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  1. #51
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    Thanks for the clarification.

    I guess I'm still left with a question, though: what is "better"? Stronger, faster, more reliable, ...?

    In my experience, good custom wheels can be stronger - but I've had custom wheels from very highly regarded builders that gave nothing but trouble, and I've had stock wheels from (I'm ashamed to admit) Performance that apparently are going to last forever.

    Faster? I dunno. I doubt that a wheel built by hand from top-quality components is going to be any faster than a wheel built by machine with the same parts (assuming such a thing exists). I'm also completely unimpressed by things like ceramic bearings and carbon spokes. I've seen convincing evidence that those bits make zero on-road difference to times/speeds, and the only contrary evidence I've come across has been so obviously biased and/or unscientific as to be laughable.

    And the "..." part? Sure. If folks want to drop big dollars on wheels because they think they look cool or the builder is a personal friend or because that's what was used to win the Tour last year, then more power to them, right?

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
    What hubs, spokes and rims did you use to build a 1438 wheelset?
    Hubs - BHS (bikehubstore) hubs, SLF85W front, SL211 rear. Those apparently are Crazy Monkey clones upgraded with US made Enduro bearings
    Spokes - 20F/24R setup with CX-rays because I'm lazy about untwisting spokes after I true them.
    Rims - Kinlin 270 from fairwheelbikes. They had them on sale for $22.50 each. What a steal! Although now reading about 23mm wide rims just make my fingers itchy for another build.

    I used brass nipples and slightly heavier front hub because I wanted more durability on my first build. You can probably get away below 1400g if you go will all super-light components. I set up the front to be radial while the rear is triplet laced with 1x NDS and 3.167x on the DS

  3. #53
    Old. Slow. Happy. MileHighMark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superfred View Post
    Hubs - BHS (bikehubstore) hubs, SLF85W front, SL211 rear. Those apparently are Crazy Monkey clones upgraded with US made Enduro bearings
    Spokes - 20F/24R setup with CX-rays because I'm lazy about untwisting spokes after I true them.
    Rims - Kinlin 270 from fairwheelbikes. They had them on sale for $22.50 each. What a steal! Although now reading about 23mm wide rims just make my fingers itchy for another build.

    I used brass nipples and slightly heavier front hub because I wanted more durability on my first build. You can probably get away below 1400g if you go will all super-light components. I set up the front to be radial while the rear is triplet laced with 1x NDS and 3.167x on the DS
    Those hubs are a great deal. I have some that are laced to H+Son Archetypes, and they've been set-and-forget.
    GRAVELBIKE.COM - ride everything

  4. #54
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
    Thanks for the clarification.

    I guess I'm still left with a question, though: what is "better"? Stronger, faster, more reliable, ...?

    In my experience, good custom wheels can be stronger - but I've had custom wheels from very highly regarded builders that gave nothing but trouble, and I've had stock wheels from (I'm ashamed to admit) Performance that apparently are going to last forever.

    Faster? I dunno. I doubt that a wheel built by hand from top-quality components is going to be any faster than a wheel built by machine with the same parts (assuming such a thing exists). I'm also completely unimpressed by things like ceramic bearings and carbon spokes. I've seen convincing evidence that those bits make zero on-road difference to times/speeds, and the only contrary evidence I've come across has been so obviously biased and/or unscientific as to be laughable.

    And the "..." part? Sure. If folks want to drop big dollars on wheels because they think they look cool or the builder is a personal friend or because that's what was used to win the Tour last year, then more power to them, right?
    Actually I was kinda expecting to get the 'better' part from different posters. I figured that anyone that was still driving with their stock wheels would maybe say what they were and that they were happy with them. And figured cyclists that WEREN'T riding on their stock wheelset might share the reason they 'upgraded'. 'Better' seems to mean different things to different riders depending on their riding habits, but wheelsets are still THE most commonly 'upgraded part of the bike.

    The wheelset I'm in the process of ordering parts for myself is because the bearings on the stock wheelset don't have treated races so life expectancy is 1/5 of what I've replaced them with. But thats still a bit of cash so I went for a build that can be installed on both a hybrid with disc brakes and a touring frame with rim brakes. So there's an axle mod in there too do I can use either an axle mounted derailleur or a hanger mounted derailleur. Can't drive both at once, but the wheels at least will get a lot of use.

