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Preparing for a wheel build.

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Preparing for a wheel build.

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Old 07-10-18, 04:16 PM
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deux jambes 
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Preparing for a wheel build.

Looking for any helpful feedback here as Iíve never built a wheel before. Iím not fully planning to as of yet either. Why? Because Iíve tried truing a rim once before, and only made it worse. For now, Iím not ready to revisit that level of frustration. What I do have in mind is tearing down a pair of wheels I have, lacing them up with new spokes, and having my local shop tension, and true them, which they said theyíd be happy to do.

So the idea here is to lube the old spokes and nipples up, and remove them. Then Iíd take them to the shop to purchase new spokes in the proper length (front wheel, as well as rear drive and nondrive side). Iíll service the hubs, and then lace the wheels with the new spokes. Then the LBS will finish the job.

I have literature on the subject, and of course YouTube as reference/tutorial material. But is there any advice that you might offer before I take the task on?


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Old 07-10-18, 05:00 PM
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This is a good reference, but why don't you just go ahead and build the wheel, then if you have problems at the end with true etc, then look for help from the LBS.....https://www.sheldonbrown.com/wheelbuild.html
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Old 07-10-18, 06:09 PM
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You're going to put new spokes on the same rims and same hubs? Usually that would mean you're breaking spokes frequently - if you're expecting some other kind of benefit you might be disappointed.
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Old 07-10-18, 06:26 PM
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New spokes with old rims that you already have had trouble truing? Makes very little sense. Practice more with what you already have to work with. If necessary, detension the wheels and build the tension back up. If you can't make that work, it may be the rims that are the problem, not the spokes. It is pretty much impossible to build a good wheel using a rim that is deformed. Unless you are dealing with a wheel that has a very very high end hub, changing spokes makes little sense
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Old 07-10-18, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
New spokes with old rims that you already have had trouble truing? Makes very little sense. Practice more with what you already have to work with. If necessary, detension the wheels and build the tension back up. If you can't make that work, it may be the rims that are the problem, not the spokes. It is pretty much impossible to build a good wheel using a rim that is deformed. Unless you are dealing with a wheel that has a very very high end hub, changing spokes makes little sense
Having the same viewpoint.

Get everything new from scratch, and let the project begin, or buy a new one.
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Old 07-10-18, 07:36 PM
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Usually spokes are not the thing you'd be replacing, but a worn or damaged rim. What's specifically wrong with your old wheels?
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Old 07-10-18, 08:22 PM
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i recommend investing $12 in this book
there is a lot online for free, but then you need to find what is correct.... i did the free thing first, and then bought the book. i wish i would have started with the book first....

Get good spoke wrenches, the 4-sided ones that enclose the nipple from all sides.
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Old 07-11-18, 05:29 AM
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When I initially learned to lace wheels, I took a reasonably true front wheel (because the spokes are the same length) completely apart, after verifying the cross count. Then I used the Zinn book as a guide to relace the wheel. Surprisingly, taking my time I got it right the first try. I know it's not rocket science, but I was quite happy to see it work out. Since then I've built multiple sets 3-cross, and one rear wheel with a combination of 2 and 3 crosses.

As mentioned, good quality and properly fitting spoke wrenches are a big help.

It does give you a sense of accomplishment to ride wheels you built yourself. You'll get it figured out more quickly than you think.
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Old 07-11-18, 05:42 AM
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The most difficult part of a wheel build is truing, which I have taught to persons as young as 12 years old. However, it's still easier than truing a used rim. The spokes are primarily meant to hold the wheel in proper alignment in relation to the hub. They cannot straighten a rim that is bent. I don't see that you are achieving much useful by merely lacing up a rim, especially a used one of unknown condition.
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Old 07-11-18, 10:56 AM
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First off: go for it. A little experimentation is good way to learn.

I think a lot of people here are concluding that the reason his previous truing efforts went awry is some underlying issue with the rim, while I got the impression it was because he was tinkering with it before he knew what he was doing. Self-admitted user error, if you will.

As someone else mentioned, you shouldn't simply lace them and then immediately hand them over to the LBS. Trying truing and tensioning it yourself, and then go to the LBS if you encounter a problem, or to eventually verify your work.

I did my first pair of wheels over the winter, and I really enjoyed the process. I took my time (roughly 4-5 hours per wheel), but that's because I was trying to be meticulous and I'm one of those strange people that gets satisfaction from stuff like that.

My advice would be to get a couple of books/articles, and then put together a clear procedure to follow (take the best bits from each one, and obviously pick and chose if they suggest different methods for the same procedure).
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Old 07-12-18, 10:32 AM
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I appreciate everyoneís responses, and have considered all of them against my original plan.

To clarify, the wheelset Iím looking at is a pair of higher end French made vintage alloys. I pulled them from a dumpster last year, and have never ridden them myself. Besides being extremely dingy, theyíre both badly out of true, but donít appear abused beyond that. The rims donít show signs of being bent or otherwise distorted, and the brake surfaces look good. My reasoning for going with new spokes was based of the idea that due to the age, and condition of the rims, I should consider the spokes fatigued.

However, to save on buying new spokes for rims which Iím merely assuming to be good, and to face my fear of truing a rim, Iíve decided to just attempt truing them as they sit now. If all goes well then thatíll be a victory on a couple of fronts. If I run into issues I canít solve on my own, then Iíll take them into the shop for support.

Despite whatever outcome, it should be a learning experience, and an advancement in my bike repair/maintenance skills. So once again, all of your replies are much appreciated. My response to them is not what I expected, but it feels like itís the right one. Iím glad I posted before tearing them down as originally planned.
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Old 07-12-18, 11:01 AM
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Try removing all the tension, then bringing it back up to tension and true. That would be better wheelbuilding experience.
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Old 07-12-18, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Kontact View Post
Try removing all the tension, then bringing it back up to tension and true. That would be better wheelbuilding experience.
Exactly the approach Iíll take. Iíll drip penetrating oil at the theads today, and give them a good spin on the stand (an unused bike frame). Iíll take one of the rims into the shop to size the right wrench, and finally get going on them this week by first relieving all of spoke tension.
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Old 07-12-18, 12:21 PM
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Sounds like a plan. Let us know how it goes.
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Old 07-12-18, 02:19 PM
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Assuming the hub is good, you plan on using old parts.
The more old parts you use, the more difficult the build.
Used spokes & nipples can be a real pain because the consistency of "feel" can vary magnitudes.
For this reason, use NEW nipples. The better "feel" is a no brainer IMO.
Use a small, motorized wire brush on the spoke threads to remove all the corrosion. You want them to look "identical" as you can.

Before you disassemble-
Take a large crescent wrench and adjust the jaws to the rim width across the brake tracks.
Using this a go/no go gauge, run it around the circumference od the rim to see if there are any obvious spots that have take curb hits etc. Problems here increase the difficulty of building/truing. After disassembly, measure across the rim in multiple directions to make sure it's not "squashed" too much.
IF the rim is "pristine", you may want to consider new spokes like at first.

New wheels are simply easier to build then old wheels.
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Old 07-12-18, 04:11 PM
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It is recommended to learn wheelbuilding with new quality material. that way you know it should be possible to get right. If you use old stuff, it may be impossible to begin with and it will be frustrating. with old material you won't know if it is your skills or the material to blame.
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