After grumpily complaining to myself about rotor alignment for the past couple weeks, a friend and the master wheel builder behind Light Wolf in Dresden reminded me that Syntace had my back, at least when it comes to 6-bolt hubs. Testing different cyclocross tires and wheelsets means a lot of swapping back and forth this season, and we’ve been reminded very quickly of the high tolerances required to keep disc brakes running smoothly and quietly, and of the wide variation from one hubset to the next. While there is a standard that defines where the rotor is supposed to sit in relation to the end of the axle, there is enough variation that almost every time we swap a wheelset I end up adjusting calipers. Conventional wisdom in cross has been to use the same hubs (and previously the same rims) on all wheels, but that is one luxury I don’t get while I am reviewing wheels for our readers. So to break down some of the hassle, hop past the break and see how Syntace’s shims can help center up braking across multiple wheelsets…
While I’ve used individual shim washers in the past to try and align rotors, the hassle of lining up and installing a dozen or more tiny washers behind a rotor is such that I wasn’t too interested in trying it again. But with the Syntace shims it was an entirely different story. To use them, simply figure out which wheelset has the rotor closest to the dropout and use that as a baseline. Then stack the required number of spacers behind the rotor on the wheel (or wheels) whose rotors are farther away from the dropout to get them all in the same place, and bolt everything back up.
I’m not sure why, but with 3 or 4 wheelsets, the front rotors were all over the place and needed up to 3 shims on one hub, while the rear wheels were never more than 1 shim away from spinning drag-free. With the one-piece shims, I was able to easily stack them on the hub, drop the rotor on, and thread a couple of bolts in quickly without losing individual washers for a centered fit.
The shims come in a set of 8 from Syntace for just under 10€ and are each only 0.2mm thick to fine tune rotor placement. At just less than a gram per shim there isn’t much weight penalty for having the one-piece shims vs. individual spacer washers, and they are much easier to deal with. The only negative thing I can think about them now is that they won’t shim my centerlock rotors too.
Just another quick thanks to Felix at Light Wolf for gifting me these on my last visit and the peace of mind that they are already providing. I guess I owe him a beer or two now. Get your own shim kits wherever Syntace products are sold, or even directly from their web shop.