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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got an 85 cannondale racing frame (with mavic hubs/freewheel (6 or 7speed)and mavic MA40 36 hole rims). I've been "out of the loop" for quite some time and am just getting back into cycling. Back when I was really into cycling (86-90ish) the "top of the line/lightest" was perhaps some Mavic GEL280's tubulars with 28 spokes, radially laced front, 2X rear, double butted spokes (15/16/15?) and alloy nipples. Boy has wheel technology changed! What was top of the line back then, is quite heavy to today's standards I'm guessing (comments?). I want to get a light set of wheels for my dale(something similar to 20 spoke ksyriums), only problem is I've got a few serious constraints(which I think only apply to the rear wheel as I think 100m front axle length has not changed). I want to keep my downtube friction shifters and have only 6 or 7 speeds in the rear (ie I don't want to buy an entire new drivetrain, especially brifters). I think my rear spacing is 126mm but I think I could spread the frame while putting a wheel on to accomodate 130 (comments on this?). My guess is that freewheels are out of the ?. It also seems like everything nowadays is a minimum 9 speeds in the rear (maybe 8?). I will be putting on a Mavic 851(861?-the one Lemond one the 85 tour de france with I think) rear derailler (which I don't think will do 8 or 9 speed very well)that has the suntour sealed bearing pulleys for what its worth(the ones the suberbe pro derailler came with in 1985, these are new though). Ideally I would buy a wheelset (front and rear), but maybe I'm better off buying separates since I'm thinking any of the current front wheels would work but I may have to do something custom for the rear. Basically I just want a modern light set of sweet wheels but all I want to buy is wheels (and perhaps cassette since I think I will have to). Also it appears clinchers have gained ground on tubulars since 1988. I'm open to either but prefer tubulars. I also have a new set of aluminum sealed bearing pulleys I could use(not sure of brand) which appear narrower than the suntour pulleys (perhaps these would be better for 8/9 speeds, if that is my only option?). Thanks for any and all advice.
 

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Friction_Shifter said:
I think my rear spacing is 126mm but I think I could spread the frame
Remember the ads Cannondale did for this frame? They laid the frame on the ground on its side. They took a picture of someone standing on the rear dropout.

I tried this at the shop where I was working on a warranty frame. The frame flexed a tiny bit, then sprang back to its normal position when I got off it. Nothing was damaged. I was ~180lbs at the time.

My point is that the first generation Cannondale frames are extremely hard to spread. I've heard about some folks getting it done with BIG lever arms, but I never actually saw anyone do it. Also, quality control at C'dale in the early days was just plain sucky. I'd be very wary of spreading the drops on an old C'dale for fear that I would bust a weld or damage the frame in some other manner.

BTW: I spread steel frames all the time. I'm getting ready to spread an old Fuji from 126mm to 140mm to accept an old Sansin tandem hub. It's a long story.

Good luck!

- Forbes
 

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IMO,you'd be better off replacing the bike than to do a piecemeal wheel "upgrade" .In my experience,modern wheelsets on the whole are not significantly lighter than the lightest wheels of the 6/7 speed freewheel wheels that you're accustomed to.
Most of the weight advantages come from loosing the separate freewheel cluster for a cassette hub, the much lower modern spoke counts and lighter sealed bearing hub designs. In fact, modern rims tend to be heavier than the better quality older rims just to regain wheel strength to accomodate the reduced spoke counts.
If you try to "modernise" your present bike, you'll encounter not just the rear spacing/driveline alignment issue but contemporary drivetrains are now designed as complete integrated systems.
To make it work you'd likely have to swap the rear hub and cluster for a cassette type, install a new narrower chain,change cranksets(plus matching b-bkt) and/or chainrings,& replace the rear derailleur pulleys and reconfigure the front derailleur plates at minimum or preferably update the whole shebang with indexed levers and derailleurs-ie:You've just about purchased a full gruppo.
If it were me, I'd instead just locate a clean vintage set of 28 hole hubs, one of the lighter modern tubular rims, radial lace the front and lace the rear radially on the non-freewheel side and X2 or X3 on the freewheel side with a good butted spoke and lightweight alloy nipples and be done with it.
Clinchers have indeed made huge advancements in ride quality,weight reduction and performance since the old days tho they're still a tad shy of the ride of a good set of tubulars.I persoanlly think the Veloflex tubulars are about as good as it gets these days regarding sew-ups.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I do remember those cannondale ads. Sounds like I won't be able to spread to 130mm and that a modern rear wheel is out of the ? (what is the width of the current rear hubs anyways? Is it 130mm or bigger?). So what are my best options for 126mm? Is that freewheel only or would it include 7 speed cassette? what about 8 speed cassette? Can I get anything less than 28 holes with 126mm spacing? Sounds like I'll be looking for a needle in a haystack....or is a 28 hole Mavic GEL280 laced 2X gonna be about the lightest I'll get. What about lacing that radially(to use shorter spokes and thus save weight) for the rear wheel....bad idea (for strength reasons)? thanks!
 

