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Replacing Rims instead of the whole wheel

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Replacing Rims instead of the whole wheel

Old 05-10-23, 01:49 PM
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CHECHO
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Replacing Rims instead of the whole wheel

Hi All, quick question here.

I just noticed that the braking surface on the rims of the two bikes I own is pretty worn out. One of them is a road bike with Fulcrum Racing Zero C17 Competition Wheelset and the other is a single-speed that has Mavic Ellipse track wheels. The thing is that the hubs and spokes are in very good shape, it'd make sense to replace only the rim and reuse everything else, or replace the whole wheel whatsoever?.

Thanks!

Sergio.
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Old 05-10-23, 02:11 PM
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You can re-use the hubs no problem, I personally would go with new spokes as the old spoke might not work with the new rim, but just for safety depending on the age of the spokes.
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Old 05-10-23, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by CHECHO
The thing is that the hubs and spokes are in very good shape, it'd make sense to replace only the rim and reuse everything else, or replace the whole wheel whatsoever?
Jobst Brandt got over 200,000 miles on a hub and set of spokes replacing rims and bearings as they wore out. https://yarchive.net/bike/wheel_longevity.html
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Old 05-10-23, 04:04 PM
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Yea , but Jobst did not build these wheels and was not maintaining them... so there is that. Spokes are fairly inexpensive in the big scheme of things.
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Old 05-10-23, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by jaxgtr
Yea , but Jobst did not build these wheels and was not maintaining them... so there is that. Spokes are fairly inexpensive in the big scheme of things.
You must tell me how you maintain your spokes. I'll admit I've been negligent in that area, If there were a problem in how the wheel was built, it would show up in spokes breaking. Since as far as we know the rims have worn out without that happening, it's safe to assume they were properly tensioned and there's no reason to believe the spokes aren't perfectly fine..
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Old 05-10-23, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle
You must tell me how you maintain your spokes. I'll admit I've been negligent in that area, If there were a problem in how the wheel was built, it would show up in spokes breaking. Since as far as we know the rims have worn out without that happening, it's safe to assume they were properly tensioned and there's no reason to believe the spokes aren't perfectly fine..
I was speaking to the wheels in general, not specifically to the spokes, but yes, if there were issues they more than likely would have exposed itself by now, but you never know until you look under the hood. All things considered, assuming the spoke lengths were ok with the new rim, you could re-use them, and you might find you need to replace some or none. Me personally, I would probably just replace them for a relative small amount depending on what I got. Would still be less than a complete new wheelset in any event.
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Old 05-10-23, 09:42 PM
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I just want to point out the obvious since the OP didnít actually mention it (nor any posters), so Iím not sure if he realizes itÖbut what is suggested requires a significant amount or intricate maintenance. Disassembling the wheel, re-lacing, tensioning, dishing, and truing. Iím not an expert wheel builder, but I have re-built a few and realize it can be time consuming.

Dan
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Old 05-10-23, 09:51 PM
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I routinely replace rims with identical rims, reusing the same spokes. Since the OP apparently isn't familiar with the process, I'll describe what I do,

1) Have on hand new spoke nipples (edit) and a few identical (gage, butts and length) spokes.
2) Place new rim beside old wheel so valve holes and labels line up (and are viewed from the same side).
3) Tape the rims together.
4) Loosen the spokes several turns.
5) Go around the wheel moving the spokes in sequence and screwing on the nipples two complete turns, smearing a little grease on the threads as I do it..
6) Tighten and true as usual.

I reuse nipples unless I see damage. So, typically all but perhaps 3-6 that got tweaked unscrewing or had other issues. On my commuters, spokes go three rims and about 8 winters. If one bike is doing it all like was the case for many decades. Now I have a bunch and my spokes will go longer than I will. (Edit) I run expensive butted spokes. They are a real percentage of the cost of my wheels. Tossing perfectly good ones with thousands of miles left on them bothers me. I won't until I break at least two between re-rims.

Last edited by 79pmooney; 05-10-23 at 09:59 PM.
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Old 05-10-23, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_
I just want to point out the obvious since the OP didnít actually mention it (nor any posters), so Iím not sure if he realizes itÖbut what is suggested requires a significant amount or intricate maintenance. Disassembling the wheel, re-lacing, tensioning, dishing, and truing. Iím not an expert wheel builder, but I have re-built a few and realize it can be time consuming.

Dan
Re-rimming takes a little longer than a from-scratch build but it's easier. No thought required to get the lacing right. Spokes are pre-tensioned and set into the flanges. No settling and needing to tighten a little more..
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Old 05-11-23, 06:58 AM
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The special spokes and rims used on those wheels, plus the labor to rebuild may exceed the cost of a new wheel. One advantage of disc brakes is no rim wear. I made the switch almost 3 years ago. No more rim brake frames for me.
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Old 05-11-23, 07:14 AM
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Are they super, high-end hubs? If yes, then absolutely. If no, it is probably better just to buy a new set of wheels and keep the old ones as a spare

