The next step in building the 700c folding gravel bike. Starting with a Montague FIT Custom folding frame, I’ve installed the headset and fork (read about that here). Now I’m going to prepare the wheelset. For this build, I’m using Whisky Parts Co. carbon rims laced to SRAM X9 disc compatible hubs.

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Mmmm… carbon.

With new rims, the first step is to install rim tape to protect your tubes from those spokes holes. While rubber and plastic rim strips are available, I like good old fashioned cloth tape. It’s a few grams heavier, but it doesn’t dry out and crack or end up with any sharp edges.

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Velox – Made in France

Start by locating the valve hole on the rim, this is where you’ll start. Line up the hole in the strip making sure to center it in the rim. Work your way around the entire wheel while pressing the cloth’s adhesive backing firmly down.

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When you make it all the way around, you should have an inch or so extra. Cut the excess so the two ends butt against one another.

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Before pressing it down into place.

For tires, I wanted something that would be good off road, but also fast rolling on hard surfaces. The Challenge Chicane 33c was my choice. The shallow tread in the center and the knobbies on the outside of the tire are perfect for this application. And who doesn’t love gumwalls?

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You know the drill. One side of the tire on the rim, add a little air to your tube, slip it in, and work the other side of the tire on with your thumbs. Be sure to line up the tire labels with the valve stem for a real pro look.

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Rinse and repeat.

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Sneak preview:

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Next time I’ll show you the installation of the Hayes CX Pro disc brakes, and perhaps some drive train bits. Stay tuned.

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