Rim repair/replacement options?

Discussion in 'Trials' started by motojunky, Aug 9, 2013.

  1. motojunky

    motojunky Professional Idiot

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    After riding yesterday, I discovered a crack in the front wheel of my 2002 Scorpa SY250. The crack is at the rim lock and connects the spoke holes on either side of the rim lock. It extends beyond one spoke down toward the lip of the rim but it has not gotten that far. By the looks of it, it did not happen yesterday. I don't recall any particularly hard hits.

    I spoke with Mike at the Tryals Shop today and he says that he's successfully welded several wheels. That's probably going to be the quickest and cheapest solution but I'd like to know my other options. Mike mentioned spokes being back ordered at the moment. It could stand new spokes as some of the nipples are showing corrosion. There aren't any loose spokes.

    Are trials wheels frequently interchangeable? Has anyone had any luck getting trials wheels/spokes from Buchanan (haven't tried to call them yet)? Any other ideas?

    The rim has the following info: MORAD SPAIN 1.60 X 21 3LCD 32T 1/02 E DOT

    I'll post a pic when I get a chance to clean it up.



    Thanks!
    #1
  2. lineaway

    lineaway Long timer

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    I would try the weld. Two reasons, cheaper and no parts needed. The rim is the same rim that has been used on almost all bikes the last ten years. If you do replace, I always anti- seize the spokes. Especially a new bike I plan on keeping.
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  3. mud

    mud I just wander.....

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    No, Some are and some aren't.... Sometimes it is just a spacer difference. Other times more.

    Maybe call around and see what some of the shops think.
    I think the Tryals shop is familiar with Scorpa.
    #3
  4. DerViking

    DerViking Shred

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    I got a set of spokes from Buchanans (sp?) They asked that I send a spoke for them to match. (Gasser front wheels are symmetrical spoke wise) It cost me more than the set for my XR, but they custom made them and did it pretty damn quick. I think it was around $100. Also included a bottle of really tenacious anti seize. I think I had to bore the hub just a bit to make their slightly burlier spokes fit. Have not had a single problem since then. Broke all but half a dozen removing the factory installed....

    Given the way I ride, I would replace rather than weld a rim that was cracked. I have had some experience with bicycle rims, much lighter sure, but catastrophic failures suck. Lineaway's experience is deeper than mine, so worth a try.

    I have been instructed that drilling a hole at either end of the crack before welding will help prevent re-cracking. Sounds like the eyelets are doing that for you.
    #4
  5. motojunky

    motojunky Professional Idiot

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    Closer inspection reveals several small cracks in the outer lip of the rim. The Google reveals that this is not uncommon with MORAD front rims.

    When Mike mentioned spokes being back ordered, it was under the assumption that I had 36 spoke rims (I guessed wrong). Hopefully since the 32 spoke MORAD is common, spokes will be available.

    I've read of folks going to an Excel rim. Thoughts?

    Thanks!
    #5
  6. lineaway

    lineaway Long timer

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    I`d bet the sherco rim and spokes would work. RYP shows the rim at 230 retail.
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  7. Twin-shocker

    Twin-shocker Long timer

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    Morad rims arent that great in terms of quality, but not sure Excel make a rim that looks the same, or rim specifically intended for trials use?

    However most rim problems come about due to poorly set up suspension, and if you have front forks which are too soft, and bike ridden relatively hard, then rim damage is very likely.

    Gas Gas rim and spokes I imagine would be exactly the same as those on your bike, but unless the spokes are badly corroded, or you have some broken, just use the original ones when you rebuild your wheel.
    #7
  8. motojunky

    motojunky Professional Idiot

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    What would make a rim trials specific? I can see the Excel being a little heavier, but for my old Scorpa I wouldn't be too concerned about that. Is there something other than weight? I have an old XR250 rim laying around that I'd consider using if it didn't have a huge dent in it. $100 for some custom spokes from Buchanan and I'd be good to go. If the Excel is heavier duty and a little less expensive it might be a good option.

    Forks are good. There are a few factors at play, I think. 1) When I bought the bike 3 years ago, many spokes were loose and one or two were bent (I did not replace). I have no idea how long it had been ridden than way. 2) I have been guilty of running too low pressure in the front. I've since corrected that, but apparently too late. 3) The rim lock had a lot of corrosion on the metal portion - enough that it may have been creating a pressure point.

    I separated the rim/spokes today. One was seized in the nipple, all others I was able to get free. I may need to replace one or two due to being bent but I think they are serviceable. I may spring for new spokes though as I think it will make assembly easier. I've laced exactly one rim in my life (went pretty well) so I'm not looking for a huge challenge. I also really like the Scorpa and will probably keep it whenever I get around to upgrading.

