This past week, I purchased a set of Revolights, which are a set of LED lights that attach to the rim of a bike and illuminate the front wheel and the rear wheel. While the engineering is amazing, it's too much for this blog, and beyond the scope of this post. Anyway, I was super excited to get a set of these, and get these on my current commuter bike, the Cannondale Synapse 105 (2012).
I checked the website and make sure that my bike and we'll dimensions were in fact compatible with the Revolights system. Their website leads you through a series of steps to make sure that bike frame and wheels will accommodate the increased girth of the wheel. I thought that everything was kusher but my bike and my current wheelset, however I was sorely wrong. I figured that most road bike wheelsets are very similar, and I had known others who were able to affix the Revolight system to their road bike.
After opening the box, following directions, and getting the Revolights attached, I realized that there were significant problems. The light system attaches to for spokes on the wheel. In my particular case, two of the Revolight's attachment points were on spokes from the cassette side, and two attachment points were on the non-cassette side of the wheel. Although I tried to shift the light system towards the center of the wheel, each of the attachment points on the non-cassette side contacted the down-tube.
After two frustrating days, I inspected my Shimano RS 10 wheelset and realize that the rim is offset towards the non-cassette side. In other words, the spokes did not attach to the center of the rim. In essence the spokes favor one side, and this caused the light system to contact the downtube no matter what I tried. I wondered if this was on all wheelsets or if this was a Shimano design, so I looked at my other wheelset, the Shimano RS 81, and it was also off center as well.
As you can see in the picture above, neither of the spokes attach at the actual center of the rim. Both of the spokes attach towards the non-cassette side of the wheel. This is not a problem when the spoke is coming from the cassette-side, as the Revolight does not touch the downtube fork in this case. However, when the spoke comes from the non-cassette side it protrudes out farther than the bike can accommodate.
I doubt that this problem is common occurrence among Revolight owners, but I think it's important to mention and may save someone else in the future a significant amount of frustration.
Anyway, the Revolight has fantastic engineering and some of the best customer support I've ever seen. Kudos to the Revolights team, despite my little issue with the Shimano wheels.