So the bike shop rang today, my wheels were all trued up and ready for collection. Somewhat nervously I pitched up and asked the guy what he made of them. “I was really impressed” he said, “you got the valves in the right place, spokes symmetrical on both of them, they pull in at the join and all in all they’re really good” So I think that’s an A+ for my wheelbuilding then! Either that or he’s impressed with how much I’ve spent in the shop lately…
All that remained was to buy some rim tape, and the wheels are all complete save for tyres and tubes. To put the rim tape on I fashioned a little tool by cutting the valve out of one of the inners I blew apart a few months ago. This keeps the valve hole of the rim tape in place as you apply it to the rest of the rim. I took care to have the tape maker’s name read right-way-up from the freewheel side, just because I can.
Rims: £38 (pair)
Spokes and nipples: £46 for 74 of each
Trueing, rim tape, spoke key etc: £42
Total cost: HOW MUCH???!!! (About £145, not including freewheel)
Well, that’s quite a dent in my wallet. Still, I have some great new wheels, and I’m quite sure that not even the most high-end rims, hubs and spokes could give a better feeling than riding on wheels I’ve personally built with my own bare hands.
At this stage in the post I’m supposed to dutifully umm and ahh about tyre choices, but there’s really no debate to be had. There’s only one tyre I’m going to put on these wheels: Continental Grand Prix Classic. It’s a retro-looking version of Conti’s modern Grand Prix tyre range, and it comes in 25c and errr… that’s it. The bike had 25c tyres on 17mm rims, so there may be a small adjustment to make when I first try out these tyres on the 13mm rims on the new wheels.