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Friction_Shifter said:
I do remember those cannondale ads. Sounds like I won't be able to spread to 130mm and that a modern rear wheel is out of the ? (what is the width of the current rear hubs anyways? Is it 130mm or bigger?). So what are my best options for 126mm? Is that freewheel only or would it include 7 speed cassette? what about 8 speed cassette? Can I get anything less than 28 holes with 126mm spacing? Sounds like I'll be looking for a needle in a haystack....or is a 28 hole Mavic GEL280 laced 2X gonna be about the lightest I'll get. What about lacing that radially(to use shorter spokes and thus save weight) for the rear wheel....bad idea (for strength reasons)? thanks!
You've got a classic bike there. If I were me, I'd build up a set of classic wheels. Find some nice NOS Suntour or Shimano hubs and build them with rims that make you smile. Fuggetabout trying to build with less than 28 holes. Keep in mind that your frame will never be a superlightweight. If you wanna be hugely weight conscious, cash in this bike and buy something built in the last few years.

Good luck!
 

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If the newer hubs that Mavic is using on the Kysriums is anything like the ones used in the older days (late 80s, early 90s), you may be able to respace them to 126mm with a little modification, and re-dish the wheel to match. I worked at a shop back in those days and we regularly changed mavic hub spacing between 126-130.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
thanks for the advice. i've already got a classicish set of wheels. 36 hole mavic hubs (still silky smooth) with mavic MA-40 rims. RD Bruisma at Colorado Cyclist built them for me back in 86 - 40,000+ miles later and they are still perfectly true. Also I'm not trying to lighten the weight of the bike by much, just the weight of the wheels (rotating weight). In summary here's what I'm looking at.

1. Vintage pair of 28 hole hubs (since I need the 126mm rear spacing) - I'm assuming this will be freewheel and not cassette. I haven't been able to find any so far - any suggestions on where to look? I've only seen 32 and 36 hole.
2. Some 28 hole tubulars (any recommendations on modern light 28 hole tubulars?).
3. Can I use bladed spokes? (otherwise see 4)
4. Some 15/16/15 double butted spokes and alloy nipples.

I'll lace front radially, rear freewheel side 2X cross, and rear non freewheel side radially.
The icing on the cake will be some high end and light tubulars.

keep the suggestions coming and thanks
 

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I have in the past laced 36 hole hubs to 28 hole rims, using a combination radial/cross pattern. makes for a cool looking wheel. you can use bladed spokes with this combination, but only if you slot the hubs using a Dremel tool, not a hub punch. My favorite combo for these was the Mavic 556 hubs with Araya ADX4 rims and Wheelsmith 14GA aero spokes.
 

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Friction_Shifter said:
In summary here's what I'm looking at.

1. Vintage pair of 28 hole hubs (since I need the 126mm rear spacing) - I'm assuming this will be freewheel and not cassette. I haven't been able to find any so far - any suggestions on where to look? I've only seen 32 and 36 hole.
2. Some 28 hole tubulars (any recommendations on modern light 28 hole tubulars?).
3. Can I use bladed spokes? (otherwise see 4)
4. Some 15/16/15 double butted spokes and alloy nipples.
Remember, you're going to have more front wheel options than rear wheel options. If you would be willing to ride a non-matiching set of wheels, you could go with a feathery-light modern front wheel and a more classically-styled rear wheel. It'd look goofy, but it would lower your overall rotating weight.

Let me know if you want to donate that nasty old Mavic hub/MA40 wheelset to charity. I hear the fbagatelleblack foundation does wonderful work and they accept all types of donations.

;)

- fbagatelleblack
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
you wouldn't want those wheels, I noticed the other day that the rear axle is slightly bent :D actually I'm on a mission to see if I can blow out the sidewalls. they have worn to the point where they are completely silver :rolleyes: maybe I should take some lye to the tops of the rims for that "all silver" look?
 

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Well here is another thought. It's worth what you paid for it. I too came back after many years off. I even got a set of the Mavic K's that I'll probably e-bay soon. It depends if you're racing or just riding around. I'm not racing, and I bought all the new stuff when I started riding again. It was nice to see what all the newfangled things are like, but over time I'm returning to steel frames and getting rid of all the black/carbon/high tension stuff. But again, it's all so good it's just what you like.

