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Old 02-13-08, 03:12 PM   #1
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Wheel building: How to learn?

So i've been kind of looking for a new wheelset and am running into some problems:

1.) I don't have the money right now
2.) The wheels that appeal to me, in the rare event that i can find them, are rather expensive
3.) I'm finding it very difficult to find exactly what i want

What i want isn't all that difficult i don't think:
1.) Black themed wheel
2.) Fairly light (1400-1600, though certainly would be willing to take less)
3.) Medium spoke count (16/20 is fine...less would be cool)
4.) 30-40mm rim

Am i asking for too much?

So, what i'm left with is some time to raise money to buy these rims which i think might give me some time to figure out how to make my own.

Why would i want to do that?

1.) It would be fun as hell
2.) Could be a lucrative side project of sorts (if it isn't, it would be fun as hell)
3.) Seems it would be cheaper
4.) Would allow me to know how to fix my own wheels when they break
5.) I would get what i want
6.) Satisfaction to the T


I'll buy a book, and can slowly acquire the needed tools. Anyone have any preferences or suggestions about how to learn?
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Old 02-13-08, 03:16 PM   #2
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http://www.sheldonbrown.com/wheelbuild.html
Likely a great start....
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Old 02-13-08, 03:18 PM   #3
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That's enough to get your wheels built. "The Bicycle Wheel" by Jobst Brandt is a good read, and covers some additional topics and theories.

Really, you just need to dive in. While custom wheels are not the least expensive on the low end -- you can build higher-end wheels much cheaper than buying pre-builts.
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Old 02-13-08, 03:36 PM   #4
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Yeah, pre-built is definitely cheaper. But building is fun. Sheldon is all you need.
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Old 02-13-08, 04:56 PM   #5
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Groovy folks...

I've been poking around the net, and i think this is actually another problem i'm finding with trying to locate pre-made wheels...where do you buy this crap?

I know you can go through custom guys like Chris King but surely there are more comprehensive locations to buy spokes, hubs, rims etc.
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Old 02-13-08, 04:59 PM   #6
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Just for practice, you could take an old wheel (that you don't plan on ever using) apart, and put it back together. It might not help with the tensioning/truing part of things, but it could with the lacing, etc.

I learned when I was 14-15 by following a book...
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Old 02-13-08, 05:05 PM   #7
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Harris Cyclery (http://www.sheldonbrown.com/harris/parts.html) should have what you need...or your LBS could order it.
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Old 02-13-08, 05:15 PM   #8
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Just for practice, you could take an old wheel (that you don't plan on ever using) apart, and put it back together. It might not help with the tensioning/truing part of things, but it could with the lacing, etc.

I learned when I was 14-15 by following a book...
Yep! Thats exactly what you do. Drop by a thrift store or keep an eye open for bikes in trash cans and dumpsters. Remove all the spokes from the rim and hub, clean everything up, and put it back together. Do both wheels a couple of times. Soon you'll have confidence and know you can build any wheel from new parts and know it will be right and most likely better than a machine built wheel.
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Old 02-14-08, 06:14 AM   #9
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Cheaper to buy pre-built, not even counting the initial cost of a truing stand, tensionmeter, spoke prep, dishing tool, book(s), and spoke wrench(es).

Having said that, there is immense personal satisfaction that comes from building your own wheel, so I recommend (eventually, when you can afford to) to learn how to do this.

Bob
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Old 02-14-08, 07:53 AM   #10
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Wheelbuilding, 4th ed., by Roger Musson.
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Old 02-14-08, 08:58 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by timmyquest View Post
So i've been kind of looking for a new wheelset and am running into some problems:

1.) I don't have the money right now
2.) The wheels that appeal to me, in the rare event that i can find them, are rather expensive
3.) I'm finding it very difficult to find exactly what i want

What i want isn't all that difficult i don't think:
1.) Black themed wheel
2.) Fairly light (1400-1600, though certainly would be willing to take less)
3.) Medium spoke count (16/20 is fine...less would be cool)
4.) 30-40mm rim

Am i asking for too much?

So, what i'm left with is some time to raise money to buy these rims which i think might give me some time to figure out how to make my own.

Why would i want to do that?

1.) It would be fun as hell
2.) Could be a lucrative side project of sorts (if it isn't, it would be fun as hell)
3.) Seems it would be cheaper
4.) Would allow me to know how to fix my own wheels when they break
5.) I would get what i want
6.) Satisfaction to the T


I'll buy a book, and can slowly acquire the needed tools. Anyone have any preferences or suggestions about how to learn?
you are a joke
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Old 02-14-08, 09:29 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by timmyquest View Post
So i've been kind of looking for a new wheelset and am running into some problems:

1.) I don't have the money right now
2.) The wheels that appeal to me, in the rare event that i can find them, are rather expensive
3.) I'm finding it very difficult to find exactly what i want

What i want isn't all that difficult i don't think:
1.) Black themed wheel
2.) Fairly light (1400-1600, though certainly would be willing to take less)
3.) Medium spoke count (16/20 is fine...less would be cool)
4.) 30-40mm rim

Am i asking for too much?

