We just added the German edition of Jobst classic Bicycle Wheel book. How about that? It sort of dropped off the map, but needlessly. Jobst was always proud of his heritage and took annual trips to ride the great mountains of the German speaking regions: Switzerland, Austria, Germany. This edition lacks mention of Wheelsmith in its acknowledgments. But who cares?
Our price for the Ghisallo Medallion just rose. This, in spite of the Euro/dollar descent. New price is USD$31.50, up from $26. Please know that these can only be obtained from the Rector at the Ghisallo Chapel and the Church determines the appropriate price. We learned, for the first time, that these are silver plated, solid brass forgings.
I was just sent a pair of hubs, two completely warped and wasted wood rims, and a set of spokes. They began in a shaft drive bike from 1901, now being restored by Steven Perelman. Thanks to the NY Times videographer, the capable Patrick Farrell, wheel restoration is now in Seattle. I’ll need to manufacture duplicates to the spokes and nipples. Then we’ll build them into contemporary (but period authentic) Ghisallo wood rims. The old rims have certainly bit the dust.
Why bother you with this? I am completely blown away by the hubs, spokes, and nipples. After nearly 40 years in this pursuit, how can I be seeing for the first time such unexpected beauty? This is the REASON to rise each morning, to meet the unexpected. Inspiration comes in unsteady doses, with unpredictable timing.
The spokes are chrome plated, ultra-thin 1.6mm (0.064″) wire that ends in tiny, perfectly shaped spheres. Each sphere has a dainty pointed extension opposite the wire from which it’s formed. These spheres engage the hub shell, rather than the familiar J-bend elbow of our times. The shafts are butted up to 2mm (0.08″) right as they enter the nipple.
The nipples are 25mm length. Ultra thin walled, they feature a close fitting neck at the spoke entry. This tapered girdle becomes a two-flat wrench surface before assuming a round shape up to its saucer head. Not so much a marvel as the product of an artist. Why design nipples so difficult to make? Well, artists can be forces of nature and this nipple, while it may be simple imitation, looks like a day dream.
The hub that receives these wonderful spokes is also extraordinary. In the front, it’s a thin walled tube with special recesses to accept the incoming spokes at a tangential angle, Together with pressed in outboard bearing cups, the hub weighs 100g. The rear hub is an amazing coaster brake with similar features. It deserves a post of its own.
Can’t wait to make new spokes of polished stainless and connect them to Ghisallo rims. The result will be quite dazzling, especially because they will give “wings” to a special bike that hasn’t been ridden for a lifetime. I’ll report on the outcome. Stay tuned.