Why not just rebuild your old hubs with some butted DT spokes and some mavic open pro rims. Go with clinchers unless you're racing. Tires came a long way. My thoughts on the new wheels are that they are probably faster if you're fast enough to take advantage of any aero benefits from the flat spokes and rims, but the trade off is that if a spoke breaks you're out of business. The tension is so high because there are so few spokes that if one goes, that thing is going to go way out of round. Also, the rims are pretty heavy, since there are so few spokes. On the other hand, the wheels are very impressive in their strength, so many people never have any problem. My Ksyrium Elites have been perfectly true for about 3K miles, and I got them used. On the other other hand, I never have problems with conventional wheels either, and you can repack the hubs whenever you want to for a nickel. Do some searching, and you'll see the pros and cons.

I'm glad I tried out all the new stuff, so I know what it's like, but it's just not my style. YMMV. Welcome back to riding.
 

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This thread strikes close to home

The brake surfaces on the surviving rear rim of my commuter, a Wolber Super Champion Modele 58, renowned at the time to be one of the strongest you could get, are in a fairly advanced stages of cratering. So I'm wondering, aren't standard 36 spoked, box section rims, with brass grommets in the eyelets, still available? For example:

http://www.bikepro.com/products/rims/campy.html

I put on a pair of Lambdas, pictured in the above link, on a pair of 36 spoked hubs to keep my favorite ride, my "racing bike" going. It has 126mm spacing, and I run friction shifters and a 6 speed freewheel, also still available. After 10 years of some pretty hard riding, the rim brake surfaces haven't cratered a bit, and they're still dead true since the last time I tensioned the spokes, about 5 years ago.

Heck, why not just put some nice Mavic or Campy or Ambrosio retro looking ("touring") rims, one on a 126 mm spaced hub of your choice, with nice, strong 14 gauge stainless steel spokes, and brass nipples that won't round off when you try to build up the wheel, or break later on a bad bump, then go for another 40,000 miles? They'd be alot stronger and maintenance free than these trick looking lightweight hoops. Not only that, but they'll probably ride better, too. They won't flex on ya in accelerations, climbing, or high speed descents around tight switchbacks. Ever notice how many pros still ride the TDF on 32 spoked wheels?

Like fbagatelle says, stay retro. If you want to hang with the boys next summer, get a cheap aluminum-carbon bike with those cheap, featherweight wheels--or take short pulls!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I have 2 other wheelsets. 36 hole Campy Victory Strada Tubulars (light rims) with American Classic Hubs (15 gauge DT with standard steel nipples) and Araya Red Label 36 hole tubular with Mavic hubs (15 gauge DT with standard steel nipples). Both those sets are very reliable and dead true(guess who built them :). So I've got 3 sets of 36 hole rims, I just want to go 28 and experiment with radial lacing (all my current are 3X I believe, maybe even 4X). Also I have alloy nipples on my mountain bike rims, if the threads are lubed properly on the spokes/nipples and the wheels are built right you should not have a problem with stripping alloy nipples (assuming you use a high quality spoke wrench like the park). I guess I just want to spend some money on bike gear since its been a while and there are no rocks to climb in ohio. Now I just need to find a set of 28 hole hubs for a freewheel.
 

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>>>1. Vintage pair of 28 hole hubs (since I need the 126mm rear spacing) - I'm assuming this will be freewheel and not cassette. I haven't been able to find any so far - any suggestions on where to look? I've only seen 32 and 36 hole.<<<

I've had very good luck with an Ebay vintage parts seller.He was even able to come up with a pristine , factory packaged NOS pair of ancient Shimano Dura Ace EX gum brake hoods.I'd been casually but regularly looking elsewhere for them for nearly 10 years.
Currently he has several sets of NOS Ofmega Competizione 28 hole hubsets for about $60 /set. Ofmega is good stuff.
His eBay store link is-

http://stores.ebay.com/Banana-Brains-Vintage-Cycling-Shop



>>>2. Some 28 hole tubulars (any recommendations on modern light 28 hole tubulars?).<<<

I'm partial to the Ambrosios and Torellis(Ambrosio made).Their rims seem to come out rounder and truer from the factory than the more common brands and with a low 28 spoke count , you haven't much tensioning leeway to pull an out-of-perfectly-round rim into true,that is, if you want a reliable wheel.

>>>3. Can I use bladed spokes?<<<
>>>4. Some 15/16/15 double butted spokes and alloy nipples.<<<

I probably wouldn't do so myself as it usually requires elongating the hub holes. It can be done tho. I prefer the butted spoke/alloy nipple solution.



