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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Burlington, VT
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    Tips and tricks for a first wheel build

    Just finished lacing up my first wheelset and was wondering if anyone has any ideas for DYI dish and spoke tension tools. I'd rather not drop the money for these tools if there's a way to check the wheel dish and spoke tension with items/tools I may already have.

    Any advice is welcomed, thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    San Jose, California
    My Bikes
    2001 Tommasini Sintesi w/ Campagnolo Daytona 10 Speed
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    1. Dish

    - Almost snug in the stand.
    - Rotate axle one time. Determine min and max distance from nearest point.
    - Flip wheel in the stand almost snug.
    - Rotate axle one time. Determine min and max distance from nearest point.

    If same position min and max from same point...done. If not, more work needed.

    2. Tension

    - Lube nipple seats on rim, proceed, and then the following things are indicators that you are OVERTENSIONING:

    A. After a hard squeeze of parallel spokes (4 at a time) for two rotations... find yourself truing the same exact spots again....and again when doing the action are likely overtensioned.

    Back off 3-4 "clicks" or almost a 1/2 turn.

    B. You think you are done, all looks great, tire and tube are on...

    ...and then you inflate and wonder why the wheel is doing a slight s-wave.

    You deflate, take off tire and tube, pop wheel into stand, and find yourself staring at....

    ...what appears to be a wheel that has trued itself after deflating the tire/tube.

    That is an indication that you have a high degree of overtension state - resolved by backing off a good 1/2 turn to full turn of the nipples.

    C. Of course, if you see stress crack at the rim holes... =8-(

    4000+ wheels built since 1984...


    1. I do not claim to be an expert in bicycle mechanics despite my experience.
    2. I like anyone will comment in other areas.
    3. I do not own the preexisting concepts of DISH and ERD.
    4. I will provide information as I always have to others that I believe will help them protect themselves from unscrupulous mechanics.
    5. My all time favorite book is:

    Kahane, Howard. Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric: The Use of Reason in Everyday Life

  3. #3
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    Dec 2009
    Melbourne, Oz
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    What the rabbit said.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
    One approach with rears I've tried with good results is to crank the drive side tension right up with hardly anything on the NDS.

    Then, getting the dish right is easy, since you do it by adding tension to the NDS. It's easier on the nipples.

  4. #4
    Can'tre Member 3alarmer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    The Big Tomato
    My Bikes
    old ones
    316 Post(s)
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    Although what Mr. Bunny wrote sounds scary, it really is the best way to
    figure out the optimum tension for your particular rim the first time you
    build that kind, even if you have a tensiometer.

    I just used the same approach on a Campy seat post binder bolt. Crank it
    down until you hear it snap, then back off half a turn.........

    But really, it works for does the reversing in the stand for dish.
    Quote Originally Posted by the Mock Turtle
    You can really have no notion how delightful it will be
    When they take us up and throw us, with the lobsters, out to sea!

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