Saturday, May 15, 2010

Adam Jr.'s Rear Wheel

I apologize for the lack of posts this week! Without bottom bracket taps/facers I can't do very much. I've been doing a bit of fiddling with my fork, but nothing exciting just yet. But the fun will start Tuesday, when the taps/facer should arrive.

In the meantime, I've built up a rear wheel for Adam Jr. (the bike currently in progress; a randonneur.) A few years ago I built up a nice randonneur wheelset: Mavic MA (identical to MA2, but with single eyelets) 32-hole rims front and rear, with a SON28 in the front and a Phil Wood "Riv" freewheel hub in the rear. I have now un-built both of these wheels. I swapped the SON28 for a SON20R when it came out. And, given my recent obsession with 6-speed Uniglide (and my acquisition of no fewer than fifteen NOS 13-24 cassettes) I decided to switch from the Phil hub to a Shimano Deore XT M730 hub from 1987.

I did this because:
  • the Phil hub was 135mm, and that started to seem like a problem given my desire for low Q-factor
  • the Phil hub is set up for 7-speed, and by going with 6-speed (even better than 7-speed for friction shifting) I won back much of the dish that 130 vs. 135mm had lost me
  • Uniglide freewheels are hard to find
  • cassettes let you easily create custom ratios, and Uniglide cassette cogs are reversible for double the wear life
  • the XT plus cassette is a bit lighter
The Phil hub is certainly gorgeous—but I actually think I like the way the M730 looks better. Like the Phil, it's not anodized, and polishes up very nicely.

Also, I'd recently come across some nice 36-hole MA2 rims. For a rear wheel, those double eyelets are nice. And for a randonneur wheel, why not add a few extra spokes? The Deore XT is drilled for 36, and so I now have a 36-hole double-eyeletted MA2 rear matched with a 32-hole single-eyeletted MA front. It's a pretty sensible arrangement.

The problem? Decals. 

On top is one of my 32H MA rims. It has the "Mountain" Mavic logo, which I consider very cool, although maybe isn't the best fit for a "classy" randonneur without any yellow or green in the colour scheme. Below it is one of my 36H MA2s. I really don't like that decal. In its attempt to be "modern" and "fun" it just ends up looking silly and awkward. 

Since I liked the rims but didn't like the decal, I decided to remove it—and replace it with a reproduction of an old (1970s)-style Mavic MA2 decal. (I got these on eBay.) The rim on the bottom is one of my MA2s with the decal removed and replaced. Here's another look:

That's a gorgeous decal!  I'm going to replace the "Mountain" logo on the front MA rim with one also (no "MA" decals were available; so it won't be entirely accurate.) 

Now that it's built, this rear wheel will follow me in to the shop, where it will be used to make sure everything fits as it's supposed to...


James Black said...

If I were in your situation, I would solve this problem by removing and omitting all the rim decals.

AH said...

Normally I do—and certainly, I would rather have nothing there than the newer MA2 decal. But I have a thing for the other Mavic decals. On some bikes, the "mountain" logo is really cool. And on this bike, I'd MUCH rather have that classy old decal than nothing. (And it does hide the unsightly rim joint...)

Ryan said...

I'm building a similar wheel setup and was wondering if you have any tips on where to find more 6 speed cassettes? Ebay doesn't seem to have too many and the ones that are there seem to be quite pricey.

AH said...

Hi Ryan,

I just got lucky! I found a stash at a local bike co op and scooped them up. They are very expensive on eBay. One of those things that are considered utterly worthless, everywhere but on eBay. But they were common at one time -- maybe ask around at long-established bike shops...