>>>I'll lace front radially, rear freewheel side 2X cross, and rear non freewheel side radially.<<<

I'd go with 3X on the freewheel side myself, particularly if you're a bigger guy or a masher.Less chance of breaking pulling spokes and not that much more material weight than 2X.


>>>The icing on the cake will be some high end and light tubulars.<<<

One word- Veloflex. the company name may be new to you but it has it's roots with the 'real' Vittoria .The ride and quality of their tyres, both clincher and tubular, are second to none.

Have fun.

Best,
Ken
 

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Radial spoking.

Well, call me retrogrouch, but I'm a little dismayed at the standardization of radial spoked front wheels on mid to high end roadbikes. Back in the early 80s, most rims and hubs weren't considered strong enough to handle radial spoking reliably. The standard wisdom, stated by Jobst Brandt among others, was that radial spoked wheels were more aero than cross three, a bit lighter, and stiffer, and therefore faster. So they were suitable for TT bikes. But they didn't handle road shocks very well, so weren't considered very durable for general use. Radial spokes made the wheel so stiff, it couldn't absorb impacts. It wouldn't flex, like a cross three would, so spokes would break easily.

Can't fault you for getting bored with 36 spoked wheels. Me too. I'd love to go to 32x3, or 32 rear and 28 front, with my next set of wheels, if I can find a 126 mm freewheel threaded rear hub, like you. Have you tried Classic Rendezvous or Loose screws? 32 would probably be easier to find than 28 or 24. I guess some of those high flange track hubs could handle those low spoke counts okay, but builders shied away from low counts, afraid of spokes pulling out of the hub flanges. I haven't heard many stories like that recently, maybe because the stuff is stronger--or expectations are lower.
 

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Friction_Shifter said:
I do remember those cannondale ads. Sounds like I won't be able to spread to 130mm and that a modern rear wheel is out of the ? (what is the width of the current rear hubs anyways? Is it 130mm or bigger?). So what are my best options for 126mm? Is that freewheel only or would it include 7 speed cassette? what about 8 speed cassette? Can I get anything less than 28 holes with 126mm spacing? Sounds like I'll be looking for a needle in a haystack....or is a 28 hole Mavic GEL280 laced 2X gonna be about the lightest I'll get. What about lacing that radially(to use shorter spokes and thus save weight) for the rear wheel....bad idea (for strength reasons)? thanks!
Current road hubs are 130mm. Alloy frames should not be sprung or cold set to a different spacing as they will fail. Steel is the only material that you can do this with. This is the main reason replaceable mech hangers were introduced, as you cannot straighten an alloy hanger.

GEL280's! I had a pair on my Pegoretti when I first built it up 5 years ago. They were built by one of the best builders I've ever know under duress. He spent a year trueing them on what seemed to be a fortnightly basis! They're not designed with the tensions that you get on cassette hubs. For reliable & light tubular rims try Ambrosio Crono's. They're about 350ish grammes but are much more robust. My builder only sees my wheels when I've had a crunch! Oh and I commute through London on them!
 

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Wheel weights have gone up

Friction_Shifter said:
Back when I was really into cycling (86-90ish) the "top of the line/lightest" was perhaps some Mavic GEL280's tubulars with 28 spokes, radially laced front, 2X rear, double butted spokes (15/16/15?) and alloy nipples. Boy has wheel technology changed! What was top of the line back then, is quite heavy to today's standards I'm guessing (comments?).
Nope - wheels are a part of the bicycle that have increased in weight since those days (other parts that are now usually heavier are brakes and shifters, and in many cases deraileurs as well).

Wheel weights have gone up for 4 reasons: 1. The lightweight rims of yester-year were generally fairly shallow (<20 mm), and the trend today is for deeper, more aerodynamic rims. But the deeper rims require more material, and so are heavier; 2 - The modern trend is to use fewer spokes than yester-year, and fewer spokes means stiffer, heavier rims for equal strent and durability; 3 - Lightweight, flexible rims can not take the greater right/left spoke tension differential required for highly dished 8/9/10spd wheels, so rims have gotten heavier to tolerate the larger tension differential; 4 - For equal strength and durability, tubular rims are lighter than clincher rims, but now clinchers are now the norm (even for racing bikes).

There used to be several manufacturers of 280 gram aluminum racing rims (Mavic, Super Champion, Fiamme, Saavedra, etc.), but sub-300 gm aluminum rims have all disappeared. The only rims approaching these weights now are (shallow) carbon rims, but even these are not common and tend to be very expensive and special purpose.
 
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