Tuesday I took my bike in for its annual service. I have a Bianchi Eros (in “brilliant blue”, not in their signature “weird green”) which I bought back in 2002, and I have mixed feelings about it. Mostly I think I got a bad rear wheel when I bought it, which led to a couple of years of popped spokes and bent rims, although I think it also took me a little while to get used to taking care of it, such as not over-inflating the tires. I had them rebuild the wheel with new spokes a couple of years ago, and it’s been much better since.
Anyway, the bike’s been making lots of funny sounds recently, and the rear rim was clearly out of true, so I wanted it to get fixed up, since I’m biking in to work twice a week this year.
Well, it turns out the rim was not just bent, it was cracking. When I picked it up they showed me how two of the holes where the spokes attach to the rim were cracking across the rim, which was clobbering its structural integrity. So I had them rebuild the wheel with a new rim, and I biked in yesterday. And wow what an improvement: The bike is nearly silent, and the ride feels much smoother and easier. Combined with the other basic maintenance, such as turning the gears, it almost feels like a brand new bike!
The guy at the shop said I got my money’s worth out of the old rim, so I guess I can’t complain. Hopefully I can go a few years without any significant trouble from the bike, now. Because next time I start having major problems with it, I might just replace it.