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What are best wheel building and truing tools

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What are best wheel building and truing tools

Old 08-23-15, 07:36 PM
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I have a spin doctor truing stand. Its no Park TS-2, but it does a FINE job! I use it for truing and dishing, just flip the wheel, its annoying but it works just fine. I don't build wheels often enough for an actual dishing tool!

I do have the Park tensionmeter, which I find important.

And I have a Park black handle spoke wrench, which seems to be the most common size for new nipples. Just the standard one. I also have the Park 3-size "triangle" spoke wrench, which now lives in my seat bag on my road bike.

Oh, and i modified a screwdriver from the free set you can get at Harbor Freight to be a nipple driver. Works and was cheap. I used one of the stubby handle ones, and it was easy to use. Those are pretty soft metal, for a screwdriver, so a good sharp file and I had no issue shaping it. I smoothed the edges too so it didn't mar up anything.

I've built 4 wheels so far. No issues with any of them. Sure, if I was building wheels for a job, I'd want better stuff, but for my use I went cheap but practical.
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Old 08-24-15, 08:27 PM
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One of these days I need to jump into building my first set of wheels....
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Old 08-24-15, 11:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Fly2High View Post

What are the best tools to use to build a wheel and keep it true?

Is the Park Pro 2.2 the best?

Which dish tool?

Which spoke tension tool?


AS for price I would like to keep it under $350 for the truing stand. Everything else is more dependent on quality, durability and ease of use as to its price. I would like to get out with a complete setup for under $500

Park doesn't make "the best" tools, as shops don't want to spend money for the best tools, they want something cheap and reasonably durable. In the automotive world where you have Snap On, MAC, Matco there isn't really an equivalent in cycling. Park at best should be considered the Stanley, not even close to the quality of even what Craftsman tools became. Now over the years the variance between Snap On, MAC, and Matco and the likes of the rising quality of Sears's Craftsman, Lowe's Kobalt, Home Depot's Rigid was reduced. Back in the 60s/70s the old timers will tell you it wasn't even close. Now many with Snap-On will tell you they find mixing and matching depending on what they need from the tool.

With Bicycles if you look at your Park tools many are just so poorly manufactured and so poorly engineered that its almost laughable. Park has the market share, but I compare them to Harbor Freight more often than not. Park just doesn't make "good" tools, they just make tools. There is no market in cycling for "good" tools. Heck Park doesn't even bother making many tools that a professional bicycle shop needs, anymore. They don't sell enough of them so they are discontinued. What does a shop do when they can't get the tool anymore? Most just fake it as there aren't readily available substitutes.

I like the innovation of Pedro's tools, I think the Zinn Vise Whip is a brilliant innovation. I like the Pedro's Bottom Bracket tool holder. However, I much prefer the Park Shop quality pedal wrench to the Pedro's shop pedal wrench. I like the Pedro's cone wrenches better, and headset wrenches. For the most part I think most old Campagnolo tools are cache, but were pretty crappy tools to begin with (as far as tools go, as far as cycling goes its cool they are Campagnolo).

The best Truing stands aren't even the truing stands the pros use. Park made a master truing stand TS-3, but the problem was most PRO Wheelbuilders were more interested in speed than having the best quality tool, or the most precision in their builds. The TS-3 was unpopular, shops and wheel builders didn't buy it, and they didn't sell and were discontinued. It didn't have some of the issues that the TS-2 has when building wheels, but it built a wheel more slowly per the wheel builders I talked to that had one. They actually talked me out of buying one. At DT in Grand Junction they don't even bother using the DT Swiss Proline Truing Stand. Or at least they didn't a couple of years ago. One of the employees told me a DT stand was in the corner gathering dust, and most of them used a Park TS-2 (now the 2.2). Some people like the P&K Lie truing stand, most people use the Park TS-2 or now the 2.2. It works, its fast, but don't confuse it with being the "best." Wheel Fanatyk likes the Minoura portable if money is an object. I have a Park TS-2, I'm not in love with it. It works, but isn't accurately self-centering.

Dishing tools are a matter of preference. I've got a Park and a Wheelsmith, but I like Campagnolo or VAR 143 actually. Park has never made that quality of a dishing tool, but you can't find those anymore. However, some great artisan wooden dishing tools have come out in small batches. I like them but wouldn't use one, issues with humidity and wood and a dishing tool is about precision, not vanity.

With Tensiometer's it isn't about which is best, but which is best as a function of budget. Most of us aren't going to drop Wheel Fanatyk makes a brilliant FSA like tensiometer (had a cult following) for about $300. The old Wheelsmith Tensiometer was okay, but you have to realize they were individually calibrated with their own "read sheet." Wheelsmith and Park TM-1units aren't accurate throughout the whole range. Accurate enough to build wheels, but not what Pro wheel builders use. Quality costs money. A DT Swiss dial (analog) tensiometer is about $600, a DT Swiss digital Tensiometer is over a thousand. A lot of professional wheel builders and shops that hawk their skill at wheel building , who should know better, don't have quality tensiometers. Again, shops don't want to spend a lot of money on quality tools. They could just walk away with any of their $10/hr wrenches.

You can find a Park truing stand on Craigslist for sometimes as cheap as $100 with the tray and some spoke wrenches. I'd take it to a shop that has the calibration tool and have it checked. For a $500 budget you should be able to get a Park stand, a Wheel Fanatyk tensiometer, and a dishing tool if you're careful about looking on eBAy or on crags list. You'll have to buy the Wheel Fanatyk tool new.

For the record many people who build wheels commercially use truing stands they build themselves. Its a preference thing.

Really the tool to have is not the "best" truing stand or "best" tensiometer but a real wheel builder needs a quality spoke rolling tool. Good ones are NOT cheap. A Morizumi costs several thousand dollars. Campagnolo, Velocity, DT Swiss, and Sapim all use a Phil Wood somewhere in their operations. Both are great tools. Hozan makes an expensive electrical roller the C-701, and I think someone picked one up on eBay for cheap last week. Kowa machines are several thousand but specific to the gauge they can roll. A Cyclus roller is several thousand. Hozan makes small batch hand rollers that you can get for just over a hundred bucks, but rolls too inconsistently for production spoke rolling. Replacement dies for the Hozan hand roller are almost the entire cost of the tool, and Hozan hand rolling dies wear out.

A Phil Wood machine can roll a spoke up to 2.6, can reroll over existing threads, and even do powder coated spokes (if you oil it and clean it every several). Its a bit faster than a Morizumi. There is a huge controversy about which is "best." Small one man shops seem to prefer the Morizumi, and multi-user shops seem to appreciate the durability, simplicity, and single lever action of the Phil Wood and the speed at which it produces spokes.

One of the original founders of Wheelsmith helped design the Morizumi, and he has the utmost respect for the Phil Wood machine.

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