I have a spare front wheel I bought from Gumtree for 15 quid a while ago. It is laced to a Quando track hub but its 3/8 inch axle turned out to be too big for both my road bike and my singlespeed, so it has just been sitting in the corner gathering dust.
For the rear, I found an eBay shop selling a Raleigh Tru Build wheel (Omega rim) with an unbranded flipflop hub for just under 40 quid.
The rear wheel arrived yesterday and I could not wait to get my hands dirty. It involved two things I had never tried before:
- filing the front (steel) dropouts to fit the 3/8 inch axle
- removing the singlespeed freewheel from my old wheel do that I could install it on the new wheel
Filing the front dropouts
With a round metal file, I started filing the back (forward-facing) side of the dropouts. I was being very cautious at first, but I soon found out that I was not really taking any bit of metal off. With a bit more courage and a lot more patience, I finally managed to take off the 1mm needed to slot the front wheel in. Just remember to file each fork-end bit by but in turn to make sure that you don't accidentally take off too much on one side, and end up with a misaligned wheel!
Removing the freewheel
I borrowed the singlespeed freewheel removal tool from my friend. I have neither a vice or a workbench at home, so I had to resort to using a spanner. It turned out to be an absolute nightmare. Making sure that I got the direction right (anti-clockwise to undo), I kept whacking the spanner arm for 20 minutes until the freewheel came loose. Putting it on the new wheel was no problem, as the freewheel is meant to be self-fastening as you pedal.
I covered the spoke holes on both rims with Velox cloth tapes, and spaced out the rear hub with a couple of hardware-store washers on each side (being an old road frame, the rear end is 126mm wide, as opposed to 120mm). The chainline (pretty standard 42mm) ended up being pretty straight.
|Note the use of washers as spacers|
|Again using washers as spacers|