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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently came into possession of a pair of American Classic CR-420 wheels (2006) and am thinking about rebuilding the rear wheel after breaking a spoke. The rear wheel is 24 spoke, laced two-cross both sides, rounded 2.0-1.8-2.0 (DT Comp?) butted spokes on both sides.

The wheel is now detensioned and several nipples are nearly stripped, so I'm interested in replacing all spokes and nipples. I've built several wheelsets before that I use as daily riders without issue, but nothing below 28-spoke or lighter than Wheelsmith DB14 (2.0-1.7-2.0) on the rear. I weigh 125 lb and would ride these as daily wheels, on mostly smooth roads. Lots of climbing.

1. Spokes: Should I consider anything lighter than DB14 for the spokes? I do not want to use DT Revo on the rear, but should I consider Sapim Laser or Super Comp (or CX-Ray)? Another possibility would be Pillar triple butted (2.2-1.5-2.0).

2. Nipples: The current nipples are AC's proprietary extended head aluminum nipples. Is there any reason to try and source the same nipples? Anything I should look for as far as nipples, such as hex head? I'm inclined to rebuild with standard brass nipples for durability.

Any comments or suggestions are appreciated. I'm usually a proponent of handbuilts, but these wheels were a good deal so I'd like to get some use out of them. I have no preference for spoke manufacturer, having had no issues with Wheelsmith or DT in the past, but am also interested in trying Sapim.

Thanks for reading.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, but I'm not considering a hub replacement at this time. These wheels will go to back-up use once I get my next build together (XR-200/Formula), so I'm not interested in putting much more than spokes/nipples into it.
 

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American Classic hubs have very narrow flange spacing so the rear wheel will have more lateral flex than with using a better hub. They end up needing more mantainence to keep them true. The bearings are low end and usually need replacing pretty soon. The front bearings are so tiny that even high quality bearings do not last. You have to check the serial number to see if the rear was part of a recall.

You already have the wheels ready for a rebuild. You plan on replacing the spokes anyway. This is why I thought you should seek out better hubs. I have a set of those rims laced to Tune hubs and the wheels are excellent. I've built a lot of wheels with AC hubs any they cause more problems for the rider in the long run. Switching the spokes to Lasers or C-Xrays will make the rear wheel real whippy.

But hey, your mind is made up.

-Eric
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
ergott said:
But hey, your mind is made up.

-Eric
Actually, it isn't. I am aware of the durability issues with AC hubs, but would like to give it a go for just the investment in spokes. Due to the potential for hub issues, and based on your comments and others I've read, I've decided to go with lower cost and beefier spokes. Specifically DB14 all around, as I've had excellent results with my current handbuilts. Brass nips.

Hopefully I can still source the spokes from Oddsandendos.

Thanks for your input.
 

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I reread your OP and noticed you have another build planned. If you put the money you will spend on the other wheelset into a nice set of hubs here you will have a better set of wheels rendering that other set obsolete. The AC rims are great and you could use CX-Rays in the front and a mix of CX-Rays and Race spokes for the back wheel. That would be a better all around race/train wheelset than if you had both sets of wheels you are considering. I have the 420 rims built up and if it weren't for the fact that I usually prefer riding tubulars, I would ride that set of clinchers almost exclusively. Here's my build.

18 CX-Rays laced radially to a Tune Mig 45 front hub
24 spokes laced triplet to a Tune Mag 190 rear hub. There are 16 CX-Rays on the drive side and 8 Race spokes on the non-drive side.

The set is awesome in every way.





-Eric
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
I ended up rebuilding the wheel with Sapim Laser and Polyax brass nips (laced 2X both sides), and have had a solid week of riding on the rebuilt wheel, on my regular riding terrain. No noticeable flex and I dropped 39 grams in the process. Spokes/nips were purchased from Alchemy, very professional and super people to deal with.

I'd never trued anything lower than a 28-spoke wheel, and never spokes lighter than DB14, so this was an interesting exercise. I was a bit alarmed by the amount of wind up from the Lasers, but the build is holding true so far. No pings since riding the wheels.

I did find it a b*tch to get the dish spot on and laterally true to my satisfaction. To be honest, I've never spent so much time on one wheel, including several failed attempts to finish the wheel. I think I will stick with 28 spokes or higher for my own builds.

Overall, I'm satisfied with the spoke choice and intend to ride the rebuilt wheel for the remainder of the season.
 

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I have pwned a pair of AC 420's for 4 years and have put over 12,000 miles on them. I have never had any problem with them and I have been building wheels for 20 years. after they were purchased they needed a quick true at around 500 miles. They have not needed anything since. I did replce the bearings at around 8,000 miles, which were as easy as pie. I have also been using the micro front in or some variant for the past 12 years and although they are small bearing they last and roll smooth for a long time. They were actually in better shape then the rear after 8,000 miles.

As for flex......my weight varies between 180 and 165 depending on what part of the season it is and I haven't had any trouble with flex. I can throw a bike around a bit, too.

I'm surprised that you had a problem with dish. I find it easier to true dish and tension a wheel with fewer spokes then with more.

Good choice on spokes. Enjoy the ride!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Raymonda, good to hear that you have had a positive experience with these wheels.

I was thinking about ordering front/rear bearings as a precautionary measure, but I think I'll hold back on that until the bearings actually go.

Are your wheels built with 2.0-1.8-2.0 rounded spokes, or DT Revo or aero bladed spokes?

I broke a spoke after only my second ride since acquiring them, so I'm hoping for smooth sailing the rest of the way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
raymonda said:
Did you break a spoke at the elbow or was it at the nipple?
Mid-spoke, closer to the elbow.

I don't know whether it was a twig caught in the spokes, I just heard a loud ping and spent the next 30 minutes trying to true the wheel enough to get home (even with calipers wide open).
 
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