So I’m not really into vintage lugged steel frames, but I do feel a certain attraction to vintage tubular track wheelsets. Found a pair of ’em and couldn’t resist buying. The bearings weren’t in best shape, but it was nothing a simple disassembly and a bit of grease wouldn’t fix. So after reassembling the hubs I inspected the tubulars. Continental Sonderklasse. Phew, top notch shit, very nice indeed.
Someone must have gone all fixed gear on them though, since there were a few skidmarks and a tiny hole in the rear tire.
My heart misgave me. Removing tubulars that have been sitting on the same rim for the quarter of a century is like ripping off the scruffy old wallpaper when moving into a new home. It gives you a certain feeling of release but at the same time you fear that somebody some time ago might have done horrible things to your beloved new belonging – and for the sake of doing it your own way you have no choice but to discover and get along with it.
Of course I just could have pulled off the tire, apply a new layer of glue and hope for the best. But you wouldn’t want to lean against a wall that is fresh and clean on top but nasty underneath. Also, my bike nerd credibility would have dropped to the absolute zero point which is definitely not acceptable at all.
Once again my all-embracing laziness fueled an inner conflict. I was torn between “Fuck me and my fucking credibility, I’m not even gonna start trying to remove this half centimeter layer of rock hard glue.” and “Now that’s a challenge I’m probably willing to accept. Where’s the glue resolvent?”.
Needless to say I went to the store to buy a new can of resolvent. “You better be careful with that stuff, it’s nasty!” is what I’ve been told. Yeah, sure it is. What if not “nasty” can fight and conquer something as nasty as this:
Brush some resolvent on the glue, wait a few (or even a few more) moments and then just wipe that shit off – piece of cake. Is what I thought. That’s the reason I was going for that extra nasty resolvent in the first place. Unfortunately it barely scratched the surface. I estimated the amount of resolvent necessary to remove all the glue, bearing in mind that I used about a third of the can for some minor surface scratching of what was about a quarter of the circumference of the wheel. Since I was too cheap and way too lazy to buy another four hundred and sixty five cans, I had to switch tactics: Veering away from the chemical method I decided to go for the hands-on mechanical approach.
They’ve become a rare sight but should be part of any casual bike mechanic’s inventory none the less:
Yep, that’s a FOP NFPO-4×40. Not to be confused with the FOP NFPO slash 4×40 which is a totally different kind of tool. And blue, probably.
Using a scredr… err… FOP NFPO-4×40 to remove glue from a tubular rim comes with positive side effects. Inevitably you happen to scratch the rim every now and then which is what you’d have to do anyway if you’re a true vintage tubular freak. Also it’s great training for your forearm muscles and honestly: Who doubts the importance of beefy forearms for everyday cycling? Lastly you’ll make a complete mess of your balcony and piss off your neighbors because it’s raining tiny pieces of glue, only interrupted by human sounds of exhaustion and a few, yet very clearly spoken curse words.
Nevertheless: Once you get the hang of it, it is quite relaxing, close to zen-like work. Especially once you’re more than half way around the wheel and the end is in sight.
Of course I kept in mind that there were still two thirds of resolvent left, which allowed me to stop at this point, go to sleep and dream of hurting myself really really bad with a tiny, sharp screwdriver.
Luckily, my calculations were right and I was able to remove all the little bits and pieces without further harm to me or the FOP NFPO-4×40.
Too bad track season here has come to an end for this year. Guess I’ll have to ride ’em on the streets then.