Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Energy efficient rimless bicycle wheel with Sputnik hub?


I've always wanted to build a wheel, so I decided to remove the spokes from my flip-flop wheel that utilized a sew-up rim I've decided to abandon. As you can see from the photo, the outcome that our friend Kian is holding looks like Sputnik. He and his sister were laughingly incredulous that it had once even been a bicycle wheel!

I attempted to remove the fixed gear and single speed cogs before I launched in, but couldn't budge them. In my eagerness, I plunged forward with them intact only to discover I had a worse mess. I can't easily slip the spokes through the hub to remove them as the cogs are in the way. I can jam them through but likely ruining the threads in the process. Even if that worked, it would be trouble trying to thread new spokes through. And, after unscrewing the nipples, it is even more difficult to remove the cogs as there is no tire/rim on which to get some purchase.

The idea was to rebuild the wheel using a 650B rim so I'll get a more forgiving commuter bicycle, especially through the industrial zone and over rough railroad tracks. Also, the idea was to learn to build a wheel. Too bad I needed a lesson in unbuilding a wheel too.

So, off to the LBS where they can get a good laugh!

After that, hopefully less embarrassing updates on wheelbuilding coming soon.

Keep it Curious!



  1. Steve, I have a good book on wheel building that I could lend you. I haven't really done much of that since I built some touring bike wheels 16 years ago.

  2. That'd be great! Obviously, I could use the help!!