N+1 applies to wheels too.
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Old 05-12-23, 09:33 AM
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are quality rim brake rims readily available, or are they getting scarce
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Old 05-12-23, 09:41 AM
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Fulcrum Racing Zero use proprietary rims and spokes, no substitutions possible. The spokes are aluminum and very expensive if any have to be replaced and the replacement process is quite involved since the rim beds have no spoke holes, it involves inserting a special steel semi spoke in the nipple and fishing the nipple through the rim using a magnet
I have seen this done on the very similar Campagnolo Shamal Ultra wheels that I have by someone who does this often. I could probably do it, but it would take me hours of fishing and fiddling
I would not be surprised if Fulcrum wouldn't even sell the rims to a retail customer. I had a rim replaced on my Shamals by Cycles Marinoni who are the biggest distributor of Campagnolo products in Canada. They had to replace one spoke and that single spoke cost me over $10 10 years ago

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Old 05-12-23, 10:02 AM
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I've watched a video that shows installing nipples on carbon rims with no spoke access holes. With experience, it only takes a few minutes. I have tubeless, hookless disc brake wheels from BTLOS with no spoke access holes, so no rim tape needed. No extra charge for the build. Campy wheels come with the items needed to install new nipples.
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Old 05-12-23, 02:44 PM
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Thanks to all for answering. I don't have any experience whatsoever in building or trueing a wheel, so I'm quoting with some bike shops the labor for it, here in the US it goes between $75 to $100 per wheel and most of them have long labor times (2 - 4 weeks). I'm just running numbers and see what makes sense if buying a new pair or reusing what I have, it's also a matter of trying to reuse what's still usable and only dispose (recycle?) what's no longer usable.

alcjphil Thanks for the info on the Fulcrum Racing Zero, I suspected that it was proprietary, I still have the accessories that came with the wheelset including the magnet to route the nipples

Thanks again! I'll update the post with what I've found.

Have a great riding weekend!
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Old 05-13-23, 04:02 AM
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I swap rims all the time. If that is what you want there is no reason not to have it. I like certain old hubs and want to keep them. Get a copy of the book The Bicycle Wheel by Jobst Brandt, it takes all the myths and mystery from bicycle wheels.
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Old 05-20-23, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by ussprinceton
are quality rim brake rims readily available, or are they getting scarce
Campy has 'em throughout the range.
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Old 05-22-23, 08:07 PM
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What @79pmooney describes in post #8 is a standard procedure to replace a rim. If you're lucky and careful, you won't need to replace any spokes or nipples. You can do steps 2-5 yourself, and take it to the shop for step 6, truing. Yes, rims are available, and you'll want a similar rim so the spokes are the right length. Last time I did it, I took a picture:



Side by side rim replacement
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Old 05-23-23, 11:51 AM
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I have replaced dozens rims over the years by finding a new rim with the same ERD and number of spoke holes, and transferring the spokes over one by one. Takes about an hour + minor truing. A relatively pleasant task, I assume similar to knitting.

However, please refer back to the truths provided by alcjphil, who indicated that replacing a vintage worn out Open Pro rim with another is not the same as doing the task with the very specific Fulcrum rims, nipples and spokes. You will need a new identical Fulcrum rim, and this will not be cheap. If you do decide to reuse the existing spokes and nipples, then there is the challenge of feeding the spokes through the no-hole rims with a magnet and not damaging the special Fulcrum alu nipples. I have several sets of Campy and Fulcrum wheels, and alu spokes make me nervous in terms of metallurgical properties; steel spokes for me.
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Old 05-23-23, 11:56 AM
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One more thing: the suggestion of just dropping this task off on your local shop..... Maybe one in 10 would even consider undertaking this due to the liability, complexity and low profit margins. Maybe 1 in 1,000 shops would have ever undertaken this task with Campy/Fulcrum wheels. So you are on your own.

If you are even somewhat mechanically competent, your chance of success here will be as good as a standard LBS mechanic who would be attempting this for the very first time. And you would not be charging a 50% markup on all parts, and then $100 per hour shop time.
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Old 05-23-23, 12:43 PM
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We do a ton of rim swaps. As mentioned - Fulcrum (Campagnolo) stuff is usually a proprietary mess. If you find a wheelbuilder it will be less expensive and done well. We are usually like $60/wheel in labor.

General stuff listed above - you can reuse spokes unless you know of any issues (like "I broke 3 spokes early and just had them replaced but now the rim is bad" - OK swapping the spokes). I replace the nipples because we usually use self locking nipples and once they've been run in and out they usually don't lock anymore.

Yes you can still get rim brake rims. There are billions of bikes in the world that require rim brakes. That's not changing overnight. You may not have access to something nice but a rim brake option will most likely still be available. Hell we can still technically get 26" mtb wheel rims sooo.....

tbh = most Fulcrum wheels are on the cheap side and usually not worth the pain of fixing them if they have anything proprietary on them. With the flood of people ditching their rim brake bikes you can most likely score a helluva deal on a nice set of lightly used rim brake wheels on the used market.
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Old 05-24-23, 02:00 AM
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This ^ (What Psimet said). What's true for the Fulcrum wheels is also true for the Ellipse wheels, perhaps they would be even more difficult because track wheels are nowhere near as popular as road wheels, and given Mavic's financial troubles and changes of ownership, sourcing a rim might be hard. Both companies charge like wounded bulls for their spare parts, which often makes replacement more economical than repair.
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