Bicycle Mechanics - machine-built wheels, great deal or?
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02-12-03, 06:29 PM
I've found what seems to be a great deal on a set of prebuilt wheels. The build is new Shimano LX hubs, Sun CR18 rims, stainless straight gauge spokes and brass nipples. The price is $75 for the set plus $15 shipping. These are new wheels from a online store that I've had good service from in the past.
The problem is these are obviously machine-built wheels and I don't know if I'll end up having trouble with the wheels going out of true and what not. I'd rather spend more now then end up spending $20 a month having the wheels constantly trued.
I think someone here mentioned taking machine-built wheels to the shop to have them retensioned when you get them and that this should cure any ills the wheels may have. Does anyone know what I'll babbling about or should I just get the wheels and take my chances.
Nearly everyone on a bike is riding on machine built wheels. If they do need some touching up, it should be a one time thing, not $20 a month.
They are a great deal, I buy them for re-sale, this is what I do. I buy a bunch of deal sets because I can't buy the parts seperately for the money, when I get the wheels I relieve the tension, replace the nipples that were damaged by the machine when the wheels were originally built, then dish, true and tension them back up to where I like them to be and sell them at a price much lower than you could have the same wheel built for if you were doing it as a custom build. They perform great and stay true as long as any other build. Sometimes the hubs are last years hub, or the rim may be a discontinued style or color but you can get a good wheel for short money.
02-13-03, 05:35 AM
After having some problems with a handbuilt wheel by a respected local wheel builder that I paid what I considered a premium price for I have tried wheels from Nashbar, Performance and QBP. Some have ridden many miles with no attention at all. Others have required a little tweaking. I feel certain I could build a wheel myself, but I don't get enough wrench time as it is. I prefer to let someone else do the grunt work of assembling the wheel then I can tension and true it up myself as needed. My experience with such wheels has been quite satisfactory.
You may be getting a deal, or maybe not. Are the spokes name-brand, or off-brand? If they are good quality spokes, then maybe I'd go for it. Just expect to have to stress-relieve all the spokes, then re-true the wheel several times in the first few rides.
Chances are, at that price, it was not professionally built. You will need to re-tension and back off each and every spoke (I usually do it by sound, always backing each nipple about 1/2 turn, until all are about the same tension). Then, you will need to grab each "crossover", and squeeze them together really good. This should approximate a decent stress-relief. Then, you will need to re-true them. Take it for a ride. Re-true again. Repeat at least twice more. This isn't sounding like such a great deal anymore, is it??
One time, a guy posted something on a board about a cheap machine-built wheel he had bought. It was a 36-spoke wheel, and it was perfectly true, straight out of the box. He checked the spokes, and found that one of the spokes was totally slack! It seems that the tensioning machine had been missing a driver for one spoke, and had tensioned and balanced the remaining 35!! Had he ridden this wheel, it probably would've been junk very quickly. BTW, it had been sold as a "hand-built" wheel. A wheelbuilder never would've built something like this.....
If you have had good experience from them in the past, than buy the wheelset. It is a good deal.
I have to shake my head at so many "worst case scenarios". I've never had a problem with cheap wheelsets or any wheelset, for that matter. The worst thing is that it goes slightly out of true or whatever. That has been my experience. For $90, I think it's a-okay. Go for it!
Originally posted by RacerX
I've never had a problem with cheap wheelsets or any wheelset, for that matter. The worst thing is that it goes slightly out of true or whatever. That has been my experience. There are poorly made wheels.Chronic broken spokes are a real symptom.Example OEM wheels from a Bianchi:chorus hubs,open pro rims and no name spokes.Have to rebuild them to get rid of the worthless spokes.
If you have had good experience from them in the past, than buy the wheelset. I've never had a problem with cheap wheelsets or any wheelset, for that matter. That has been my experience. For $90, I think it's a-okay. Go for it!
02-13-03, 12:56 PM
I'm with RacerX. It's simple, buy the wheels and a spoke wrench. Learning to keep your wheels true is not difficult, especially on a $90.00 set.
02-16-03, 12:47 AM
thanks for the advice, everyone. I had some bad experiences with the stock wheels on my old Trek 950. Now I was younger and more abusive on the bike than I am now-a-days but the wheels where constantly going out of true. I'm thinking that I'll pick up this wheelset if they're still in stock when I get the NOS Schwinn frame that I won on Ebay.
A typical machine built wheel is better than a mediocre wheel built by hand.
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