It was always the plan to have the wheels rebuilt with stainless rims and spokes. The wheels on the bike were badly rusted under what was left of the chrome. I don’t have a full table bike lift, but do have a small centre lift. The bike looks quite sorry for itself with the wheels removed but it means I can get them rebuilt and the forks serviced at the same time…or at least that was the plan.
Once off the bike, I took the wheels to Johnny at Value Tread in Hexham; he has no website but does have a Facebook page, which the link will take you to. He carefully removed the tyres and tubes, which I took home to check and clean.
The tyres fitted were both Dunlop Arrowmax Streetsmart items…not quite the old classic look, but a modern tyre designed for use on classic bikes. Chances are I will use the Avon, UK made, classic range for my slower G3LS when I have its wheels rebuilt in 2022.
On the back was a 4.00-18 M/C 64H and on the front a 100/90-18 M/C 56V; the ‘M/C’ probably, just taking a wild guess, stands for ‘Motorcycle’. The tubes were both Michelin Airstop 18MG. There was a little bit of superficial damage to the outer rubber, below the rim on the rear tyre. I repaired this using heavy duty paper clips and Evostik; it didn’t affect the integrity or safety of the tyre in any way.
I took the wheels to the rebuilder I use near Chester-le-Street and expected a call to let me know they were almost ready, as he said he would let me watch him do the work on one of the rims. Instead I got a phone call saying ‘we’ve got a problem…these rims don’t seem right’. The wheels had been rebuilt before and someone had put a WM-2 width rim on the BACK and a WM-3 rim on the FRONT!! That must have made riding the bike a bizarre experience, especially two up which the seller did most of the time. Combine that with the lack of oil in the front forks and I wonder if my seller just didn’t like riding the bike? If anything, it should be the WM-2 on the front and the WM-3 on the back.
I couldn’t find any information in the AJS and Matchless archives about the correct wheel sizes; it may be there but it eluded me at the time. This bike is pretty much a Norton with a Matchless 650 twin engine in it, so I referred to the Norton manual for the bikes that used the same frame, wheels, gearbox etc. but a Norton engine and 18 inch rims…both rims should be WM-3, so they were what the rebuilder fitted.
The rims and spokes came from Devon Rim and the rims are their top Rolltru offering…nice and shiny 😉
Watching a master at work rebuilding wheels and aligning the rim with the hub correctly is almost hypnotic; he made it look very easy. It’s not something I plan to learn to do, as it’s a critical job that needs to be done correctly.
Once the wheels were back, I took them back to Value Tread and Johnny refitted the tubes and tyres before balancing both wheels. I decided to go with sticky weights as the bobbins that fix around the spokes looked more unsightly in my opinion. Using solder, which I had taken with me, would have looked a mess too. The reason for the felt tip pen arrows on the hum covers, should be obvious.