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  1. #1
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    2011 Scott Contessa JR 20 Budget Build and Thoughts

    I just picked up a 20" 2011 Scott Contessa JR for my daughter. I haven't found much information on these bikes, so I will try to provide some good data in this thread. My other daughter rides a 2009 Hotrock 20 with some minor mods so I will use that for comparison.

    Today I ordered some new components to give it some lower gearing, and to take a couple of pounds off hopefully. I am on a tight budget, so I am trying to hopefully get the most bang for the buck.

    Initial Thoughts: The Contessa 20 is a much smaller bike than the the Hotrock 20. I will post exact measurements later, but the standover height is about 2 inches shorter, and I would say the wheelbase is close to 3 inches shorter. This is perfect for my daughter who is small for her age (turning 7) and can't yet clear the top bar on the Hotrock.

    Both bikes have the RST Capa fork, but the Scott fork is marked with a "soft spring" and it is very compliant. I actually took the Hotrock fork apart and removed a bumper which softened it up, but the Scott fork is still softer. I am pleased.

    Weight: On my cheap digital luggage scale, the Scott Contessa weights 24.64 lbs stock with the kickstand.
    The Hotrock 20 weighs 24.16 lbs with Kenda small block tires, and all accessories removed.

    I will take some pictures, and also post the weights of some of the major components, with the weights of the components I am replacing them with. I think I can knock off another 2.2 lbs for about $130, and also upgrade to 7 speed with a 34T granny.

  2. #2
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    Sounds pretty cool! I'm interested in seeing the measurements.

  3. #3
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    Some of the Component Weights of the Contessa JR 20

    Stock Parts
    Seat 262
    Seatpost 255
    Seat Clam 33
    Stem 189
    Bars 517
    Bell 24
    Grips 72
    Kick Stand 169
    Kenda Tires (in another Scott thread, these weighed 575 each. I am hoping for that)

    Right now I am going for the easy pickings:
    Stem: Cheap ebay Uno 60mm 115 grams
    Handlebar: 31.8 Chinese Carbon 160 grams
    Tires: Schwalbe Mow Joe Folding
    330 grams 1.85
    380 grams 2.10
    Remove Bell, and Kickstand:
    Total Savings: 1064 grams equals 2.3 lbs
    That should bring the bike to 22.3 lbs. Not bad for not messing with the wheels. I will probably go tubeless also, and the 7 speed drivetrain upgrade will likely add a little weight.

  4. #4
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    7 Speed, 34T drivetrain upgrade.

    I looked at a lot of different options to upgrade the drivetrain to allow for true granny for our Colorado hills.

    Based on cost and ease of installation I decided to go with the 7 speed Shimano Megarange cassette, 7 speed Altus M310 rear derailleur, and the Shimano M310 rapid-fire shifter to replace the grip-shift. I also bought a KMC chain that includes the missing-link. Total cost was: $61

    I used this exact combination on my other daughter's Hotrock 20 and it has performed well. She has had no trouble shifting it, and it seems like it has provided a good enough range for what we do.

    I was really excited about going 9 speed, but when I looked at building the wheel with a new hub, spokes, lighter cassette, and the better derailleur, I just couldn't justify the cost. The chainstays are really short on the Contessa and I don't believe that a 10 speed would work. In fact a 9 speed may not work.

    I wonder what the total weight savings would have been. If anyone knows the weight of the stock hub I would be curious. I will weigh the cassette, derailleur, and shifter when I swap the parts.

  5. #5
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    2011 Scott Contessa Jr 20 Frame Measurements compared to Hotrock 20

    Contessa Jr 20: A good alternative for a smaller rider.

    Top Tube Actual: 16.75"
    Head Tube: 4"
    Chain Stay: 14.5"
    Wheel Base: 34"
    Stand Over at Top Tube intersection: 17.5"
    Stand Over (my estimate of practical SO): 19"

    Hotrock 20:

    Top Tube Actual: 17.5"
    Head Tube: 4"
    Chain Stay: 15.5"
    Wheel Base: 36.375"
    Stand Over at Top Tube intersection: 19"
    Stand Over (my estimate of practical SO): 20"

  6. #6
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    Did you order a 7-speed cassette or a freewheel? I would highly suspect the hub is made for threaded freewheel, not cassette. If it uses heavy nutted hubs, a wheel re-build with fewer spokes and using some alloy quick release hubs would be a nice upgrade. You can likely source a used threaded hubset for dirt cheap.

