Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Wheel Issues on the Raleigh Sports

I totally slacked off on regular maintenance of Ginger's 1972 Raleigh Sports. Ginger told me that the brakes were squealing so I threw the bike up on the repair stand. Once it was on the repair stand, I realized that the wheels were badly out of true. Upon closer inspection I found that some of the spokes were frighteningly loose. One of them was even broken! I pulled off the front wheel with the broken spoke and tossed it aside and then trued up the rear wheel as best I could. My old man has several old Raleigh Sports rigs and he came to rescue with a temporary replacement wheel. So now Ginger's machine is back on the road, which is nice. Though I have to confess that I totally forgot to fix the squealing brakes.

Now I'm torn on how to proceed. As I see it, I've got three options:

  1. Replace the front wheel with a used or new wheel
  2. Pick up a donor bike from around the same vintage and pilfer the wheels from it
  3. Re-lace the original wheels
All three options have their advantages. Option 1 is probably the path of least resistance. It's pretty easy to find brand new 26 x 1 1/3 wheels for a good price. And I'm sure there are plenty on eBay and/or Craigslist. But most of the bike is completely original, so I kind of hate to do this.

Option 2 is slightly more intensive, but not much. And it still entails replacing the original equipment with non-original, which would totally suck.

Option 3 is the most attractive, but it's the most expensive (I would need to invest in a good truing stand and tension meter) and time consuming (I've never built or re-laced a wheel before). At the same time, building wheels is something I've been interested in trying my hand at. And a decent truing stand would be a pretty solid investment for someone who works on six bikes of my own, plus my friends' bikes when they need a hand.

The jury's still out on how I'm going to handle this. But I'll have to do it soon, because my dad's going to want that wheel back eventually.

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