Monday, March 2, 2009


Scary moment.

After my Saturday training ride ( a ride where for the first time in a long time, I felt really, really old.) I sat down with a fresh home brew (like the sound of that, I do), and cleaned up the Carrera. Had the thing in the stand and looked over it with a combination of eyeballs, shop rags, and GT85, and I noticed something very peculiar about my front wheel...

About half the aluminum spoke nipples were split, parallel to the spoke.

Root around in the bike parts for 32 Brass nipples, and then set my sights on taking down the wheel to rebuild it with the brass. Taking apart the wheel was no small feat. I actually let the nipples soak in Phil Tenacious Oil and then began to take the tension off the wheel so that I could replace the nipples without removing the spokes. Well, about 8 of the nipples refused to budge, so I resorted to splitting them off with the Vise Grips, essentially crushing them to dust. From what I can tell, Performance (where the wheel came from) didn't 'prep' any of the spokes on the front wheel with anything, and the nipples corroded on the inside, to the point where the amount of corrosion actually wedged the nipples into splitting, like ice heaving a slab of granite. I KNEW when I got lazy and got these wheels from Performance that I'd regret it...

All nipples removed, and the parts broken down and cleaned up for the rebuild, I start at it. First off, lets talk Spoke Prep....are you listening, Performance?

See the little beads of white goo on the threads of the spokes? That stuff acts as a build-up lube of sorts, and then a mild corrosion inhibitor, and finally provides for a weak loc-tite type function, to keep the wheel tensioned properly over time and miles.

That's also a tasty home brew there in the USF pint...I'm clearly enjoying my day.

I'm a 'weaver' when it comes to building wheels, by that I mean that I lace up one side, 16 spokes, and then weave in the other side. In the pic below you can see that I've actually got my first side going in to the wrong offset holes in the rim. Oops...blame the beer.

Offset brain-fart fixed, and the wheel completely laced, dished, trued and round, I can now claim that this sucker is good to go for the next ride and many more. Normally I'm not interested in reusing spokes, but the wheel has light miles, and I've made sure that the spokes exit the hubs in the same placement as before, so the 'bedding' in on the hub flanges should help keep me from having broken spokes. Hey, it's better than having a wheel built up with 16 split and crumbling nipples!

All with still a half pint of beer left over... Cheers!

No comments: