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  1. #1
    Mr. Maximan1 maximan1's Avatar
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    Wheel building...

    How? How much does it cost? I'm looking to build some wheels, I've had prior expirience with tools. Is it easier to spend $1000 or just buy the tools needed and build 2 wheels? I would build and take apart a wheel just to get how to make one, but what tools would I need?

    Thanks in advance
    Maximan1

  2. #2
    Gone, but not forgotten Sheldon Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maximan1
    How? How much does it cost? I'm looking to build some wheels, I've had prior expirience with tools. Is it easier to spend $1000 or just buy the tools needed and build 2 wheels? I would build and take apart a wheel just to get how to make one, but what tools would I need?
    It would take some serious creativity to spend a grand on this!

    See: http://sheldonbrown.com/wheelbuilding

    Sheldon "It's Not All That Hard" Brown
    [COLOR=blue][CENTER][b]Harris Cyclery, West Newton, Massachusetts[/b]
    Phone 617-244-9772, FAX 617-244-1041
    [URL= http://harriscyclery.com] http://harriscyclery.com[/URL]
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    [URL=http://sheldonbrown.com]http://sheldonbrown.com[/URL] [/CENTER] [/COLOR]

  3. #3
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maximan1
    How? How much does it cost? I'm looking to build some wheels, I've had prior expirience with tools. Is it easier to spend $1000 or just buy the tools needed and build 2 wheels? I would build and take apart a wheel just to get how to make one, but what tools would I need?

    Thanks in advance
    Maximan1
    I recommend giving it a try! I used Sheldon's guide to learn to build my first wheel, and it turned out great. A lot of patience is required at first, but it's a very fun and useful skill.

    Spoke wrenches and a truing stand are absolutely vital (I have the $30 Performance Spin Doctor stand which I like a lot, and the $10 Spin Doctor/Lifu spoke wrenches). A dish stick is nice to have but not vital, since many truing stands such as the Spin Doctor one have a built in centering gauge. A tensiometer is kind of pricy ($60 or so) but handy, although I've found I can build reliable wheels without one.
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  4. #4
    Mr. Maximan1 maximan1's Avatar
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    I was thinking these kind of wheels.
    Are these harder to build?
    Or just more expensive?
    http://www.fullcycles.com/product_in...afb6fdd385250a

  5. #5
    Gone, but not forgotten Sheldon Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maximan1
    I was thinking these kind of wheels.
    Are these harder to build?
    Or just more expensive?
    http://www.fullcycles.com/product_in...afb6fdd385250a
    They are harder to build, when you use fewer spokes you need to build to higher tension.

    Also, those need special rims with different spoke hole placement.

    Sheldon "36" Brown
    [COLOR=blue][CENTER][b]Harris Cyclery, West Newton, Massachusetts[/b]
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  6. #6
    Soma Lover
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    Wow! Do I really have the audacity to reply to a Sheldon Brown sighting? I started with the Sheldon Brown article and am now hooked on building my own wheels. I'm up to about 15 or so but I don't build "boutique" wheels. My racing bike is the only one with fancy spoke patterns, bladed spokes, and all the rest of that jazz. I'll tension and true but I'm not about to pick parts and build wheels that close to the edge of reliability.

    I myself am suprised at how quick an Open Pro on Ultegra Hubs can be if it's done right. The torsional advantage of a 32 spoke 3 cross wheel with ideal spoke tension is worth the effort if you want a bombproof training wheel. In fact, I won't build another wheel without a tension meter. If it's worth the two hours or so you're going to put into it, it's worth butted spokes and ideal spoke tension. If you want a racing wheel, use DT Revos and DuraAce and it will climb like a mountain goat and cruise like a gazelle.

    Something as speedy as a Rolf Elan is another animal altogether and requires all of the tools and experience you can muster. I wouldn't dream of starting with something like that. I'm not there yet myself. Start your wheelbuilding with an everyday mountain set.
    Last edited by cachehiker; 10-19-06 at 09:16 PM.

  7. #7
    Mr. Maximan1 maximan1's Avatar
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    I think I'll start with a regular wheel. Are you really Sheldon Brown?

