Illustrator Path Issue

Illustrator path issue

This has me a bit baffled, so any help greatly appreciated.

The wheel to the left is a circle and several line paths. I then outline the paths and 'unite' using the shape tool.

The problem is, the united shape (to the right) alters the 'spoke' weights, even though they were the same size path to begin with.

Why? why?! WHY??!!

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