  5. #55
    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burton View Post
    Actually I was kinda expecting to get the 'better' part from different posters. I figured that anyone that was still driving with their stock wheels would maybe say what they were and that they were happy with them. And figured cyclists that WEREN'T riding on their stock wheelset might share the reason they 'upgraded'. 'Better' seems to mean different things to different riders depending on their riding habits, but wheelsets are still THE most commonly 'upgraded part of the bike.

    The wheelset I'm in the process of ordering parts for myself is because the bearings on the stock wheelset don't have treated races so life expectancy is 1/5 of what I've replaced them with. But thats still a bit of cash so I went for a build that can be installed on both a hybrid with disc brakes and a touring frame with rim brakes. So there's an axle mod in there too do I can use either an axle mounted derailleur or a hanger mounted derailleur. Can't drive both at once, but the wheels at least will get a lot of use.
    I believe from your first post we have to realize that most entry level stock wheels are not made from the same quality parts as either aftermarket upgraded wheels or hand builts. I believe my Dura Ace 7801s were every bit as strong as my hand built Open Pros. They are not however as forgiving on bad pavement. They are not as forgiving if a spoke needs replacing. but at least they didn't require special brake pads. They have Scandium brake surfaces. However my first road bike came with Alex DC19s. At the time I was 45 pounds heavier than am now and I tend to mash my way up hills. Or I used to anyway. The spokes and rims would flex so bad that I would break a spoke about once a month. Lighter wheels spin up faster and most stock wheels weigh 2200 grams. First upgraded wheels more than likely will come in around 1800 grams and will be stiffer than stock wheels.

    I hae been moving away from Shimano hubs because of Cup and cones. Yes they are easy to serivce but they take a fine touch to make smooth. (Yes I have a friend that will spend the time to get them adjusted just right but I am not one of those people. My last handbuilts have Hope Pro hubs and Dt swiss rims and spokes. I agree with you it means something different to almost everyone but when someone can't "Feel" the difference between cheep stock wheels and well built hand built of even machine built wheels there is nothing left to say to them. we get into debate mode mode because some are not interested with how much easier it is to spin up a lighter stiffer wheel. They aren't interested with sprinting up a hill or eliminating flex when standing up to sprint on a 7 percent hill. But to some even non racers the first time up a 3/4 hill that always kicked you tail with a lighter stiffer wheel will bring a smile to your face. If that smile cost 300-$1000.00 so be it. If you don't smile at the improvement the answer is simple, don't upgrade.
    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.

  6. #56
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    So apparently at least a couple people do think stock wheelsets are OK. I'll asume the people that stated that are still driving on theirs. Anyone else still driving on the wheelset/frame that originally came together?

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
    I believe from your first post we have to realize that most entry level stock wheels are not made from the same quality parts as either aftermarket upgraded wheels or hand builts. I believe my Dura Ace 7801s were every bit as strong as my hand built Open Pros. They are not however as forgiving on bad pavement. They are not as forgiving if a spoke needs replacing. but at least they didn't require special brake pads. They have Scandium brake surfaces. However my first road bike came with Alex DC19s. At the time I was 45 pounds heavier than am now and I tend to mash my way up hills. Or I used to anyway. The spokes and rims would flex so bad that I would break a spoke about once a month. Lighter wheels spin up faster and most stock wheels weigh 2200 grams. First upgraded wheels more than likely will come in around 1800 grams and will be stiffer than stock wheels.

    I hae been moving away from Shimano hubs because of Cup and cones. Yes they are easy to serivce but they take a fine touch to make smooth. (Yes I have a friend that will spend the time to get them adjusted just right but I am not one of those people. My last handbuilts have Hope Pro hubs and Dt swiss rims and spokes. I agree with you it means something different to almost everyone but when someone can't "Feel" the difference between cheep stock wheels and well built hand built of even machine built wheels there is nothing left to say to them. we get into debate mode mode because some are not interested with how much easier it is to spin up a lighter stiffer wheel. They aren't interested with sprinting up a hill or eliminating flex when standing up to sprint on a 7 percent hill. But to some even non racers the first time up a 3/4 hill that always kicked you tail with a lighter stiffer wheel will bring a smile to your face. If that smile cost 300-$1000.00 so be it. If you don't smile at the improvement the answer is simple, don't upgrade.
    "...most entry level stock wheels are not made from the same quality parts as either aftermarket upgraded wheels or hand builts." Well, okay. But in that case we're not really talking about the benefits of stock vs. custom, we're talking about the benefits of quality parts. Same with the idea of "spinning up a lighter stiffer wheel".

