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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 07-11-09, 01:12 PM   #1
Batavus
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Lightweight track wheelset, finally done!

I wanted to drag up my old thread, but the search turned up nothing.

It started when I realized my Phil Wood/deep V 36 hole wheelset is actually quite heavy:



This was no surprise, but I still wanted a lighter wheelset. No pre-built wheels, no bladed spokes, no funny straight pull spokes. Just a plain hand-made set.

So I started browsing and asking a lot of questions, especially on this forum,thanks to everyone for their advice and tips! And yes I mean you in particular mihlbach

This is what I built up, eventually:





Front is a Novatech superlight cartridge bearing road hub, 28 hole laced two cross to a Kinlin Niobium XR-200 using sapim Laser (2.0-1.5-2.0) spokes and aluminum nipples.

The rear is a beautifully custom-made Mack superlight low flange, single sided hub, 32 hole, laced to XR-200 using DT competition (2.0-1.8-2.0) spokes and brass nipples, drive side, three cross.
Non drive side again Sapim Lasers and alu nipples, laced two cross.

Total weight, without bolts, lockring and skewer for the front:




The idea was also to keep cost fairly low. The only item I splurged on was the Mack hub ( I had to wait 6 weeks before delivery, but that was well worth the wait!)

Total cost was 243 euros, not including the drive side spokes which I got through the shop I work at. That is about what I spent on the PW hubs alone! This is all excluding shipping costs which makes it a lot more expensive, but I like to think I didn't spend all that money :-)

That is well below any pre-built wheelset by major manufacturers (think Cane Creek, Mavic) barring maybe the Miche Primato set with the radial front. And they all weigh at least 2000+ grammes.

I know, weight isn't that much of an issue on the track, but along this journey the weenie bug bit me bad!

I also plan to use lightweight inner tubes and velo plugs for rim tape which would put this wheelset at

1900 grammes, including tires tubes, bolts, skewer, and cog and lockring!
The Deep V/PW set weighed 2886 grammes (with normal tubes and rim tape) Tires are the same on both sets, Schwalbe Ultremo's. No, not the dreaded R version :-)

The 32/28 spoke count should make this set streetworthy,as that is where it will be ridden, but I have yet to ride it.

Interestingly, during building, the Sapim Laser spokes didn't wind up one bit, where as the DT spokes, supposedly stiffer, gave me a harder time. I used Shimano anti-seize on the nipple threads and on the spoke/rim interface. It works great as a mild lubricant and I hope.... anti-seize between the alu nipples and the rim.

Time will tell!

Last edited by Batavus; 07-11-09 at 03:11 PM.
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Old 07-11-09, 01:20 PM   #2
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nice work. i'm sure they'll be plenty durable with regular maintenance. be sure to post some photos of them on the bike.
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Old 07-11-09, 02:08 PM   #3
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Why go half and half with the spokes in the back? I think one nice thing about track wheels is that the rear is symmetrical for the most part. With road wheels, dishing, and different lacing patterns on the drive and non drive side this is lost and with it some of the charm of a nice rear track wheel.
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Old 07-11-09, 02:10 PM   #4
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Little dissappointed with the look, but I hand polished the Deep V's on the other wheelset for extra bling factor, so that is a major difference.

Just did a quick lap around the block. The bike doesn't feel faster in accelaration. but I am out of shape after two weeks without riding. They also feel more flexy, but that is to be expected with this lightweight rim versus a Deep V which I laced crow's foot to boot. Those are definately uberstiff wheels.

Think I'll pass final judgement after a long fast ride when I'm not babying the wheels.
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Old 07-11-09, 03:17 PM   #5
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@jhaber:I know, it was a stupid idea, I probably gained nothing, maybe lost some grammes. If anything it made tensioning the rear more difficult, but i wanted at least 2.0-1.8-2.0 on the drive side with brass nipples. Then I got lost in thinking I could still save weight on the NDS by using Lasers and alu nipples.
It was an experiment, I guess. I don't think I have lost any strength because of it, though. I was counting grammes big time!
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Old 07-11-09, 03:22 PM   #6
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what's the total bike weight now?
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Old 07-11-09, 03:28 PM   #7
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Uhm yeah, that is kinda difficult as I don't have a scale that will take a complete bike. Will get back on that one.
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Old 07-11-09, 03:31 PM   #8
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i was very weight weenie-ish myself when i built my bike up, so i kept a spreadsheet of each part as i acquired it. it's also helpful to anticipate future weight when getting new parts. also, my scale only goes up to 2.2kg!
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Old 07-11-09, 07:15 PM   #9
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You can use the old bathroom scales trick. weigh yourself, then yourself plus your bike, and subtract the difference.

