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Old 03-07-08, 06:26 PM   #1
meaculpa
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Wheel build

I posted originally at the Touring forum but only got one response. Guess I should have put it here to begin with.
This is the original post:

"So I stop into my shop w/ clunking in the front wheel Shop owner said the cones are shot, hub is shot & I should just get a new wheel.
He custom builds 'em, offers to put together a commuter/touring wheel: 36 spoke on a Deore hub w/ Alex rim. Total: $125. The guy seems confident that he can build on tough mother of a wheel.

He said he likes Alex, Easton & some others for custom-building. I have Alex 19s that are in their 18 month of almost daily use. The owner told me if I had had them overhauled before this winter they'd still be good.

The deore is equivalent to my tiagra hub but better for commuting/touring he told me. I saw one (a rear wheel) that he did & it did look & feel beefy. But what do I know?
Any opinions would be appreciated since I am totally ignorant re wheels. "

Following up: right after I submitted that post, a friend told me that my front wheel could be overhauled no problem & he & I did just that. The cone was shot but the cup was fine so we replaced the cones & bearings.
Next day I found that the shop owner built it already so now I feel obliged to buy it. My friend told me that this shop owner does this sort of thing all the time, convinces people to buy things they don't need.
Any thoughts?
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Old 03-07-08, 06:30 PM   #2
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He can easily sell it to someone else. My own local shop builds wheels on spec all the time when they don't have other work to do.

So I guess it just depends on if you want to stay in his good books.
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Old 03-07-08, 06:44 PM   #3
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Deore are just fine for what you want to do with them. I just built a set of wheels for my wife based on a pair of deore hubs. BUT, this guy's cheaping out on rims. Alex rims are crap imho. They're fine for OEM, but if you're getting a custom set of wheels you're better off spending a little extra scratch on a better set of hoops. I'd suggest DT Swiss, but I know that they're a little rich for some people's blood. Realistically speaking there are alot of decently priced rims out there that will do very well. Just... not Alex or lower.
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Old 03-07-08, 06:45 PM   #4
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That's true. He has another custom built rear wheel w/ exactly the same spoke#, hub & rim combination. This would just make it a pair.
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Old 03-07-08, 09:46 PM   #5
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Deore are just fine for what you want to do with them. I just built a set of wheels for my wife based on a pair of deore hubs. BUT, this guy's cheaping out on rims. Alex rims are crap imho. They're fine for OEM, but if you're getting a custom set of wheels you're better off spending a little extra scratch on a better set of hoops. I'd suggest DT Swiss, but I know that they're a little rich for some people's blood. Realistically speaking there are alot of decently priced rims out there that will do very well. Just... not Alex or lower.

Knowing very little about componetry & wheelbuilding, I had the same thought. Experience & time being equal, I wondered why not pay $40-50 more for a better rim? I think the Alexs run @$30-40 & DT Swiss are $80. In looking back on the conversation I'd had with the owner, he was pushing the Alex rims as a very good value. We didn't discuss the pricing for better rims.
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Old 03-07-08, 11:19 PM   #6
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Sell your old wheel on eBay or Craig's list if you did a good job on the rebuild and if the new wheel is an upgrade. $125 is a pretty good price.
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Old 03-07-08, 11:53 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by meaculpa View Post

Following up: right after I submitted that post, a friend told me that my front wheel could be overhauled no problem & he & I did just that. The cone was shot but the cup was fine so we replaced the cones & bearings.
Next day I found that the shop owner built it already so now I feel obliged to buy it. My friend told me that this shop owner does this sort of thing all the time, convinces people to buy things they don't need.
Any thoughts?
You have to decide if you actually told him to build it. If, in your heart and to the best of your memory, you did not tell him to, you should not buy it from him - but you should explain. If you feel that you did give him the go-ahead, you should explain the situation and tell him you'd rather not buy it, but if he feels you committed to do it and is counting on you buying - AN if you think you did - you should buy it.
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Old 03-08-08, 12:16 AM   #8
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Thanks Camilo. Its an ethical quandry since now I have a nicely rolling front wheel (Tiagra+Alex19s that came stock w/ the frame) w/ less than $20 parts & labor. Hard to say but I do think we had agreed to him doing this job. Therefore, I guess I need to pony up. I will keep the old wheel, who knows when/how I will use it. One possibility is as a studded winter tire set up. All winter, I've had these odd days where I had to change tires for icey/snowy roads. I kept thinking "I need another wheelset..." but the cost was too much.
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Old 03-08-08, 06:09 AM   #9
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It's not an ethical quandry in my opinion. Regardless of the other fact that you saved some money on the other wheel. These are two seperate things. If you indicated that you wanted this wheel and he built it, your obligated. You could explain and he may well let you off.

