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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 05-21-08, 12:14 PM   #1
bikerdfresh
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Lacing a wheel

I want to learn how to lace a wheel because my bike shop just siad they charge $40/wheel to build one. I have looked around on the internet but a lot of sites lack hwo to actually get the spoked and such in the wheel and hub. I was wondering what sites are best and if anyone has a picture tutorial or is planning on making one for us newbs. It would be great so i could save $80. Thanks for the help.
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Old 05-21-08, 12:21 PM   #2
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IMO, spend the money. I've never built a wheel, but I can guess that it's not so straightforward - more of an art form, I believe. I am planning to learn, but wheels are not something I want done half-assed on my bike in anyway.

Check out http://www.sheldonbrown.com for any information/guidance... And perhaps consult Google.
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Old 05-21-08, 12:24 PM   #3
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the best to learn is to talk to your friend or lbs who know how so they can show you how its done

oh,
and you will need your own truing stand, spoke wrench, internal nipple wrench and you will need to measure the spoke.
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Old 05-21-08, 12:43 PM   #4
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There's info on sheldons site on how to lace up a wheel 3x.A trueing stand is nice but you can make due trueing a wheel in the fork,using the brake as a guide.Tensioning is a bit harder,but you can go by ear plucking the spoke.It helps to have a properly build wheel on hand to compare what it should sound like.There's some spokelenght calculators available on the web.Unless you want something that is not available of the shelf,building a wheel yourself is not neccessarily a good way to save money though,as buying the parts is generally more expensive than buying a machine build wheel and then tensioning and trueing it.
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Old 05-21-08, 12:55 PM   #5
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I taught myself to build wheels. I've built five sets now and they all turned out great, with no need for subsequent truing. Planning on building a 6th set next week. What you need to do it right from the get go is a tensiometer, a truing stand (even a homemade one, like a fork with a pencil taped to it will work), a good set of instructions, and some patience. If you have those things, you can build a wheelset that is better than any machine built wheel, and probably better than what many LBSs would build for you.

The tensiometer will make it much easier and it more than pays for itself by permanently eliminating not only the labor charges for a custom build but also all your subsequent visits to the LBS for wheel maintenance.

Building wheels is not magic nor is is rocket science. It just involves lacing and tensioning spokes and isn't much more difficult than tuning a stringed instrument, though it takes a little longer.

Last edited by mihlbach; 05-21-08 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 05-21-08, 01:04 PM   #6
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Well if i don't build my own, where are good places to get prebuilt track wheelsets for SS and Fixed gear applications? My LBS is full of speeded bikes and there seems to be only one mechanic/guy who works there that is into the SS/fixed scene. Any good online sites that will build wheelsets for you if you provide parts or is there online sites that are good for SS/Fixed parts? Please post, thanks guys.
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Old 05-21-08, 01:15 PM   #7
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Pro wheelbuilder is a good site for custom build wheels.They have a reasonable turnaround,decent prices and you can supply your own hubs or rims.
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Old 05-21-08, 01:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mihlbach View Post
I taught myself to build wheels. I've built five sets now and they all turned out great, with no need for subsequent truing. Planning on building a 6th set next week. What you need to do it right from the get go is a tensiometer, a truing stand (even a homemade one, like a fork with a pencil taped to it will work), a good set of instructions, and some patience. If you have those things, you can build a wheelset that is better than any machine built wheel, and probably better than what many LBSs would build for you.

The tensiometer will make it much easier and it more than pays for itself by permanently eliminating not only the labor charges for a custom build but also all your subsequent visits to the LBS for wheel maintenance.

Building wheels is not magic nor is is rocket science. It just involves lacing and tensioning spokes and isn't much more difficult than tuning a stringed instrument, though it takes a little longer.
+1

Building your own wheel really isn't that hard, especially if you have any sort of desire to learn.
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Old 05-21-08, 01:32 PM   #9
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+1

Building your own wheel really isn't that hard, especially if you have any sort of desire to learn.
+1 to your +1.
Wheel building is the final frontier of home bike mechanics. If you can do it, you are basically free from the LBS for the rest of your life.
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Old 05-21-08, 01:50 PM   #10
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I built my first wheel Friday. I used Sheldon's guide and it was pretty straight foward.
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Old 05-21-08, 01:54 PM   #11
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Any good places for rims and spokes? It seems that most places have hubs and wheels but i ihaven't seen too many for just rims.
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Old 05-21-08, 01:56 PM   #12
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The spoke lenght, and tensioning sounds difficult as well as the pattern. I Just don't seem to understand (Then again i have ADHD and stopped taking adderall...)
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Old 05-21-08, 02:04 PM   #13
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No. All you need is a $5 spoke wrench and a screwdriver (and the wheel parts themselves). You do not need to measure spokes--- although you need to calculate the proper spoke length. Why would you measure them? You don't even need a truing stand if you build it in the dropouts.

Seriously, it is so easy, even I can do it. Read up at Sheldon Brown.

