Why? is much better without Hope!

Why?Bike’s new wheels arrived earlier this week. After much deliberation I’d ordered Deore LX hubs built onto Rigida Snyper rims by Andrew at Spa Cycles. Why?Bike is meant as my expedition tourer, ready and waiting for my mythical round the world tour so I had considered going for the bombproof Sputnik rims but eventually decided that these were probably overkill for my relatively light weight. When I bought my Roberts I was advised to buy a bike designed for the sort of riding I was actually doing rather than the sort of riding that I imagined I might do one day! I decided this was good advice for wheels as well – Why? is mostly used for riding to work, going out in the rain and the odd bit of rough stuff. I’d already taken the decision to use lighter tyres so I didn’t want to buy unnecessarily heavy wheels. Logically I suppose I should remove the front carrier that I never use but I do like to maintain that expedition ready look! On a wet Monday morning a huge box arrived.

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I’d forgotten just how nice rims look before they come into contact with brake pads! The contrast between the amount of metal on the flange of these compared to my defunct Hope hub is quite striking.

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Nice chunky flange

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Only half the size

The marks on the Shimano hub are just tiny flecks of cardboard from the packaging. The marks on the Hope hub are yet more cracks! I sent the old hub to ‘Brucey’ from the CTC forum who wanted it for spares. He said it was the worst cracked hub he had ever seen!

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Yet more cracks

I hadn’t been idle while waiting for the wheels – I’d been busy cleaning, polishing and spending money! I had previously been running Schwalbe Marathon 26 x 1.5 tyres on this bike but I didn’t really like them. The ride felt heavy and dead and the puncture resistance wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. In fact mile for mile these tyres were getting more punctures than the the much lighter tyres on my Roberts. The problem seemed to be the size of the tread which allowed large pieces of flint to become embedded. They were also hard work to get on and off. They had to go. I ordered a pair of Panaracer Paselas. I’ve only done about 60 miles on them so far but they have transformed the quality of the ride, they feel light and fast. They look great too!

I was still using the saddle that came with the bike – a women’s Brooks Team Pro. It was well broken in to someone else’s shape but always felt too short to me. This is a very compact frame with a very short top tube. I felt the saddle needed to be further back but the rails were too short to allow this. I intended to get a standard B17 but when a virtually new B17 Special came up for sale on the CTC forum I couldn’t resist. I did manage to sell a saddle I’d never liked to help fund the purchase!

New wheels clearly called for a new cassette and chain! I did think this was a bit of an extravagance until I put a chain checker on the chain and realised that it was quite stretched. Now I could spend more money without feeling guilty! My original cassette was an 8 speed 11-26 which meant there were some quite big jumps between gears. The chainset is 46/34/24 so the gearing is quite low but I still almost never used the 11 or 12 sprocket. It was a bit of a gamble going for a 13-26 cassette but it has given me closer gears and I’ve not yet missed the higher gears. High speed descents aren’t my thing!

So, cassette on rear wheel, tyres on both wheels, wheels on bike, chain on, front mech cable tightened so it no longer rubs. But what’s that horrible rattling noise? Oops! I’ve not threaded the chain through the rear mech properly!

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Spot the deliberate mistake!

That was soon rectified. A quick test ride confirmed that everything is working as it should. There is only one problem. This was meant to be my bad weather bike but now she looks too nice to go out in the rain and get dirty!

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Ready to go round the world!

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Well, down the road anyway!