I wonder what those wheels would look like stripped and polished?

That's a great weight to price ratio for those wheels, I always hear about people making wheelsets for less weight and cash than the big names, with their super tech.
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Old 07-11-09, 10:59 PM   #10
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Mack

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It was an experiment, I guess.
I don't think I have lost any strength because of it, though.
the hub is zero dish, correct?
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Old 07-11-09, 11:07 PM   #11
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are these for the track? the deeper rim might have the advantage.
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Old 07-11-09, 11:48 PM   #12
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I have given quite a bit of thought to wheels, over the years.

The lightest wheels I can design, and which will also carry my 235lbs reliably for a year or two, weigh 1592g and make use of Dura Ace hubs, Sapim CX-Ray spokes, alloy nipples and DT Swiss RR1 rims.

I just ordered the wheels for my new bike, and, given weight (mine) and weather (Oregon), wiser heads prevailed.

Phil low-flange hubs, DT aerolite (bladed) spokes (28 X 32), all brass nipples, and Velocity Aerohead non-machined rims for a total of 1722g.

$740 USD, assembled and delivered.
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Old 07-12-09, 03:15 AM   #13
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The hub is zero dish, even in the single sided version, so I should have taken advantage and built a totally symmetric rear.

Bathroom scales, of course! Think I might have them somewhere.
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Old 07-12-09, 03:21 AM   #14
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I have given quite a bit of thought to wheels, over the years.

The lightest wheels I can design, and which will also carry my 235lbs reliably for a year or two, weigh 1592g and make use of Dura Ace hubs, Sapim CX-Ray spokes, alloy nipples and DT Swiss RR1 rims.

I just ordered the wheels for my new bike, and, given weight (mine) and weather (Oregon), wiser heads prevailed.

Phil low-flange hubs, DT aerolite (bladed) spokes (28 X 32), all brass nipples, and Velocity Aerohead non-machined rims for a total of 1722g.

$740 USD, assembled and delivered.
I weigh 180 pounds, so I am hoping these wheels are not right at the limit. They will only see nice weather, so I am not too worried about alu nipples corroding etc. That PW.Aerohead wheelset sounds like it is bombproof and not too heavy. Nice combo!
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Old 07-12-09, 10:45 AM   #15
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Just did a quick lap around the block. The bike doesn't feel faster in accelaration. but I am out of shape after two weeks without riding. They also feel more flexy, but that is to be expected with this lightweight rim versus a Deep V which I laced crow's foot to boot. Those are definately uberstiff wheels.

Think I'll pass final judgement after a long fast ride when I'm not babying the wheels.
They turned out nice! The only thing I would have done differently is use Sapim Lasers throughout, but I doubt that its going to make a real difference. You removed nearly a kg from your wheels...that a huge difference, but still not enough to "feel" on a trip around the block. I'm betting that you'll like these wheels better when you get them out on the open road. My own lightweight FG wheels feel a lot more alive when I get up to speed, especially when hammering over rolling hills....I can't tell if is the lightness thats causes the different feel, but they ride a lot nicer and faster than my older heavier wheelset.

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Old 07-12-09, 10:50 AM   #16
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I weigh 180 pounds, so I am hoping these wheels are not right at the limit.
I wouldn't worry about it. With good high symmetrical spoke tension, those wheels should easily hold your weight and last a long time.


By the way, how much does the rear hub weigh?
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Old 07-13-09, 03:03 AM   #17
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Can't wait to ride them on a serious weekend warrior ride! But alas, I am a fair weather rider !

