Entries tagged with “mechanical disc brake”.


Following my wee altercation with a traffic hump, I found myself in need of a new wheel and saw an opportunity. My Norco Volante has disc brake mounts on the frame but came fitted with V-brakes and I have long wanted to change this. As I happened to have a set of MTB Avid BB 7 Mechanical sitting in a cupboard (which I bought by mistake for the Genesis Croix de Fer rebuild project), this seemed the ideal opportunity to use them.

Of course there was the small matter of the front forks which were not disc brake compatible. Cue a rather long search for a 700c fork with mounts for disc brakes. This turned out to be more difficult than I had expected it to be, every time I found a suitable alloy or steel fork, I also found that it had just been discontinued and was no longer available. So I started to look for a carbon fork at a reasonable price and was fortunate to find a Kinesis DC19. So next up were the wheels themselves, I started out by looking around for the best prices on the hubs and rims, with the aim for having them built locally the way I did last time, but then I was pointed towards the Laufrad Konfigurator on Poison Bikes.

This is a great site if you have a little German (or a native speaker to translate to hand). The Laufrad Konfigurator, or Wheel Configurator, gives you a really simple way to choose the component parts for your new wheel(s), they then do the building and send them to you, from order to delivery takes about 10 days. The initial price of the component parts doesn’t look a great deal, but there is no charge for the building. So even after the €10 charge for delivery to the UK, they still work out cheaper than if I were to buy the individual parts at the best prices I can find online and have the wheels built locally. If you are thinking of trying this for yourself, here are a few handy hints:

  • the wee green symbols to the left of the wheels are the types of brakes
  • Step 1: Choose the rim
  • Step 2: Select the hub (choose from a variety of hubs, hub gears and hub dynamos)
  • Step 3: Select the spokes
  • Step 4: Select the type of nipples you want (note aluminium or Prolock nipples will extended delivery time by about 2-3 days)

Also a few quick translations:

  • Cyclocrosser = x-bike
  • Rennräder = road bike
  • Felgenbremsen = rim brakes
  • Diskbremsen = disc brakes
  • Felgen = rim
  • NabeVR = front hub
  • NabeHR = rear hub
  • Speichen = spokes (Silber = silver, Schwarz = Black)
  • Nippel = nipples (Messing = brass)

OK, so now you are already to order. Actually I am a wee bit surprised that no one has thought to offer this service in English.

When it came to configuring the new wheel set, I decided that, instead of getting the new set for the Norco, I would swap the wheels off the CdF onto the Norco, then configure a wheel set with a slightly wider rim for the CdF. The thinking behind this is that as the CdF project is intended as a touring/general bike, having a wider tyre than the current 28c GatorSkins would give greater flexibility. The current Mavic Open Pro rim allows for tire widths between 23mm to 32mm, but I don’t need a tire narrower that 28mmm, so changing to a Mavic A 119, would give a width choice of 28mm to 47mm. Also, with both bikes now using the same braking system, I can swap the wheels between them (although this would mean swapping cassettes at the same time). The final spec of the wheels I had built is here

Rims: Mavic A 119 (black) 536g each (tbc)
Spokes: LRS DT Competition (Black) 192g 32 pcs. (tbc)
Spokes Nippels: LRS DT brass (Black) 32g 32 pcs. (tbc)
Front Hub: Sram X.9 Disc 184g (tbc)
Rear Hub: Sram X.9 Disc 396g (tbc)
Rim tapes: Velox Fond de Jante 16g each (tbc)

The wheels didn’t come with rim tape as I had missed the Zubehör für dieses Produkt (Accessories for this product) button below the main configuration, I hadn’t seen the option to add rim tape (or order tubes, tyres, cassette, etc.), so I just reused the rim tape of the wheel set I was decommissioning. I also recycled the Continental GatorSkin, but as these tyres have seen over 5,000 Km of hard use it is a shame I missed the opportunity of getting new tyres at a competitive price.

Note if you were to order an extras with the wheels there can be mounted for you, but only on request, that is what the “Kassetten oder Bereifung wird auf Wunsch montiert muss aber im Textfeld „Weitere Hinweise für die Bestellannahme“ angeben werden” (Cassette or tyres will be mounted on request, if indicated in the text field “Additional Notes for the Order Entry”) bit at the bottom of the info is about.

All in all, I can recommend buying wheels by using the Poison Bikes Laufrad Konfigurator.

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Time for a update on my bike build project (based on the frame of a 2009 Genesis Croix de Fer), in the last part I talked about spec-ing up the wheel set. Well, the wheels are now built and I just thought I would re-visit the subject with a wee bit of hindsight, not that I have any regrets. It’s just that a discussion I had with Steven (who gave me the frame in the first place) has set me thinking about it some more.

When I drew up the specification for the wheels which I have now had built, I considered a range of rim options. Looking back at them now, I am not sure why I came to the conclusion that the Alex TD17 (Disc) is possibly the best rim for my purpose, this would give me a choice of tire widths from 25mm to 37mm, suits my just fine. Looking again the Alex XD-Lite (Disc), which was part of the original specification, thiswould be also have been a good choice, as it has a tire width range of 28mm to 40mm, and is also lighter at 470g. Maybe I was swayed by the TD17 having an “Anti-Snake bite” design, but I think it was more to do with the narrower internal width. Either way, it is academic, as Alex rims are almost impossible to source in the retail market. Also, I think my final choice of Mavic Open Pro rims is also good for my purposes, even if the tire width range of 23mm to 32mm is a little narrow.

Moving on to the hubs, as I am using Avid BB7 disc brakes, I immediately started looking for six bolt hubs, but could I have used centre lock hubs? Well, it was only after I had had the wheels built that I came across the Avid G3 centre lock rotor and started to wonder if using centre lock hubs could have been an option after all, but, is there any advantage to using centre lock over six bolt?

The main advantages of Centre Lock are:

  • Rotors are always centred on the hub
  • The hubs can’t be written off by a stripped bolt
  • Rotors are stiffer and less prone to bending
  • Rotors are easier and quicker to remove
  • Lighter hubs (about 20g)

The main disadvantages Centre Lock are:

  • The rotors tend to be slightly heavier (about 20g)
  • Limited availability of non Shimano rotors
  • Rotors tend to be more expensive
  • The need for a Centre Lock tool
  • Centre Lock hubs tend to be more expensive

So, at the end of the day you pays your money and makes your choice. I made mine and, having had my wheels built, I find that I have a wheel set that weighs in at 2.1Kg (without rotors fitted), which is no bad.

Next: Bike build project (part 4): Buying the bits.

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