Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Cycling is ridiculously fashion driven

For the last 10 years or so, my preferred rim is the Velocity Aerohead rim. It's a very light rim for its strength, at 425g. It builds up very nicely and is very straight. In fact, it's so straight that my "tell" for knowing when I'm done truing a wheel is that the seam in the rim is what's touching the truing stand probe.

The corresponding rear rim is the Aerohead OC (420g) with an off center spoke bed that lets you build wheels with nearly equal spoke lengths, reducing the number of lengths of spokes you have to carry while on tour. Unfortunately, the Aerohead OC is no longer being produced, and in fact is being blown out by Velocity's on-line store at half price.

This immediately put me in a bind. The 36h rims are hard to find as it is, and with the Aerohead OC going out of production, I pretty much will have to stock a life time supply if I want to keep using the wheels I have. Since the double-butted wheelsmith spokes I have are also no longer in production (fortunately I had quite a number of spares left over from building my current wheels), I've now been officially orphaned. By the way, in case you're wondering, the cheapest and easiest to use tool for measuring rim wear is the Iwanson Dental Gauge Caliper. It sells for $5.70 on Amazon, and is perfectly shaped for going around the hook bead and measuring the inner and outer wall of the braking surface.

I asked around as to why the rim was no longer produced. The answer is that in recent years cyclists have gone to wider and wider tires. The replacement A23 rims are not just more expensive, but also have a wider distance between the hooks. This leads to increased weight (25g more). If I were building wheels today there's no question that I'd go with a rim that's going to be in production for a while, but it just goes to show how fashion driven cycling is. There's no reason you can't mount a 28mm tire on the Aerohead/Aerohead OC. It's just change for the sake of change, but it sure sells!

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