Spokes – 21 Mar 2016.

My new spokes and nipples arrived. I had foolishly thought that I could cheat and just change the nipples and tighten everything up. I should have known it couldn’t be that easy! The replacement spokes are not exactly the same.

The threads are different and the thicker, butted part of the spoke is longer.

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You can see in the last photo that the original spoke has been cut. I had tried to drive the old spoke out of the hub by hitting it at the correct angle. I tried large amounts of heat as well as soaking the parts in dismantling fluid. They moved a bit but no more. I spent time knocking them back and forward but, in the end the spokes got bent.

I put the wheel in the car and visited my friend Bunny for advice and moral support. We sawed through the spokes so that we could bash the thick section with drifts inserted through the rim spoke hole. It took some time but we got them out. In the process another spoke nipple let go and a third spoke had to be extracted.

Back in my workshop I fitted the new spokes with out difficulty. I then went around all the remaining spokes, slackening them off then re-tightening them the same amount to make certain that no more were about to give up the ghost.

The three new spokes are the ones with brown tape on. There are no bent spokes but there is some photographic distortion.

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I mounted the wheel in a borrowed stand and tightened the new spokes so they “rang” like all the others. Lo and behold, the wheel is now straight. That was remarkably painless.

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I’ve kept the one broken spoke set so that I have a pattern when I search at shows. It would be good to get some original type nipples given that I have four wheels like this.

It looks like the cause of the broken nipples was corrosion. It has been suggested that use of an acid cleaner can do this as it’s near impossible to wash it out properly.

This morning I got the tyre refitted. I didn’t even bother to try to do it myself this time. The wheel was back in by lunch time and ready to go.

This afternoon I went out for a 40 mile “shakedown” ride, calling in on Pete who painted the tank and toolboxes back in June 2014. I had expected to have Rhino back on the road this time last year but my crash and the purchase of The Fire Bike put things back.

I had set out with pockets full of spanners and nuts and bolts “just in case”. This proved to be a good idea as the gear lever dropped off the back of the gearbox in Lampeter high street. I emptied my pockets but couldn’t find a 10mm spanner so had to invest £1 in one from the local cheapo shop.

Other than that, all seems to be good. The bike goes really well. However, I’m showing some mechanical sympathy and not giving it “the berries” while there are still new engine parts to be run in.

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