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Thread: Wheel building

  1. #1
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    Wheel building

    Hey all,
    I am wanting to build wheels for a fixie, unfortunately I have never built a fixie or wheels before so I don't know what to look for in rims and tires. Are there any specific tires (brands, kinds, etc) and rims (brands, kinds, etc) that are better or just better for fixies?

    thanks,
    - legit

  2. #2
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    Wheel building is pretty advanced bicycle mechanics--it's a bad place to start if you have little or no experience.

  3. #3
    bward1028
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    SS wheel building is pretty easy, if you go slow and don't mind having to fix mistakes over and over. the hardest thing for a newb is probably going to be figuring out what you want. if you have to build, go to a lbs and get some real advice. they'll also be a lot nicer about helping you out if you buy through them instead of just bringing them parts you got online.

    everyone loves velocity rims. iro has them cheap for a while.

    the biggest issue with building is that you'll spend more money to build a wheelset that's comparable to something you could just buy pre-built, but you'll learn a whole lot while you're doing it. the most cost effective way may be to buy a pre-built, then take it apart, and put it back together, but that's probably a bad idea.
    Last edited by bward1028; 10-09-07 at 09:23 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bward1028 View Post
    the most cost effective way may be to buy a pre-built
    hmmm.. i guess that kinda defeats the purpose behind what i was thinking of doing (at least for now, as i do eventually want to learn to build wheels).

    So if i just buy some a velocity wheelset, what should i do about the tires. I'm assuming road bike tires, but is there something special for fixies (due to skid-patches) or anything?

    thanks, for the quick help
    - legit

  5. #5
    bward1028
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    conti gatorskins, specialized armadillos are super tough, but i have a hard time skidding with them because they seem to be really tacky, almost stick to the road. which is good for a tire.

  6. #6
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    I'd go for trying to build them. It is not difficult if you are willing to spend time researching. You can worry about tires/tubes last, first research what type of hubs and rims you want.

  7. #7
    Ths Hipstr Kills Masheenz cc700's Avatar
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    the most cost effective thing to do would be to get a used wheel already built. slightly less expensive than buying a new wheel would be finding used components (track hub and rim) and building it, but you'll probably spend around 30 dollars on spokes, nipples and tape anyway, plus whatever you get the hub/rim for. a perfectly fine prebuilt wheel can be had for like 70 bucks so it doesn't make much sense if you're trying to cut on costs.

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    Senior Member mihlbach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bward1028 View Post
    the biggest issue with building is that you'll spend more money to build a wheelset that's comparable to something you could just buy pre-built
    You can't go wrong with a set of formula or surly hubs, laced to mavic or velocity rims with double butted spokes. I would consider any wheel with those parts to be a perfectly adequate wheel for a fixed gear. You could spend a lot more on PhilWood hubs and ultra-high end bladed spokes, etc, but its not going to result in much better wheels. Building up a mid-range wheel may cost you a little more than buying a prebuilt of similar quality, but it will probably end up being a better build and last longer if you do it yourself. The extra cost will be quickly offset by the eliminating future visits to the LBS for wheel maintenance. If you put in the effort to learn to build your own, you will automatically be able to maintain your own from that point forward.
    I learned to build my own a few years ago and I've built myself four different wheel sets. I have exactly the wheels that I want and because I can do my own maintenence, I've saved hundreds of dollars by eliminating LBS visits.
    Last edited by mihlbach; 10-09-07 at 04:45 PM.

  9. #9
    na975
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    wait, you'll need tools to do this, a wheel jig thing that hold the wheel and a dishing tool and spoke wrench, oh and a book would help too.

  10. #10
    Senior Member mihlbach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by na975 View Post
    wait, you'll need tools to do this, a wheel jig thing that hold the wheel and a dishing tool and spoke wrench, oh and a book would help too.
    The most important two things are a spoke wrench and, if you want it done right, a tensiometer. I have the books, but you can get adequate instructions off the web. Other tools are nice but not really necessary. You can true the wheel in a frame, aided by taping a pencil or something similar to the frame, or even using a brake. A dishingtool is nice, but not needed. I have a dishing tool and I've never even bothered using it. You can figure out of the dish is correct by flipping the wheel around in a truing stand or frame.

  11. #11
    Run What 'Ya Brung bonechilling's Avatar
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    I built my first set of wheels with only a screwdriver. I have a spoke wrench, but screwing from the rim was just easier. I even trued it this way, the first time.

    To the OP, you're definitely going to come out ahead buying a pre-built wheelset, or else maybe a slightly used wheelset on eBay.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bonechilling View Post
    I built my first set of wheels with only a screwdriver. I have a spoke wrench, but screwing from the rim was just easier. I even trued it this way, the first time.

    To the OP, you're definitely going to come out ahead buying a pre-built wheelset, or else maybe a slightly used wheelset on eBay.
    I haven't done this, but I would guess the spoke tension wouldn't end up high enough.

  13. #13
    Run What 'Ya Brung bonechilling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dlandis View Post
    I haven't done this, but I would guess the spoke tension wouldn't end up high enough.
    I don't know, it worked alright for me. Now that I think about it though, I think I did use a spoke wrench to finish off most of the truing.

  14. #14
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    just took me about 3 or 4 hours to change out a hub and id have to say the hardest part isnt getting it true from side to side but not getting any humps

    ive never used a jig or tensiometer but i would love to try them

    always used a frame with a pencil but these road rims i got (they came with the cheap bike) werent as easy as the bmx rims i used to work on 20 yrs ago

  15. #15
    Senior Member mihlbach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JunkyardWarrior View Post
    just took me about 3 or 4 hours to change out a hub and id have to say the hardest part isnt getting it true from side to side but not getting any humps
    It depends on the rim. Rims are not perfectly true and round to begin with...some are worse than others. You should never expect a perfectly true and round build...but it should be close. Even spoke tension is more important.

  16. #16
    Senior Member tradtimbo's Avatar
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    go for it. Its a great feeling to build a set of wheels. There's always going to be a first time. If you have the time, money, and resources (there's plenty of this all over the web) and you enjoy putting things together on your own, theres no reason not to. Be creative with the tools if you can't afford them. Your LBS mechanics will have recommendations on rims/hubs/tires.

    I built my first wheel not too long ago. It came out great, and I feel proud riding it.

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