Bicycle Mechanics - Is this the place to ask specific quetions regarding a wheel build?
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05-17-12, 01:07 PM
BikeForums is the only bicycle forum I post on, I'm still relatively new to assembling multi-speed bikes, mostly CX based commuter types. I'd like to build a set of wheels and I am getting my choices narrowed down but when it comes time to put them together I know I will have some questions. These should be some pretty nice wheels (White industries or Dura-Ace hubs, and maybe Kinlin XR-300 rims and bladed spokes). My biggest concern would be regarding spoke length selection. I'm good with precision measuring tools but I'm not familiar with some of the nomenclature cited in the spoke length online calculators. Additionally, I would like to go with different lacing patterns on the front and rear as well as different patterns on the drive and non-drive side of the rear.
I've researched wheel building quite a bit on the internet (Sheldon Brown has some excellent info). I think good results can be had without too many specialty tools but I am committed to investing in a spoke tensiometer.
Would this be the appropriate forum to ask such questions? If not is there somewhere you can direct me?
05-17-12, 01:17 PM
Easy Spoke Length Calculator (as long as your hub & rim are in the database)
I've been tinkering with wheel building or a little less than a year. I just purchased a Park TM-1 spoke tension meter a couple days ago, and haven't yet had a chance to use it - so I can't yet say if it'll make much of a difference.
I'm a clydesdale (270lb), so my bikes certainly get their fair share of abuse, even though I typically ride less than 200 miles a month. I've only had one wheel fall apart on me (broken spoke, loose spokes)...and it wasn't a wheel that I built. It was a WTB Laserdisc that I bought new, and had less than 100 miles on it. I've since replaced the spoke, and re-built the wheel. I've put nearly a thousand miles on it since, and haven't had to even re-true it.
Everything I learned about wheel building & truing was on Sheldon Brown's website, and YouTube. So far, it's paid off.
Ask away, but be aware of some limitations:
-databases may be off, designs may change, and different builders aim for different positions in the spoke nipple. Getting the rims FIRST, measuring them, and THEN buying the spokes can save a lot of grief
- it is POSSIBLE to build good wheels w/o a tensiometer, but discussing why a build failed w/o one is an exercise in futility. What you think of as "pretty darn tight" might be somebody elses "low-to-average", or the other way around.
- just b/c something is true, doesn't mean that it's important. If a wheel of average strength/durability will hold up for your use, don't expect to be blown away by the improvement offered by a pair of custom builds. In real life, better-than-needed won't really do you much good.
- rider style is HUGELY important. A clyde that knows how to "go light", and has a smooth pedalling technique can be entirely content with the same set of wheels that a skinny, but rough rider would trash within a few weeks.
05-17-12, 01:42 PM
For the first few wheel builds, I would recommend normal stainless steel round spokes, high spoke count, and 3 cross pattern. Don't do low spoke count, bladed spokes, or more complex cross patterns.
If you try more complex wheels like bladed/low spoke count/complex cross patterns, then chances are you will get frustrated and give up too easily.
05-17-12, 03:23 PM
What dabac said...and then...
...and do a Youtube search for "wheelsbyfleming". There's a nipple and thread behavior video worth watching...
05-17-12, 05:09 PM
I have a TM-1 and it's a good tool. With that said some care needs to taken when making readings. A few quick pointers are 1.) Don't snap the prongs on the spoke. Release the grip slowly. 2.) Read the spoke in a horizontal position under good light. 3.) Hold the meter with your left thumb and finger while reading. Any pressure on the right side of the tool will vary the reading.
4.)The excel spreadsheet down loadable from Park's site is a good tool to visualize the tension. 5.) I take a piece of tape and mark the 4th spoke away from the valve. That way I don't get confused as to which way I'm going around the wheel. It's all too easy to get your numbering messed up as you go from one side of the wheel to the other.
05-18-12, 03:52 PM
Question on the TM-1; is calibrating as simple as hanging a known weight off the end of a spoke and measuring? I've been using mine and it seems like it reads a little high (27-29 on drive side rear 2mm spokes for example).
05-18-12, 04:11 PM
Before you even use a TM-1 for the first time, you really need to create a calibration wheel FIRST with a good 1/2 dozen spokes tagged with the reading off the tool....
That way you can re-calibrate any time.
If you didn't do that, you're screwed. You'll need someone elses calibration wheel for the same tool, a machine shop, or have to send it back.
05-18-12, 06:00 PM
OK, well now that I've started building wheels I have an old discard that can be my calibration wheel in the future. I guess I'll send it to Park's and then start from there!
Question on the TM-1; is calibrating as simple as hanging a known weight off the end of a spoke and measuring?
Good enough for me. I have an outhouse with exposed roof beams. With the aid of some steel brackets I hang a bosun's chair in a spoke from the roof, climb in and read the value. With a bit of luck I can draft a younger relative for a 2nd calibration point, and maybe a stockier relative for a 3rd.
Asuming the bathroom scales are indicating correctly, I'm happy with this.
I've read about someone who did something clever with levers and adjustable leverage to get more values w/o having to ask for help.
05-19-12, 12:02 AM
you dont need a spoke tension meter. You will need to be really good at truing the wheels, a wheel alignment gauge would be a great tool to have, As well as a truing stand. Have your LBS do the spoke calculator. Quality Bike Products offers that tool for shops to use online, they have a ton of hub and rim measurements.
you dont need a spoke tension meter on wheels with more than about 24 spokes
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