    Good choice on the tires, I was very happy with the mowjoes on my daughters 20".

    I think the other area you could achieve further weight savings would be with the crankset & bottom bracket (and get a smaller chainring for lower gearing). You might also get a weight on the fork, see if it is ridiculously heavy.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrayJay View Post
    Did you order a 7-speed cassette or a freewheel? I would highly suspect the hub is made for threaded freewheel, not cassette. If it uses heavy nutted hubs, a wheel re-build with fewer spokes and using some alloy quick release hubs would be a nice upgrade. You can likely source a used threaded hubset for dirt cheap.

    Good choice on the tires, I was very happy with the mowjoes on my daughters 20".

    I think the other area you could achieve further weight savings would be with the crankset & bottom bracket (and get a smaller chainring for lower gearing). You might also get a weight on the fork, see if it is ridiculously heavy.
    Thanks for the input. I have followed your builds and they are cool.
    It is a 7 speed freewheel. I would have loved to do a QR hub and a cassette, but I felt like that would have added another $100 or so to the build. I am not sure how much the stock hub weighs, but once I remove the tires and the freewheel I think I will have a good idea of the weight I could have saved. Scott uses light rims, and 15 gauge spokes on a 32H which is nice. I think that is part of the reason their bikes are on the light side to start with.
    Do you happen to know how much weight you saved by using a qr hub, cassette, and lightweight wheel build?

    Since I have 2 20" bikes, I think I will save the QR hub upgrade for the 24" bike that I build up in a year or so.

    I would also love to do the crankset, but with the bottom bracket, cranks, and chainring, I think that would also add another $100.
    I do believe I could end up with a sub-20 lb bike if I did the wheels and the cranks.

    I have read some other threads with the RST Capa weight. It is heavy but not super bad. Maybe 1700 grams? I will weigh it. It does work really well though. If I could get a 500 gram carbon fiber fork I may do that. I am not really interested in building up a light suspension fork for this bike. My daughter only weighs 43 lbs. When I build up the 24" I will either build up a SID, or some other equivalent fork. (I bought a Manitou Skareb, to put on a 24" Trek MT220 that I mentioned in another thread)

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Venturewest View Post
    Thanks for the input. I have followed your builds and they are cool.
    It is a 7 speed freewheel. I would have loved to do a QR hub and a cassette, but I felt like that would have added another $100 or so to the build. I am not sure how much the stock hub weighs, but once I remove the tires and the freewheel I think I will have a good idea of the weight I could have saved. Scott uses light rims, and 15 gauge spokes on a 32H which is nice. I think that is part of the reason their bikes are on the light side to start with.
    Do you happen to know how much weight you saved by using a qr hub, cassette, and lightweight wheel build?
    A few wheel weight savings data points;

    2011 Scott Contessa JR 20 Budget Build and Thoughts-img_4903.jpg

    A front 20" wheel, 36 spokes and steel nutted hub with 330gr alex singlewall rim that I rebuilt with an old alloy shell road hub and just 12 spokes went from 807gr down to 610gr (with QR skewer included), savings of right around 200gr. The hub I used was just an cheap old road part with steel axle and alloy shell that I had laying around, weighted about same amount (each right around 250gr w/QR or nuts) as the wheels original steel nutted hub it replaced but they alloy shell looks much nicer, added a QR and it has much better bearings with seals. It would be pretty easy to drop another 100gr from the wheel for $50 by using a new lightweight chinese road hub Front Road Hubs (weight below 100gr + skewer) instead of recycling the old heavy hub I happened to have on-hand.

    2011 Scott Contessa JR 20 Budget Build and Thoughts-pixie_rearwheel.jpg
    For the accompanying 20" rear wheel, I rebuilt it with 18 spokes. I did not bother sourcing radial spokes for the 6 non-drive side spokes but experimented and found that three sets of crossed pattern spokes can work fine on the NDS as well. I used an old threaded alloy road hub I had to keep the existing 6-speed (heavy) freewheel instead of bothering to convert to a cassette and more gears. I already had this bike setup with 6-speed thumbshifters that work well for a 6-year old (easy to use) and have not seen that my kids have needed more gearing range at this age, they never really get going fast enough to shift into anything faster than maybe a 34x15 gear, no need to go to 11t. Saved only a bit of weight (maybe 50gr?) on the actual hub and around 100gr worth of spokes removed but the re-build also provided a QR and better hub bearings/seals.

    2011 Scott Contessa JR 20 Budget Build and Thoughts-img_4901.jpg
    A 24" rear wheel I had came with a 404gr 36 hole alex rim and steel formula nutted hubs, originally weighted 1035gr for the hub/spokes/rim plus another 400gr for the 14-28 5-speed shimano freewheel so total of 1435gr. I rebuilt this rear rim with 18 spoke (12 crossed on drive side, 6 radial NDS) and used an older low-end shimano 7-speed cassette MTB hub (non-disk, heavy steel cassette body) that weighs around 425gr with skewer. Not a particularly lightweight hub compared to modern alloy cassette body options, you could easily drop another 150gr from the hub by buying a new lightweight part. To replace the wheels original heavy 5-speed freewheel with limited gear range, I used a CS-M750 (Deore XT) 9-speed cassette cluster with a nice lightweight aluminum cog carrier. I dropped a cog from the cluster making it a 12-32 8-speed that fits on the 7-speed width hub cassette body, the cluster weight a scant 253gr so did provide some nice weight savings, better gearing range and allowed for use of better shifting 9-speed trigger shifters I had onhand. The rebuilt 24" rear wheel weighted 880gr without cassette cogs, 1133gr with cogs included so a total weight savings of 300gr over the original wheel + freewheel and also provided for much better shifting functionality. Again, even more weight savings could be obtained buying an even lighter hub with alloy axle and cassette body, using butted spokes but this was definitely a low budget build, even the nice XT alloy carrier cassette cogset was sourced from a swapmeet for $10 and I managed to scavenge and re-use short spokes recycled from a 20" wheel for the radial non-drive side lacing of the 24".

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Venturewest View Post
    Stock Parts
    Seat 262
    Seatpost 255
    Seat Clam 33
    Stem 189
    Bars 517
    Bell 24
    Grips 72
    Kick Stand 169
    Kenda Tires (in another Scott thread, these weighed 575 each. I am hoping for that)

    Right now I am going for the easy pickings:
    Stem: Cheap ebay Uno 60mm 115 grams
    Handlebar: 31.8 Chinese Carbon 160 grams
    Tires: Schwalbe Mow Joe Folding
    330 grams 1.85
    380 grams 2.10
    Remove Bell, and Kickstand:
    Total Savings: 1064 grams equals 2.3 lbs
    That should bring the bike to 22.3 lbs. Not bad for not messing with the wheels. I will probably go tubeless also, and the 7 speed drivetrain upgrade will likely add a little weight.
    Search around for the Uno 60mm stem, you can find them in the 90 - 95 grams weight. Good luck with the project. My daughter has the 24" Scott Contesa and she loves it.

  10. #10
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    Wheel Building with low spoke county: You convinced me. Help.

    After weighing the front wheel: 781 grams, and feeling the bearings, and finding an old Deore XT hub (156g) I forgot I bought on ebay, I have decided to try building the front wheel.

    I have never built a wheel, but I have always wanted to. I will at least lace it up and then have someone else re-tension it for me.

    But, I am going to need the help of some of you experienced wheel builders.

