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  1. #1
    B17
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    Need advice on wheelbuilding!

    I have a 36 hole high flange front hub in hand and two 36 hole Sun M13 II rims on the way. How difficult is it to build at least a front wheel? I'd like to try it myself, to have that "did it" feeling and to save some cash. I really don't plan to make this a habit, so can it be done without a truing stand (I've seen those truing stools made from benches with a hole drilled for a fork steerer- I can build one of those no problem)? What kind of spokes/nipples do I need? Lubricant or locking compound? Thanks for all help.

  2. #2
    72 & Sunny adamkell's Avatar
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    It's pretty easy to do if you're patient; helps to be a perfectionist.

    Read up (Sheldon or a dozen others) to learn about measuring ERD so you know what length spokes to order (oddsandendos.com). Get a spoke wrench and some oil (for 3x wheels, not for radial fronts).

    And yea, you could build yourself a Duchamp truing stand or you could just flip your bike over and use the fork and ends, as is.

  3. #3
    jack of one or two trades Aeroplane's Avatar
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    I used spocalc.xls (google it) to calculate my spokes, and Sheldon's website showed me how to lace it up for a front wheel. I took it to the LBS for actual truing, and the dude asked me how I learned to do it. I said, Sheldon Brown, and he chuckled, looked at the wheel, and said, "Good Job." Praise from the mechanic is hard to beat.
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  4. #4
    dc pirate, 4evah. chimblysweep's Avatar
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    it took me 5 hours to make my first wheel - a 3x - and 2 hrs to build the second - a radial. what takes real time is truing, not lacing. but it works out in the end, and it rocks to ride on my wheels!

    i used spokecalc and had my friendly mechanic friends double-check the lengths. brass nipples. double butted spokes-- i forget which kind.

    i also had a friendly mechanic look 'em over before i rode on 'em.

    it's been about a month now. the radial front is slightly out of true, but isn't that what radials are known for? i'll stick in in a stand on thu.

  5. #5
    Just riding andygates's Avatar
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    First wheel; a Sunday afternoon, laid-back kinda vibe works well. Commune with your inner Virgo and get everything lined up just so. It's not hard.

  6. #6
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    I just built my first two wheels yesterday. Took about 5 hours, with a break for dinner. So maybe 4 hours total. It really wasn't that hard. Truing takes a while and radial truing is the hardest. I even trued the wheels using my drop outs and clothes pins. I just couldn't wait till today to go use a stand.

  7. #7
    LF for the accentdeprived
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    To me, the only difficulty is judging spoke tension: how much is enough, and are they equal or not. If I were to blow money on a wheelbuilding tool, it would be a tensionometer (?). There's absolutely no need for a stand unless you want to build dozens of wheels. Flip the bike over and use your fingers as gauges.
    Using Sheldon's suggestions, it was pretty easy to do, and the wheels are doing just fine so far.
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  8. #8
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    I learn how to build a wheel from reading articles on the web, from talking to a bike mechanic at a LBS, and from a lot of trial and error. I used a truing stand though. As of now I have built up 11 rims, with no problem what so ever. And it is a rarity that I have to retrue them much nowadays.

  9. #9
    Wher'd u Get That Jacket? flythebike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adamkell
    It's pretty easy to do if you're patient; helps to be a perfectionist.

    Read up (Sheldon
    Why don't you leave Sheldon alone? He's busy!

    Fixie rears are also quite doable for a novice; as they are virtually dishless.
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  10. #10
    Wher'd u Get That Jacket? flythebike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LóFarkas
    To me, the only difficulty is judging spoke tension: how much is enough, and are they equal or not. If I were to blow money on a wheelbuilding tool, it would be a tensionometer (?). There's absolutely no need for a stand unless you want to build dozens of wheels. Flip the bike over and use your fingers as gauges.
    Using Sheldon's suggestions, it was pretty easy to do, and the wheels are doing just fine so far.
    Tensiometers are nice to have. Park has them for like 50-55 bucks and I found one on ebay. Nice to check wheels for maintence, too. If the tension varies by more than 10 percent from average, time to do some work.
    WeBlog: http://flythebike.blogspot.com
    "Then know, that I have little wealth to lose. A man I am, crossed with adversity; My riches are these poor habiliments, Of which if you should here disfurnish me, You take the sum and substance that I have." Shakespeare: The Two Gentlemen of Verona
    Calfee Dragonfly Record, Calfee Luna Fixie T/A, Level, Campy Cervelo P3SL Campy, Lemond Poprad Campy, Fisher X-Calibur

  11. #11
    72 & Sunny adamkell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flythebike
    Why don't you leave Sheldon alone? He's busy!
    What? I don't understand this post.

    I suggested the OP read the wheelbuilding articles on Sheldon's informative website.

    Der.

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