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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 07-29-08, 05:35 PM   #1
Netdewt
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buying rims and hubs vs. complete wheels

Can I get some insight on this difference? What are the pros and cons? Can a beginner lace wheels or does it take special equipment?

Thanks much.
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Old 07-29-08, 05:49 PM   #2
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in for info because im either going to use my hubs and build wheels, or just buy a wheel set
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Old 07-29-08, 05:52 PM   #3
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Handbuilt wheels are always going to be alot better than something put together by a machine. A full wheelset that is handbuilt is going to be just as good as buying seperate hubs and rims and having those handbuilt, the issue is just that you get something that someone actually took the time to put together properly.

As for building your own wheelsets, a really experienced wheel builder can do it by hand, but you'll need a tensionmeter. With a tensionmeter there's no reason you couldn't build your own set though
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Old 07-29-08, 05:53 PM   #4
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could a novice do that? how much would a tensionmeter cost?
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Old 07-29-08, 06:00 PM   #5
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Up to you if you think you can do it, it looks like alot of work but nothing really complicated.

Instructions are here
http://sheldonbrown.com/wheelbuild.html

I've found with step by step instructions (like on park tool's website or otherwise) and the correct tool I have yet to run into any kind of repair work that looked like it would actually be hard. It's just a case of patience and following the steps.

Tensionmeters are about 50 bucks give or take a bit depending on what brand you go with. I haven't built a wheelset myself yet but I plan on giving it a crack sometime in the future. The problem with buying a tensionmeter is that once you use it to make sure all your spokes are really properly tensioned your wheel isn't likely to get out of true enough that it needs a tensionmeter again for a long long time.
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Old 07-29-08, 06:04 PM   #6
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tension meters go for about $60 on ebay http://cgi.ebay.com/PARK-TM-1-SPOKE-...WDVWQQrdZ1QQcm

That said, whether you need it or not depends on the kind of materials you are using. Some Modern spokes (especially the low count spoke wheels) need the tensioner.

If you are just using regular nipples and spokes, with common rims all you need is a spoke wrench and a buttload of time. Youre not gonna do a wheel in 1 hour like a professional would. As far as spoke tension its easy as pie with these materials. You simply turn the nipple and if it feels like its so tight that it might strip, back up a bit and you're done.
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Old 07-29-08, 06:30 PM   #7
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Sorry dudes, that's really bad advice for a beginner. If you have no idea what proper tension for front/rear wheel drive side is supposed to feel like a tensionmeter will help you immensely.
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Old 07-29-08, 08:53 PM   #8
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so my days as a "novice wheelbuilder" were not too long ago, and i can say that i wouldn't recommend building your own wheels without having a buddy (who knows how to build wheels) to help you out, or at least give them a once-over before you ride them. i think it's a valuable learning experience, however.

i would say if you have that at your disposal, the main pro vs con is self-built wheels are going to have the exact hubs, spokes, and rims that you want and you learn a lot about wheels (pros) but it's almost always going to cost more than pre-built wheels. (con)
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Old 07-29-08, 09:13 PM   #9
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Please build your own wheels then call me so I can come over and watch you ride them for the first time.
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Old 07-29-08, 09:13 PM   #10
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I don't know if this is close for you, but check out the Sibley Bike Depot. http://bikeped.org They have wheelbuilding courses. The Hub Bike co-op also has wheel building courses. http://thehubbikecoop.org/page.cfm?pageID=93

A course is a good place to learn without laying out cash for the tools. And a tensiometer is *really* handy. When you're starting, even having a well built wheel for comparison, it's tough to do it right. Sibley also has an open shop so you could build wheels there once you get the basics without forking out tool cash. And tensiometers and stands are tools that you'll only use occasionally unless you build a lot of wheels.
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truneo that tuned park internal nipple wrench work ??
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Old 07-29-08, 09:17 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by IllSpecialist View Post
Please build your own wheels then call me so I can come over and watch you ride them for the first time.
Go do some trixx.
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Old 07-29-08, 10:07 PM   #12
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You can build your own wheels. Especially singlespeed ones.

A wheel built by you with $100 worth of parts will be stay true better than a $100 factory built wheel. (provided you are good at paying attention to what you are doing and following written instructions.)

You do not need any special tools other than a good spoke wrench. Truing stands and tensionmeters make it easier, but it's not impossible to use your bike for a truing stand and tension by feel and tone.

Jobst Brandt's book The Bicycle Wheel is also a good investment.
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Old 07-29-08, 10:11 PM   #13
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^ I would except "trixx" aren't really my thing. I'm more of the utilitarian type.
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Old 07-29-08, 10:23 PM   #14
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On one hand, wheel building is a fairly simple process but on the other building a wheel really well takes practice and some serious attention to detail.

There is such a thing as too tight and too loose and you have to build a wheel after considering the respective strengths of the components and tension things to the limit of the weakest part.

I have seen beautiful rims get destroyed due to spokes that were tensioned well beyond the limits of the rim and seen many spoke breakages when the spokes were either set too loose or were not properly de-stressed,

Until you get a feel for what proper tension feels like a tensionometer is almost essential and once my wheels have been are laced up, tensioned, trued, and stressed they stay true and don't need much in the way of adjustment at all..
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