Category Archives: DIY

Presta? No Problem / R.I.P. Old Wheelset

My new Shimano-hubbed Sunrim Cr-18 wheelset arrived the other day, and to my chagrin – it’s not drilled for Schrader valves, but presta valves (those tall, thin metal ones with threads). Nothing is wrong with presta valves – in fact they actually retain air better at high pressures – but the availability of tubes for wider tires is somewhat limited.

So what does one do to remedy this problem, short of replacing the rims? Well, you drill the valve holes out, of course. Presta valves are 6mm wide, with a 6.4mm (1/4in) valve hole. In contrast, Schrader valves are 8mm wide, and have an 8.3mm (21/64in) valve hole. Luckily for me, the Cr-18 rims are wide enough to accommodate this wider hole; don’t try drilling out thin rims, or those rims with a strongly arched profile, or you may end up weakening the rim significantly.

Flat profile rims; its easily drillable. 

 Select a few dill bit sizes for stepped drilling – this will prevent the bits from binding and ruining the rim. I chose 3 bits: a 7/64in bit, a 9/32in bit, and of course the 21/64in bit.

If there is already rim tape, peel it back with a tire lever and commence drilling. Once done, it should be noticeably larger:

 File off the burrs in the metal to prevent punctures, and the job is done.

Then try fitting in a Schrader valve tip, just to check to see if it all fits in neatly. If you have trouble getting in the valve, try making sure the hole was drilled straight, or possibly go for the slightly larger 11/32in bit.

 Now that I’ve drilled out these new rims, I’m all set to replace the old wheelset. The old Shimano/Araya combo has conducted me very “wheel” over the past 5000km and 5 years, and supported another 5000km or so for the 13years before that. 10 000kms and 18 years later, though, it is time to move, lest something *does* in fact break during our Italian trip.

R.I.P.

Araya Wheelset: 1994-2012 
$10 Craigslist sale, anybody?

Here are the new beauties: I’ve finally made the switch over to 8 speeds and double walls.

Trangia Lighting Procedure

A brief follow-up: using my homemade soup-can pot stand, the lighting instructions:

1. The stove and stand are set out. In cold weather, the stove is
set on a plastic soft drink lid to insulate against the ground. 

2. The lid is remove, and the burner is lit. The pot stand is then
carefully placed over the burner. 

3. Wait approximately 30 seconds to let the burner ‘bloom’; the
 flame must come out of the burner’s holes. Often, an audible ‘pop’
noise will signal that the flame has bloomed, and the stove is warmed  up.

4. Now, the stove is ready to cook food! 

5. Unlike ready-made cooksets, this DIY pot stand must be removed
with a pot gripper before the stove can be extinguished. Once the hot
pot stand is removed, the Trangia’s lid is dropped
over the flame to extinguish it. 

"Tandem"

Lets get to the picture first:

I’m on the left; O’Malley is on the right. Pay no attention to
the photo-bomber in the back. 
Explanation: With the parts removed from my old blue GT Vantara frame, it was simply sitting around, and with a rusted chain stay that proved troublesomely flexible on the Peugeot UE-8 frame of my friend  (the “$33 Touring Bike” ), we thus decided to swap all of his parts over the Vantara. 
I am lending the GT frame to my pal (under the condition that he guard it well), and so was stuck with figuring out how the get the Peugeot frame home with him riding on the other bike frame. Quite quickly, this freak was born. First, the front wheel was removed from the Peugeot, and the rear chainstays (which, remember, were too flexible) were bent to fit the front hub. The front wheel was slipped onto the back of the frame, and the fork was zip-tied through its eyelets to the other bike’s rack. A bungee cord was added for good measure. 
It worked; he got home safe and sound, with both frames. 
The Vantara, interestingly enough, is able to use old 27″ wheelsets, even though it has cantilever brakes and is designed for 700c. By adding a a thick washer to both sides of the rear hub, we were even able to adapt it from 126mm to fit the Vantara’s 130mm rear spacing. Worked like a charm. Too bad the same couldn’t be said about the Peugeot’s front wheel – the “French Standard” 90mm front hubs from back in the day never work with any new frames (which are 100mm). The bolts and quick release are always too short, nor would I really want to add washers if I could, and possibly jeopardize the front’s handling. 
Technically, it is still a $33 dollar touring rig, with a loaned ~$70 frame (the front wheel is lent also!). But don’t  let that fool you! Decent, non-rusty, frames can be had all around for free, and just a few will give you all the parts you need to build a cheap touring-ready steed. For any Torontonians out there, I recommend “Bike Pirates“, and even better still is the “Community Bicycle Network“. These guys sell quite a few complete old bicycles for cheap, and have used parts from derailleurs to BBs to handlebars for only a few dollars each, so you too can build up an entry-level rig.