    So maybe the short answer is that if your stock wheels are built with heavy and/or poor quality bits then upgrading makes sense, but if your stock wheels are made of top quality parts you can't really expect much benefit from customs.

  8. #58
    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
    "...most entry level stock wheels are not made from the same quality parts as either aftermarket upgraded wheels or hand builts." Well, okay. But in that case we're not really talking about the benefits of stock vs. custom, we're talking about the benefits of quality parts. Same with the idea of "spinning up a lighter stiffer wheel".

    So maybe the short answer is that if your stock wheels are built with heavy and/or poor quality bits then upgrading makes sense, but if your stock wheels are made of top quality parts you can't really expect much benefit from customs.
    Yes we might agree with that. What I have noticed is to keep a price point many if not all manufacturers seem to skemp on wheels. I am not sure you can ever make the assumption that the normal stock wheel is of high quality unless you know that parts that they came with. You might be able to count on a Mavic Aksium being pretty strong and holding up without a need for truing for a long time. But you will not get the same performance from from a Forte Titan rear wheel from Performance. The difference may only be $100.00 but unless you are 120 pounds you can tell the differnce from tha first day you switch wheels. And that to me was the point. Unless the stock wheel is a known quality wheel like a Ksyrium, or Easton or other better known wheel, you will have to upgrade from the stock wheel to get both lighter and stronger.

    As far as what makes them better, that is subjective. With handbuilts you can get the wheel built to your riding style and needs. Stock wheels are built for the average person riding the average distance the average number of days a year. That is my experience anyway. You can buy quality machine wheels but typically unless you are paying a bit more at the store to start with you will get the minimum wheel set for the average person. Once again from what I have observed.
    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.

  9. #59
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Depends on what you want them for. I bought a pair of wheels off craigslist from a guy who was "upgrading." They are 32h Weinmann DP18 on Tiagra hubs with straight gauge spokes. I"m sure they were machine built. He said they were his stock wheels and he had upgraded so he was selling them. Heavy as hell and not particularly true when got them, but I have taken the time to true and tension them. I thought I might use them as wheels for a CX project bike, but instead they've become my training wheels for my road bike. I expect to have many trouble free miles from them.

    And when I put my carbon tubular race wheels on, the bike feels like a rocket. Train heavy, race light.
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  10. #60
    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    Depends on what you want them for. I bought a pair of wheels off craigslist from a guy who was "upgrading." They are 32h Weinmann DP18 on Tiagra hubs with straight gauge spokes. I"m sure they were machine built. He said they were his stock wheels and he had upgraded so he was selling them. Heavy as hell and not particularly true when got them, but I have taken the time to true and tension them. I thought I might use them as wheels for a CX project bike, but instead they've become my training wheels for my road bike. I expect to have many trouble free miles from them.

    And when I put my carbon tubular race wheels on, the bike feels like a rocket. Train heavy, race light.
    Well I think the bingo moment was you took the time. Nothing I could do to my DC 19s they simply wouldn't stay true. However I have had open pros with 105 hubs and using the build, detension, retension and do it one more time stay true for a year or more. My handbuilts with Dura Ace Hubs and Open pro hubs were built about 1996 and are still going strong. I did notice a slight bump by the valve stem the other day but the rims are about ready to be replaced anyway. But I still have a stock front wheel in my shed.
    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.

  11. #61
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    So I started this thread by mentioning that I had picked up some Halo Spin Doctor hubs and planned on doing some axle mods before lacing them up. The replacement axle I ordered to let this take an axle mounted rear derailleur showed up yesterday so later this week I'll see about making the swap. If everything goes as planned - I'll get some more Mavic rims in - if they aren't still backordered that is.

    As well as being a backup set of wheels - the plan is to keep a couple wheelsets at the shop with a couple different tires mounted and ready to test ride. So the hubs and rims are both disc and rim brake compatible.

