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Thread: Wheelbuilders

  1. #1
    don't misunderestimate me BoSoxYacht's Avatar
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    Wheelbuilders

    I'm curious, how many wheelsets did you build before you were confident enough of your craft to call yourself a professional(accepting money)?

    I've built a dozen or so wheels over the past 20 years without any problems, but lawsuit happy people make me hesitant to build wheels for other people.

  2. #2
    Bikaholic blamp28's Avatar
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    I have never built for money but I have traded for parts and beer. Seriously, I only do wheel work for close friends and family. I might take the odd paying build if offered. I don't consider myself a professional but my wheels have been lasting longer than the "pros" who worked on them previously around here. That is why I learned.

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    Senior Member Deanster04's Avatar
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    Same a Blamp28...Keeps me in good microbrews to help friends. If you haven't had any problems with your wheels and you ride a lot then you are good enough. A wheel is a wheel and it ain't magic if you do it right.

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    In beaurocratic limbo urbanknight's Avatar
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    I think I had built about a dozen or so wheels, relaced a few, and trued many. I was 15 when I started it as a side job. My customers were mainly just people who knew me around the track and my rates vs. the time I spent on each wheel would have probably amounted to slave labor, but it was much more fun than mowing lawns! Now that I'm older, I'm less likely to charge anyone for it just because of the liability factor. As said above, pizza and beer is a good rate for what I consider a hobby now. Oh, and being a teacher, I actually enjoy teaching the person how to do it themselves over just doing it for them. Teach a man to fish...
    "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)

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    Quote Originally Posted by blamp28 View Post
    I have never built for money but I have traded for parts and beer. Seriously, I only do wheel work for close friends and family. I might take the odd paying build if offered. I don't consider myself a professional but my wheels have been lasting longer than the "pros" who worked on them previously around here. That is why I learned.
    +1
    With me it's mostly a hobby, but I was offered a job of repairing wheels for the LBS. As far as confidence goes, I felt confident enough to work on friends bikes after about 6 or 7 wheels. On the other hand I continue learning more about wheels with just about every build. I've always turned down the money but not the beer.

    Al

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    I'd say you are probably doing better than a lot of wheelbuilders at some LBS's. I remember building my first wheel for a customer at the shop I worked at, it was probably the 4th wheel I had ever built. At the time I was too young to know any better. That being said, the wheels held up and the customer may have had to bring them in for 1 or 2 free tune-up trues.

    I've built over 30 wheels now and I feel confident enough in my knowledge to charge people for my services. I think you would have to screw up a wheel pretty bad for you to be liable for any damages that could result. The customer must take on at least some level of responsibility for maintenance and future truing. The better a wheel is built, the less future truing it will need, but it's not like you guarantee it for life against defects.

  7. #7
    Soma Lover
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    I've built about 20 wheels now and I don't have but one boutique set of Ksyriums and one old bomber set with studded snow tires that I haven't built myself. My first few builds were learning experiences but the ones I build now never seem to go out of true. I'd consider building wheels for enough money but I can't find anybody around here willing to pay me the same per hour as my engineering job does.

    Bri

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    In beaurocratic limbo urbanknight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TurdFerguson2 View Post
    I'd say you are probably doing better than a lot of wheelbuilders at some LBS's. I remember building my first wheel for a customer at the shop I worked at, it was probably the 4th wheel I had ever built. At the time I was too young to know any better. That being said, the wheels held up and the customer may have had to bring them in for 1 or 2 free tune-up trues.
    Yep, most shops don't have a competent wheel builder on staff, and even if they do they don't like them taking too much time. I already had wheel building skills before I got a job at a bike shop, but they didn't like me taking a half an hour per wheel. The head mechanic built wheels in 15 minutes each, but he didn't align the medallion, he didn't care if the valve hole was in the right location, and he didn't prestress the spokes. No wonder his wheels ended up back in the shop within a month, only to be stressed and trued by me, so the customer never had to come back. My wheels go through hell and back without going out of true.

    To the head mechanic's credit, everything else he could do more accurately AND more quickly than me. I hated Huffy and Murray derailleurs!!!
    "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)

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