Sunday, November 15, 2009

Winter Projects-Wheelbuilding and a BMX Project.

Once again I will be doing a bunch of wheelbuilding over the Winter. The guy who does all my welding, Dan, needs a wheel built for his girlfriend's Schwinn Hollywood. I had a chance to get original Schwinn spokes but the cad plating had oxidized and I think they would start rusting immediately. I will use 14ga custom cut stainless ones instead, from Veloshop. They have a Phil Wood spoke cutter. I might re-use the original long nipples instead of the short ones available today. He also wants me to build a set of wheels for his mom's Schwinn Town&Country, just waiting on rims from the powder-coater. The labor will be tradesies for all the welding he's done, but he is a cool guy, so he's already flowed me a set of Mafac "Racer" brakes, and he might have a front drum brake for me as well. Good news for my 1952 Schwinn which relies on a Bendix coasterbrake of the same vintage, with a screw-on cog and left-threaded lockring for stopping. I was going to build up a B-43 for my Aerotrack, but I couldn't even get a red (or black, or white) 36 hole B-43 from Velocity, so I said "fuck it" and I will live with my Veep-D with a braking surface. When I built the wheelset I thought that I might buid a 29-er someday so I went with a braking surface instead of plain. Now I know that isn't going to happen. I rode a 29er, and I was non-plussed. I like my "26-er" better, probably because I rode nothing but a BMX until I was 19 or 20.

And speaking of BMX, if I can actually get my hands on a retro looptail "P.K.Ripper" I am going to move forward on a Buff replica. That will mean building some wheels with red or black rims and white spokes. Buff ran a coasterbrake in the back, and I have one, but I think that's just a little too goofy in this day and age, so I am going to go with a KHE freecoaster and 48 spoke because of my increased weight, and re-learning curve.

If I can't source one my plan is to get my hands on any 21" top tube BMX frame and just build that up and ride it. Right now I have a 20" top tube Hoffman, and it still feels cramped even though it is the same length as my last BMX, a Boss Dave Van Der Spek freestyle frame. Yeah that was a while ago. I missed mid-school completely while I while scootering around and getting fat drinking beer and eating Mexican food.

I think the reason that the Hoffman feels cramped is because these days you run your bars in line with your fork instead of perpendicular to the ground. This makes the bike handle better anyways. The modern steeper headtube angles used only work with your bars in line with the fork anyways, if you push the bars forward the bike gets all-twitchy and endo prone. I really prefer the modern BMX to Old-School, they work so much better than they ever did.

Back to wheelbuilding : if YOU need some wheels built I am your man. I've been doing it since I was 15 years old. I will do different lacing patterns like 3 leading/3 trailing, and 1x, 2x, and 4x. The most interesting the build the more likely I will want to do it, unlike most shops who shy away from "extra work/effort", so bring your hubs with different size flanges and rims with obscure ERDs. I can get spokes cut, so anything goes.

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