    These have cartridge bearings and should be possible to replace with a ceramic hybrid at some point, but that's more of a curiosity thing than anything else. Don't expect to notice any performance difference, but durability might be another story. It would be a long time before any results became apparent and one set of wheels ain't much to go by. Anyone else already tried ceramic cartridge bearings? Cartridge as opposed to loose bearing balls?
    Last edited by Burton; 03-02-13 at 04:24 PM.

  12. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burton View Post
    So apparently at least a couple people do think stock wheelsets are OK. I'll asume the people that stated that are still driving on theirs. Anyone else still driving on the wheelset/frame that originally came together?
    "Driving"?

    Still using the stock wheels that came on my 2005 Motobecane Le Champion (American Classic CR-420s) and various other bikes bought over the last 40 years. I've spent about 5 minutes in total in truing the American Classic wheels since 2005; never had to retension them. I've rebuilt the wheels on a few of my bikes, but only after damaging the rims in crashes.

    The only original-equipment wheels I remember coming from a manufacturer with undertensioning problems were on Treks in the early '80s. The sales rep admitted that Trek had farmed out their wheelbuilding to senior citizen homes near the factory; arthritis = undertensioned wheels.

    Millions of bikes have been ridden with stock wheels without problems over the years. Maybe the assumption that stock wheels are of lesser quality than the frame or other components is a consequence of the burgeoning aftermarket wheel availability rather than the other way around. As the song says, "The public wants what the public gets."

  13. #63
    Senior Member m2tiguy's Avatar
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    so here's a question - I'm 220 and have been having a few spoke problems with "standard" wheelsets -
    can anybody point me in the right direction for a set of custom built tripple cross wheelset ??
    thanks
    try harder,, just say'n

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    Quote Originally Posted by m2tiguy View Post
    so here's a question - I'm 220 and have been having a few spoke problems with "standard" wheelsets -
    can anybody point me in the right direction for a set of custom built tripple cross wheelset ??
    thanks
    Do you have low-spoke count wheels with less than 32H? Is the problem restricted to the rear wheel? You can get a pair of Shimano 105 32H hubs for about $100. Replace the hubs only if your existing hubs have less than 32H. A pair of Velocity Deep-V is $120 delivered. You can also pickup a pair of Weinmann DP18 rims for about $70. The DT Competition double-butted spoke is $1.00 each. Add 18 cents for the brass nipple. Assembly is $40-$60, depending on builder.

    Most people only have problem with the rear wheel. You can pickup a new rear wheel (DP18) for about $185...$125 if you can re-use the old hub (min 32H). PM me if you want me to inspect the wheels to see if it's possible to repair/salvage some components.

  15. #65
    Senior Member m2tiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by furballi View Post
    Do you have low-spoke count wheels with less than 32H? Is the problem restricted to the rear wheel? You can get a pair of Shimano 105 32H hubs for about $100. Replace the hubs only if your existing hubs have less than 32H. A pair of Velocity Deep-V is $120 delivered. You can also pickup a pair of Weinmann DP18 rims for about $70. The DT Competition double-butted spoke is $1.00 each. Add 18 cents for the brass nipple. Assembly is $40-$60, depending on builder.

    Most people only have problem with the rear wheel. You can pickup a new rear wheel (DP18) for about $185...$125 if you can re-use the old hub (min 32H). PM me if you want me to inspect the wheels to see if it's possible to repair/salvage some components.
    actualy, only having problems with the front - 24 front, 28 back - time to build a set I'd say
    try harder,, just say'n

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    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by m2tiguy View Post
    actualy, only having problems with the front - 24 front, 28 back - time to build a set I'd say
    Maybe, maybe not. Most of the load is on the rear wheel. If youre having trouble with the FRONT wheel thats already unusual. How about some details about the rim, spokes, hubs, tire sizes and where and how you're riding as well as when your issues show up?

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    Quote Originally Posted by m2tiguy View Post
    actualy, only having problems with the front - 24 front, 28 back - time to build a set I'd say
    Cheapest option is to replace the front rim with 24H Velocity Deep V (3x), DT 2.0/1.8/2.0 spokes, and hex brass nipples (minimum 300 lbs spoke tension).

    You can upgrade to a stronger wheel by replacing the front hub with one having 32H (Shimano 105). Add 32H Velocity Deep V, DT spokes, and brass nipples.

    There is no need to replace the rear wheel at this time if it is still true.

