Spoke love

Sometimes I look down while riding and when the sun is just peering out it shines brightly against my spokes and makes a kalidescope pattern across the trail or up to my face. The solitude of riding on a gravel path in the morning can be quite good as a introduction to the day ahead. A ride in a smog emmiting car with hundreds of others competing for the same space can be a real downer when you’re on your way to work anyway.

This is a really basic wheel I got from a guy who had them for sale for cheap. Nice thing is that both the front and rear are 36 spokes and I’ve rebuilt the hubs and changed the freehub body on the rear to take a 8,9, or 10 speed cassette. This required re-dishing the rear wheel (tightening all the spokes on one side and loosening them on the other) to have the rim be centered in the frame still. I use an 8-
speed cassette. While race inspired bicycles have gone to fewer and fewer spoke count wheels I find that 36 spoke is perfect for my weight, riding style, and location. Hopping curbs, gravel paths, cobbled alleyways, and potholes will ruin a “race” wheelset. Not only do larger tires help (and air is free and virtually weightless adding little to the bike) but a stiff rim will ensure few problems arise when commuting in the urban environment. Often a shop like re-cycles will have hubs that are older for sale. While it may be difficult to find 36 spoke wheelsets at your local bike shop, used older hubs will almost always be 32 or more spokes and companies like Mavic and Velocity still make rims that handle this and higher spoke counts. If your not a clydesdale like me you may not need them but be aware that a strong wheelset can be as important as any other component on your bike.


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