    Current hubs are 32H. Spokes are 15 gauge. I plan to buy alloy nipples. I would like to do a 16H or 24H pattern and if possible use all or as many of the current spokes to save money. Any help would be greatly appreciated. It looks like the XT hub may have the exact same flange size as the stock hub.
    Thanks!
    Quote Originally Posted by GrayJay View Post
    A few wheel weight savings data points;

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_4903.jpg 
Views:	226 
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    A front 20" wheel, 36 spokes and steel nutted hub with 330gr alex singlewall rim that I rebuilt with an old alloy shell road hub and just 12 spokes went from 807gr down to 610gr (with QR skewer included), savings of right around 200gr. The hub I used was just an cheap old road part with steel axle and alloy shell that I had laying around, weighted about same amount (each right around 250gr w/QR or nuts) as the wheels original steel nutted hub it replaced but they alloy shell looks much nicer, added a QR and it has much better bearings with seals. It would be pretty easy to drop another 100gr from the wheel for $50 by using a new lightweight chinese road hub Front Road Hubs (weight below 100gr + skewer) instead of recycling the old heavy hub I happened to have on-hand.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Pixie_rearwheel.jpg 
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ID:	867722
    For the accompanying 20" rear wheel, I rebuilt it with 18 spokes. I did not bother sourcing radial spokes for the 6 non-drive side spokes but experimented and found that three sets of crossed pattern spokes can work fine on the NDS as well. I used an old threaded alloy road hub I had to keep the existing 6-speed (heavy) freewheel instead of bothering to convert to a cassette and more gears. I already had this bike setup with 6-speed thumbshifters that work well for a 6-year old (easy to use) and have not seen that my kids have needed more gearing range at this age, they never really get going fast enough to shift into anything faster than maybe a 34x15 gear, no need to go to 11t. Saved only a bit of weight (maybe 50gr?) on the actual hub and around 100gr worth of spokes removed but the re-build also provided a QR and better hub bearings/seals.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_4901.jpg 
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ID:	867724
    A 24" rear wheel I had came with a 404gr 36 hole alex rim and steel formula nutted hubs, originally weighted 1035gr for the hub/spokes/rim plus another 400gr for the 14-28 5-speed shimano freewheel so total of 1435gr. I rebuilt this rear rim with 18 spoke (12 crossed on drive side, 6 radial NDS) and used an older low-end shimano 7-speed cassette MTB hub (non-disk, heavy steel cassette body) that weighs around 425gr with skewer. Not a particularly lightweight hub compared to modern alloy cassette body options, you could easily drop another 150gr from the hub by buying a new lightweight part. To replace the wheels original heavy 5-speed freewheel with limited gear range, I used a CS-M750 (Deore XT) 9-speed cassette cluster with a nice lightweight aluminum cog carrier. I dropped a cog from the cluster making it a 12-32 8-speed that fits on the 7-speed width hub cassette body, the cluster weight a scant 253gr so did provide some nice weight savings, better gearing range and allowed for use of better shifting 9-speed trigger shifters I had onhand. The rebuilt 24" rear wheel weighted 880gr without cassette cogs, 1133gr with cogs included so a total weight savings of 300gr over the original wheel + freewheel and also provided for much better shifting functionality. Again, even more weight savings could be obtained buying an even lighter hub with alloy axle and cassette body, using butted spokes but this was definitely a low budget build, even the nice XT alloy carrier cassette cogset was sourced from a swapmeet for $10 and I managed to scavenge and re-use short spokes recycled from a 20" wheel for the radial non-drive side lacing of the 24".

  11. #11
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    16 spoke lacing will be plenty strong for a 20" wheel, a 24 spokes on 32 hole wheel is a more complex lacing pattern, I wouldn't recommend 24 spokes on a first build. Read through the recent wheelbuilding thread for info on how to do the spoke lengths and lacing for a crossed 16 spoke wheel;
    Kid specific Wheel Build for 40lb rider NEED HELP
    It is unlikely that you will be able to re-use the existing spokes for a 16 spoke re-build, they need to be slightly longer for a crossed pattern as TigWorld details in thread above. If you are using rim brakes, easiest and slightly lighter to get new (shorter) spokes and build it as a radial lacing wheel so long as you dont intend to ever try using the wheel with a disk brake.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrayJay View Post
    16 spoke lacing will be plenty strong for a 20" wheel, a 24 spokes on 32 hole wheel is a more complex lacing pattern, I wouldn't recommend 24 spokes on a first build. Read through the recent wheelbuilding thread for info on how to do the spoke lengths and lacing for a crossed 16 spoke wheel;
    Kid specific Wheel Build for 40lb rider NEED HELP
    It is unlikely that you will be able to re-use the existing spokes for a 16 spoke re-build, they need to be slightly longer for a crossed pattern as TigWorld details in thread above. If you are using rim brakes, easiest and slightly lighter to get new (shorter) spokes and build it as a radial lacing wheel so long as you dont intend to ever try using the wheel with a disk brake.
    Thanks for all that information. I followed all the threads and I am going to use Tig's written article. Now to figure out the spoke lengths I need to order. I am also going to try to pick up a cheap rear hub and 9 speed 11-34t cassette and convert it to 7 speed with spacers to use with the new derailleur and shifter I bought.

