Monday, July 20, 2015

Wheelbuild: Xero CXR6 Rims to Rotaz Hubs

The story began when I found a set of secondhand Xero Lite CXR6 wheels during my random late night wandering at Bukalapak. Since this complete set of entry level 10-speed road wheels only costs me less than one million rupiahs, or about US$75, I figured out it's a bargain.
Being the weight-conscious person as always, I weighed them as soon as they arrived. The front and rear wheel clocked in at 950 grams and 1180 grams respectively. Even heavier than my 32-spoked daily driver, Novatec A291SL/F482SB laced to Alex Race 24 rims (830/990 grams respectively). The good thing is that the CXR6 rims are wider than Race 24, and the low spoke count (20/24) makes them a rather nice set of rims to play about.
As one of my good buddy said, it's better to regret buying something rather than regretting the decision of not buying it. Surely there is something I can do about this.

I've read about the somewhat popular Rotaz hubs in so many online forums. Their lightweight yet affordable road hubs, named F068/R220R, is advertised to be as light as 68 grams (front) and 220 grams (rear). Hence the name, I guess. I've been wanting to get these hubs off eBay to see what the fuss is all about, but as things and jobs piling up in our shop, the idea was soon forgotten.
As luck would have it, I found them many months later at one bicycle shop in town. Displayed with a bit lower price than many sellers on eBay, I figured out I wouldn't have to pay or wait around for shipment. Since it's better to regret buying something rather than regretting the decision of not buying it, the hubset then became my possession.

The hubs are a bit heavier in person, as many things in life. They weighed 66 grams (front) and 226 grams (rear). But they are lighter than my recent Novatecs (76g front, 245g rear). I thought I can make a much lighter wheelset for myself, so immediately the Xero rims are stripped from their stock cup-and-cone hubs and plain gauge spokes.

Call it resourceful, or just plain cheap, I cut and rethread a pack of new-old-stock Asahi double-butted spokes I have rattling around in my toolbox for quite a while. I combine them with Richman double-butted spokes that I put on the drive side of the rear wheel. Lacing pattern is 2-cross.
The end result? The front wheel weighed 764 grams, while the rear tips the scale at 935 grams. While these are great improvement compared to the stock Xero build (reducing total of 431 grams), this new build only dropped around 60 grams for each wheel, compared to my old Novatec/Alex combo. But then again this new build is wider, and let's admit it, with less spokes visually they looked a hell lot lighter.
Where will I put these wheels? Stay tuned.

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