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Old 07-15-14, 06:27 PM
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chriskmurray's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Colorado Springs
Posts: 1,134

Bikes: Borealis Echo, Ground Up Designs Ti Cross bike, Xtracycle, GT mod trials bike, pixie race machine

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Some good points above and a few other things to consider are how are you getting your parts? This is where working with a local shop could be a great help, especially if they will allow you to use their wholesale accounts for a percentage of the profits. Internet prices are next to impossible to compete with and there are a lot of genuinely really good products that can be had for pretty cheap online, people go hand built to know their wheels will be perfect and fit some very specific needs. Access to wholesale accounts is critical because many hubs people want to have their wheels built around are only available direct through the manufacturer, same goes for many rims.

Most people looking to get a handbuilt wheelset are looking for something very specific or want the absolute best out there and there is really no margin for error so each and every wheel has to be perfect if you want to build a name for yourself and get people trusting your work. To get into the handbuilt wheel business chances are every wheel will be relatively high end so do not count on being able to start with cheaper wheels first.

I think it is great to see younger riders excited about something that is a bit of a dying art like wheel building and I completely encourage you to pursue it. I do suggest trying to get a job in a bike shop to start, preferably at a shop with a good builder that way you get some hands on experience building wheels and also can see what products work and which do not. If anything you really can hone your skills working with wheels making less than ideal components work well, it is more often far more difficult to make something on its last leg rideable again than it is to build a perfect wheel with good and new parts.

The other option to start out is if you have friends or family that may let you build some wheels for them to get some more experience.

Either way best of luck!

For what it is worth, I build wheels professionally and full time, on average I build 8-10 wheels a day at my "day job" as head builder for a bicycle manufacturer and then I have a side wheel building business building custom wheels, I have built wheels for everything from professional racers to round the world touring cyclists.
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