Josh (our Chief Wheelbuilder and the denizen of all things technical) is heading up to Noosa Strade Bianchi this weekend. NSB is a vintage “gravelfondo” (gravel Granfondo for road bikes) held in the hinterland of Noosa, Qld with four rides ranging from the 33km Piccolo Fondo to the 133km Grand Fondo. All incorporate dirt road “sectors” of “Strade Bianchi” (Italian for “White Road”).
There are limitations on the bike that can be ridden, it must be either steel, or lugged aluminium; and if you are running gears (and many don’t) they must be changed using down tube shifters.
This certainly floats Josh’s boat – he loves all that retro stuff. He saw this as a great excuse to pull an old favourite frame out of storage, build it up with some reliable retro gear, and (of course) build some new wheels!
Josh chose the Hplusson TB14 rims for four reasons:1. They are beautiful – the finish is superb, and the quality is second to none in the market (even offerings at twice the price).
2. They are really strong – it’s never a smart move to choose light weight over reliability when riding the gravel, and these hoops aren’t that heavy at 482g each.
3. They are “just right” for a retro resto – the profile and eyelets is reminiscent of classic rims like the Mavic MA40, GP4 and Ambrosio Nemesis.
4. They are FAT – the 23mm width of these rims means that they hold a nice round profile to the 28mm tyres Josh likes to run when riding on gravel. More cush, with greater control at speed – both on the bitumen and the dirt.
The rims were mated to some barely used Shimano 600 Tricolor hubs, with Sapim Race double butted spokes.
These wheels have landed on his ’92 Jim Bundy, made of Columbus MAX tubing, with a complete Shimano 600 Tricolor groupset. A very rare frameset, coupled with an ever reliable retro groupset. Not light, but a veritable “brick outhouse” for the rigors of the dirt.