So, what i'm left with is some time to raise money to buy these rims which i think might give me some time to figure out how to make my own.

Why would i want to do that?

1.) It would be fun as hell
2.) Could be a lucrative side project of sorts (if it isn't, it would be fun as hell)
3.) Seems it would be cheaper
4.) Would allow me to know how to fix my own wheels when they break
5.) I would get what i want
6.) Satisfaction to the T


I'll buy a book, and can slowly acquire the needed tools. Anyone have any preferences or suggestions about how to learn?

1) You won't save money by handbuilding the wheels
2) What you're asking for is not realistic.
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Old 02-14-08, 11:05 PM   #13
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Old 02-14-08, 11:33 PM   #14
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The real issue is that the parts you selected would not likely fit the parameters you stated.

A wheelset in the 1400-1600 gram range is very light and would utilize rims in the sub-20mm width range, unless you are speaking of height, in which case there may be a ready-made solution out there...though not at a bargain price.

You may want to take a look at the A-Class ALX430 wheelset, making the huge assumption you are speaking about a 700c road bike compatible with a 10-speed cassette (little details like that are important for accurate answers). A set runs around $300 street price and about 1570 grams. Spoke count is a conservative 20/28 that I trust with my 215 lbs. Oh, and they're all black with machined sidewalls and silver nipples.
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Old 02-15-08, 07:29 AM   #15
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Temper, temper, people!


sorry, this guy annoys me
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Old 02-15-08, 08:29 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by timmyquest View Post
So i've been kind of looking for a new wheelset and am running into some problems:

1.) I don't have the money right now
2.) The wheels that appeal to me, in the rare event that i can find them, are rather expensive
3.) I'm finding it very difficult to find exactly what i want

What i want isn't all that difficult i don't think:
1.) Black themed wheel No problem. Tons of wheels come in black
2.) Fairly light (1400-1600, though certainly would be willing to take less) Can easily be done depending on budget
3.) Medium spoke count (16/20 is fine...less would be cool) can be done and will save weight as long as your not to heavy for a low spoke count
4.) 30-40mm rimNOT GOING TO HAPPEN.

Am i asking for too much? yes

So, what i'm left with is some time to raise money to buy these rims which i think might give me some time to figure out how to make my own.

Why would i want to do that?

1.) It would be fun as hell it could be fun or it could be aggravating
2.) Could be a lucrative side project of sorts (if it isn't, it would be fun as hell) it wont be. everyone and their grandma builds and sells wheels.
3.) Seems it would be cheaper most definately not unless you find some great deals
4.) Would allow me to know how to fix my own wheels when they break true
5.) I would get what i want true but you could get what you want by buying from somewhere like excel sports who doesnt charge you for the build just parts
6.) Satisfaction to the T true


I'll buy a book, and can slowly acquire the needed tools. Anyone have any preferences or suggestions about how to learn?
Here is where I think most people run into their problems. They want to much for not enough money. You really have to choose between light or aero. You can build a 1450g wheelset with some DTswiss 240s hubs, cx ray spokes 16/20, and a rim like the DTswiss RR1.1 or even an open pro. They wont be aero but they'll be light. If you want aero then you are going to have to spend big money. 30mm aluminum clinchers are pretty heavy never mind 40mm. Then the aero benefit of 30mm is not that great. Then when you go to larger depths they are all carbon which shoots the price up big time.
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Old 02-15-08, 10:25 AM   #17
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Thnx Jynx

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sorry, this guy annoys me
Shoot up, it'll make you feel better.

You had nothing to do with this thread until you came in here acting like a prick, leave.
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Old 02-15-08, 10:27 AM   #18
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Cheaper to buy pre-built, not even counting the initial cost of a truing stand, tensionmeter, spoke prep, dishing tool, book(s), and spoke wrench(es).
You dont need the truing stand,tensionometer,or disihng tool,(too expensive to spend for one wheel)

You use your brake pads as a truing stand,use the tension on the spokes as a gage by gripping the spokes by two like you would stress relieve them,as for a dishing tool,you could center it with your seatpost.worked for me.

