Prepping a Wheel

Kuroko with a new generator hub

I had a couple of spare hours this morning while the sun was shining and the day warming up, so it was time to prep the new front wheel. For the upcoming Lejog ride, I want a generator hub that will let me not only have lighting on demand, but also recharge my phone and GPS as I’m riding. The top-rated generator in the business is SON, and I was lucky to find that the maker of Kuroko’s original (highly rated) wheels offered the same model with a SON generator hub.

The wheel arrived very quickly, about three days after I’d ordered it, but the promised accessories were missing. I contacted Hunt and they quickly agreed to send them along. Meanwhile I’d bought a brake disc to match the original, as well as a rim strip, innertube and tire. I waited a couple of weeks for the accessories to arrive, and it was only then that I made a discovery or two:

  • The SON hub takes a centerlock disc, and the disc I’d purchased was a 6-bolt model (matching the existing disc)
  • The accessories included an adapter to use a 6-bolt disc with the centerlock hub, but didn’t include the locking ring (or the wrench necessary to secure that)
Rim strip
Rim strip

So everything was delayed another day or two while I got all the missing bits. In the end I got an adapter kit very reasonably which included the adapter, screws, washer and locking ring for the price of the locking ring itself.

While I was waiting for the last bits to arrive, I got the wheel out of the box, pulled off the protective vinyl and installed the rim strip. It went on very easily (easier than rim tape), and it only took me two tries to get the hole aligned with the valve hole in the rim.

Rim tape installed and aligned
Rim tape installed and aligned

Once the (final) additional bits had arrived, I set everything out and made a few trial fittings. This is when I discovered I was better off going with the adapter and related parts I’d bought than the ones provided by Hunt: the set I’d bought included countersunk bolts which cleared the locking ring. I set the wheel on one of the cardboard inserts from the box it had arrived in to protect the floor and got started.

Disc and adapterAdapter installed on hub
[L] Disc and adapter [R] Adapter on hub

No grease on these bolts — we don’t want grease getting on the brake pads. Instead, they come coated with Locktite.

Washer and bolts in placeWe don't need no torque wrench!
We don’t need no stinkin’ torque wrench!

With the adapter snugged down and the washer in place, the last step was to add the locking ring and tighten it using the wrench designed just for this one purpose.

Tightening the locking ring
Tightening the locking ring

If I could walk that way …

WTB tire and Conti tube
WTB tire and Conti tube

With the brake disc now ready, I turned my attention to installing the innertube and tire. In fact, these rims and tires can be run tubeless, but when I asked the shop to set Kuroko up that way originally, I got an earful of very rapid but polite Japanese to the effect that I would be in big trouble when I had a puncture and was 50km from civilization. I’ll be carrying a spare tire on Lejog, and now that I’ve verified the Conti is the right size tube, I’ll be carrying a few of those as well.

In the past I’ve always prepped tubes by smearing a bit of talcum powder on them by hand, but yesterday I watched a video from a professional mechanic who recommended putting some talcum in a vinyl bag with the tube and giving them a good shaking, so that’s what I did.

Tube in bag with talcum
Tube in bag with talcum

Pretty well coated with talcum
Pretty well coated with talcum

With the tube prepped, I worked one bead of the tire over the rim, taking care to align the label with the valve hole. (It’s not just the mark of a pro: it makes it easier to find the valve.) The tire worked onto the rim pretty easily when I kept in mind the pro’s advice to knead the tire towards the center of the rim and in the direction of the remaining portion of the bead that needs to be gotten over the lip.

That accomplished, I pumped a bit of air into the tube and placed it inside the tire, starting with the valve and working around.

One bead on the rim, and innertube in place
One bead on the rim, and innertube in place

(I may have gone a bit overboard on the talcum, but at least that doesn’t hurt anything — right, J&J?)

All that remained was to work the final bead over the rim, kneading the tire, checking that it was well placed on the rim, and pushing towards the remaining portion. It was on before I knew it, and then I checked it was seated properly and filled up the tube. Done!

Filling the tire
Filling the tire

In the process, of course, I tightened the nut that holds the valve against the rim. I discarded the valve cap that came with the tube and used one of the aluminum ones I purchased to match Kuroko.

Kuroko with a new generator hub
Kuroko with a new generator hub

I’m still waiting on a couple of bits — regulating socket and battery for charging accessories — before I install the generator lights. Meanwhile, by getting the wheel out of the house I’ve reduced the goodie pile by a substantial amount. Most of what remains, besides the generator lights, is spares and tire patching kits — and a few tools I haven’t settled in yet. Anyway, Nana should be pleased with the change.

Schwag pile before installation
Schwag pile before installation

Lights, spares and patching kits
After: lights, spares and patching kits

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