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by maximan1
    I think I'll start with a regular wheel. Are you really Sheldon Brown?
    Yes indeed, you have been advised by "The Man".
    And I would expect it to be less expensive to buy those Rolfs than to build them, if you can buy the parts.

    Al

  9. #9
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maximan1
    I think I'll start with a regular wheel. Are you really Sheldon Brown?
    People who build their own wheels typically do 36, 32, or 28 hole wheels with standard semi-tangent, half-radial, or radial spoking patterns. High end "boutique" wheelsets with low spoke counts and paired spokes and such can often only be bought as a complete set (you can't buy the hubs and rims separately).

    And yes, that is really Sheldon Brown. Could anyone else make up a new middle name as consistently as he can?
    My bikes | Linux and Python stuff | Photo gallery

    Sheldon Brown, I miss you. Thanks for the advice, ideas, humor, and infectious enthusiasm for everything bikes...

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by maximan1
    I was thinking these kind of wheels.
    Are these harder to build?
    Or just more expensive?
    http://www.fullcycles.com/product_in...afb6fdd385250a
    As long as you know that it is not cheaper to build the wheels yourself you are ok. I have built two sets and fixed my own. If you are in the US you will get a very good deal on wheels from one of the large shops.

  11. #11
    30 YR Wrench BikeWise1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maximan1
    I think I'll start with a regular wheel. Are you really Sheldon Brown?
    No, he's a caped and bearded repository of the most bike knowledge (not to mention his other interests) of any single person I've ever encountered. That he looks like SB and happens to work in the same place-click on his name and "view public profile"-is a remarkable coincidence!

    Yes, 'tis he!

  12. #12
    Senior Member Journeyman's Avatar
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    OK, so we've decided to buy the Mavic Open Pros or another. Does anyone have any suggestions about a really reliable reasonably priced supplier of the rims and components that you need to build your own? I'd like to find a distributor that has an online presence so that I can take care of the orders prior to talking with someone.

    Does anyone have any experience riding and building the Velocity Fusion? Would it make a really good training wheel?

    jman
    The tallest mountains aren't always the ones you climb with your feet. - Martin Luther.

  13. #13
    The AVatar Ninja SaabFan's Avatar
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    You could shop at Harris to support Sheldon "The Man, Himself" Brown:

    http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/

    Another of my favorites for wheelgoods is Mike Garcia at Odds and Endos:

    http://www.oddsandendos.com/
    Q: How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?
    A: FISH!

  14. #14
    Decrepit Member Scooper's Avatar
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    I ordered my Open Pro rims from Harris and got the usual competitive pricing, great customer service and lightning fast shipping/delivery.

    I use the Spin Doctor (~$40) truing stand and and Park Tool TM-1 tension meter (~$55). If I can build true and properly tensioned wheels, anybody can. It's a great experience.

    Sheldon's article on wheelbuilding is great, and I also found the $9.00 e-book Wheelbuilding to be extremely helpful.

    - Stan

  15. #15
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Journeyman
    OK, so we've decided to buy the Mavic Open Pros or another. Does anyone have any suggestions about a really reliable reasonably priced supplier of the rims and components that you need to build your own? I'd like to find a distributor that has an online presence so that I can take care of the orders prior to talking with someone.

    Does anyone have any experience riding and building the Velocity Fusion? Would it make a really good training wheel?

    jman
    I've bought spokes a couple of times from wheelbuilder.com. I've been extremely happy with his service.

    The one experience that I've had building up Velocity Fusion rims wasn't very satisfactory but I haven't figured out why. I eventually replaced them with a pair of Dyad rims which turned out to be my best wheelbuild ever.

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    Hi,

    I've been a mechanic for a couple of years and have seen a tension meter lying about the shop. When I asked the boss about it he just kind muttered... dont need it, its too slow. whats the deal with them, will it improve your wheel dramatically, is it worth the extra time?

    Ta

  17. #17
    "Purgatory Central" Wino Ryder's Avatar
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    Last May I had a set of Ambrosio "Excellence" rims built up to my 8-speed Record hubs by my LBS. They charged me $100 bucks for labor, but they did a good job. I was also tempted to just build them up myself, but the 'red' Ambrosio rims were hard to find, and didn't want to chance screwing them up. But I guarantee the next wheels that get built up will be done by myself. There's a lot of great information out there on wheel building, and Sheldon Browns is of the best, the way I understand it.

