Remember all the problems I’ve been having with the rear wheel of my Raleigh Wayfarer? While the front wheel is a newly built one, the rear is original to the bike, one of the few things that’s been kept original. It’s a beefy old steel 40 spoke 26″ x 1 3/8″, built to last the ages. Apparently the ages is approximately 40 years. The wheel started to give me grief before the Cross-Con Tour when I broke a spoke. I simply had the offending spoke removed and the wheel trued as good as it could. When the Raving Bike Fiend was in town in January he replaced the spoke.
Things were good. For about two weeks.
Then I broke another spoke. Spoke replaced, wheel trued. I hoped it would hold for awhile, but it didn’t. It all went kablooey again on the Battle Ground Lake trip during the beginning of February. I knew that this wheel was toast. I could keep on replacing spokes, but I would most likely be doing that at a rate of once a week, and it wouldn’t stop until all the spokes got replaced.
But remember the poster I did for A Better Cycle for their sale? Well, I got commissioned to do this the Friday before Battle Ground Lake. For payment I would be getting credit for the shop. At first I wondered what I could get done. Maybe a new drivetrain on the Long Haul Trucker? It needs it. When the wheel on the Wayfarer gave me issues en route to Battle Ground, I knew what I was going to get: a rebuilt wheel!
So the dudes at the shop managed to find what was needed for the rebuild: a 40 hole CR18 rim. The CR18 is one of the few, if not only, rims made in the olden 26″ x 1 3/8″ (aka 650A, 590mm, or E.A.) wheel size–the standard size of most old British three-speeds and some American bikes of the mid-century. Finding a CR18 can be tough as they are in and out of stock, but they got one! The big advantage to the CR18 rim vs. the old steel one on the Raleigh is it is aluminum which is not only lighter but has superior braking power when wet.
I dropped off the bike on Monday and Wednesday I picked it up. And now I have a nice new rear wheel!
The Sturmey-Archer hub, of course, is from the old wheel. Can’t give that up!
There’s been a few other minor tweaks, like a new chain and a stabilizer plate for the rack mount so it would stop sliding downward into the brakes.
I really love this bike, and now I have a wheel that should last the ages. And the bike is near perfection for my needs. There’s a few things I’d still like to do, like get a better front light and maybe treat myself to one of those Linus racks. But otherwise this baby is “dialed in.”