Monday, August 23, 2010

Trek 520 Build - Part Five - Bad News Good News

This is Part Five of an ongoing series of posts documenting my painfully slow progress in building a light loaded touring bike. If you care to read the whole thing so far, use the "Post Series" link near the top of the sidebar.

I've only really "built" two bikes before this one, having only gotten back into bikes in the last ten years or so. As such, I lack the experience of some other crazy life-long bike wrenching fools. Unfortunately, it sometimes shows. In this case, it shows in that one of the wheels I found for this build was bad, in more ways than one. You may recall that the freewheel on my used wheels was a 12-19, which wasn't a good match for the triple crankset I chose or touring in general. In my post about the wheels, I described that freewheel as being in excellent condition. I am stupid. I recently picked up a 14-34 freewheel, and wanted to put it on. Here is what I discovered when I tried to remove the existing one:

Not good, but no biggie, right? Sheldon Brown had some instructions for removing such a freewheel. The method was destructive, but I was OK with that. Sadly, I was incapable of getting the damn thing off anyway. My guess is that the thing was seized badly and somebody else destroyed the tabs trying to get it off. I headed over to South London Cycle, more of a repair shop than anything else. The guy who runs it figured he could get the freewheel off somehow, but in spinning the wheel noticed a flat spot. I had noticed it too and thought it was correctable or at least not too bad. I was wrong. He suggested that it would be a waste of my money to have him remove the freewheel, because this was a flat spot I would feel for sure.

I was pretty angry with myself. Live and learn, I guess. The first thing I did was inspect the one remaining rim from the original bike. It was a front, but re-lacing it to be a rear was an option. It had a big flat spot too. I went online and started the search for a new rear wheel. Unlike the last time, there was NOTHING in the local (or even nearby) classifieds like craigslist or kijiji. Ebay and other online stores offered nothing used, and I was feeling reluctant to buy used stuff again anyway. The only reasonably available and good quality 27" wheel in production seemed to be a Sun CR18. The best deal I could find was $70 plus $30 shipping plus whatever they dinged me for at customs. I was sad.

It was a Sunday, and I couldn't reach any bike shops. Many smaller shops are also closed on Monday. I was pretty distressed and wanted to just run away. So I did. I caught the red-eye to London and hung out with Ham. I had to work, however, so I jetted back to London Ontario after chilling out and having a beer.

Tuesday was a good day, because I struck paydirt on my first try. First Cycleworks came through with an in-stock 27" CR18 wheel, aluminum hub, stainless spokes, etc. $62 after tax. Although I didn't make any more calls, I'm pretty confident nobody else would have had one and would have charged me more than that to get one.

So the bad news is that I am naive and too stupid to spot a bad wheel. The good news is that I was able to recover using my wallet and a LBS. I may well try to get a CR18 for the front as well... I'm into symmetry. The used front wheel I bought, however, really is perfect (I have checked and re-checked) so all is well for now.

Build $ Tally:

Used Frame + some parts I will re-use: $80
Used Wheelset front wheel: $100 (arg!)
Blasting of frame: $50
Powder Coating of frame: $50 (super deal)
Components from Part Four: $246
Taxes and Duties on shipment: $40
14-34 Freewheel: $22
New Rear Wheel: $62

TOTAL to date: $650

Yer Pal,



Steve A said...

Hmm. Makes me feel better about buying new 27 inch rims for $30. Hey, aren't inches illegal in Canada?


RANTWICK said...

I sometimes wonder if I just suck at finding good deals... one problem is that I am not patient when I want something.

Inches are still tolerated in Canada, largely because we share so many goods in common with the US. I don't know my height or weight in metric.

Unturing is what I'm doing with this bike and build.

Apertome said...

Crap like this is why I don't work on my own bikes much. I always run into problems like this, and then have to buy something new and/or pay the LBS for labor, undoing whatever savings I was hoping to achieve.

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