Bending the Wheels

…was never so easy as with the use of low gearing.

At the end of January, the 28th in the evening to be precise, I hit a stroke of bad luck. After a long day, the period of dusk had already changed into darkness. We were still looking for a spot to camp. While spotting a place to spent the night, I backed up the van and hit a small tree just beside the bike carrier. because the van was in low gear, I did not notice it right away, but the damage was done: two bicycle wheels bended into oblivion. I was really upset.

Since we were close to Antalya, we decided to replace the upper swing arms of the van and at the same time look for replacement bicycle parts. Antalya is a big city with relative easy access to goods and technical support.

I already found out that acquiring anti-leak fluid for tubeless tyres was futile, so I feared the worst for finding suitable new rims that matched the current ERD (Effective Rim Diameter) so that I could use the same spokes and just swap the rim. Well, after a few days it became clear that it was a challenge indeed:

the 27.5 wheel

I run a set up with straight spokes and a rim width that is common for cross country… In retrospect not the most universal for a 27.5 wheel that is mostly used in the Trail or All Mountain Disciplines.

I contacted several bisiklet shops, but without success. then I found contact info of two shops that are representatives of DT swiss in Turkey, but they confirmed that no XR331 rims were currently available in the country, but I should take into account that it would probably cost around 550 TL. They gave some info of a few shops I could try. That did not work out either. I was almost in the process of ordering new parts from Germany (the cheapest way to get a shipment here) when my best friend -and partner in crime of doing more than 25 years of epic (mountain bike) rides- offered to ship a replacement front wheel via DHL. Not the cheapest way, but sure to work. Only the Turkish customs pulled out a last bad card: although that it was marked as “gift” they still charged 600 TL of import duty to be paid. Damn… Shipping was swift despite bad weather.

The replacement wheel was originally used in a Scott Spark 900 2016. The colour did not really match my Trek in Volt Green. Accidentally I already had a black matte spray can in the van because I needed paint to cover bare metal after welding the brake line brackets on the upper swing arms of the van. So, I put in the effort to cover the faded day-glow orange silk screen logos on the rim and I even managed to swap the decals from my damaged rim to the replacement wheel. The original silkscreen printing on the rim is still subtly visible if you look closely.

I must admit that I find the aesthetics important too. And what I did not realise until I could compare: the rim is exactly the same! Syncros used the XR331 rim to build their custom wheels.

The 26″ wheel

The 26″wheel size is still the mainstream in Turkey, based upon my observations. Of course, 27.5 and 29 do exist too, but I guess, in Turkey not many new mountain bikes are sold, as compared to the Netherlands. So it just takes longer for the “modern” sizes to become dominant. Still, not every Bisiklet store was able or willing to repair the rear wheel of the Cannondale. Language may have played a part in it. Finally I found a good shop via google: Renos Bisiklet, and I decided to go there. I am happy I did: the work done was excellent. A day later I could pick it up already. Marcia challenged me and I accepted; I walked the 16km from camp to Renos to pick up the bike and cycled back. How nice to use the bicycle again!

The Cannondale was back into service before the Trek, so I had a chance to stretch my cycling legs on the trusty old Cannondale, a M800 Beast Of The East from 1994, still in original Wild Orchid painting … I did the CristAlp successfully with this bike and never could part with it. After retirement I used it as bike to go to work. On several occasions however, when my “best bike” (or zondagse fiets as we call it in The Netherlands) was out of service, the Cannondale was -and still is- pulled from retirement and put to hard use. So this is actually my best bike ever when I think about it.

While I had to wait for the 27.5 wheel to arrive, we went to Koprulu Kanyon National Park for a weekend. There I rode a short stretch on my trusty Cannondale.

it was nice to ride around in this area where there are so much bizarre rock formations, perhaps we will show some more pictures about this area later.

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