Getting the right wheels for the trip is proving to be a bit more difficult than expected, or maybe I am becoming a cycle-touring snob.....
Following my usual level of research (= check as many cycle-tourist / trekker blog / websites as possible until I get side tracked), I decided I must have hand assembled Sun Ryhno lite rims, shimano XT hubs, with 36 swiss made DT spokes per wheel!
Well my local helpful bike shop just suggested a factory made set of mountain bike wheels with "god forbid" 32 spokes! Around $170 each
And the local cycle-touring friendly shop seemed more interested in the current wheels I had...
Was this quality advice or good-old Kiwi "she'll be right" attitude...?
Well after a few flicker thoughts of me stuck in the middle of the Amazon jungle with a bust wheel and a voodoo doll of Christchurch cycle shop owners, and what I would like to think is respect for (what will hopefully be) fellow expedition cyclists, I decided to stick to my guns and order the Sun Ryhno lite rims...36 hole!
**In an inspirational cycle-expedition book called "Cycling Home from Siberia" I seem to remember the only major problem he had with his bike on the whole trip was a rim busting. Plus I met a female cycle tourist in NZ whilst on my last tour who had a bust rim. You can replace spokes, fix chains, patch tubes, but you only have two rims (and hubs for that matter) and need both of them. I might sound theatrical but I like to take signs like that seriously**
Mountain bikers use DT spokes, great - not a problem..
Hubs with 36h...yes hubs with 36h. Ah...well...now we have a problem;
The cycle-touring friendly shop had one pair, but the front was for road bikes...hurmm. Agreed at first, but then got the brain flickers again. So "no, I need mountain bike ones".... "Ah, can only get them for disc brake bikes". Ah....
So I ordered some "XT's!!" from the other side of the world (yes I know not very sustainable, but I can't beat globalisation all the time). Then after a week of waiting they came back with a "sorry the distributors have cancelled that line". Hurrmm... well now another overseas on-line shop has promised me a set of Shimano Deore hubs 36h, no disc space (*the disc space means the wheel spokes have to be less dished, and therefore puts more strain on the spokes*), great!
So there we are, I can't make anymore preparations to the bike until I get the wheels. Handlebars, gears, brakes, and grips will have to wait another few weeks.... good things come to those who wait apparently....;)