  13. #13
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    If you have a 7 speed shifter and want to run only 7 cogs, probably makes more sense to find an older 7-speed cassette hub which is 5mm narrower than 8/9/10 speed width cassette body. A 7-speed hub will locate the drive side spoke flange 5mm more outboard so result in better drive side spoke angles, less dish needed. If you use a 8/9/10 hub body, you will need a 5mm (or wider) spacer to run just 7 of 9 cogs (or block out a small cog with the RD limit screw). Problem also is that 9-speed spacing is significantly narrower than 7-speed, the cogs are 0.07mm narrower and the spacers are 0.61mm narrower. see Sheldon Brown's Bicycle Frame and Cassette Spacing Crib Sheet
    You might be able to disassemble a cassette of loose steel cogs and replace the 9-speed spacers with custom width spacers to set the narrower cogs at correct spacing for 7-speed shifter. You will not however be able to easily re-space an nicer (lighter) 9-speed cassette that has the cogs riveted onto an aluminum carrier. Seems like it would be simpler to just get a 9-speed shifter if you already have a 9-speed cassette and run all 9 gears.
    What I did on the rear wheel for my 24" was to use a 9-speed cassette on a 7-speed hub. Removed one of the small loose cogs from the cassette so that remaining 8 cogs fit on the 7-speed hub body using 9-speed spacing, then used a 9-speed shifter with one click blocked off at the RD.

  14. #14
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    Spoke Patterns

    I am going to build up a front and back wheel with 16 spokes paired at 1x like Tig's and Jordan330's builds.

    I am planning on using Sapim black double butted spokes, but use 4 14 gauge white spokes per each wheel, to make it different. Will this cause any problems with tension? Does it matter if I do this on the right side or left side as far as strength goes?

    I found an old XT 7 speed hub, and a vintage HG cassette that goes to 34T that isn't a Megarange! I pick it up this weekend, but it should be perfect for my shifter and derailleur. I am pretty excited to see it. I think they are pretty rare in that configuration.

    I may pick up a 24H, dt swiss made Bontrager hub also. It seems I should be able to do a 16 spoke wheel with this hub and a 32H rim right? This is for my other daughters Hotrock 20.

    Thanks

  15. #15
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    The 7s XT hub and cassette should work great. Check to see if it is 130mm and if so then since your frame is likely 135mm you may just need to add another 5mm of spacers to the NDS.

    Should be entirely possible to use the 24 hole hub and 32 hole rim together since they are both divisible by 8.

    I dont think that mixing butted and non-butted spokes will be a problem. Not much spoke stretching going on with a kid on 20" wheels.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrayJay View Post
    The 7s XT hub and cassette should work great. Check to see if it is 130mm and if so then since your frame is likely 135mm you may just need to add another 5mm of spacers to the NDS.

    Should be entirely possible to use the 24 hole hub and 32 hole rim together since they are both divisible by 8.

    I dont think that mixing butted and non-butted spokes will be a problem. Not much spoke stretching going on with a kid on 20" wheels.
    Thanks for your help. I hope to pick up the hub and cassette tomorrow and then I can order all my spokes on Monday. I don't even own a spoke wrench at this point.

    My Mow Joes came in the mail.
    The 1.85 only weighs 317 grams!
    The 2.0 weighs 399 grams.
    I ordered a couple of wire bead Mow Joes as well.
    The 2.0's are lighter than listed at about 450 grams.

    I will post some pics when I get these all laced up.