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    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
    "Driving"?

    Still using the stock wheels that came on my 2005 Motobecane Le Champion (American Classic CR-420s) and various other bikes bought over the last 40 years. I've spent about 5 minutes in total in truing the American Classic wheels since 2005; never had to retension them. I've rebuilt the wheels on a few of my bikes, but only after damaging the rims in crashes.

    The only original-equipment wheels I remember coming from a manufacturer with undertensioning problems were on Treks in the early '80s. The sales rep admitted that Trek had farmed out their wheelbuilding to senior citizen homes near the factory; arthritis = undertensioned wheels.

    Millions of bikes have been ridden with stock wheels without problems over the years. Maybe the assumption that stock wheels are of lesser quality than the frame or other components is a consequence of the burgeoning aftermarket wheel availability rather than the other way around. As the song says, "The public wants what the public gets."
    I guess - but then in 2005 I don't think lots of people were buying $2,500 bikes either. Thats a nice wheelset.

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    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    So I started this thread by mentioning that I had picked up some Halo Spin Doctor hubs and planned on doing some axle mods before lacing them up. The replacement axle I ordered to let this take an axle mounted rear derailleur showed up yesterday so later this week I'll see about making the swap. If everything goes as planned - I'll get some more Mavic rims in - if they aren't still backordered that is.
    Well you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men ..... the axle went in fine, but both sides will need to be shortened. Not a huge deal but it looks like I'll have to order rims up from the USA cause Canadian distributors are a little ... short. Americans are spoilt and most just don't realize it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Burton View Post
    So apparently at least a couple people do think stock wheelsets are OK. I'll asume the people that stated that are still driving on theirs. Anyone else still driving on the wheelset/frame that originally came together?
    Stock wheel sets are fine IF they have been properly built. I can take a machine built wheels, take the tension off of them, bring them back up to the proper tension along with stress relieving them and they well be fine. Another thing that I don't think is done with machine built wheels is using a bit of anti-seize on the spoke threads.

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    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    Stock wheel sets are fine IF they have been properly built. I can take a machine built wheels, take the tension off of them, bring them back up to the proper tension along with stress relieving them and they well be fine. Another thing that I don't think is done with machine built wheels is using a bit of anti-seize on the spoke threads.

    Aaron
    Very much agree that something like that will make a big difference in how long the spokes last and how long the wheel will stay true. Wish more cyclists would see it as a 'value added' thing because its done as a matter of course on all bikes sold at our shop, but certainly isn't done on bikes bought on-line and delivered requiring assembly.

  22. #72
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    First drive in without the winter wheelset and without studded tires today! Almost forgot how much fun it was to NOT drive through slush and snow!

    First day on a new handbuilt wheelset with 700x50c Marathon Supremes too! Pedaling is smooth, the bike seems to coast forever and braking is so smooth I keep forgetting they're not discs! Two more sets to build up - its gonna be a great summer!

  23. #73
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    It's because they expect you to change the wheels to your PERSONAL PREFERENCE. Just think of the stock wheels that come on any bike as training (off season) wheels.

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    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GT4 View Post
    It's because they expect you to change the wheels to your PERSONAL PREFERENCE. Just think of the stock wheels that come on any bike as training (off season) wheels.

    I'm thinking it might have a lot to do with consumers in general being superficial and unsophisticated. Lets face it - the sale of counterfeit goods around the world is a multi-billion dollar business because to most people -if it looks the same - it must be the same. And obviously all aluminum goods are the same and so are all carbon fiber goods.

    Sooooo if it has spokes and a rim - must be a decent wheel. To most consumers - what really counts is how little they paid for something. Which is completely different from the rich - who often simply spend money to show that price is irrelevant.
    Last edited by Burton; 03-10-13 at 06:09 AM.

  25. #75
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    Stock wheel sets are fine IF they have been properly built. I can take a machine built wheels, take the tension off of them, bring them back up to the proper tension along with stress relieving them and they well be fine. Another thing that I don't think is done with machine built wheels is using a bit of anti-seize on the spoke threads.

    Aaron
    After battling with a set of super cheap wheels this weekend I should have stated that stock wheels built from reasonable quality components... I had not realized just how much WM and it's suppliers had cut corners.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
    _Nicodemus

    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred
    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

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