Some of you know that I have been pondering what rear back wheel to build for a long time, because my old rear wheel isn’t cutting the mustard.
I have been crawling the net, forums, read tons of reviews, badgered friends about their set-ups, etc, for a long time. There is no simple answer: it depends on so many factors. Everyone I spoke to had tried, heard and experienced different things. The following are all things you need to take into account when considering the best wheel build to suit you: terrain, weight of the rider, weight of your luggage, spokes, hubs, rims,
tyres, and more!
From my hunting around I kept seeing Harry Rowland popping up. I read many accounts of him building the best touring wheels around, so I gave him a bell.
We had a good chat and I explained my needs and problems. Surprisingly, he told me that he wouldn’t recommend HOPE, Chris King and Phil Wood hubs as he had seen too many falling apart. He would happily build a wheel with a Royce hub for me, but still that was a bit too dear.
I have seen many cycle tourers using Shimano LX, cone and cup, rear hubs and they haven’t had big problems. “Steel is real,” as Harry said. I should only repack the bearings now and again, which I can do or get a LBS to do. He was sure that I would have many good miles on such a wheel. So, I went for it.
The back wheel has just arrived and it looks very nice and clean. I can see that it is Harry’s colleague, Pete Bayer, who built up a Shimano LX hub on a Rigida Sputnik rim for me for nearly half the price of the Royce hub. Let’s see how it bears up to commuting in London and the odd tour.
I also got hold of an extrawheel trailer to help in spreading the load in the hope that my rear wheel will last a bit longer.