Saturday, May 21, 2011


This week I was unlucky enough to have yet another crash (my third in 3 months), and while the resultant damage to my body was not too bad this time (just some minor road rash), the damage to the bike was, whilst visually small, very tricky to repair. See that hairline crack along the hub body in the above photo? It may not look like much, but it does in fact make the whole wheel loose, as well as rendering one of the spokes useless.

Now, obtaining a replacement hub for a Corima wheel in Hong Kong might sound like a bit of a tough task, but it was in fact quite easy, courtesy of the fact I have a spare Corima Winium rear wheel in the spare room. This is a left over from another crash where I wrote off the front wheel a couple of years ago in a minor collision with a car (the driver paid for the replacements). What proved to be much less easy was the process of getting the actual hub off the old wheel and re-lacing the new.

Given Mrs bikesandbuildings was off for a long yoga session and it was raining outside I thought a solid couple of hours wheelbuilding should do this. Little did I appreciate quite how much longer carbon wheels take to deal with. The all internal spoke nipples mean you can't see what you're doing, the hub requires the removal of the axle to remove the spokes, and the mix of radial and 3 cross lacing took a good 15 minutes of moleskin sketching to work out the lacing pattern and sequence.

Lastly, upon dismantling the existing deep section Corima, I discovered that none of the spokes really want to leave the rim. I managed to get the outer half of the two cross off in order to remove the hub, but in actual fact the re-lacing was a mix of rim to hub with the more conventional hub to rim.

I got there in the end with the lacing, but to use a car analogy, I tend to think of replacing a hub as a bit like replacing an engine, and replacing a Corima would seem a bit like replacing a rotary wankle engine. OK, I should probably stop writing about embedded nipples now...

4 hrs later, I still wasn't there with the tensioning of the spokes, and I must admit I'm not 100% confident I'll be able to produce a well tensioned wheel, as it'll be my first attempt at a 24 spoke carbon wheel, but nothing ventured nothing gained. And, if nothing else, I feel I have a better understanding of my equipment. Of course, there's something quite satisfying about building wheels, and any excuse to take something apart jn the living room and put it back together is always quite welcome in my book, if not the wife's.


  1. Eddy, you got to stay off the tarmac mate! I have all my tools in storage, or at least most of the specialty tools and I miss getting my hands dirty with the constant repairs necessary for MTB bikes. But hats off to you for attempting the fix on this wheel. I am sure you could teach most of the so called bike mechanics in HK a thing or two. Bob
    PS. I am enjoying the Scott CR1. I was leery about the tubeless wheels, but in fact love the ride with the tire pressure at 85. Bike is stiff, responsive and quite a good climber. They call it "plush" but I am not sure where they come off calling it that. Feels like I am on a full on race bike. But I guess my knowledge on these road bike issues is limited.

  2. Good to hear you're enjoying roadie tubeless Bob! And yes, dirt is a lot easier to fall on than tarmac... I'm hoping bad luck comes in 3's. And you are normally the first person to advocate not letting your fears get into your head- crashing is part and parcel, and something you have to accept. Same goes for trashed bike wheels... But equally I really hope that's me done for a while. The irony is that despite being quite hapless on the road, I seem to be riding quite well off road. So that'll probably be me in the ditch on my next ride...