July 06, 2022 Login  


Spokes! Light 302s
Last Post 05/30/2022 12:05 PM by 79 pmooney. 9 Replies.
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79pmooney

Posts:2960

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05/03/2022 12:53 AM
Spent the afternoon trying to lighten my wallet on those spokes and good sewups.  Yup, it's time to start building those tubular wheels I've been talking about.  The Mooney is done.  What a sweet ride!  And my usual mix of Open Pro front and Velocity Aero rear with light spokes and Vittoria Open Paves is pretty sweet!  But this bike can have a 46-12 gear.  Damn fast if you spin just 175 rpm - 54 mph.  I want safe tires!  I just got some NOS GP4s.  I know those rims.  I love 'em.  Only owned two but those two went 17,000 with maybe three tweaks on the spokes.  On the Mooney in the '80s and '90s.  That Mavic green will look really good with the new pain job.

Went to Merlin but it was shades of spring 2020 COVID TP restrictions.  I can buy 4 tubulars, no more.  High end ones fewer.  Why?  I have no idea.  (I wanted to buy 12.  Three brand/models of good ones plus Rallys for all three bikes as spares.  (2) Vitt. Corsa G+ 30Cs, a Vitt, Rubino G+ 28C and a Rally are on their way.

Spokes - 302mm DT/Wheelsmith/Sapim in butted with a 1.5 to 1.7 center - now that's like going online to get a mating pair of aardvarks.  Some places stop at 300.  Wheelbuilder was out of everything larger than 250.  I've seen 14/15s (2.0/1.8) but that's my city bike builds.  This is for a bike I just spent gobs on to have repainted that rides, well, like a Peter Mooney.  It deserves and I want - the spokes!

Well, I found them.  Exactly the length and gauges.  Spokes that will go the distance.  Spokes I have many thousands of miles on.  In a box of the perfect amount - and cheap!  Robergel Sports.  Barn find.  Except stains from barn storage, NOS.  72 count.  For 32 spoke wheels, that leaves 8 spokes to cover the two or three that break out of every box and the 1 or three that flunk GC.  And still have a couple left over.

But, do I really want to do this?  I remember well how long it took to get basic round because the spoke lengths were random.  Oh, the lengths all work but the concept of screwing each nipple on 5 turns then adjusting the two at the rim spice to the same tension as the rest and presto! a round wheel!  Well that was beyond my conception after many Robergel wheels until I met Wheelsmith in the '80s.  DT, same thing.  I've gotten spoiled.

I'm going to sleep on it.  It's a site with pictures overlaid with the spoke specs.  Very tiring to go through.  These Robergels are on page 4 or 5 but at least, all I have to do is scan for the yellow Robergel boxes and skip the Trois Etoilles.  (I saw those in a spoke length that would work.  Pretty but not for the long haul!)  The one thing those Robergels have going form them - found them.  It might well take twice the time of "rounding" the Robergel builds to get the Wheelsmith/DT/Sapin spokes.  That is, unless one of you know where those light good 302s are.  (And not that site on Amazopn with the bargain price of $8.94/spoke.  I'd pay $1.20 per. $100 for a box of 100.)

Edit: 302s and shallow rims.  Takes me back!  I have two sets of GP4s and three Mavic 330s.  All are so shallow they'll take the same spokes.  Laced 3X, the same length spokes work everywhere except the 9-speed R/R and that's a heavier spoke anyway.  (Fix gears are fun.  The spokes I use in front work just fine in back, both sides.)  I ran bladed (DT?, Wheelsmith?) on those GP4s that went forever as a way to get really light spokes. Doing it again would take me back again.
longslowdistance

Posts:2600

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05/04/2022 11:15 PM
Just say No to 302s.
Really.
longslowdistance

Posts:2600

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05/04/2022 11:21 PM
Correction: Just say now to Robergel. Unless they have changed. A lot.