  17. #17
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    If you're after double butted spokes in short lengths (which are almost impossible to get), check out bikehubstore. I'm not sure how long he's been carrying shorter spokes, but it looks like he has Sapim Lasers (like DT Revolutions) in sizes from 205mm up. It's great to see double butted spokes in short lengths for us guys building kids wheels.

  18. #18
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    Thanks for tip. I actually ordered from Danscomp today. They even offer Sapim Lasers in the short lengths. The selection is pretty amazing. I almost went with Titanium, they have those for $2.00 but the DB were only 50 cents. I ordered around 2:30PM today and they already cut and shipped them.

    I weighed the front rim and it comes in at 321 grams. The Bontrager hub is 126 grams. Should be a pretty light wheel when it is finished out.

    I will post some pics when I get everything. I hope to build at least one wheel this weekend.


    Quote Originally Posted by TigWorld View Post
    If you're after double butted spokes in short lengths (which are almost impossible to get), check out bikehubstore. I'm not sure how long he's been carrying shorter spokes, but it looks like he has Sapim Lasers (like DT Revolutions) in sizes from 205mm up. It's great to see double butted spokes in short lengths for us guys building kids wheels.

  19. #19
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    Sounds like its going to be a great wheel.

  20. #20
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    i need to hire you, cant make sense of why the manufacturers make kids wheels so heavy

  21. #21
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    Got the front tire laced up tonight.

    2011 Scott Contessa JR 20 Budget Build and Thoughts-16-spoke-front-wheel-contessa-small.jpgClick image for larger version. 

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    Thanks again to all that helped out. Thanks especially to Tigworld for your awesome write up. I followed it step by step and things went pretty smoothly.

    I actually have the wheel fairly true with minimal hop. I am no expert but the tensions seems good too. I am amazed!

    This was a really rewarding project. I can't wait to start the rear wheel.

    I was a little stressed that I messed up on the spoke calculator. I thought the spokes were too long, but it is amazing how fast the wheel tensions down towards the end.

    The new wheel weighs 546 grams. It would have been 30 grams lighter with the 24 hole hub, but I think it looks nice and it saved a lot of weight.

    Including used hubs, spokes and nipples I have only $45 in the wheelset. Not bad!

  22. #22
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    Rear Wheel Finished with new Cassette

    Here is the rear wheel. I will need to get it on the frame and make sure it is dished properly. One little hitch is that the Contessa is 130mm! My XT hub is 135. I got it to squeeze in there, but I am not sure I want to do that. My other option is to remove one NDS spacer on the hub, and shorten the axle. If it looks like this would benefit the dish then I may go for this route.

    The cassette is a Sunlite 11T to 34T. I am pretty impressed with it. Only 302 grams compared to the Shimano Megatrain threaded freehub at 498 grams! It would be easy to drill out some rivets and add a 28 or 30t cog and remove the 11T if I don't like the shifting.

    Rear wheel total weight. 745 Grams

    2011 Scott Contessa JR 20 Budget Build and Thoughts-image.jpg2011 Scott Contessa JR 20 Budget Build and Thoughts-image.jpg

  23. #23
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    135mm to 130mm spacing adjustment:
    Due to the thick dropouts on the Scott frame, I was able to remove a non drive side spacer and adjust the entire hub over to the left. It now fits in the frame, but I wonder if moving the cassette over 4 or 5 mm will mess up the chainline too bad?

    Any thoughts?

  24. #24
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    Position of the cogset relative to centerline of the hub is actually only 2.5mm different between 130 and 135mm. Removing the NDS spacer was correct fix to fit the 135mm hub to this frame, it will work fine, particularly with a narrower width 7-speed cassette. Plenty of MTB were 130mm back in the late 80's. Be sure to check and adjust wheel dish.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrayJay View Post
    Position of the cogset relative to centerline of the hub is actually only 2.5mm different between 130 and 135mm. Removing the NDS spacer was correct fix to fit the 135mm hub to this frame, it will work fine, particularly with a narrower width 7-speed cassette. Plenty of MTB were 130mm back in the late 80's. Be sure to check and adjust wheel dish.
    Thanks. It looks like it will work pretty well. The re-dishing of the wheel was easy, and actually helped as it seemed the DS spokes were a little too long.

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