More parts for the IGH build

I ordered Velocity Synapse 650B polished silver rims, in 36 hole drilling from  I thought they were a little pricey, but they will work and I can use the tire width I wanted for this build.  I’ve also ordered spokes from Colorado Cyclist – they are DT Swiss Competition DB spokes in silver.  So once they get here, I can lace up the wheels.  I still need to order tubes and tires, but I haven’t done that yet.

I also ordered a Sunlite 2-bolt quill stem in polished silver.  I don’t understand why more quill stems aren’t available in a 2-bolt design.  With it, you can remove the handlebars without having to remove the bar wrap and brake/shifter lever (at least on one side).  Maybe the manufacturing process is more complex for this type of stem, I’m not sure about that.  They’re not very common, or at least I haven’t seen many.

The handlebars are by Soma Fab, the alloy 3-speed moustache bars.  I plan to mount them so the center is higher to get a bit of drop.  Once the bike is assembled I’ll be able to adjust the stem depth and decide wchich way the handlebars need to be mounted to get the best riding position.  My plan for grips is lace-on elkhide from VO.  This is why I wanted the 2-bolt stem – I don’t want to have to unlace the grips to remove the handlebars.

I decided a build like this needed a bell.  I found a really nice one, made in the UK, and ordered it in brass finish.  The bell will be engraved with “Evan Cycles” to match the frame decals.  Since the only handlebar control is the bar-end shifter on the right, the bell will mount on the left side just above the elkhide grip.

I hope it turns out well, I’m going for retro-simple on this build.

The new build hiccups…

A hiccup in the new build.  The Univega frame I’m using is a very tight fit for 700C wheels.  I was hoping to use slightly wider then usual tires on this build and there’s no chance to do that with 700C wheels.  Since I’m lacing the wheels myself, I don’t have to try and find a set of 650B wheels, I just need to buy two 650B rims, measure the ERD, and order the spokes.  There are plenty of tire choices in the 650B size, and I can use the wider tire I wanted for this build.

Unfortunately, this means that the VO PBP 700C rims I bought won’t work, and the spokes I ordered won’t work either.  Maybe I’ll just build the wheelset anyway and see what frame comes along that needs those wheels.  Someone might be interested in the rims, but the spokes are length-specific to the rim, hub dimensions, and lacing pattern so they will probably be with me for a while.  That’s OK.  Maybe someone will need a replacement spoke and maybe one that I have will work.  Good karma, you know.

I’m planning a 36 hole 3-cross pattern front and rear, and because of the IGH, the DS and NDS spoke lengths are almost identical.  They should be strong wheels, and perhaps a little lighter than 700C wheels.  Not that weight really matters, the IGH isn’t a lightweight hub by any definition.  But, the IGH is pretty close to the weight of a front derailleur, rear derailleur, multiple chainrings, rear cassette, shifters, and cables.

Stay tuned, hopefully the hiccups are done for this build…

The next build begins…

The next build has started.  I’m using a Univega Super Strada frame (made by Miyata) and it’s being modified as I type this.  The existing cable guides are being repositioned, while some are being removed entirely.  There is a half-lap frame break being installed in the drive-side seat stay.  Once the metal work is finished, it’s off to be painted.  I made some custom decals for this bike, I hope they look nice once they’re on the frame.

The cable guides are being repositioned because this bike is going to have an 8-speed Shimano internal-gear hub (IGH) with an internal brake, so all I need are guides for the shifter.  With no front or rear handbrakes, the frame will be very clean and uncluttered.

The frame break is being installed as I’m considering installing a belt drive sometime in the future.  Installing the joint in the frame now just makes sense.  No reason to wait and have to repaint, with all the additional work that requires.  I may not ultimately switch to belt drive, but I will have the option.

The frame paint will be a cream color.  The decals are gold, and the lugs will be outlined in gold, and then clear over everything.  I’m planning moustache bars, with sewn-on leather grips.  I have a nice Acorn bag for the front.  The shifter is going to be the J-Tek unit; the saddle will be the Brooks C17 Cambium.

I’ve got the rims, hubs, and spokes, so I’ll be lacing up the wheels soon.  I’m going to hold off on the tires until I get the frame back from being painted – that way I can decide which tires will work best.

This will be a fun bike, the IGH should mean little maintenance, and if I go with the belt drive, no greasy bits within reach.  I’ve not ridden a bike with an IGH before, so I’ll be learning about IGH maintenance and adjustments as I go.

