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Sunday, November 13, 2016

An Overhaul (part 3) - Wheels and Tires

The overhaul of my Black Mountain Cycles gravel bike moves to wheels and tires.  When I built up this bike in early 2014, I simply put on a spare cyclocross wheel set from my parts bin.  The aging Shimano Ultegra hubs still spun smoothly, but the Mavic CX rims were road-bike narrow, relatively heavy and pretty beat up from years of single speed cyclocross abuse.  So, about a year ago, I upgraded to wider, tubeless compatible H Plus Son Archetype rims laced to Shimano 105 hubs.  Really nice new.  Looks good for this application.  Let's take a closer look at these wheels after about 4,000 rough miles.

After a thorough cleaning, I scrutinize each wheel on a truing stand.  No wobbles.  No dips.  Just a couple of minor tweaks per wheel to return them to true.  I'm pleasantly surprised that these rims remain practically spot on, given the pounding they have endured.  The hubs spin nicely and the spokes are undamaged.  Functionally, these wheel are ready to roll.

Final inspection by Mila, a particularly persnickety cat.
Aesthetically, the modestly deep rims proudly display their hard earned miles.  OK, they look a little beat up.  I first spend some energy on the brake surfaces, scrubbing off embedded lines of stubborn, sticky residue with a degreaser soaked brush.  That helps.  But the side walls of the rims need more attention.  I reach into the restoration tool kit to pull out an old can of NEVER-DULL Wadding Polish.  That's the ticket.  It takes a couple of episodes of "The Rifleman" on a quiet Saturday morning to work through both wheels to buff up that shine.  Looks better than new to me, with a few resilient scratches remaining to honor those challenging miles.

All dressed up, just waiting for some new shoes.
On to the tires, I switched to tubeless 40 mm Schwalbe G-Ones in March and could not be more pleased.  For my type of riding, they are the Goldilocks blend of comfort, control, flat protection and durability.  Now, after over 3,000 miles, the knobs on the centerline are essentially gone and those on the edges are almost.  When removing the tires, I find some sealant remaining, but cannot see how.  The front tire has a large gash from a broken bottle encounter, along with several thorns still sticking through.  The rear tire has two smaller gashes and more thorns than I count.  Somehow, they both still hold air, although those gashes probably explain why I can not keep tire pressure above 40 psi.  I order replacements.

Schwalbe G-One tire seated on a H Plus Son Archetype rim.  Now, that's a match.
This combination of rims and tires easily sets up tubeless in a few moments with just a floor pump, even for this recent convert.  No more work than old school tubes.  Here's to the next few thousand miles.

Addendum.  I'm open to offers, preferably a trade for something unique, for a pair of barely used 45 mm Bruce Gordon Rock 'n Roads.  Many like those tires, but they're not for me.

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