The French dislike the Swiss for many reasons, some even valid, but I'll wager the much older French bike mechanics would admit that DT Swiss made reliable spokes when Robergel did not (c 1980).

Robergel spokes were brittle, so random "just riding along" spoke fractures at the bend were common.

79pmooney

Posts:2960

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05/05/2022 12:30 PM
Posted By Frederick Jones on 05/04/2022 11:21 PM
Correction: Just say now to Robergel. Unless they have changed. A lot.

The French dislike the Swiss for many reasons, some even valid, but I'll wager the much older French bike mechanics would admit that DT Swiss made reliable spokes when Robergel did not (c 1980).

Robergel spokes were brittle, so random "just riding along" spoke fractures at the bend were common.


lsd, the SS Trois Etoilles, yes.  Unreliable spokes.  The zinc plated regular steel spokes were very reliable once you got past the several per box that flunked QC. I never got the super long mileages out of them I've seen with the DTs but that's not their fault.  I was a racer, training on 330s, not 400+ and on New England roads, not Pacific NW.  The rebuilds were always about the rims, not the spokes.  And they were so cheap, I always started fresh.  Never got to the point of just popping spokes.  (Except those two or three bad ones per wheel set and those showed up early.)
79pmooney

Posts:2960

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05/05/2022 12:49 PM
And now, stepping into dangerous waters, my thoughts. I've been assuming 3X. (32 hole) BITD all my wheels were 4X, high or low flange. (I have no idea how many times I was told that high flange 4X is a head snapper with each spoke bending around its neighbor's head. And - my thought - every spoke breaks where it's been forced into that J bend, right?) Well, all of these new wheels will be low flange. Can I run 4X low flange with 32? Now this will push that 302 to 310 or so. Even harder to find. But I may be going to an outfit that cuts and threads spokes. If the blanks are long enough, they won't care.

AUTOCad time. I'll draw up a Miche Pista rear (I've already got the dimensions for the spoke length calc), lay out the spokes and see what the crosses look like. The Mooney is already running it the mode of an English road bike of mid last century - fix gear and soon to have shallow tubular rims. Cantis that while far newer, are direct copies (geometry-wise) of the '50s? 60s Mafacs. If I did 4X I could have spokes in the proper olde English lengths even if too few. The gods would be pleased.
79pmooney

Posts:2960

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05/06/2022 07:41 PM
Talked to Ben's Cycle and they believe they can get me Sapims! I might have some very happy bikes. And be able to fly up hills on my negative weight wallet. Good thing is that Cycle Oregon is paid for. All I need is gas money and cash for dinner Friday night. A few bucks for espresso is nice but there's lots of free coffee. And food! You can do the full ride and put on weight. So even if these spokes cost me a lien on my incoming, I'll still be able ride these tubbies in Oregon's painted mountains. And 4 tires came from Merlin today! Some rim tape. But I'm holding off 'till I can get my hands on Tubasti. It's been a long time but I love that stuff.
79pmooney

Posts:2960

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05/26/2022 10:44 AM
Three weeks later and I'm a little closer. Ben's could only get 2.0-1.8s so I bought a box. Built a front that went together so fast the spokes basically pushed me out of the way because I was slowing the build. Probably the best wheel I've ever done.

A local fix gear outfit, Retrogression, cut me a wheel's worth of light Sapims in black. Pleasant shop and owner. The wait was short. Exactly what I want except color, and the most I've ever paid for spokes.

The hubs have been another challenge. Fix-fix rear. Two hubs to be 24 spoke because I have 2 deep V rims in 24. For Jessica J with its super long dropout. Bike needs a very deep braking surface to keep the pad on the rim with the hub forward running the 24 tooth cog. The clincher Velocity Aeros work really well! (Yes, braking is far from ideal down below the brake track, but how much hard braking do you need running a 42-24? And legs work really well in those low gears.) The Mooney is spaced 126. The older Miches had axles that could accommodate anything. The two I spaced to 26 had axle to spare. Now Miche sells its Pistas in 120 and 126 so I'm guessing the axles are now cut to fit.

