Bah, humbug. On Thursday I thought I’d take another step in this bike-building process and replace the front wheel. I successfully removed it, found a wheel in better shape, checked that the diameter (note: DIAMETER. this will be important later in the story) was the same, and replaced three missing spokes. Then luckily there was inner tubing of the correct size lying around, so that went on. Easy peasy. Then the tire. WOW. My fingers are still sore from wrestling with it! It’s one of those things where it’s easy in the beginning, and as you get around to the ‘end’ of the circle there’s too little material stretched out over too much frame and you just have to pull and fight to get the last bit on.
It might have helped if I’d let all the air in the tube go first… whoops.
But finally it was done. Shiny. I go to put it onto the front fork… and the axle diameter is too big to fit into the slot. Ok, ok, bad luck but it can be fixed… first I try filing down the slot to make it wider, but that would’ve taken forever. So I removed the axle from the hub – bearings are disgusting, btw – and replaced it with the axle from the old wheel. Smart huh? Yes, it was smaller in diameter and it’s probably not good to have a wheel rattling around on a too-thin axle, but whatever! At least it’d fit on the fork.
…if only the hub wasn’t so long. I was too busy being relieved that the diameter of the wheel was correct to check if its hub was too long. Basically, the centre part of the wheel, where the spokes originate from, was too fat to fit between the two tines of the front fork.
Damn. It. All.
By this time I was pretty exhausted and I’d spent over 3 hours there by myself (mostly wrestling with tires), so I called it a day.
The ‘bike’ went in with two wheels, and left with one… what a sad evening. There’s a perfectly well-oiled wheel sitting in the basement right now, albeit with an incorrectly-sized axle.
The silver lining is that now I…
- Can remove and re-install a wheel
- Can remove and replace spokes
- Can put tubing and tire on a wheel
- Know what the inside of a hub looks like (ew)