each way on my usual ride to the Mississippi River levee trail (which is fairly smooth asphalt), and after only about half a dozen rides the rear wheel is noticeably out of true, and the front slightly so.

I like how light these wheels are, but I'm realizing they aren't cut out for these roads. The bike came with Ambrosio 19 Extra Super Elite Alpine "A" rims and Shimano 105 6-s freewheel, with 36 spokes each. I'm sure these would be more robust, but I've gone to the trouble of replacing shifters/derailleurs to get back to the original 7-s indexed shifting, and I'm not eager to just put the other stuff back on. Questions:

1. Suggestions for robust vintage wheels that aren't impossible to find and that I might find with the Shimano 6400 hubs I need?

2. I've never true a wheel, though I've read about it a couple of times. I have a spoke tool, and I'd be trying to true the wheels on the bike. Should I leave truing these wheels to a pro, or carefully try to true them myself by following the teachings of Sheldon Brown. I'm leery, because I know I can wreck things if I do it wrong.

3. Is it cost effective to try to find a local builder, get the hubs myself, and work with the builder to make good sturdy wheels that look sorta vintage? And anyone know builders in Louisiana?
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Old 05-29-17, 01:46 PM
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How old are the wheels in question? The first thing to do is get the current wheels trued.


Why do you have to have 6400 (600 / Ultegra right?) hubs?


I would recommend just buying some quality shipmano 7spd wheels with 32 or spokes, although you may have to go with 8+spd and a spacer.


I've been down that road and having wheels built gets pricy.
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Old 05-29-17, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
How old are the wheels in question? The first thing to do is get the current wheels trued.

Why do you have to have 6400 (600 / Ultegra right?) hubs?

I would recommend just buying some quality shipmano 7spd wheels with 32 or spokes, although you may have to go with 8+spd and a spacer.

I've been down that road and having wheels built gets pricy.
Thanks. The bike came originally with Shimano Tricolor 6400 stuff, and still had the original brake levers/calipers. I was able to get the other Tricolor bits, along with the Araya wheels with the 7-speed Tricolor 6400 hubs, for not too much money, and right now I want to keep it as an indexed 7-speed in roughly original spec. The wheels I believe date from the late 80s to early 90s.

Does Shimano still make road bike 7-speed compatible wheels?
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Old 05-29-17, 02:41 PM
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Yes and No You just buy 8spd and put....... I think a 2.5 spacer on before the cassette. I use this on a set of wheels with no problems.


I think sometimes function and usefulness out weighs originality.
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Old 05-29-17, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
Yes and No

I think sometimes function and usefulness out weighs originality.
Amen. If hanging on the wall, originality has merits. Nobody has ever inspected my bike while it is moving.
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Old 05-29-17, 03:03 PM
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+1

Get a new wheel set, 36 spokes, preferably a v-section rim (but not those crazy deep-Vs, because they're out of place on an old bike.) Available everywhere cheaper than having a pro build up a set on your old hubs. And they'll be strong.

Also you should try truing the one you have. I was surprised how easy it was and how good a job I did on my first attempts.
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Old 05-29-17, 03:15 PM
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I've been riding 370's on rough chipseal for over a year and never had to true them once. Check your spoke tension.
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Old 05-29-17, 03:39 PM
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There are still lots of good used 7-speed Shimano hubs out there. They often go for peanuts online and at swap meets because (almost) nobody wants them.
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Old 05-29-17, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Kevindale View Post
I'm running Araya CTL-370 rims, 28 spokes front, 32 spokes rear, on my Panasonic DX-5000. I have at least a mile of extremely rough road and parking lot each way on my usual ride to the Mississippi River levee trail (which is fairly smooth asphalt), and after only about half a dozen rides the rear wheel is noticeably out of true, and the front slightly so.

I like how light these wheels are, but I'm realizing they aren't cut out for these roads. The bike came with Ambrosio 19 Extra Super Elite Alpine "A" rims and Shimano 105 6-s freewheel, with 36 spokes each. I'm sure these would be more robust, but I've gone to the trouble of replacing shifters/derailleurs to get back to the original 7-s indexed shifting, and I'm not eager to just put the other stuff back on. Questions:

1. Suggestions for robust vintage wheels that aren't impossible to find and that I might find with the Shimano 6400 hubs I need?

2. I've never true a wheel, though I've read about it a couple of times. I have a spoke tool, and I'd be trying to true the wheels on the bike. Should I leave truing these wheels to a pro, or carefully try to true them myself by following the teachings of Sheldon Brown. I'm leery, because I know I can wreck things if I do it wrong.

