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Were Mavic "Module" rims the first double-walled clinchers?

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Were Mavic "Module" rims the first double-walled clinchers?

Old 11-15-17, 11:50 AM
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Were Mavic "Module" rims the first double-walled clinchers?

The onset of winter always has me riding less and geeking out about bikes and parts more...

So I've had rims and wheels on the brain lately, and the thought occurred to me: when did the first double-walled clincher rims appear on the scene? Obviously, tubular rims had been hollow aluminum for ages, but in my digging around Velobase and other sites, it seems like pretty much all clincher rims were single-walled (mostly the type with small channels at the corners) until about 1975 when the Mavic Module series came out. Was there anything before that?

Thanks.
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Old 11-15-17, 12:36 PM
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I don't know but they are hard to find and not cheap when you do. I have had an eye out for a 27 1/4 Module 3 for about a year and they all seem to be in France and cost more than the bike. I think the Module E is a step down, or maybe newer. Just more chatter, not really sure.
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Old 11-15-17, 01:18 PM
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I think Rigida 1320 rims came out around the same time. Sorry I don't know the actual introduction date. They may have predated Mavic slightly, not sure. Maybe someone knows.
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Old 11-15-17, 01:19 PM
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As I recall, it was in the late 1970's. The Mavic Module 3 was a little wider intended to accommodate tires, say, 23 mm and wider. The Module E was similarly constructed, but was narrower (like 19 mm outside) and designed to accommodate the narrower clinchers that were being introduced (Module "E" as in Elan, the Michelin tire). About that same time, Super Champion introduced the similarly constructed "Gentleman" rim and Rigida introduced the "13/19". All of them had hook beads to facilitate higher pressure tires. My observations/recollections are from the sidelines as I was into tubulars.
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Old 11-15-17, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine
I think Rigida 1320 rims came out around the same time. Sorry I don't know the actual introduction date. They may have predated Mavic slightly, not sure. Maybe someone knows.
My recollection is that they were out the same time. Michelin was working with various rim makers within the French cycling industry to make rims that were compatible with the unprecedentedly narrow Elan tires they wanted to introduce.
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Old 11-15-17, 01:35 PM
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I was using Rigida 1320 in 1973. Ran the Specialized Turbo which was new and only 1" wide. I was hoping to mimic a tubular or sew up as they were called then. Didn't happen but they were good! Still have the rims.
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Old 11-15-17, 02:01 PM
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I built up a set of 27" Module 3 rims with Phil Wood hubs in 1978. I've ridden thousands of miles on them, they stayed true since day 1.

Now up on eBay, I no longer need them.
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Old 11-15-17, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by SJX426
I was using Rigida 1320 in 1973. Ran the Specialized Turbo which was new and only 1" wide. I was hoping to mimic a tubular or sew up as they were called then. Didn't happen but they were good! Still have the rims.
That sounds right. I thought they were out in the early 70s. Rigida even in the late 70s were most common narrow 'performance' clincher.

I hated those Elan tires. They would blow off the rim if you looked at them funny. 90 PSI? yeah right. Turbos were fine and fast rolling, but they were pricey and they wore out really fast. I had a set in 1980 (on Rigidas) and wore the back one to the cord in 2-3 weeks. Went back to tubulars soon after that. My fave clincher from the time were the Nationals, then mostly sold through Schwinn shops. Fast rolling and tough.

Main bottleneck then for performance clinchers was the tires.
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Old 11-15-17, 02:46 PM
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I had both Mavic Module E's and Rigida1320s in the 80's. I preferred the Rigidas to the Mavics as they were lighter and had a more modern, smoother profile. Plus worked well with the very narrow Specialize Turbo tires I was running. The Rigidas were also pretty durable, considering their narrow section and light weight. Still remember when a stone on the road put a dent on the rim sidewall. It came right out when I levers it out with a big flat end screw driver!. The rim is still in service on one of my brother's regular riders.
The Mavic were good durable rims too, but just not as good as the Rigudas, IMO.
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Old 11-15-17, 03:09 PM
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The module 3s are popular on touring bikes for strength. Per Velobase the 3 were also wider to accommodate 28-32 tires and both 3 & E show 1975, but Velobase years can vary.
@pcf I may just bid on those, then I will have a spare rim.

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Old 11-16-17, 09:54 AM
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The Mavic Module E was the first of what I prefer to call modern, high performance, hollow/box section, wired-on rims. They were introduced at the 1975 Paris Salon de Bicyclette, for the 1976 model year. However, the concept goes back to early days of cycling.

Hollow, metal, bicycle rims pre-date the development of the pneumatic tyre. They were used on high wheel (a.k.a. penny farthing or ordinary) bicycles to decrease wheel weight and increase rigidity, though the cross-section was typically crescent, similar to modern aero profiles. Also, they were generally formed from strip steel, with the edges being crimped and/or brazed together. See attached 1888 higher wheeler advertisement.

