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  1. #1
    Senior Member Klink's Avatar
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    Radial Lace Wheelbuild.

    So I've dipped my hands into the cool waters of wheelbuilding and to this point, so far so good. By so far, I mean 3x and no dishing, which suits my needs fine, but, I decided recently to spoil myself and build a new front wheel. I thought, hell, radial can't be any harder than 3x can it? I'm very wrong.

    3 times now I've built and rebuilt the wheel, each time the wheel isn't round. I've threaded all the nipples to the same spot, tightened them all the same amount then done the trueing, and still, no dice. There's always a skip to it. And now this most recent rebuild I fear I may have over-tightened some of the spokes in order to compensate.

    So I'm all out of options, I feel as if I've followed the most appropriate technique to building a wheel, but at the same time, it never really comes out round. I had all the spokes cut and milled at a LBS, and as much as I trust them I somewhat have the impression they may have been slightly different lengths. Would this effect the outcome?

    Finally, after the last reconstruction of this hellish circle I've noticed some stress marks on the rim itself. They aren't cracks or other such physically noticeable blemishes, but rather under certain light areas by where the nipple extends through the rim the light reflects differently, as if the metal has been slightly stretched.

    Oh, and it's a Velocity AeroHead rim (700c) laced with cut and milled single butted spokes to a Miche Primato high flange hub. Any suggestions as to what's best to do in this situation would be greatly appreciated, as for I am wholly stumped.

  2. #2
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    A lot of times you build a 'perfect' wheel except for one spot where it is laterally or radially (or both) not perfect and it drives you nuts. Upon close inspection you realize it's right at the joint where the rim ends were welded.

    Trying to compensate for imperfections at this part of the wheel can cause trouble for an otherwise perfect wheel. Sure you can overtighten a spoke or two, but then your "equal-spoke-tension" goal is messed up. So if the area of imperfection is the rim joint weld, and the only way to make it perfect is to create uneven tension, I wouldn't mess with it.

    The "stress marks" you refer to sound like the beginnings of stress risers, but if there are no cracks yet, I wouldn't worry about them, yet. Just inspect them regularly. I would agree with your suspicion that in your zeal to get the wheel perfect you overtightened a spoke or two. (Is this where this thread gets hi-jacked and we debate the benefits of using a tension-meter?).

    As to spoke length, you can build a perfect wheel even with spokes that aren't exactly the same size (as long as you have enough threaded area, and no spokes are poking through your rim tape). Pay less attention to threading them all to the same spot, and more attention to working toward even tension, and you can build a good wheel in spite of your spokes not being perfectly matched.

    Bob

  3. #3
    Curmudgeon Wil Davis's Avatar
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    How big is the "skip"? From your description, it sounds like a lousy rim. I would check the spoke-length calculations, and the quality of the rim. I've always found that with a decent rim, the correct length spokes and careful tensioning, it's unusual to run into problems; I can usually get my wheels to within less than 0.5mm of true (both radial and lateral) without any problems.

    I recently built a set of wheels laced 32-spoke Half Crow's Foot, and they came up quickly; very little truing required, and the rear dishing didn't need any adjustment; I would say the easiest set I've built in a while.

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    Senior Member Nessism's Avatar
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    Part of the wheel truing process is to center the hub. In my experience this is the most difficult part since it often involves loosening spokes on the opposite side to where the low spot on the rim is. Don’t rely on the spokes all being the same to get you through this process – you need to focus on the position of the rim and make adjustments to center it while considering lateral position and overall spoke tension at the same time. Not easy sometimes. A tension gauge is a great help if you don’t already have one.
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  5. #5
    In beaurocratic limbo urbanknight's Avatar
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    +1 on the lousy rim. Radial laced wheels are easier to build AND true.
    "Well, I guess you can cut the arts as much as you want... Sooner or later, these kids aren't going to have anything to read or write about." (Richard Dreyfus as Glenn Holland)

  6. #6
    Senior Member Klink's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info!

    I should mention that when going for consistent tension, the result would be that some spokes ended up extremely tight whereas others felt as if they were a few felt as if they had hardly been tightened at all (nipples so loose they could easily be tightened/loosened by hand). From my first experience building up this wheel, I was able to remember to resist temptation and just not tighten them down until I started to to true the wheel. Was this a mistake? For what reason would some spokes be so relatively untensioned whereas others were plenty tight?
    Last edited by Klink; 04-23-07 at 11:33 AM.

  7. #7
    * vpiuva's Avatar
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    Maybe some of your nipples were completely seated while others oround the rim were not. This could explain why some felt like they were under more tension pre-tightening. The seated ones would feel loose.

  8. #8
    Curmudgeon Wil Davis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Klink
    snip…
    For what reason would some spokes be so relatively untensioned whereas others were plenty tight?
    If it takes such a condition for the wheel to be true, then I would guess that the rim is suspect, or the spoke lengths might be adrift. Did you remember to put a drop of oil on each nipple where it enters the rim? (Makes truing so much easier)

    - Wil
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  9. #9
    Electrical Hazard
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    I've built many velocity wheels, and I'd say they're far from lousy.
    I think you may have over tensioned parts of it originally.

  10. #10
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    Best guess, bent rim.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Klink's Avatar
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    Final answer? More tension than originally guessed, better spoke wrench, and a solid trueing stand (not a fork with a brake).

  12. #12
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    3 times now I've built and rebuilt the wheel, each time the wheel isn't round. I've threaded all the nipples to the same spot, tightened them all the same amount then done the trueing,
    sounds like you need to learn how to true for round also. you are always going to have slight variations in spoke lengths and in the threads themselves either on the spoke or in the nipple.

  13. #13
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    I built two radially-laced (front) wheels in the early 1970s, far before it was fashionable, and I cannot recommend the practice. I am a big fan of conventional 3x or 4x, with at least 32 spokes per wheel.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  14. #14
    Ho-Jahm Hocam's Avatar
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    On a similar note,

    How do you stress relieve radial lacing? Is it necessary?
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  15. #15
    In beaurocratic limbo urbanknight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hocam
    On a similar note,

    How do you stress relieve radial lacing? Is it necessary?
    Yes it's necessary, and you do it just like a crossed wheel. Grab two spokes next to each other and squeeze. I was originally taught to stress wheels by putting them on the axle and pressing on the rim at various points, but that's bad for the bearings.
    "Well, I guess you can cut the arts as much as you want... Sooner or later, these kids aren't going to have anything to read or write about." (Richard Dreyfus as Glenn Holland)

  16. #16
    Listen to me powers2b's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John E
    I built two radially-laced (front) wheels in the early 1970s, far before it was fashionable, and I cannot recommend the practice. I am a big fan of conventional 3x or 4x, with at least 32 spokes per wheel.
    I'll second that.
    I cannot recommend building wheels in the early '70s either.
    But for those that survived Y2K I think radial wheels are the thing to do (especially with low spoke count).
    If you want the wheel to look really CHIMP I suggest using the widest bladed spokes you can find.
    Quote Originally Posted by SBFixed View Post
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