3. Is it cost effective to try to find a local builder, get the hubs myself, and work with the builder to make good sturdy wheels that look sorta vintage? And anyone know builders in Louisiana?
I have to ask, where the heck is ratchet city or is that some sort of nickname for NOLA? I grew up there (in the Carrollton area near the old courthouse) and know the city well but never heard the phrase ratchet city.

Why not run the original wheels with ambrosio rims and 36 spokes? Those are tough wheels. It's easy enough to find indexing 7 speed freewheels. Shimano still makes them but limited in terms of gearing. Or you can find them here by putting up a wtb ad. IRD also makes them.
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Old 05-29-17, 04:25 PM
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I've had a few vintage wheelsets rebuilt with Sun CR18 rims. They're a reasonably lightweight, look vintage-ish, durable, and they're cheap. You can find older Mavic rims on eBay and stuff, but they get expensive.
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Old 05-29-17, 04:30 PM
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@FBOATSB and BG, I don't think I was clear about originality. I want to keep the indexed 7-speed functionality that I've put back on the bike. I don't have the wheels that were original to the bike (the Ambrosios are a little older, and 6-s freewheel; original was UKAI 20A rims with 7-s freehub). I'm not averse to having more modern wheels. I was looking for the 6400 hubs to be sure the 7-s HG cogs I have would work, but the suggestion to also look at 8-speed shimano wheels and use a spacer is great. What I really want is a plug-and-play set of wheels, at a good price. And I can put the CTL370 wheels back on if I'm going to a vintage event or riding where I don't have sections of such horrific roads and I want the bike to be properly old school.

I'll check my current spoke tension, and try carefully truing them up. Thanks for that reassurance, @Lascauxcaveman.
@ThermionicScott, there's not much around me when it comes to swap meets, bike coops, etc. I need to go to the 'Bay to get most vintage stuff. And since I can't build my own wheels, just getting the appropriate hubs doesn't help me.
@bikemig, Ratchet City is Shreveport, where I was living full time when I registered. I now split time between there and NOLA. And thanks for the suggestion on a 7-speed freewheel. I'll check into that (though as noted, they're not the original wheels, but they're good looking and reportedly tough).
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Old 05-29-17, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
Yes and No You just buy 8spd and put....... I think a 2.5 spacer on before the cassette. I use this on a set of wheels with no problems.

I think sometimes function and usefulness out weighs originality.
Great comment.

You can find "take off" Mavic Open Sport/Pro wheelsets that have some level of Shimano hubsets up to Ultegra that are usually inexpensive (less than $100). The rims have profiles similar to earlier Mavic models.

I weight about 195 pounds. My 32 holed Open Sport/105 wheelset that are on my Schwinn Tempo resto-mod has taken plenty of punishment on the bumpy rural roads near my home.

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Old 05-29-17, 04:58 PM
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But using an 8spd wheelset with a 7spd cassette and a spacer will give you 7spd indexing.
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Old 05-29-17, 05:15 PM
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For under $150 you can get a set of Shimano hub/decent rim wheels in 32 spokes from Velomine. That's where I'd go if I wasn't going to build my own set.
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Old 05-29-17, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by rccardr View Post
For under $150 you can get a set of Shimano hub/decent rim wheels in 32 spokes from Velomine. That's where I'd go if I wasn't going to build my own set.

Great suggestion.

Every wheelset I have purchased from Ben has been very nice.

Some of their prices are super low if you catch it just right.
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Old 05-29-17, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
But using an 8spd wheelset with a 7spd cassette and a spacer will give you 7spd indexing.
Yes, I understand that thanks to your first comment, and that's why I wrote "... but the suggestion to also look at 8-speed shimano wheels and use a spacer is great." I hadn't thought of that, but I will now look into that.

Originally Posted by rccardr View Post
For under $150 you can get a set of Shimano hub/decent rim wheels in 32 spokes from Velomine. That's where I'd go if I wasn't going to build my own set.
Checking them out now.

I did see what look like a good set of Mavic rims with 6400 hubs on the Shreveport CL, but it's a 3 hour round trip drive. Looking forward to seeing what's at Velomine.
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Old 05-29-17, 11:18 PM
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Firstly get your wheels trued by an experienced mechanic, someone that knows tension well, (ie someone who has been in the game 20+ yrs).
I think you can get away with 32 spokes front and rear but for long term true you will be better with a 36 hole rear.
If your spokes do not hold tension well for an extended period of time try replacing the spoke nipples, when replacing each nipple you can apply a slight amount of grease to the end of each spoke before threading the nipple on, doing this not only ensures your nipple and spoke do not fuse together over time, but, this will also increase the ability to hold the spoke tension with the addition of a pneumatic hold from the grease.

