With my Bob Jackson frame being re-lacquered, I have been using my Condor Acciaio this week, it’s not ideal for this weather, nice mucky stripe up my back and a puncture - not surprising given the rotten weather, however my bigger concern was a rubbing noise when climbing hard out of the saddle.
I suspected it was brake pad rub and confirmed it by releasing the quick release on the rear brake. The wheels are Ambrosio Excellight SSC rims on Novatech hubs, handbuilt by Harry Rowland. They are light but have a reasonable spoke count, 32 rear, 28 front but there is certainly some lateral flexibility, it’s easy to push the rim into the pad with my thumb. The Dedacciai Zero Replica frame is very stiff so after checking there were no frame problems, no loose spokes and the wheels were true, it seems pretty certain it is just natural wheel flex. I made sure the hub locknuts were tight, now all I can do is make sure the brakes are well centred, adjust them to give slightly greater clearance from the rim and live with it!
I have done a bit of research and spoken to some very helpful experts, so what I have learnt...
- Tightening spokes does not reduce lateral flex or increase stiffness, see Damon Rinard’s research on SheldonBrown.com
- Wheel flex and a bit of brake rub is normal, confirmed by Donald at Bob Jackson (I couldn’t resist nagging for a date for my frame to come back, I miss mudguards now) - it seems many cyclists will "quick release" the rear caliper when climbing
- Harry Rowland gave useful advice on checking hub lock nuts, he has said it is normal for these to loosen a bit on Novatech / Ambrosio hubs
- Maybe I have just got that bit stronger hence the increased flex under power!