I think they will be ok. They haven't held true very well after the trip around the block, so I guess I will be spending some more time trueing, stress relieving, trueing etc. I did build to quite a high final tension, at least by ear, probably not equal enough.

The Mack hub weighs 190 grammes with hardware, that is, bolts, washers and lockring. Exactly as stated by Mack, who is a super nice guy by the way. I even ordered spokes based on his tech sheet because i had to wait so long for the hub to arrive and, surprise, surprise, they were 100% correct!
Without hardware the hub weighs 145 grammes!
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Old 07-13-09, 04:14 AM   #18
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Interestingly, during building, the Sapim Laser spokes didn't wind up one bit, where as the DT spokes, supposedly stiffer, gave me a harder time.
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They haven't held true very well after the trip around the block, so I guess I will be spending some more time trueing, stress relieving, trueing etc.
I did build to quite a high final tension, at least by ear, probably not equal enough.
14/17/14 are going to wind-up/twist, you just have to compensate for it.

your not so old thread.

homebuilt, affordable lightish wheelset

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Old 07-13-09, 02:16 PM   #19
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what's the total bike weight now?
Just found bathroom scales somewhere: 16.5 pounds total bike weight with pedals. Not bad.

The frame is an unpainted Fort alu 7005, generic carbon fork. Bars are Synchros Stratos with a fugly PRO stem which will be replaced with something nicer. I think the heaviest parts are the Campagnolo 151 BCD cranks plus original BB and the old LOOK pedals, which I find the most comfortable to use.

Seatpost is a custom titanium one with a litlle setback. I think I could get the weight down to 16 pounds without spending too much money, but the frame itself isn't exactly lightweight. The trade off is that it is exceptionally stiff.
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Old 07-13-09, 02:57 PM   #20
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I've always wondered how people tension by tone when the spokes are brushing up against each other?
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Old 07-13-09, 05:18 PM   #21
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What a fascinating thread.

I have searched for info on these Mack hubs, and I found a detailed photo here:

http://www.velochamp.com/?p=354

I'd really like to see a detailed photo of a single fixed rear hub by Mack.

Since this hub has sealed bearings, I'd ride it in the rain.

For that matter, I'd ride loose ball hubs in the rain.

I remember mihlbach describing this wheel build some time past, and I didn't think it possible.

Thanks to Batavus for sharing, and thanks to mihlbach as well.
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Old 07-14-09, 04:50 AM   #22
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What a fascinating thread.

I have searched for info on these Mack hubs, and I found a detailed photo here:

http://www.velochamp.com/?p=354

I'd really like to see a detailed photo of a single fixed rear hub by Mack.

Since this hub has sealed bearings, I'd ride it in the rain.

For that matter, I'd ride loose ball hubs in the rain.

I remember mihlbach describing this wheel build some time past, and I didn't think it possible.

Thanks to Batavus for sharing, and thanks to mihlbach as well.
You're welcome!

Here's my Mack hub:






Some pictures of high flange hubs Mack sent me (I still think high flange is prettier)





They're not even that expensive, at least not when you go for the regular (not superlight) version.
He does road hubs as well, both with Campagnolo and Shimano compatible freehub bodies. Contemplating those for my next lightweight road wheelset!
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Old 07-14-09, 10:46 AM   #23
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you'd think the superlight HF hubs would have drilled/cutout flanges. odd.
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Old 07-14-09, 11:22 AM   #24
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I remember mihlbach describing this wheel build some time past, and I didn't think it possible.

Thanks to Batavus for sharing, and thanks to mihlbach as well.
Well, my build was with a formula hub, which adds about 100 gms to the rear and costs much less. But otherwise, yes, Batavus' build is along the lines of what I have been posting about for years...with wise component choices, you can build very good wheels for less than the cost of heavier (and often less aero) complete wheels.
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Old 07-14-09, 11:24 AM   #25
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Just found bathroom scales somewhere: 16.5 pounds total bike weight with pedals. Not bad.
Wow. That really tempts me to ditch my steel Bareknuckle frameset for a lighter Alu frame and carbon fork.
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