Over the winter, I rebuilt a spoked wheel that I had purchased as a replacement for the one that came on my Honda CB 550 K. The fact that I was able to get a complete set-up, made the job worthwhile, and I was able to fix it up at my leisure. Also, the fact that I could continue riding while I worked on it was key. So, I took the thing apart to its core, stripped to a rim, an empty hub and some spokes. I purchased sealed bearings, to fit where the stock ball bearing used to be. This is an improvement in technology that you can witness firsthand, and the company Alls Balls makes them specifically for this bike, in a handy kit, that gives you everything you need.
I went to work on the fun stuff, getting the hub sanded and buffed, making it look decent. The spokes were a shady pale of rust, so I decided to spray paint them black. Fact is, they get so much grime on them from the chain and road, that it seemed like I might as well help it along toward the color they would end up anyway. When I removed the spokes, I made sure to keep them together in their sets. There are slight variations in the spokes for this wheel, 20 of each, with slightly different angles at the hub end. I took a piece of scrap wood, drilled 10 holes into it, exactly the diameter of the spokes, and sat them into the wood, so that i could paint them around all 360 degrees.
I finally got around to installing the rebuilt wheel last night. I had procrastinated for a while, but it was actually painless. I figured the trip I am about to take to Vermont was the perfect excuse to get it done. The old one was pretty beat, with an incorrect brake plate, which I believe was causing some issues with the braking. Also, the rear tire was in need of replacement, so this was the perfect time to up the ante, on the safety front. The picture above shows the 2 wheels side by side. No question that time had taken its toll, and the dirt had become baked in. In fact, the sprocket side of the new one is not it’s best side, so the picture below shows what a little elbow grease can do…
The common wisdom is to make sure you take it easy on the new tire, for about the first 50-100 miles. That’s a long bit of riding on the streets of NYC. There is a film of substance on a new tire, that allows the manufacturer to pop the tire out of the mold easier. This substance, until it is worn off, acts like grease on the tire. Good times! So, I will heed the warning, and make sure that I test out the new feel, before I let confidence take sway, and I start cornering like I’m accustomed to.