Re: [CR]vintage spokes? or how anal should we be?


Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2007 21:10:50 -0400
From: Harvey Sachs <hmsachs@verizon.net>
Subject: Re: [CR]vintage spokes? or how anal should we be?
To: jgallen@lexairinc.com, Classic Rendezvous <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>


George Allen wrote: I'm ready to build up some wheels with NOS Campy Record hubs and an assortment of nice NOS rims. One wheelset in particular is for a nearly NOS 1973 Schwinn Paramount that's all original except, of course, for the wheels. I have procured high flange Record hubs with '73 lock nuts and the "Schwinn Approved" Super Champion rims. So do I use vintage spokes in building up the wheels? And, if so, what spokes would be appropriate for a 1973 Paramount? And exactly where does one find such spokes? If the bike were not so original I probably wouldn't care and would just use modern double butted, stainless spokes like I've used on all my other wheel builds with vintage rims and hubs.

What are other listmember's opinions on the use of vintage spokes? How anal should we get in the period correct department? Wouldn't modern spokes make for a stronger wheel? Thus, wallhanger = old spokes, regular rider = new spokes?

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ I've followed the conversation with interest in all the diverging views. I'll jump in with my opinions:

1) There is a huge difference in appearance between zinc-coated and stainless, and a smaller difference between chromed and stainless.

2) To me, if the bike calls for zinc clad, anything else looks inappropriate. That's mostly much older stuff.

3) I can look the other way between chromed and stainless, with some exceptions. Back then (1960s, maybe 70s?), I could get 15/17 chromed, but only the beefier 14/16 in stainless. It does give a different look to the bike. So, knowing that the chrome will flake off, I'd still pick it for bikes where it seems appropriate - if I could get the spokes.

4) When I was doing my '38 Paramount, I worked hard to find the right 15/17 Torrington spokes, which are lovely things with faint patterns to the zinc. Fortunately, Ted Ernst had enough, but I had to pick through a box the size of a medium shoe box to find enough of the right nipples. That's how I "paid" Larry Black for sorting all his old spoke nipples.* And, it is one of the things that feels good about the Paramount now.

but, this is just opinion in a beauty contest sense: lots of solutions can feel good.

harvey sachs mcLean va

*Larry's box also had a lot of relatively short, black-finished steel (not brass) nipples. I'm told that these were "victory" items from WW II, when brass was unobtanium for this purpose in the US.