Where is the best place to buy 21" split rims?
Brand new ones or good used ones?
For used I'd start looking here http://modelthaven.com/ new are available. For new these folks make them http://americanvintagerims.com/
The Classifieds this site
As I re-read the initial post, I see where I confused the word BUY with the word FIND. Sorry
Bill, If you find some used split rims be sure to get some pictures and ask about the locking mechanisms. I drove my 1919 Touring for over a year before I took the rims off to sand and restore only to find the locking mechanisms were rusted out and gone from two of the rims! Apparently the tires and air pressure will keep them together but I wonder just how safe this might be in the long run.....
Michael, I have 2 rims on my 26 touring that are w/o the lacking mechanism and have run them that way for years and no problems. I did buy a new replacement rim and while it looks and fits perfect it is of a lighter gauge than originals. I have it on my spare mount and have never run it. I would say that if one is careful and not try to run over too many rocks and such it should be OK. I do use a "tube boot" under the joint area on my latch less rims and in my judgement it's good to go. I submit this as my judgement only and is not to be taken as the absolute. Jerry
Many if not most of the used split rims you find will have the locking mechanism damaged. Building or repairing the locking mechanisms is relatively simple (if the rest of the rim is in good shape and the price is right).
I have rebuilt/repaired 3 - just takes patience and a little bit of metalworking ability.
I know that some consider it blasphemy to say so, but THIS TYPE of split rim is almost as safe as a modern drop-center rim (although a bit harder to work with). Such rims even without the locking mechanism can be very safe to use with one consideration. You do need to watch the rim as you air up the tire from no pressure to about 10 psi to make certain that the ends of the rim line up with each other. Over about 10 psi it would be difficult (not impossible) to split the ends apart. Even if you succeeded in doing so, it would be nearly impossible for the rim to fly loose and damage anything more than the inner-tube or your eardrums. There is a very good chance that even the inner-tube would not blow out.
Once that rim is mounted onto the wheel, the wheel itself locks (and/or clamps, holds, etc) the rim. It should not be any less safe without the lock than it is with one.
All that said, it would be best to repair or replace broken latches/locks. I have fixed a few of them. A little creativity goes a long way. There are several types of latches used on these rims. A couple of them are easy to make.
Also, I have found that straightening them is not very difficult either.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Not having any luck finding a good used 21 inch split rim. I guess I am going to have to purchase a new one, so I can have a spare again.
One of my wheels came apart from rust damage and a few pot holes while touring last fall.
Did you try Mark at ModelTHaven?
When I got my 1st T (TT), in the 70's, good T parts were a lot harder to find than now. My front wheels have about 40 manhours in them. I went through a bushel basket of spokes too get enough good ones to make 2 wheels with my felloes and hubs. I used about a half dozen junk rims, cutting with a hacksaw and welding together with a torch, until I had 2 solid circles. I then cut (making them "split") and added latches. They're still in use today! Today we think nothing of traveling to Chicksha or Hershey. We have Ebay and several great vendors and new rims are even being reproduced. Depending on your finances and mechanical abilities, you have a lot of options.