12 December 2016

The Wheels Are Turning...

So...back to my estate-sale find.

A few days ago, I started to mention what I might do about the wheels.  The front wheel that came with the bike was a "goner".  That made me want to build another rear because the wheels that came with it have 27 inch rims and tires.  I haven't used that size in years and no longer have it in any of my spare parts.  I really would like not to buy any new ones.

But the rear wheel is laced to a Phil Wood hub, which I would love to use.  The problem is, it has 48 spokes.  I don't have any rims in that pattern, though I'm sure I could get one--at least in a 700C size, which I probably will use.  However, I think it might be more difficult to find in the 650B size, which I am also considering.

I think I will end up building 700C wheels for a few  reasons.  One is that I have some 700C rims drilled for 36 spokes.  They include Mavic Open Pros and Sun CR-18s.  I would probably use the latter, as I want to use 32C (or possibly even wider) tires and the CR-18 would look more "right" with the other equipment, I think.  Plus, I like to keep the Open Pros (which I bought on sales) as spares for my Mercians.

Another reason why I'm leaning toward 700C is that if I go to 650B, I will definitely need new brakes.  I know I could probably get a good buy on those long-arm Tektros or something else,  so my reluctance to spend money is only somewhat of a factor.  More important, from the measurements I've made and charts I've looked at, even those long Tektros might not have enough reach for 650B.  Remember, the bike was made for 27 inch rims, which are even larger in diameter than 700s, let alone 650s.

Whichever way I go, though, I think I know which hubs I'll use.

Turns out, this rear Sansin Gyromaster is the sealed-bearing model.  From what I understand, it's the one Specialized rebranded for those great touring bikes they made in the early and mid-'80's.  It's also the one SunTour rebranded for one of its groupsets--the Cyclone, I think.

So I know it's a good hub, and appropriate for the bike.  Best of all, the locknut-to-locknut width is 126mm (actually, 127mm according to my calipers):  the width of the dropouts on the bike. It has 36 holes, just like my rims. And it just so happens I opened it up not too long ago and put in some fresh grease.

I'll do the same for this Suzue sealed bearing front hub, which also has 36 holes.  I recall that this hub came as original equipment on some of those nice touring bikes Miyata, Panasonic and other companies were making around the time my Trek was built.  If I'm not mistaken, it also came on some Treks--but not mine.

So, if I use those hubs--which I probably will--I eventually will have to decide what to do with the rear wheel that came with the bike. I suppose I could keep it, though I don't know when I'll use it, as I'll probably never build a tandem or a fully-loaded touring bike with 27 inch wheels.  I suppose I could try to sell it, though the market for a 27 inch wheel of that kind might be kind of limited.  (If someone out there has an old Schwinn Paramount tandem...)  Or I could take the wheel apart and try to sell the hub...and, if anyone wants a vintage Super Champion 58 rim in 27 inch with 48 holes, that, too.

So, in brief, 700 would be the practical choice and 650B would be an experiment.  

Ah, choices...


  1. Those Sansin hubs are very good. i have a NIB pair that're scheduled for a build this winter- of course, i've had 'em scheduled for over 30 years now. :-\

    We move a bit slow here at the bicycle works...

  2. Mike W.--The meaning of "scheduled" can be very elastic indeed!

  3. You could use the Phil hub by skipping every other hole and building a 24 spoke wheel. I know some of your other readers were thinking the same thing, it's just that I'm a big enough dork to say it out loud. I would never dream of asking your weight (big no no for ladies) but as for me personally I'm too heavy for low spoke count wheels and I never trusted them(clydesdale 210lbs). However many people do quite well on them.

  4. Phillip--I had thought about that, too. Let's just say that my weight is closer to yours than I'd like to admit. (Then again, I'm tall, for a woman, and broad-boned.) But even when I was racing and skinny, I wasn't a fan of low spoke-count wheels. Back then, my lightest wheels had 32 in the rear and 28 in the front. If I remember correctly, Campy and Dura-Ace hubs were available with 24 holes; so were the lightest tubular rims Mavic and some of the Italian companies made. I simply couldn't imagine anyone besides a time trialist needing such wheels.