With the development of the chain drive safety bicycle, wheels sizes shrunk and manufacturers reverted back to rims to rims of strip steel, as these were deemed adequate weight and rigidity for the recreational cyclist and kept cost down, at a time when a typical bicycle cost 1/2 year's wages. However, some manufacturers started producing hollow, steel rims from formed seamless seamless steel tubes, for competition and high performance bicycles. See attached Victor Hollow Rim advertisement, 1892.

When Dunlop introduced his pneumatic tyre in 1890, it caused a wave of sensation throughout the industry. For the next few years, the patent offices were inundated with pneumatic tyre designs. By the mid-1890s, it had settled down to four leading types; single tube, double tube, clincher and wired-on.

What we currently call a clincher tyre is actually a misnomer. Clincher tyres use a thick rubber bead, generally triangular in section, that seats under a hooked edge in the rim. There is no wire in the bead. Tyres with a metal wire (Kevlar in folding versions) bead were originally called wired-on tyres. Many companies lay claim to inventing this type, including Seddon, Michelin and Rochet. The earliest versions did not use a continuous wire loop, but had two ends that were mechnically anchored and tensioned to fasten the tyre to the rim. However, even the early version of the Seddon tyre had a hollow section rim. It was arguably the first marketed version of a wired-on tyre with a hollow section rim, circa 1893. See attached Seddon illustration.

So, the obvious question is, why did hollow section rims disappear. The answer is that they didn't, at least not outside America. Constrictor of England imported steel, hollow-section, wired-on rims from France, prior to the Great War. See attached illustration, 1912.

However, America was a different story. In the very late 1890s, the American bicycle industry experienced a huge recession, as a result of market saturation caused by excessive competition. Many companies went out of business or amalgamated and the government tried to protect what was left by imposing heavy tariffs on imports.

Under government protection and a saturated market, the surviving manufacturers reverted to low grade bicycles that could be made as cheaply as possible and provide the best profit margin. Many of the innovations of the 1890s bicycle boom were quietly phased out, notably clincher and wired-on tyres. Hollow steel rims gave way to Westwood or solid wood. By the time that Schwinn reintroduced wired-on tyres in the mid-1930s, the automobile had relegated the bicycle to primarily a a child's toy. There was no reason for manufacturers to innovate.

Things started to change post World War II, when the government relaxed tariffs on English bicycles to rebuild their industry and help pay off war debt. This lead to an influx British manufacturers, such as Raleigh and America's discovery of the 3 speed IGH. The government started relaxing restrictions on other European countries in the 1960s, finally re-opening the American market to European innovations.
Attached Images
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Champion bicycle rims a.JPG (946.2 KB, 324 views)
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Victor hollow rims 1892a.JPG (101.2 KB, 325 views)
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seddon tyre 1892a.JPG (158.8 KB, 327 views)
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Conloy rim 1912.jpg (3.7 KB, 323 views)

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Old 11-16-17, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar
Hollow, metal, bicycle rims pre-date the development of the pneumatic tyre. They were used on high wheel (a.k.a. penny farthing or ordinary) bicycles to decrease wheel weight and increase rigidity, though the cross-section was typically crescent, similar to modern aero profiles. Also, they were generally formed from strip steel, with the edges being crimped and/or brazed together. See attached 1888 higher wheeler advertisement.
This 1888 advertisement seems to poke fun at other "inferior" wheel designs which used holes both rim walls, through which spoke nipples could be inserted. This design, apparently deemed inferior at the time, seems to have become the standard that we know today. Do you know how their double-wall rim worked, which apparently did NOT have holes in what they call the inner wall through which one could insert a spoke nipple? How was that wheel laced to the hub? Were spoke nipples inserted before the outer wall was constructed, and were simply not serviceable in the event of later rust or damage?
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Old 11-16-17, 03:13 PM
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Sorry, I don't know how they installed the spokes on the subject rim. I used the advertisement to demonstrate that hollow section rims were in wide use prior to the pneumatic tyre.
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Old 11-16-17, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Bikerider007
I don't know but they are hard to find and not cheap when you do. I have had an eye out for a 27 1/4 Module 3 for about a year and they all seem to be in France and cost more than the bike. I think the Module E is a step down, or maybe newer. Just more chatter, not really sure.
Module 3 is a wider rim than the E. Not really a direct comparison.
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Old 11-16-17, 05:27 PM
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Thank you, @T-Mar and everyone else. This is fascinating stuff.
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Old 11-16-17, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by pcf
I built up a set of 27" Module 3 rims with Phil Wood hubs in 1978. I've ridden thousands of miles on them, they stayed true since day 1.

Now up on eBay, I no longer need them.
Reminds me of the set I made in '76/77 while attending Ohio State. I bought the component parts from Bike Warehouse (now Nashbar) and built them up in my dorm room. Sadly, I was forced to leave them in Indiana back in '80...

I was riding back from Madison WI to the Cleveland area and carelessly taco'd my rear wheel by dropping off the edge of the pavement and ended up in a ditch. A passer-by gave me a lift to the nearest town that had a bike shop. I had all of about ten bucks on me. No replacement rim to be had, but I got a new replacement (cheapie) wheelset as a straight-up trade in exchange for my Phil-hubbed Mavics, the rear being bent. Yeah, I came out on the short end of that deal, but beggars can't be choosers...