There will be photos after I get the frame back from the metal work, and then again after it’s painted.  Can’t wait.  Stay tuned…

The maiden voyage

I picked up some ferrules for the brake housings at Oswego Cyclery on Saturday.  I spent an hour or so in the afternoon and got the housings cut and installed and the cables run.  By the way, the silicone tape that fuses to itself is amazing stuff.  No adhesive to turn gooey in the summer sun, but it holds tightly.  I might have a gooey mess under the Cannondale bar wrap (I used strapping tape), but not on this bike.  This tape is kind of expensive, but it’s worth it.

The brakes are fairly simple to adjust so I got those out of the way first.  While I was adjusting, I made sure the brake pads were properly lined up on the rim and that the pads were toed in like they should be.  Adjusting the derailleurs is a little more involved, but went smoothly (ha) and shifting seems to be working well all around.  I’ll probably recheck everything after a few miles just to be sure that any early cable stretch is adjusted out.

Next is the chain.  I do like Wippermann chains and especially the Connex connector.  Put the chain on the big-big sprockets and figured out how long the chain needed to be.  I pushed out the pin with the chain tool, and the connector went in.  Finally, I installed the pedals, with just a little grease on the threads, and she’s ready for the maiden voyage.

I had measured and set the saddle in the same position as on my Cannondale, and it fits fine.  The stem that’s on the bike now is too short, but that’s OK because I’m replacing it with a polished silver stem anyway.  It is a really nice ride.  Part of what makes this bike special to me is that I built the wheels – my first-ever set of wheels.  One of the brake pads was rubbing against the rear wheel, so I centered the brake caliper and that stopped.  These Campagnolo hubs are really as smooth as butter, just a nice click-click-click as you slowly coast down the road, and the sun glints off each spoke as the front wheel turns.

I put some paint film on both sides of the headtube, and on top of the drive-side chainstay.  I will cut some film for the down tube, and that should take care of scratch protection for a long time.  So, to wrap it up, I need to replace the stem and wrap the handlebars and it’s done.  Maybe some custom spacers on the steerer, just for fun.

Photos to follow.

Moving along now

The LeMond is getting closer to rideability.  I took the bike to Oswego Cyclery to have them check the rear derailleur hanger as it didn’t look straight.  Well, it wasn’t, but it is now.  That tool from Park Tool made quick work of straightening it.  Quick enough in fact, that I’m going to get one.  I’m thinking that with all the rear derailleurs on bikes at my house, sooner or later they will need to be straightened and I’ll be able to handle the job quickly and easily.

Once home, the rear derailleur is mounted pretty quickly and the front derailleur is aligned and spaced just above the 53-tooth chainwheel.  I mounted the Ritchey Classic handlebars in the 110mm stem and sat on the bike to get a rough idea about the stem length.  I’m thinking that 100mm / 10 degree dimensions will be pretty close.  But I haven’t ridden it anywhere, just sat on it in the basement so there’s no real-world riding to confirm or deny the guesstimate – at least not yet.

I ordered some black silicone self-fusing tape for the handlebars – both to hold the cables in place under the wrap and to secure the end of the wrap.  Supposedly this “tape” only adheres to itself and doesn’t have any adhesive to turn into a gummy mess when it’s warm outside.

When I get the tape I can run the shift and brake cables, and then it will be ready enough for a maiden voyage.  Oswego Cyclery offered their adjustable stem so that I can play with angle end length before ordering the “final” stem.  I plan to take them up on that offer.

Unless something comes up that I haven’t thought of, it should be rideable  within the week.

I do have some Mavic GP4 tubular rims on the way; if you remember I wanted to run tubulars on this bike from the beginning.  Well, once these wheels are built I can switch back and forth.

Couldn’t wait, so I didn’t

Well, the wheels are ready to roll. I cleaned the rims, put the rim tape on, and added tubes and tires. Wow, it was difficult to get the last bit of the bead over the rim – I guess that’s one of the downsides of box section rims. Installing the same tires on the Boyd Vitesse V-shaped aero rims was much easier.  But they’re on, and holding air, so I’m calling it good.

I was going to wait for the LeMond build to be finished before riding these wheels for the first time, but I decided to swap them for the Boyd wheels on my Cannondale and see how my work would hold up on the road.  You can guess that they worked just fine, since I’m typing this post sans road rash and contusions.  I didn’t hear any “tink” or “ping” noises (those are technical terms), so it seems I took care of the spoke wind-up OK and the stress-relieving worked.

I do like the glint of the sunlight off nice stainless spokes and the polished silver rims look really good.  I think they will fit perfectly on the LeMond with the polished alloy Campagnolo Daytona group.  With a little spare time, I should be able to have the LeMond build finished in the next week or so.

