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  1. #1
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    Recommendation for buying components for first time wheel build

    In two weeks I'll attend a 5 hour (2.5hr on 2 days) wheel building class. The lesson is based on a 3-cross pattern. The wheel will be used on my cyclocross commuter and reliability is more important than reduced weight.
    1. What hub, spoke, and rim combination do experienced wheel builders recommend?
    2. Would a front or rear hub be better for a novice? I'm assuming 5 hours is needed to build one wheel.

  2. #2
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    front is easier.
    Cheap, reliable hubs don't get much better than tiagra.

    What I would recommend. Buy a wheelset, from somewhere like velomine: http://www.velomine.com/index.php?ma...oducts_id=1681

    and take that to class. That way, the spoke lengths will be correct and you get a nice cheap wheelset that you can use.

    Honestly, I don't think there is a better deal than that tiagra/A319 wheelset currently, but those wheels are built with a machine, so they require a touch up by a wheel builder anyways.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
    http://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/arti...ger-photos.htm

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    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
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    Why not have your first wheels by tear downs of existing wheels to be rebuilt - and then once you have to hang of it - do the real wheel build that you really want?

    =8-)
    4000+ wheels built since 1984...

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    The class description and the sheldonbrown wheel building intro (http://sheldonbrown.com/wheels/index.html) both recommend starting with a new (assuming that means unassembled) rim and spokes. I guess that's to avoid any damage from an inital build.
    Last edited by solo; 02-11-12 at 08:20 PM.

  5. #5
    AEO
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    Quote Originally Posted by solo View Post
    The class description and the sheldonbrown wheel building intro (http://sheldonbrown.com/wheels/index.html) both recommend starting with a new (assuming that means unassembled) rim and spokes. I guess that's to avoid any damage from an inital build.
    if they are laced, but otherwise new, the things to watch out for while building: outside vs. inside spoke and the spoke marks in the hub.

    Outside spokes, that is spokes with the head of the J towards the inside, will have a more acute angle.
    Inside spokes, the spokes that have their head point outward, will have a more obtuse angle.

    The hubs will have markings on the flanges, from where the spokes were in contact. It's best to not make new marks, because these marks are stress risers that lead to hub flange failure.

    The best way to disassemble a prebuilt wheel, is to just remove all the outside spokes from both sides. Those are laced up last, so they also come out first. Then you will have a half laced wheel and won't have to worry about mixing up the inside and outside spokes and the only attention you will need to give is to line up the markings on the hub flange when lacing up the wheel again.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
    http://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/arti...ger-photos.htm

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    It depends on whether your main interest is learning or ending up with a good wheel coming out of the course. If it's a learning experience find a sidewalk sale bike with tolerable wheels, note the spoke height in the nipples, then break them down and bring the parts to the course.

    Two benefits to this approach. Low cost for practice stuff, and no waste of good stuff on learning abuse. Better learning experience because older stuff tends to be harder to build and align well than brand new stuff.

    Then you can take it apart and practice again, or repeat with another junk wheel. Finally build your real wheel without the mistakes, and other issues that typically plague first wheels. You'll end up with a better wheel that way.
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    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    It's not rocket surgery, have the confidence to buy what you want for your first wheel build.

    I could teach a chimpanzee to do the laceing part. The whole key to good wheelbuilding is in the tensioning and trueing. You can practice laceing with a used wheel. Tensioning and trueing - not so much. Assuming the rim has a little set in it (most old wheels) it will never come out right. I think that anybody who has average or better mechanical ability can produce a perfectly good wheel build on their first attempt using new decent quality components.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    It's not rocket surgery, have the confidence to buy what you want for your first wheel build.

    I could teach a chimpanzee to do the laceing part. The whole key to good wheelbuilding is in the tensioning and trueing. You can practice laceing with a used wheel. Tensioning and trueing - not so much. Assuming the rim has a little set in it (most old wheels) it will never come out right. I think that anybody who has average or better mechanical ability can produce a perfectly good wheel build on their first attempt using new decent quality components.
    Agree.