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Originally Posted by RaeFixie View Post
the best to learn is to talk to your friend or lbs who know how so they can show you how its done

oh,
and you will need your own truing stand, spoke wrench, internal nipple wrench and you will need to measure the spoke.
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Old 05-21-08, 02:05 PM   #14
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peterwhitecycles has a great selection of Velocity rims, among others.

+1 to all who suggest building your own wheels. its a good time. you can save a lot of money if you find a bike co-op, friend, or shop, that will let you use a tensiometer and truing stand. those items are prohibitively expensive unless you plan on building multiple sets of wheels. if you find someone who will let you use the tools, you should build up the wheels at home first (i.e. lace the spokes and tighten them all up to the end of the threads). then, when you go to use the tools, you'll already be 50% done -- all you have to do is add tension, stress, true, and repeat. figure on 1 hour per wheel, after you've finished the lacing.

sheldon brown's guide is all you really need. if you (like me) insist on additional sources, this page is helpful.
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Old 05-21-08, 02:07 PM   #15
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The spoke lenght, and tensioning sounds difficult as well as the pattern. I Just don't seem to understand (Then again i have ADHD and stopped taking adderall...)
seriously dude, sheldon brown is your friend. he has links to spoke calculators. if you can't figure out how to use the excel spreadsheet, please take a remedial course in not being a moron.
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Old 05-21-08, 02:11 PM   #16
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It's really not that hard to build wheels once you get into it.But then again,some people have the hardest time adjusting a bb or putting together a headset.If you're unsure if you can do it or not just grab a old wheel,take it apart and relace it.If it works out go buy parts and lace up a new one.If it doesn't,at least you're only out a few bucks.
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Old 05-21-08, 02:12 PM   #17
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+1 to your +1.
Wheel building is the final frontier of home bike mechanics. If you can do it, you are basically free from the LBS for the rest of your life.
+1. this makes +3. despite all the negative voodoo warning about building wheels, it's probably been the simplest mechanical job i've done to my bike (more than overhauling hubs or bbs). and just use your bike and a fixed object to true them. feel for tension or, if you're a majour purist, proper spokes ring even with a 440hz A note (one above middle C on piano for closest match). the only reason not to, as someone here said, is that it actually ends up being more expensive usually than buying a prebuilt. but go for it. use sheldon brown's page or borrow jobst brant's "the bicycle wheel" from a shop or library. (sheldon's page is enough by itself).
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Old 05-21-08, 02:23 PM   #18
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No. All you need is a $5 spoke wrench and a screwdriver (and the wheel parts themselves). You do not need to measure spokes--- although you need to calculate the proper spoke length. Why would you measure them? You don't even need a truing stand if you build it in the dropouts.

Seriously, it is so easy, even I can do it. Read up at Sheldon Brown.
well that's what i meant to say

and i disagree about truing your wheel with the drop out, i don't think the result will be satisfying (for me personally)
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Old 05-21-08, 02:38 PM   #19
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+1. this makes +3. despite all the negative voodoo warning about building wheels, it's probably been the simplest mechanical job i've done to my bike (more than overhauling hubs or bbs). and just use your bike and a fixed object to true them. feel for tension or, if you're a majour purist, proper spokes ring even with a 440hz A note (one above middle C on piano for closest match). the only reason not to, as someone here said, is that it actually ends up being more expensive usually than buying a prebuilt. but go for it. use sheldon brown's page or borrow jobst brant's "the bicycle wheel" from a shop or library. (sheldon's page is enough by itself).
Sort of, if you compare your wheel to standard low end wheels (e.g. formula-mavic wheels), the prebuilt is cheaper. However, maintaining the prebuilt is more expensive, if you need you LBS to true or tension it down the line.
Once you get into the mid-upper range end of things, building yourself is cheaper. This is definately true for road wheels, and applicable to track wheels as well. For example, I can build a wheel thats about equivalent in quality to a Mavic Ellipse for ~$150 cheaper and ~500 grams lighter but with similar aerodynamic qualities.

Last edited by mihlbach; 05-21-08 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 05-21-08, 02:53 PM   #20
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I just found this, and it seems super easy, atleast that guy gives good directions and makes it seem like its very do-able. http://www.youtube.com/user/thebiketube
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Old 05-21-08, 03:56 PM   #21
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My wife got tired of me whining about being comfortable with all bike maintenance except wheel building, and bought me a funky one-sided stand and told me to get on with it. So when I picked up a vintage road bike who's wheels were in need of a rebuild, I took a wheel building class down at the Bicycle Kitchen in Los Angeles. Most major cities have a bicycle co-operative, where you can learn to wrench on your own bike. See if there is one near you.

Long story short... I paid $50 bucks for the class, during which I relaced, trued and tensioned the front wheel. A week later I was able to repeat the process for the rear wheel at home, with a quick trip back to the Kitchen to borrow their tension meter for the final tuning. Between the class and spokes, I spent about half of what a shop would have charged me to rebuild both wheels. For one wheel it would have been a wash money wise. But I still came away with the knowhow to put together a wheel for myself.

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Old 05-21-08, 05:34 PM   #22
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Check this out it simplifies it..... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTb3x5VO69Y
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Old 05-21-08, 06:25 PM   #23
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thanks guys
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