OK, and on to wheels.
I went all continental, and bought a set of Record Hubs off e-bay.fr. This is what I got:
Lovely lovely shiny hubs. But they didn’t sit around on my carpet for long. Straight after I had photographed them, they were popped in a box, the box was wrapped in brown paper, and the package was addressed, like this:
Initially, my thoughts were to get the great man to lace the hubs to a pair of Mavic Paris-Roubaix SSC Rims. They were, after all, designed to stand up to the rigours of what is the greatest of all the Spring Classic, the very race in which RdV made himself and the Gios which he road world-famous. They also look pretty good, and I reckon would garner more than one appreciating nod when chained up to the railings outside Shoreditch Grind.
Harry on the other hand had other ideas. To quote the eponymous builder of wheels verbatim, “I wouldn’t, they’re shit”. So there you have it from the horses mouth, or at least from the best wheel builder in the country, and who am I to argue?
We decided instead to go for a pair of black Ambrosio Excellence Rims – or at least Harry decided – I suspect because he had them lying around – and told me that’s what I wanted.
So off went the hubs, and a surprisingly small cheque, and all I had to do was wait around. At this point I should say that dealing with Harry Rowland was an honour and a privilege. Should any of you find yourselves needing to get some wheels built up I urge you to seek him out.
Should any of you whilst reading this suddenly feel the need to touch yourselves inappropriately, I fully understand and I have, as a courtesy included a ‘money shot’:
Naturally, the tyres had to be Gumwalls. Found some Veloflex Masters from Ribble.
Remember that I got the Hubs from E-bay France? Well that meant I was going to need a French-Threaded block. Now I know that my granddad didn’t jump into Arnhem in 1944 so I could ponce around London riding French gears, but any port in a storm and all that.
Step forward please, the venerable Hilary Stone who, for 30-odd quid sent me this box:
And inside the box, in all of its Golden NOS loveliness was this:
Then what else is there to do, but to bring wheels and frame together?
To be honest, I am not loving the Excellence decals on the Ambrosio rims – they’re just a bit too shout-y, a bit too boy-racer. Much as I despise the de-stickering movement, I think these are going to have to go.