This will make the wheel ridable,but if you want perfection you will have to spend about $150.00 for the tools.
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Old 02-15-08, 10:50 AM   #19
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You dont need the truing stand,tensionometer,or disihng tool,(too expensive to spend for one wheel)

You use your brake pads as a truing stand,use the tension on the spokes as a gage by gripping the spokes by two like you would stress relieve them,as for a dishing tool,you could center it with your seatpost.worked for me.

This will make the wheel ridable,but if you want perfection you will have to spend about $150.00 for the tools.
"You don't need...." often preceeds silly advice.

I suppose that any McGuyver-type could manage to build a wheel using only dental floss and a Swiss Army knife. But I wouldn't trust my teeth or my skin to his (or your) handywork.

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Old 02-15-08, 01:49 PM   #20
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After a point of experience and accumulation of parts, hand building wheels *can* become a cost cutting measure. For example, I recently relaced the front wheel on my commuter around a Shimano Dynamo hub. I got the hub for $75, and had a perfectly good rim - so it was worth my time and the cost of spokes to rebuild the wheel myself, compared to shelling out at least $250 for a wheel laced around a dynamo hub (which with disc mount was nearly impossible to find anyhow).
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Old 02-15-08, 03:19 PM   #21
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This sounds like a Zipp 303 or similar.

I think, based on the parameters, it would be very expensive to buy parts for less than the cost of a pre-built wheel (Zipp or similar, especially if used). Add the build time and tooling and I think it'll cost less to just buy the wheels (maybe used). Most rims strong enough for 16/20 spoke patterns are really expensive on their own and cost about as much as a wheelset utilizing the same rims.

I bought my Reynolds DV46Cs for less than $900 from someone on eBay. It included a ti cassette, two brand new tires (Conti 4000), and two latex tubes (no skewers). This is about the street price for used but excellent condition DV46s, with or without the cassette and tires. I didn't look at the smaller profile rimmed wheels but I'm sure they're similar. I think one Zipp 404 rim is $400 or so wholesale, perhaps $600 retail. Reynolds will replace one broken DV46C rim for $700 or so. Parts almost always cost more than the whole set. If you're spending $1k or less, you can buy a set of wheels used.

In addition, a low spoke count highly stressed wheel would not be an ideal wheel for a new wheel builder. I'd start with a wheel with a little more built in margins, i.e. a standard 32H aluminum rimmed wheel.

cdr
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Old 02-17-08, 08:09 AM   #22
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I just found these. They are going to be your best bet for your requirements without being as expensive as Zipp's, or Reynolds. Of course these are pre built but they seem to almost fall into every category.

http://www.eastonbike.com/PRODUCTS/W...l_'08.html
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Old 02-17-08, 03:53 PM   #23
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I say build your own just because it sounds like you want to. I think you'll be glad you did. right off the bat you won't save money, but you may in the long run. for example, I have a set of Mavic Championnat Du Monde rims laced to some Normandy Competition hubs. The wheel set is from the 70's. Unfortunately the rims are in rough shape, but the hubs are healthy. In stead of paying a shop to build a new set around the hubs, I'll do it myself. All I have to buy is rims and spokes.

I personally hate seeing someone at a bike shop do something I can do on my own if I had the right tool, so I usually end up buying the tool and doing it myself. Some tools (Like a truing stand) you can make yourself if your innovative enough. Dishing tools are not really that necessary, but will save you time. spoke wrenches are cheap. tensionmeter is optional. There are ways to tell if your spokes have the proper tension without one.

I agree that your not going to find what you ideally want in a wheelset, but being able to build wheels on your own allows you to be much more specific about what you put into the wheel. You can have any combo of hubs/spokes/rims you want.
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Old 02-18-08, 02:36 AM   #24
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I just found these. They are going to be your best bet for your requirements without being as expensive as Zipp's, or Reynolds. Of course these are pre built but they seem to almost fall into every category.

http://www.eastonbike.com/PRODUCTS/W...l_'08.html
The only time i can find this for sale via google it's listed as a CF clincher and is $1200...i be confused
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Old 02-18-08, 07:15 AM   #25
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Just for practice, you could take an old wheel (that you don't plan on ever using) apart, and put it back together. It might not help with the tensioning/truing part of things, but it could with the lacing, etc.

I learned when I was 14-15 by following a book...
I agree with practicing on an old wheel, but with a slight variation.

Lacing a wheel is the easiest part of wheel building. Its just a matter of following simple, foolproof instructions. Once you have the first four spokes in correctly, you can't go wrong.

The hard part of wheelbuilding is truing and tensioning a wheel. Thats where the "art" of wheelbuilding comes in.

I would take the experimental wheel and loosen all the spokes until they are completely slack but don't remove them(may want to oil the threads at this point) and then practice tensioning, dishing and truing the wheel. If it doesn't come out right, loosen everything up and start again.
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