To show what a small world we live in -- I'm just now building up a set of 27" wheels for my Univega Gran Tourismo -- using a set of 1st gen 100/120 Phil hubs that I got from a BF member last week, new polished Sun CR18 rims that arrived yesterday, and butted stainless spokes...

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Old 11-16-17, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by SJX426
I was using Rigida 1320 in 1973. Ran the Specialized Turbo which was new and only 1" wide. I was hoping to mimic a tubular or sew up as they were called then. Didn't happen but they were good! Still have the rims.
They weren't out yet in '73, but came out almost immediately after Mavic had the Elan rim. Actually the initial attempt from Rigida was the '1319' but some people reported problems with the tires not staying seated so they modified them with a slightly wider design - the '1320' about a year later. Still have a set of wheels with the 1319 rims which never gave me any problems.
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Old 11-16-17, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by prathmann
They weren't out yet in '73, but came out almost immediately after Mavic had the Elan rim. Actually the initial attempt from Rigida was the '1319' but some people reported problems with the tires not staying seated so they modified them with a slightly wider design - the '1320' about a year later. Still have a set of wheels with the 1319 rims which never gave me any problems.
I don't have any hands-on experience with Rigida rims (except for the chrome ones that came stock on my wife's Peugeot), but I really dig that numbering scheme -- two digits for the inner width, two digits for the outer. Gives you a wealth of information that all those weird names with made-up words don't.
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Old 10-13-18, 04:50 PM
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What were the popular training clinchers before the rims mentioned in this thread?
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Old 10-13-18, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by avhed
What were the popular training clinchers before the rims mentioned in this thread?
Pretty much everybody used to train on sew ups. That is if you were serious enough about cycling to 'train', you almost certainly rode sew ups.

The early high quality clincher I remember was the Super Champion 58. It was more of a touring rim, but if you went against the grain and rode clinchers on a 'good' bike, they probably would have been 58s.

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Old 10-13-18, 05:56 PM
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Terrific thread. Thankyou.
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Old 10-13-18, 11:05 PM
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At the shop I worked at the Mavic rims were held in higher regard than the Rigida 13/19 and later 13/20 the latter being a bit easier to keep in true of the Rigida line.

In the 70's training was done on tubulars, heavy rims- 400 gr range. There were two and only two guys who used clinchers one a starving college student, the other a contrarian. His biggest issue was finding 700c tires. He rode those on his Masi- said it made his race wheels feel that much better.

by the mid 80's the majority trained on clinchers. Specialized or Panaracer- heavy rims- a popular one being the Araya Aero .
i just did not like the dark anodizing. I was a retro grouch way back then.
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Old 09-10-19, 01:08 PM
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Good thread. I just picked up a set of wheels with Phil Wood FSA freewheel hubs and mavic mod 4 rims. I googled mavic rims and I bumped into this thread. The Mavic Mod 4s are seriously wide rims and they weigh as much as Sun rhyno lite rims at 600 grams. These might be the perfect wheels for the zombie apocalypse.

Most folks I knew who raced locally trained on clinchers and raced on tubulars in the 80s. The mavic rims were considered the best clinchers (and the best tubulars). The MA 2s built up a strong wheel. I don't think the rigida 13/19s held up as well. The Superchampion 58s were the finest touring rims I'd seen in the 80s. I rode a set across country in '97 and those wheels are still going strong. I have had good experience with the gentleman rims as well.
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Old 01-20-24, 04:44 PM
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Bumping this thread with a related question: does anyone know when the first folding/kevlar bead tires appeared? In discussing this with someone else I've heard National Tire (Panaracer) of Japan as being a likely creator in the late 1970's, but I can't find anything to support that. The earliest reference to a folding tire I've been able to find is to a Michelin Bib 20 TS in a 1980 Peugeot catalog.


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Old 01-21-24, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by hokiefyd
This 1888 advertisement seems to poke fun at other "inferior" wheel designs which used holes both rim walls, through which spoke nipples could be inserted. This design, apparently deemed inferior at the time, seems to have become the standard that we know today. Do you know how their double-wall rim worked, which apparently did NOT have holes in what they call the inner wall through which one could insert a spoke nipple? How was that wheel laced to the hub? Were spoke nipples inserted before the outer wall was constructed, and were simply not serviceable in the event of later rust or damage?
I have built a number of modern carbon rims with no nipple access holes. It is done by inserting a short length of the threaded end of a steel spoke into the nipple, dropping it into the rim at the valve hole, and guiding it into place with a magnet. There are also special inserts made for this purpose, but I find a short length of spoke to work adequately as long as it is strongly attracted to a magnet.
It is a test of fine motor skills to remove the insert and start the spoke on the nipple without losing the nipple in the rim, but with practice and patience it works.
Not sure how well that would work when the rim is also steel though. Also, solid rubber tire with no valve means there would have to be at least one hole somewhere large enough to admit a nipple.
Old thread I realize, but since it was already resurrected,
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