The photograph above, minus the tri-spoke carbon number, could be of my collection of mismatched wheels. It is not a collection I prefer to have. But I have three odd wheels, courtesy of lumps of stone on the roads and “wheel catcher” drain gratings.
By lumps of stone on the roads, I mean stones like this, dropped from lorries transporting crushed rock from quarries or concrete ready-mix trucks. An all too common occurrence in Malaysia, as car owners with windscreens chipped or broken by stones thrown by vehicles ahead, can attest.
You could argue that I should see stones like this and avoid them. Many times this has been true. All it takes though is just a glance at say your bike computer, and “bang.”
The first rim I cracked by riding over a stone was a Boyd Cycling Vitesse.
Boyd Cycling has a crash replacement policy, as do many other wheel manufacturers. Terms and conditions vary, and some are more onerous than others. I bought the Vitesses direct from Boyd Cycling, and so was able to replace the damaged wheel at a discount. The only problem was that Boyd Cycling had discontinued the Vitesse and replaced it with the Altamont. Now my very first road bike has a Vitesse rear wheel and an Altamont front wheel. Read on for the story why.
I don’t think anyone has noticed the mismatched wheels. I must admit the Boyd name does stand out more than the Vitesse and Altamont labels.
The next victim of a loose stone on the road was a one-month old Fulcrum Racing Zero Competizione. The Racing Zeros were an upgrade to the bike I bought in 2015.
Replacing the damaged Fulcrum wheel was tedious, to say the least. The local Fulcrum distributor initially said I would have to buy a full wheelset. It took some persuading by Jeff at The Bike Artisans to convince the distributor to sell just a rear wheel. Jeff did ask if it was possible to buy a replacement rim. No chance.
Lim, a mechanic at The Bike Artisans, said that he would try to source a replacement rim. It would be a shame for the barely used spokes and hub to go to waste.
That was in June 2018. A combination of the difficulty in buying just a replacement rear rim and Lim’s lack of time to rebuild the wheel using the spokes and hub from the damaged wheel meant that I picked up the repaired wheel yesterday.
Interestingly, the replacement rim does not have any decals. I like the stealth look.
Another hazard on our roads is gratings over drains like these.
These are on Jalan Tiara Kemensah 3. There are gratings on the edges of the road that are aligned in the non-wheel grabbing direction, but I didn’t notice those the first time I came down this road. I was able to bunny hop over the gratings. I’ve seen accidents where front wheels got caught in gratings like these, with damage to both bike and rider.
Gratings like these cover the drain in front of The Bike Artisans.
I have ridden diagonally over them countless times. But all it takes is one moment of distraction.
I was on the first road bike I owned. As I was riding off the pavement someone called out my name. I looked around and of course, I rode my front wheel into the gap in a grating. I was going slowly enough that I didn’t hurt myself when I tipped onto the ground, but the front rim was kinked beyond repair.
So now I have just the rear wheel from the set of eleven-year-old Easton EA90 SLX’s that came with that bike.
This wheel is hanging in my bike store. Like the Racing Zero is. Both ready in case of emergency.
This one collection which I hope doesn’t grow anymore.