    I opted for the 'Ambrosios' over the 'Open Pros' because I wanted something a bit different, that was all Italian, with the rich pedigree in european pro cycling that 'Ambrosio' had. The red rims are 'the bomb' and go perfectly with my steel Italian bike

  18. #18
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Turpey
    I've been a mechanic for a couple of years and have seen a tension meter lying about the shop. When I asked the boss about it he just kind muttered... dont need it, its too slow. whats the deal with them, will it improve your wheel dramatically, is it worth the extra time?
    I'm a believer. I've worked on lots of wheels that were satisfactory relative to radial and side-to-side trueness but, never-the-less, had significantly spoke tension variences. When that's the case, the loosest spokes may eventually break.

    A few years ago I did tech support for a Ragbrai team. One morning a rider told me that he'd broken a spoke the previous day and had somebody else replace the broken spoke. I told him that he should have had me do it because the other guy had probably just returned his wheel to the condition it was in previously. What it was before was a wheel that was about to break a spoke. Sure enough, that very night he came to me with another broken spoke. I replaced the broken spoke, equalized the tension on all 32 spokes and retrued the wheel. He was able to complete the rest of the ride uneventfully.

    There are only a few logical reasons to build your own wheels today:
    1. You want to lace up something that's unusual.
    2. You get personal satisfaction from building your own wheels.
    3. You want wheels that exceed typical store-bought quality.

    I subscribe to the latter two. For me using a tensiometer is worth it because it helps me to build the best wheel that I'm capable of building.

  19. #19
    Decrepit Member Scooper's Avatar
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    ^ ^ ^ +1
    - Stan

  20. #20
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
    There are only a few logical reasons to build your own wheels today:
    1. You want to lace up something that's unusual.
    2. You get personal satisfaction from building your own wheels.
    3. You want wheels that exceed typical store-bought quality.

    I subscribe to the latter two. For me using a tensiometer is worth it because it helps me to build the best wheel that I'm capable of building.
    +1

  21. #21
    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
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    ONce you learn to build and true your own wheels accurately, you start to notice how out of dish some "new" wheels are from your very own LBS. No joke.

  22. #22
    Year-round cyclist
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    Other reasons to build your own wheels:

    – You need to replace only some of the components

    – Bike shops in your area do a lousy job

    – You can't get a good price for complete wheels.


    I started wheelbuilding using Sheldon Brown's instructions when I bouth two dynohubs for my bicycles. Siince I already had fairly new wheels, I figured it was cheaper to reuse the rims (especially the heavy duty one) than to buy complete wheels.

    I later installed two other dynohubs and replaced a few rims that were worn out (but the hubs and spokes were good). It's quite possible to re-use the spokes ad infinitum, which is something a professional wheelbuilder would not do because he/she would not be able to guarantee his/her work afterwards.

    Finally, one doesn't absolutely need a truing stand to build or true wheels. It's quite possible to do so in the bike frame. Just use a small screwdriver or pencil as feeler. It takes more time, but who cares.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

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    Sure enough, that very night he came to me with another broken spoke. I replaced the broken spoke, equalized the tension on all 32 spokes and retrued the wheel. He was able to complete the rest of the ride uneventfully.


    So when you equalised the tension, did you use a tension meter, or just finger feel it? I reckon you can get a pretty good feel for tension, without using a tension meter, but then I've never used one, so cant really make a comparison

  24. #24
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Turpey
    So when you equalised the tension, did you use a tension meter, or just finger feel it? I reckon you can get a pretty good feel for tension, without using a tension meter, but then I've never used one, so cant really make a comparison
    I use a tension meter. It's like digital vs. analog technology. There's no doubt that analog is useable but digital is more accurate and consistant.

  25. #25
    Decrepit Member Scooper's Avatar
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    I don't understand how anyone could think that using a tension meter takes more time than not using one. In the long run, I'll bet it takes more time to true and tension a wheel without a tension meter.
    - Stan

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