Last edited by blamp28; 03-27-08 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 03-08-08, 06:51 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by meaculpa View Post
Thanks Camilo. Its an ethical quandry since now I have a nicely rolling front wheel (Tiagra+Alex19s that came stock w/ the frame) w/ less than $20 parts & labor. Hard to say but I do think we had agreed to him doing this job. Therefore, I guess I need to pony up. I will keep the old wheel, who knows when/how I will use it. One possibility is as a studded winter tire set up. All winter, I've had these odd days where I had to change tires for icey/snowy roads. I kept thinking "I need another wheelset..." but the cost was too much.
There's a third path. Tell the wheelbuilder the truth and try to come up with another resolution. Maybe he'll be just as happy if you buy something that you'd rather have from him.
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Old 03-08-08, 02:04 PM   #11
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Yea, I agree with those who recommend that even if you did tell him to build it, explain the situation. I wouldn't be surprised if he said "no problem, I'll be able to sell it to someone else." If not, just buy it and have a spare - or sell one of them.
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Old 03-09-08, 11:06 AM   #12
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I get a chance to talk it over with him next week as I'm taking my GF over to his shop to test-ride a hybrid for her. I don't know if we'll buy the bike but its a fact that as long as I am commuting & he's in my neighborhood, we'll be doing business one way or the other in the future.
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Old 03-27-08, 12:49 PM   #13
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Another follow up on my original posting re custom built wheel:
I went into the shop, told the owner I had repaired the front hub & maybe he could resell this new one? He got pretty cold and insisted that I buy the wheel I ordered. I agreed that I could eventually buy the wheel but it could be a few months before I had the extra $$. This was b/c I wanted some time while I considered the matter further. (I also noticed that he didn't ask me any questions about the repair.)

So a few days ago, I talked to one of his aquaintences & this guy said the lbs owner is lying, that this is a pre-built wheel & the guy's got a rep for lying straight-faced to customers.

In the meantime, my concaved rear rim has begun cracking. I talked to another lbs, my go-to shop normally, and they agreed that the other guy is not trustworthy. Then they told me I should just go for a quality pre-built Deep V to replace the rear wheel. $180 w/ tax & ship. Cough! Gag! But I do feel this second shop are honest people so...

I know this makes me a jerk, but I'm not going to buy the front wheel from the other shop. He can sell it, its not as if its a specialty item. (And I called my usual lbs back and ordered the deep V to replace the rear). The aquaintence told me not to go in his shop again, just write it off. I think I need to go back in & tell him face to face that I don't want the wheel. Oh well.
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Old 03-27-08, 01:12 PM   #14
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I don't think you are being a jerk. He set the whole thing up by telling you that your original front wheel wasn't repairable. He also seems to have a reputation for doing this. You can either avoid his shop, or if you really feel the need to deal with him, tell him that you think his business practices are less than ethical, since you were able to easily repair the wheel in question, and if he pushes further you can always file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.
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Old 03-27-08, 01:53 PM   #15
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DC, thanks for the reply. I think he sold me on the "custom built" wheel when he pointed out that it was likely that the hub was beyond repair since the cups were probably shot. Our mutual aquaintence asked if he "put a wrench on it?" I told him no. He then mentioned that this fellow is always trying to sell people stuff they don't necc need, (especially with the high rents for the location of the shop).

I don't plan to accuse him of lying, its enough that he won't get my business anymore. I was warned before this happened to watch out w/ this guy...now this little mess.
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Old 03-27-08, 02:15 PM   #16
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Hmm...sticky situation

Here goes.....in my opinion. If a shop offers an opinion on whether something is beyond repair or not without first taking a look at it, that's a dubious business practice. Second, I NEVER build a wheel, custom bike, etc. without a deposit....not paid in full, but a deposit...it allows me to proceed with knowledge that you are in fact willing to buy it and 2nd, it prevents this type of "misscommunication". So that again, is another dubious business practice.

So I would be a little leary of his shop but ask around and see how others experiences compare. My other concern, your other local shop knocks him...that's not cool either. Talking trash about a competitor is just a poor play on anyone's part. Let your work, talent, and service set yourself apart. If you're good, honest, and sincere, customers will come to you and gladly pay your prices.