    But I'd have to see the chimp.. lace a wheel. You must be some teacher....

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    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    If you want a blanket recommendation for your stated usage, I'd go with Tiagra hubs (assuming 130mm works in your frame), Velocity Dyad rims, and DT or Wheelsmith spokes are good and easy to find. The Velocity Dyad is a strong, slightly wider rim, but actually not excessivly heavy. Probably best to use at least a 28mm tire with the Dyad.

    Oh, and if you have the lead time to spare, I suggest getting one of these Quick-Wedge screwdrivers for easy insertion & starting of nipples in double-walled rims: http://www.amazon.com/Quick-Wedge-18.../dp/B004IOKC7A

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    One thought,
    Get as nice a hubset as you can afford, rims and spokes are consumables,
    in the long term.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SortaGrey View Post
    Agree.

    But I'd have to see the chimp.. lace a wheel. You must be some teacher....
    It's like teaching a monkey to weld. Ya gotta find one dumb enough!

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    The Mavic 319 or Open Sport depending on how wide a tire you want to run. 36 double butted spokes that will last through many rims and a shimano Tiagra or 105 hub.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    Oh, and if you have the lead time to spare, I suggest getting one of these Quick-Wedge screwdrivers for easy insertion & starting of nipples in double-walled rims: http://www.amazon.com/Quick-Wedge-18.../dp/B004IOKC7A
    That screwdriver is a cool idea. I use my awl for starting the nipples in double wall rims.

  14. #14
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I use a spare spoke, thread the head of the nipple on.
    then thread it on the spoke., unthreading it off the spare /handle at the same time.
    I got a crank looking screwdriver, made for wheel building.
    it helps count turns so all nipples come up equally ..

  15. #15
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    I use a spare spoke, thread the head of the nipple on.
    then thread it on the spoke., unthreading it off the spare /handle at the same time.
    I got a crank looking screwdriver, made for wheel building.
    it helps count turns so all nipples come up equally ..
    I used to do it that way but my awl is faster.

    I have a nipple driver screwdriver too but I don't trust it. I stick my thumb nail in the last spoke thread and tighten each nipple until it hits it.

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    First- I'd build your wheel (even your first wheel) with whatever components you want. or can afford. There's no way to muck things up, just because you're new at it, except for maybe over-tensioning.

    Second- I'd probably forego the wheel-building class, especially if there's a cost to it. Here's why- If you go to the class without a little knowledge and experience, you may come away from it more confused than before you went. I find that "instructors" have a way of trying to teach you what works for them- glossing over stuff that they take for granted- and not being considerate of the very basic stuff, or how ones methods might differ based on skill level. Wheelbuilders aren't necessarily educators either, nor is there any certification for teaching wheelbuilding that I know of. Maybe not the guy who's giving "your" class, but most wheelbuilders are in a world of their own, and may not communicate the message all that well.

    I know several "wheelbuilders" here locally, and some of them damn good. Before I started I asked a few somewhat educated questions, to which the answers should have been very simple. The answers were all good and correct, but didn't do me any good because we were on different skill levels at that point, and each had a different way of explaining the same thing. The guy who sits on a stool with the parts in his lap- installs all 32 spokes into the hub before lacing, and finishes the lacing in just a few minutes probably ain't gonna communicate well to the newbie. I know "this guy." When finished he looks at me and says, "see how simple this is?"

    Since this is a little about tools- here's my most valuable wheel building tool. Attachment 237119

    Sorry- I'm a dumbass when it comes to posting photos sometimes. Anyway these are a couple of my homemade nipple drivers. If you've ever dropped a nipple inside a double wall rim, well you get the picture.
    Last edited by reddog3; 02-12-12 at 12:07 PM.

  17. #17
    30 YR Wrench BikeWise1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SortaGrey View Post
    Agree.

    But I'd have to see the chimp.. lace a wheel. You must be some teacher....
    My daughter was lacing wheels correctly at age 7.....she acts like as chimp sometimes..... :-)

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