Those hubs are 1) hard to find! 2) Available in sets or 3) not shipped outside the Euro world. (I already have a gem of a Miche pista front I'll never use. Plus several old hubs that look scruffy and feel so smooth. Broken in Tipos; hubs that I think roll forever. I've never killed one.) But Singlespeedshop in the UK emailed me and said they can ship me the hubs if I'm willing to fork over for DHL. Sounds like a winner!

I just got my second shipment from Merlin. (They only allow me to buy 3 good tubulars at a time. Weird.) So I now have a pair of Vitt 30c Corsa Control 2.0s, a pair of 28c Corsa Control G+ and a pair of 23c Rubino G+. Plus skinny Rallys to carry under my saddles. (I also want to try the Veloflex tires but I'm keeping the variables down for now.)

Next build will be the 126 OLD Mooney clincher rebuilt with the 2.0-1.8s and GP4. That and the front will get the 28c G+s which look and feel like very nice rides. Pete (the Mooney and finally wearing the name he's had 40 years) will be riding in style. Back on the good stuff! Build after that will be front and rear for Jessica; the deep V and another GP4 in front. It will get the Rubinos. Later it will get the good deep V, a 330g front (I have near NOS Arc en Ciels but really want the Mavic 330s.) And best/lightest rubber I dare ride, maybe even the Corsa Speeds I landed. Eventually the "good bike", my original TiCycles will get re-rubbered also but that will be when I have rainy day wheel building time.

Oh, Tubasti! Ben's came through. 10 tubes. My first wheel has two coats on now. Discovered toilet paper cardboard is perfect for spreading glue! Easy to deform it to perfectly fit the rim curve. All my tires are on rims getting stretched. I'm hoping to still have the hand strength and skill to not make a mess of things.
Orange Crush

Posts:4060

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05/26/2022 10:52 AM
A picture is a thousand words Ben. CK nailed it. You could save yourself a lot of typing. Not that I have that skill either.
79pmooney

Posts:2960

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05/27/2022 07:46 PM
Finished my 2nd wheel this morning. (GP4, The Ben's 2.0/1.8 Sapims, my newest Miche fix-fix; previously Velocity Aero rimmed.) Glued my first tubular in 20 years onto the first wheel. Got it on straight to withing a mm. Slightly lumpy. Rolled around the block as per my usual on the freshly glued tire. (Vitt. Corsa Control G+ 28c. 295., Rim - ~490g.) And wow! Felt sublime. I forgot how light tubulars feel! It took all I had to restrain myself. "Ben! They've been glued for 10 minutes!"

That Corsa feels great! I have the rims and tires to go a 1/2 pound lighter per wheel! Jessica J's gonna have some fun! But first she's going to start on workhorse wheels, 23c Rubino Pro G+ on GP4s. (She's limited to 25c in back using the full dropout.) The Rubinos to see if those are reliable, good riding tires with decent flat resistance. If so, they might see a lot of use. City bike tires? The 5 minute rain/snow/inebriated/section of town you don't want to hang in tire change. Every time. Even if the tire is on completely crooked; it's still rideable.

Now, as a reminder to myself - all these wheels are getting their first glue job. Tires aren't really on 'till the second and beyond. (I'm completely NOT in the strip the glue camp. The elbow grease nightmare I hear about scream to me - that's the glue I want to ride. Leave it on!)

I don't get to take myself back 40 years. But I can my bikes! And they're loving it!
79pmooney

Posts:2960

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05/30/2022 12:05 PM
I just got a detailed email from Miche Export Sales re: 28 spoke fix-fix hubs. They are back-ordered out the kazoo, 6-8 months and do not have direct sales to customers but only would through distributors. He did say that he thought they might have a couple of blue 28s hanging around! I told him I want them! (And I'll have to get stronger so I can ride the blue Campy chainring I got from the one of us up in Seattle years ago. Her blue dress.)
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