Now relating to your wheel issue. I'm a big propponent of handbuilt custom wheels...and this doens't have to mean fancy, schmany.....get a solid, reliable rim, straight gauge spokes, and have your local shop build it up for you. Solid wheelbuilding skills are one of the skillsets that great shops have in their "tool box". I bet if you ask your local shop for a "good, better, best" pricing for a new rear wheel...you can come under that $180 price tag without even trying.

Finally, Alex rims......tough call, their OEM stuff is fairly cheap and not durable but their high-end (yes, they do make high-end) like the Crostini 3.1 and 3.2 rims are very nice, light, and very, very durable. I have a set laced to C. King hubs with Sapim spokes and it smokes Krysiums for weight and serviceability.
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Old 03-27-08, 02:57 PM   #17
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I know this makes me a jerk, but I'm not going to buy the front wheel from the other shop. He can sell it, its not as if its a specialty item. (And I called my usual lbs back and ordered the deep V to replace the rear). The aquaintence told me not to go in his shop again, just write it off. I think I need to go back in & tell him face to face that I don't want the wheel. Oh well.
You're not being a jerk. As long as your assessment of the shape of the cups in the hub was accurate (no pitting, nice shiny races) then the guy at the first shop was lying to you to get you to buy the wheel in the first place. Which from his reputation sounds probable. Personally I wouldn't give someone that tried to rip me off the time of day.
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Old 03-27-08, 04:54 PM   #18
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Re shops on shops: The owner's rep is, as I found out, fairly pervasive. This is the first time I've heard any other shops knock on another one, normally they seem to avoid criticizing each other...with good reason I think. That stuff comes around.

But the friend/mechanic who helped me fix the hub is not one given to critcizing, yet he was a bit upset when I told him my situation, telling me the owner is always doing this sort of thing. The feeling overall I got from many different cyclists is its best not to deal with that shop (there were a few that had some harsh words for his business practices but I can't say what's behind all that).
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Old 03-27-08, 06:40 PM   #19
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I don't take kindly to folks who rip me off or try to rip me off. I don't do buisness with them, and as a responsible consumer, I spread the word about the terrible and dishonest service. This guy is not only a slime ball, but he is a crook!!!! Crooks belong in jail. Most people who patronize bike shops do not know much about what they are riding on and trust the guy-at-the-shop to tell them the truth.

with that said: I suggest you post the name and location of his shop so all riders in your area that spend time here will know better than to give the shop their hard earned money.

post about the good ones too.

I hate crooks.
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Old 03-27-08, 07:39 PM   #20
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Here goes.....in my opinion. If a shop offers an opinion on whether something is beyond repair or not without first taking a look at it, that's a dubious business practice. Second, I NEVER build a wheel, custom bike, etc. without a deposit....not paid in full, but a deposit...it allows me to proceed with knowledge that you are in fact willing to buy it and 2nd, it prevents this type of "misscommunication". So that again, is another dubious business practice.
This situation could've easily went in the opposite direction had the shop been reputable. You (OP) have to understand that some repairs just can't be assessed without doing half of it to begin with. Stuff like cones cannot be checked without taking stuff apart, and at that point you're already looking at a hub overhaul charge and it might turn out that they're actually damaged enough that it isn't really worth replacing cones/bearings + associated charge and it would be more cost effective to just buy a whole new wheel.

Just as an example.
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Old 03-28-08, 07:53 AM   #21
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[QUOTE=operator;6417803]This situation could've easily went in the opposite direction had the shop been reputable. You (OP) have to understand that some repairs just can't be assessed without doing half of it to begin with. Stuff like cones cannot be checked without taking stuff apart, and at that point you're already looking at a hub overhaul charge and it might turn out that they're actually damaged enough that it isn't really worth replacing cones/bearings + associated charge and it would be more cost effective to just buy a whole new wheel.

I definately get your point operator. I do think that that was part of the sale: just get a new wheel b/c the cost of opening & checking the hub represents a % of the cost of a replacement. However, my objection is that three local wrenches told me that he is known for baldfaced lying to his customers. Two of those guys insisted that the wheel build is a pre-built. And he had no interest in the actual repair. Finally, how difficult is it to sell a 700c front wheel? I was ready to buy a bike from him for my girlfriend, I just needed to get over there with her. Now, his hostility kills that sale. Sorry, I am a big supporter of local small businessmen and he isn't losing money, not yet anyway.
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