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Old 05-30-17, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Bicycle Addict View Post
...applying a slight amount of grease to the end of each spoke this will increase the ability to hold the spoke tension applied with the addition of a pneumatic hold from the grease.
This I don't understand... can you please elaborate, or post a link?
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Old 05-30-17, 06:18 PM
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Lots of great suggestions here. I think having the current rims trued up and making sure the spoke tension is good is the thing to do first. Keep in mind these rims are simple box section things which compared to modern, double walled, triangulated rims, are just less stiff in general. I had some rims I didn't think I could sort, brought them somewhere highly recommended, and many hundreds of miles on and off road they've never been more true. Knowledge and experience works wonders. I'd also say to give truing them a shot on your own if indeed you think you're going to move on. Might as well use them as learning fuel =)
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Old 05-31-17, 05:05 AM
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Originally Posted by old's'cool View Post
This I don't understand... can you please elaborate, or post a link?
@old's'cool , I have edited the squirly mess above, hope it is clearer. I need to re read things!
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Old 05-31-17, 05:24 AM
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The grease, or a drop of oil will do, applied to the spokes' threads acts anti-seize paste would. Eliminating the air pockets, which can allow the spoke to loose its tension, is done by the grease or anti-sieze. And as said above, this also helps to prevent the dielectric bonding that can occur between the spoke and nipple threads. I used to know the link for the website that I got this from, it was for MX motorcycles, but threaded connections are the same. Possibly to was from the Loctite webpages.

Jobst Brandt recommends putting a drop of lubricant on both the spoke's threads and in the nipple's threads. I've used this method for a while now and it makes a difference in how well the spoke tension is kept over time, and I haven't had any bonded spokes and nipples thankfully.

This attempt is probably muddier than anything one of the experts could give us, I do know that it has worked successfully for my wheel building.

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Old 05-31-17, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Kevindale View Post
@ThermionicScott, there's not much around me when it comes to swap meets, bike coops, etc. I need to go to the 'Bay to get most vintage stuff. And since I can't build my own wheels, just getting the appropriate hubs doesn't help me.
Pity we don't live closer together. I've got a few spare 7-speed hubs and it would be fun to build up that wheel from scratch.
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Old 05-31-17, 04:38 PM
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I make sure to apply oil to the spoke and nipple threads as well as the base of the nipple as a matter of good practice when wheelbuilding, but I'm still not getting the "pneumatic hold" or "keeping tension" (vs getting stable tension in the first place because your spokes are not twisted when you are done if you did a good job). Can anyone elucidate these concepts?
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Old 05-31-17, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Pity we don't live closer together. I've got a few spare 7-speed hubs and it would be fun to build up that wheel from scratch.
I appreciate the thought, as well as the suggestions of everyone. I'll get back to Shreveport this weekend and get some of my tools, and the spoke wrench, and then I'll try my hand at truing these wheels while I keep my eyes open for a sturdier set.

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Old 06-10-17, 02:35 PM
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A little update:

I finally got around to checking on this wheel during a general bike tuneup day. I decided to carefully try adjusting the spokes, and pulled out the spoke wrench that came in the bag of spares on the Tommasini. I carefully marked, with pieces of tape on 3 spokes the part of the rim where the deviation started, was greatest, and ended. One spoke, right where you would expect it to be, was noticably loose. Interestingly, that spoke had a different nipple than all the rest, and was the only nipple that my wrench fit. Nice bit of luck, that. I tightened that nipple (after a dab of grease), in small increments, and kept checking the change in rim deflection. When the spoke tension was pretty close to the others (to my inexperienced hands), the deflection was mitigated by a good 90+%, and the wheel is much truer than it was.

I have a line on a set of 7-speed hubbed Mavic Open 4CDs, apparently with Shimano 600 hubs, that I'm going to pursue when I'm back in Shreveport. For now I'll continue to ride the Panasonic on the Arayas if I drive the bike over to the relatively smooth levee trail, and keep it off the NOLA pothole collections that the locals charmingly call roads. I should probably do that with all my bikes - the roads here are bad on a level you can't appreciate until you see them. Riding on 23mm and 25mm tires can be frightening. Anyway, once I get the Mavics on, assuming they check out and I buy them, I'll try to find a local wheel builder to go over the Arayas.
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