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Old 02-25-10, 02:48 PM   #1
kcfcycle
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Tubular Zipp wheel building question

Ok, so this may be a dumb idea but I thought I would ask.

I'm going to re-lace a Zipp 404 tubular wheel that I have. It's got a Tufo tire glued on right now, and I don't feel like taking it off. Would it be a stupid idea to try an build the wheel with the tire still on? It uses external nipples.

I guess I'm just trying to cut a corner here.

Also, I got some help with the spoke calculation from the Zipp online help chat. The rep said that they don't recommend re-lacing pre-built rims because it hastens failure. Is that just an overly cautious disclaimer to avoid any liability? or is it actually a bad idea to rebuild the rim?
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Old 02-25-10, 03:39 PM   #2
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I wouldn't call it stupid to re spoke with a tire on, just extremely difficult. You could remove all tension, and do one spoke at a time, and pray that you don't lose a nipple in the rim in the process. Doesn't sound like a good time to me.

I've never reused a rim, because rims are a consumable part. Then again, I don't own any $900 rims.
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Old 02-25-10, 03:43 PM   #3
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Zipp sounds like they are trying to cover their butt. There is no valid reason I can think of why relacing a rim would hasten failure, assuming you rebuild the wheel properly. Building the wheel with the tire on sounds like way too much hassle (in contrast to your thinking of the hassle of regluing a tire).
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Old 02-25-10, 07:17 PM   #4
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Zipp sounds like they are trying to cover their butt.
Thats what I figured. The rim is in excellent condition, there is almost no wear on the braking area. The hub is the older 282 model, and the bearings are a bit crunchy and I think there may be something wrong with the freehub. Plus it's a Campy freehub body, and I would have to order the Shimano one from Zipp which from what I understand is like $150. I already have a new Zipp 182 hub, so I just need spokes. Should be no problem.
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Old 02-25-10, 07:26 PM   #5
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I think I'm going to try and do it with the tire on. If I lose a nipple, I'll have to take it off anyway.

I'm going to put a piece of painters tape on each nipple as I pull the spoke off to prevent them from falling in the rim. I think that should work.

It's worth a try I guess.
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Old 02-25-10, 07:28 PM   #6
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man it defiantly doable. but with no real way of keeping the nipples in place just loosing one would make you have to take the tire off anyway.

I say just take the tire off.....chances are your going ot have to anyway
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Old 02-25-10, 08:25 PM   #7
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I think I'm going to try and do it with the tire on. If I lose a nipple, I'll have to take it off anyway.

I'm going to put a piece of painters tape on each nipple as I pull the spoke off to prevent them from falling in the rim. I think that should work.

It's worth a try I guess.
Irrelevant.

Reusing AL nipples with mileage on them is just a complete and utter waste of time. Also you should use a tensionmeter and bring those wheels up to factory zipp spec. Relacing a factory built zipp wheel - I hope it has some major problems for you to have to do that.
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Old 02-25-10, 11:11 PM   #8
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Oh right, I wasn't even thinking about the fact I would be reusing the nipples.

I will be using a tensionmeter.

I don't think it would be worth it to order a new freehub and replace the bearings in the old hub, when I have a brand new 182 hub with the shimano freehub on it.
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Old 02-25-10, 11:15 PM   #9
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After building well over 1000 wheels I would still never build one with the tire still on. How are you going to make sure the rim is round. There is more to building a wheel than getting the spoke tension and rim trued. For your safety you may consider to send the wheel w/new hub & freehub back to Zipp and let them guarantee a safe wheel. After allot of fun trying to build the Zipp will it be safe? Good luck.
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Old 02-25-10, 11:27 PM   #10
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I think I'm going to try and do it with the tire on. If I lose a nipple, I'll have to take it off anyway.

I'm going to put a piece of painters tape on each nipple as I pull the spoke off to prevent them from falling in the rim. I think that should work.

It's worth a try I guess.
Having seen what it can take to shake a loose nipple out of a Zipp tubular rim, I'd recommend taking every possible precaution to prevent that scenario. And if you're going to own a tubular wheel, you might as well practice your tubular-tire skeels anyway

My method of preventing nipple loss was pretty simple:

1) take a spare spoke and run a nipple onto the threads as far as it can go, then crimp it so it won't turn. The threaded end of the spoke should be protruding out the end of the crimped-on nipple. I'll call this your "tool-spoke."

2) reduce tension on your wheel gradually until you can see two or three threads on each spoke.

3) now thread the protruding end of your tool-spoke into the head of a nipple on the wheel, so the wheel's nipple is engaging two spokes at once (the wheel's spoke, and your tool-spoke). Pull on your tool-spoke to be sure it's really threaded into the nipple's head.

4) using your spoke wrench, finish unthreading the nipple from the wheel's spoke. Your tool-spoke will be turning with the nipple, and will prevent it from getting lost inside the rim.


Reverse this process to install the new nipples without losing them in the rim. Optionally, you can bend the tool-spoke into the shape of a Bicycle Research nipple driver to speed nipple installation. My tool-spoke has never lost a nipple, and I've built my share of Zipps back in the 90s when they were in kit form.

Last edited by mechBgon; 02-25-10 at 11:32 PM.
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Old 02-26-10, 12:40 AM   #11
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Thanks for the tip. I actually use a similar technique.
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Old 02-26-10, 09:46 AM   #12
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did you try replacing the hub bearings? unless there is a steel/Alloy reinforcement for seating the nipples I would not reuse that rim.

you should really talk with Zip about rebuilding the rear hub.
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Old 02-26-10, 11:34 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by TLCFORBIKES View Post
After building well over 1000 wheels I would still never build one with the tire still on. How are you going to make sure the rim is round. There is more to building a wheel than getting the spoke tension and rim trued.
Wtf?

That's exactly what a wheelbuild is! Rim true + spoke tension in normal range!
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Old 02-26-10, 11:54 AM   #14
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Mr. Operator - How can you guarantee a round wheel with a tire in the rim? The wheel needs proper dish , proper spoke tension , trued rim and a round rim. Most books and wheel builders that I have read/talked to have a procedure that includes checking the rim for roundness just before the spokes are in the final tension and rim trued. If all a wheel build was about was spoke tension and rim trueing then all the books and seminars and time building would be shorter. I am also sure that there's wheel builders that can add quite a lot more technical information and advise to this subject. In my opinion there is more to a wheel than the rim being true and spoke tension. I am sure you know what happens to a wheel if it is not round (even if it is true and poroper spoke tension). Not all rims allow the builder to take a final measurement of rim true and spoke tension and declare the wheel perfect and finished.

Last edited by TLCFORBIKES; 02-26-10 at 01:18 PM.
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