    All that said, I have a friend who thinks he can do the welding. He'll do it for free and I've got nothing to lose in trying, so we'll see. If I do end up using it, I'll have to watch it very closely. As was previously mentioned, a catastrophic failure would suck.
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  9. lineaway

    lineaway Long timer

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    Biggest change to your old Honda rim would be 36 hole verses 32 hole. If you have any trials bike dealer around you could probably match up something close for a couple of spokes. But then just ask Mike again!
    #9
  10. motojunky

    motojunky Professional Idiot

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    Didn't even think about spoke count - you're right that the XR is 36 spoke. I wasn't really planning to use it, just making the point that I'd consider it if it were any good. I'm curious what makes a front wheel "trials specific."

    No trials dealers nearby but I'm thinking that spokes/nipples shouldn't be hard to get now that I realize that it's the more common 32 spoke MORAD. My schedule has me missing events until October, so it'll be a while before I get a chance to see other bikes first hand. Nearest "local" riders are ~1 hour away, so I'm hoping I can figure the details online or via the phone. I'll be giving Mike another call in the AM.

    If anyone here can take a pic of their hub, spoke nipples and rim identifying markings, I'd appreciate it. It sounds like Sherco and GG use the MORAD rims. Not sure about Beta or Montesa.
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  11. Twin-shocker

    Twin-shocker Long timer

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    Why not just look for a used Gas Gas front wheel and fit that? Almost all Euro bikes use Morad rims and AJP hubs, so wheel from another bike should be a direct replacement.

    Bearing in mind the consequences of a welded front wheel failing, I think it would be madness to try a repair, simply in order to save money.
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  12. motojunky

    motojunky Professional Idiot

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    I am keeping an eye out for a used wheel, but given that this isn't exactly uncommon with these wheels, it seems there's a good chance that a used wheel will have a limited life span. You said yourself that the Morad wheels aren't that great.

    I will almost certainly end up going new. I will also probably explore the Excel/Buchanan option. According to a Google search, Adrian at Lewisport was promoting this option at one point - I'll be calling him to discuss.

    Your caution about welding is valid, and something that is on my mind. That said, a highly respected member of the trials community here in the US (Tryals Shop) has stated that he's welded several rims successfully and recommended that option. He is a real person who's been making a living supporting trials for a long time. Selling me a new wheel would be in his best interest.

    My Scorpa is 11 years old now. It makes sense to me to consider all of my options before tossing money at it. Fortunately, my schedule in the coming weeks gives me time to think about it as I'm not scrambling to make the next event.

    You made an earlier statement about an Excel rim not being specifically designed for trials use. Care to explain what that might mean? What makes a front rim suitable for trials? I assume that the Morad is lighter by design and as a result, has a potentially shorter life span. In this application, I can live with a little more weight.

    If all euro bikes use the Morad wheel, they can't be that bad - I'm not reading of wide spread failures. Knowing that my failure can probably be blamed on "user error" I would guess that to be a reason for a reasonable percentage of the failures I am reading about. I'm curious if anyone here has bad issues with Morad rims cracking.
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  13. Twin-shocker

    Twin-shocker Long timer

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    Excel may produce 32 hole rims specifically for trials use now, but they only ever used to do MX ones, which were considerably heavier than those used on trials bikes.

    Nordisk rims look very similar to Morad, but as they are intended for MX use, are heavier than trials ones, and may not be available in 32 hole format.

    As to welding rims, its something that seems to me a very bad idea, given the possible results of failure while the bike is being ridden, and the very small amount of money saved over buying a good used rim or wheel.
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  14. lineaway

    lineaway Long timer

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    We do not have much in used parts in the USA. To properly fix the wheel it is going to be 2-3 hundred dollars and that is just the parts. A nice weld will do fine for an average type rider. I would not consider a weld for some one that rides hard.
    #14
  15. motojunky

    motojunky Professional Idiot

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    I'm not sure if I ride hard or not. I'm maybe intermediate (and hopefully still improving) and I think the hardest riding I do is when I do something wrong. :lol3
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  16. Monty348

    Monty348 Adventurer

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    You haven't much to loose in welding it. According to your description it's not a brand new crack so could have been that way for months. Weld it and watch it for signs of failure. If the rim is on the path to failure it'll likely crack elsewhere rather than at the repair.
    Another option would be a new Sherco. :-)
    #16
  17. DerViking

    DerViking Shred

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    Give us a report in 3 months if you would. I finally have access to a TIG, and would love to know how well it works.
    #17
  18. thegraydog

    thegraydog 2 wheels X 6 ways

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    Best post of thread....
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  19. Twin-shocker

    Twin-shocker Long timer

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    Morad rims commonly fail at the point where the 2 ends are joined together. They seem to be hardened, and I guess the main problem with a weld repair would be breakages in the softened HAZ adjacent to the weld?
    #19
  20. motojunky

    motojunky Professional Idiot

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    As it happens, I will be driving right by the RYP shop in the next week. I fired off an email to make sure Ryan is around so that I can stop by for a visit...
    #20