Rebuilt my first wheel
Yes I did it. I am semi-proud. I did a test ride of 2 miles Sunday. Commuted on it Monday 19 miles roundtrip and rode it to work again today. It hasn't fallen apart yet. However, a couple of concerns lead me to believe I'll either chunk it or be rebuilding it again in a couple of months. I noticed the other thread about spoke length and I know I have spokes that are too long. They have not punctured the tube yet, but all of the spokes are sticking up up 2-3 mm above the nipples. The rim tape is holding so far. If I don't get a really bad flat problem, I am also concerned that I still was not able to tension the non-drive side properly, so they may begin to fatigue prematurely.
The long dirty play by play. So I bought a "The Bicycle Wheel" by Jobst Brandt. I bought the Park Tensionometer, the Spin Doctor Truing Stand II and the Park WAG-3 Dishing tool from Performance. After reading the book, I attempted to do the measurements and calculations for the spoke lengths. Then I tried to verify with one of the spoke calculators available at the sheldonbrown.com website. I kind of estimated for the effective rim diameter and that was probably what messed up my spoke calculations since that is probably one of the more important measurements in the calculation. I found a spoke calculator with a database of wheel and hub dimensions, but my wheel (Weinmann 219) was not in the database. I may have used measurements from another Weinmann wheel that was in the database. that turned out to be too long. My wheel has a Shimano Sora FH-3300 hub. I found dimensions for that one on Shimano's website, after attempting to do hand measurements with a ruler and precariously aligned pieces of paper. I found my measurements were not off by more than a millimeter there.
However, when I went to the bike shop, I asked them to check my measurements. I told them I had come up with 301 and 303. The wheel was on my bike that I rode in and he appeared to measured the spokes on there on the wheel and he said, yeah, 301 and 302, so that's what I took home. (Turns out that after I removed the old spokes from that wheel they were actually more in somewhere in 296-298 range, don't remember exactly, but I measured them after determining that I had rebuilt the wheel with spokes that were too long) So Friday afternoon, spread everything out and started lacing the thing, which turned out to be quite easy. But when I started tightening the nipples down just to get that first bit of tension was when I first suspected that the spokes might be too long. But I was able to just get some tension before the spokes started peaking out of the nipples in accordance with the Jobst book.
So I began the tedious process of truing the wheel, laterally, vertically and centering. I got that done to my own satisfaction and started trying to up the tension, but since I had mistakenly been using a spoke wrench that was too large, I rounded off about three nipples before figuring this out. I couldn't get them to loosen either, so I ended up putting the wheel aside after working on it on and off for 6-7 hours till I could go to the LBS and get more spokes.
So Saturday after returning with more spokes, I checked the tension on the spokes with rounded nipples, snipped them and replaced those spokes and tried to bring them back to the same tension before continuing. I tensioned, stress relieved, repeat. I tried to even up the tension once, and then trued again, then back to tension stress relief. By this time, the drive side spokes were in the 130-140 kgf range. But the non drive side spokes were only in the 50-70 kgf range. Yet the wheel was centered. (Only had to adjust that twice). Per Sheldon Brown's website, I decided not to worry too much about the non-drive side tension and just keep upping the tension till I reached the maximum as defined in Brandt's book. After one more round of 1/4 turns, and stress relieving, I thought that I saw it go out of true in two long waves meaning it was past its maximum tension. So I back the spokes out one half turn. True again. Check the dishing. All is not perfect, but I think good enough for a first try. I check the tension. Some drive side spokes are over 150 kgf, but most are still in 130-140 kgf range. The non drive side still isn't much higher than 70kgf with a few close to 50 kgf. I should point out that I am using the cheapest tensionometer so these measurements are not the most precise. Anyway, after a total of 12 or 13 hours of working on the wheel, I decided to throw it on the bike and give it a try.
So I do have concern that I was not able to get the non-drive side tension up very high and as I stated before, I think if I don't develop a flat problem, I will probably prematurely fatigue the non-drive side spokes again. At that point, I'll either throw out the wheel or maybe I'll give it another try for some more practice. I'll probably try it again. It's only $20 for another set of spokes.
So anybody got any ideas about that tension disparity between the left and right side? I think I've read on other threads here that the left side can be as 60-70% of the tension on the right-drive side. But I have tensions on the left side that are lower than 50% of the left side. I do think that on each side all the spokes are probably within 20% of the average tension for that side. Also I am very confident of my centering/dishing. Even though it was my first time dishing a wheel, I don't see how that can get any better. Lateral and vertical truing could definitely get better, but I thought it was satisfactory. I don't feel any humps and no brake pad rubbing. Could the tension disparity between the left and right side be so great because of spokes that are too long? I felt like I could have used spokes that were the same length.
Anyhow, it went well enough that I'll probably try to respoke another wheel that I have even before the spokes on this first wheel start to fail again. I'll have to be more careful with spoke length calculations. In fact, I'll probably just remove a couple of the old spokes from the wheel and bring them in for comparison, even though I'll probably do calculations for the fun of it as well. I might even attempt to rebuild this one with butted spokes. Well I know this was long, but just felt like sharing my experience.
Good job on the wheel!
"So anybody got any ideas about that tension disparity between the left and right side? I think I've read on other threads here that the left side can be as 60-70% of the tension on the right-drive side. But I have tensions on the left side that are lower than 50% of the [right] side."
This is caused by the lateral-dish of the hub. You can try to center the hub-flanges over the center more. Remove washers from the right side of the axle so that the smallest cog is only 4mm away from the drop-out. Put those washers on the left side of the axle. You can also move the cogs closer to the spokes. When I was using freewheels, I'd throw the hub on a lathe and mill off about 4mm of the ledge where the freewheel stops against the hub. Combined with removing 3-4mm from the end of the axle, I will end up with a hub that's got 8mm less dish than when I started. When I moved up to freehubs, I did the same think and milled off about 3mm from the inside lip of the body.
Congratulations! Wheel building is a major accomplishment!
I should add, major pain in hass too but great if you've learned to do it well
Thanks for the congrats. Danno, I'm not familiar with these washers on the axle that you speak of, but when I get a chance, I'll probably see about digging into the axle and and investigating that.
Edit: I just took a look at my repair book and now I see the washers.