Wednesday, May 18, 2011

New Wheel!

A little reminder of how the existing one looks like.

I've been researching for months to get the new wheel together. It was all in my head and even after getting disappointed that City Cycles didn't stock the red nor white spokes I wanted, I was still excited to mount this thing on the trike.

It was 11:50am yesterday when City Cycles called to let me know the wheel was ready to be picked up! They open at 11am, so I never would have guessed I'd be first in the queue and they could finish so quickly. Perfect timing b/c I was just about to take off for lunch. Now I knew where I'd be going for my hour break - City Cycles clear across town on Steiner.

Ian whom I've been working with recognized me right away. Even before I could finish asking for the Sturmey Archer hubbed wheel, he asked John, the builder where it was.

"The small one?" asked John.

"Yeah," replied Ian.

Ian grabbed it from behind the counter and it looked great! It looked exactly like I imagined. The silver nips matched the silver hub quite nicely. I couldn't wait to mount this thing! The only thing left to complete the look was the red reflective rim strips which I ordered that evening. I found them for $12.99 - enough to cover the front wheels too (in case the new red color from a different ebay seller didn't quite match the existing front ones). Estimated arrival date? 5/26 at the latest.

Back to the wheel. I didn't even go upstairs. I took off my jacket, put on some gloves and got to work still wearing my work clothes: dress shirt and jeans.

Comparing the weight of the new wheel to the old one scared me. It was heavier - way heavier. The new wheel is 5.0lbs! And that doesn't even include the tire and tube!

The old one I took off and replaced? 3.8lbs. That's a 1.2lb difference.

With the tube and tires, it's 0.8lbs more for a grand total of 5.8lbs! Ouch! That's more than 13% of the weight just in a single wheel!

As for the original mag wheel? How much did that weigh? 3.8 w/o tube and tire. That's the same as the SRAM 3x7 IGH. All the weight saved by going to spoked rims, went into the hub.

After mounting the tube and new Schwalbe Marathon tire that arrived in the mail the night before, it was a whopping 5.8lbs! The current one was less than 4. That's a big difference for rotational weight.

There was more bling to be added. The new 8-speed cassette was mounted first, followed by the old disk brake I had from my mag wheel. Alas! I have my rear brake back!

Although I had test fitted the hub prior to the lacing of the wheel, I was still concerned about fitment. All this trouble could easily lead to this not working. Looking at the mounting hardware, I got a bit nervous. There didn't seem to be enough threads after mounting the wheel on the frame through the dropouts to secure it.

Lucky me.

It worked. It worked. Well, not quite but at the wheel's at least on the trike. There are tons more components than the SRAM 3x7 wheel - a lot more. If I was worried about dismounting the SRAM 3x7 wheel during an emergency wheel patch on the road for Aids Life Cycle, doing the same with this new wheel would be a disaster. The hardware and mounting just isn't as well thought out on the Sturmey Archer as the SRAM internal gear hub.

I gave the wheel a spin and it there was lag - lots of lag. I'm hoping it was the disk brake that needed some adjustment. The disk was dragging on the brake pads. After some adjustments, I spun the wheel again and Whola! It worked. The wheel spun more freely than the SRAM 3x7! I had yet to take a test ride, but was very happy at this moment.

A hub is no good without a shifter, so that came next. It took me at least 35 minutes just to determine a location on the handlebar to mount it. My original plan was a no go.

I thought about physical locations of the grip shifter, rapid IGH shifter but didn't realize I cannot operate both in the configuration I had imagined. The mirror was also a problem. I needed clearance to operate the rapid shifter and still be able to use the mirror. Even after dropping the brake lever, bell, and grip shift down, there still wasn't enough room. I'd have to figure out a new layout for the left handlebar.

Sliding the components down the handlebar wasn't easy! The bar's definitely not mandrel bent. The dimensions are not only dissimilar throughout it's length, but it actually bulges out above the bend!!!! Horrible quality on this KMX. Not the same diameter throughout!

After the struggle, I finally got it on. The IGH shifter is darn close to the tire. Unless I want to risk stripping a layer of my skin off or lose a finger in the spoke, I definitely have to wear gloves and practice using the shifter in this location.

I'll need to buy new replacement handlebar grips since the one's I have now are too short.

UPDATE: 5/22/11
I took some pics during Race Day, so here is one of them. The other close-ups came out blurry.


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