Blog: 2014

19 Feb 2014

What tension is it


I’ve been tinkering with my spoke tension utility (again). Periodically I want to know the tension of a specific spoke rather than the average. Not too important but interesting all the same.

I experimented with different ways of presenting the data but couldn’t find a perfect solution. The version released today will display tension when you hover the mouse over a given spoke, which is good enough though it doesn’t work on touch devices yet. Even so it was more difficult than it sounds. I verified it works with recent versions of Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Opera and Internet Explorer.

Other miscellaneous changes were bundled with this update. It now works better on a range of displays including tablets and phones, and updates itself when you resize your browser or rotate your device. The visualize button is gone too. Now the graph updates automagically.

I welcome any problem reports by email or Twitter. Include screenshots if applicable.

10 Feb 2014

Radially lace my hubs


My rims are shot so I’m looking for new rims and spokes. My hubs are going strong so I’d like to re-use them. This time I’d like to lace the front wheel radially…

It’s a pleasure to ride nice hubs and, like this customer found, they can survive many sets of rims. But I’ll only re-use your hubs with the same lacing pattern used before. This is for safety. Changing from a cross pattern to radial is the most dangerous case and a notorious cause of hub flange cracks. So let’s re-use your hubs, lace them smart and stay out of the dentist’s chair.

Campagnolo has always made nice hubs so I enjoyed overhauling and lacing these to Archetype rims. The rear hub needed help with pitted cones and sticky pawls but now it’s as good as new. The loose ball bearings were replaced on both hubs, which should be done as part of periodic maintenance. In the same way that regularly replacing your chain extends the life of cassettes and chainrings, replacing loose ball bearings saves your cups and cones. If you have nice hubs, take care of them and they will last forever. Good hubs can last through several sets of rims — send yours in for renewal.

15 Jan 2014

Adjusting for tolerances


A cartridge bearing should have an interference fit with its hub bore. Some hubs hold their bearings firmly and others are too loose. At first glance a slip fit seems simpler for the DIY mechanic but a slip fit can allow slight play in the wheel. Play is no good because it’s your cue adjustment is lost or bearings are worn. Unnecessary play can damage hubs.

These hubs are a good example — out of the box I found the bearings slightly loose. In cases like this I re-install bearings with a thin layer of Loctite 641 applied to the outer races. Loctite makes a variety of industrial bearing retainer compounds but I use 641 because it’s a low viscosity formula that allows for thin applications. It’s the lowest strength sold, which means bearings can be pulled easily in the future. No charge for this attention from your friendly nationwide wheelbuilder.

01 Jan 2014

Report on wheel life


At the start of another year I’m gratified to be helping Canadians with wheel selection and wheelbuilding. It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve met some great people. Read more →