I’m looking forward to that first ride on the LeMond.

Lace, dish, and true…

Oh, the tension of it all – it makes all the difference. They’re laced, tensioned, trued, and dished. I’m pretty happy with the way they turned out. The front rim was much easier than the rear. The front rim trued up quickly and was radially true from the beginning. The lateral true was fairly easy on this one and the dish was correct and never varied. The Park TM-1 says the front spokes are at 95 kgf average.

The rear wheel took longer – both to lace and to tension, true, and dish. I laced the NDS 3-cross and the DS 2-cross. The Campagnolo hub is slightly larger in diameter on the DS (2mm). I finally figured out how to get the DS laced after lacing the NDS completely (both sets of 8 spokes). The DS elbow-out spokes were simple, the head-out DS spokes were a nuisance but I got them in OK. Truing and tensioning was a little tricky. It seemed like every time I trued the wheel the dish shifted. Then I would correct the dish and the truing went out the window. I only had one spot to fix to get the radial true correct, so that wasn’t too bad. After a couple of iterations, the true was perfect and the dish was perfect too. The DS tension was 138 kgf and the NDS tension was 70 kgf.

I was hoping for less difference between NDS and DS with the larger DS flange diameter and the 3-cross / 2-cross lacing.

Oh, well, I’ll let them sit for a day or two and then stress-relieve them one more time, install the rim tape, tube and tire.

My first set of wheels built from scratch. A ground-breaking (but not pavement-meeting) occasion. One big step closer to finishing the LeMond restoration.

Lace – definitely not Chantilly

I got the remainder of the parts I needed to build the wheels on Friday.  These wheels are going on the LeMond frame, they have Campagnolo hubs (translated from Italian that means “smooth as glass”), H-Son TB-14 rims, and DT Swiss spokes.  Their only downfall is that I’m building the wheels.

It went well.  I checked the spoke lengths and they were spot on.  Got the Zinn book, and laced the front wheel.  It took about a half-hour to lace and then I checked it over carefully.  No lacing errors that I could find, so I tightened the spokes up and checked the dish.  Amazingly, the dish was basically perfect to start with,  so it was up to me to mess it up.

I increased the tension up to “almost where it should be” and checked everything again.  A few spokes were a little looser and a few were tighter, so I evened them out as best I could.  Checked the dish again, still perfect.  Set the tension to the final value and the dish is perfect, and the wheel is radially true.  A few spots where the lateral true needed some help, but not as many as I expected.  I would have no concerns putting rim tape on, a tube and tire, and riding this rim tomorrow.  But I’ll save the maiden voyage  for the LeMond once the build is finished.

On to the rear wheel, this one is a little more complicated.  I chose a 3-cross NDS pattern and a 2-cross DS pattern.  If my research is right, this will help to minimize the NDS/DS tension differences and help the rim to be stronger and to stay true longer.  Lacing the NDS 3-cross was fairly simple, I’d just finished the front wheel with that pattern.  Lacing the DS 2-cross took some thought and trial and error, but I got it.  The rim looks centered, but I haven’t checked the dish yet and the spokes have minimal tension right now.

Maybe after tomorrow’s ride I’ll try and finish it up.

I’m sure that to a lot of people, building wheels is not a big deal.  It is to me, because I’ve not finished a set before (and I guess technically this set isn’t finished yet), and there’s a sense of satisfaction in learning something that you didn’t know how to do, and then using what you learned to make something.

Building stuff is fun.

Lace isn’t always frilly

Sometimes it’s an accomplishment.  Today, I laced my first bicycle wheel.  Well, I actually re-laced a wheel that I took apart last week.  I used the directions in a bicycle maintenance book by Leonard Zinn to lace the 32 spokes in a 3 cross pattern.  It actually only took about a half hour to lace, and then I tightened the spokes in a couple of loops around the wheel.  It’s not trued or tightened enough to ride, and I will take the wheel apart anyway.  This was more of a trial run to see how the lacing process works.

It actually went surprisingly well.  I didn’t have to redo any of the spokes, and I checked them as I inserted them.  I did the lacing in four sets of eight spokes just as the directions said and it all works.

As someone that is trying to become more knowledgeable about building and maintaining bicycles, building wheels is a skill that I’ve wanted to learn for a while now.

I’m going to build the wheels for the LeMond bicycle I’m restoring, and I plan to ride that bicycle in a century later this year.  So, I’d better get it right if I expect to finish without walking.