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Rebuilding or replacing a internally geared wheel - how big a job for a local shop?

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Rebuilding or replacing a internally geared wheel - how big a job for a local shop?

Old 07-03-20, 06:57 AM
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DC_Cycle
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Rebuilding or replacing an internally geared wheel - how big a job for a local shop?

Hi All:

I have a bike with an internally geared rear wheel with several broken spokes. I'm not comfortable riding again until I get this fixed. I believe the bike has a Weinmann ZAC-19 Doublewall rim with a Shimano Inter-3 internal hub (the bike is a KHS Manhattan Green cruiser). From what I've read, I believe my options are to (a) get an entirely new wheel (complicated by the internal hub) or (b) have the existing wheel rebuilt. In either case, I understand that there are some specialized operations involved (truing, etc.) and I plan to have a local shop handle all the work for me.

I wanted to get a sense of whether this is going to be routine/inexpensive or a major/expensive job for a local shop? The bike was a $250 pick up so I am not opposed to replacing it with a new one. The first shop I took my bike to said they didn't have the part needed to rebuild the wheel and didn't offer to buy a new wheel for me. With COVID, it's a pain to take my bike around from shop to shop, and shops seem too busy to talk on the phone, so I wanted to get some initial feedback here before venture out again?

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by DC_Cycle; 07-03-20 at 07:00 AM. Reason: Typo
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Old 07-03-20, 07:02 AM
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Rebuilding a wheel is not a big deal. Any respectable shop can do that for you (don't know the going rate these days) and can recommend good spokes. Sounds like the shop you went to is not capable of working on bikes or selling parts. It's unfortunate that this job needs doing now when so much is going on to complicate the process.

A new wheel will be costly and will be unlikely to have a matching rim, if that matters.

You could also do it yourself. Un-build this one to measure the spokes, buy new ones and watch a tutorial on the Tubes of You or get coaching from someone. If you were nearby I'd coach you. It looks daunting but it's not. My first build was a Sturmey-Archer 3-speed wheel.

I vote for learning to do it yourself. Seriously, if you can spin a wrench you can build a wheel.

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Old 07-03-20, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by thumpism View Post
You could also do it yourself. Un-build this one to measure the spokes, buy new ones and watch a tutorial on the Tubes of You or get coaching from someone. If you were nearby I'd coach you. It looks daunting but it's not. My first build was a Sturmey-Archer 3-speed wheel.

I vote for learning to do it yourself. Seriously, if you can spin a wrench you can build a wheel.
+1. If you install the spokes yourself and don't feel comfortable tightening/truing the wheel any decent shop can finish it off for you and you will have saved some cash.
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Old 07-03-20, 10:44 AM
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I'm not defending or being critical of anyone or anything and know nothing about the OP, the bike shop or the specific bike, but it is possible that the bike shop factored in a number of things to decide that it wasn't a smart business practice to get involved in this repair. Again I don't know but maybe there is more going on then just a few broken spokes. Maybe experience has taught the shop that the repair cost will exceed the value of the bike, maybe there are other problems with the bike not just a few broken spokes, maybe the customer gave the impression that if the cost became too much the customer would abandon the bike once the bill was presented. Again I don't know and to be honest I don't care but usually there is a good reason why a business turns down business.
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Old 07-03-20, 07:42 PM
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.
^^^ what he said ^^^

In general, if they don't know you in the current "long waits for bike repairs" environment, and you come in with a bike you bought for $250 to begin with, there are other fish to fry.
There's a real good chance that it would be difficult to satisfy your needs in this. Some wheels just aren't worth spending a whole lot of money on for professional help. They were cost compromises to begin with.
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Old 07-03-20, 08:58 PM
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You could remove one spoke, measure it, then buy a few (plus a few extras). Replace them and true the wheel. There's probably no "dish" on the wheel, and there are lots of videos to help do the repair.
Having said that, rebuilding a wheel like this isn't terribly difficult. I've successfully rebuilt several wheels with internally-geared hubs. It's quite satisfying to ride around on a wheel you built yourself. And the labor is all your own!

First wheel re-build. New rim, old spokes.
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Old 07-04-20, 02:29 AM
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I don't know what labor rates are in your area, but that'd be about 40-60 minutes of shop time for most shops and you should expect 1-2 dollars a spoke from most shops, so looking at around a hundred for a rebuild at most shops. Shop may have to special order spokes, and I think in some common lengths some distributors may be be running out. This will still be cheaper than a new wheel.
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Old 07-04-20, 05:50 AM
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Thanks for the information and advice! I wasn't sure initially, but reading this I think the shop's feedback is a combination of many the points noted above. I took the bike to another shop a few blocks up from the first here in DC yesterday. Friendly folks, but told me that it would be about $200 to replace (with a month backlog before they could do the labor) that they are not doing rebuilds at all right now. Shops are really busy in DC right now so I get it. I'll look into doing this myself. I may keep this bike as a backup and buy something else in the meantime.

sweeks I like the photo. Hah!
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Old 07-04-20, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by DC_Cycle View Post
I like the photo. Hah!
Heh... I was pretty proud of myself. That hub has about 9,000 miles on it. I replaced the rim twice before converting the wheel to a "roller" brake to avoid rim brake wear.
Roger Musson's book on wheelbuilding is a good reference if you are going to do it yourself.

Another wheel built by an amateur(!)
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Old 07-04-20, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by DC_Cycle View Post
Shops are really busy in DC right now so I get it. I'll look into doing this myself. I may keep this bike as a backup and buy something else in the meantime.
Shops in DC are really busy right now. In normal times this would be the perfect project to take on at your local bike co-op and we're lucky to have a lot of them. But the Bike House in Petworth isn't opening until DC enters phase 3 and Vélocity, Mount Rainier, and Gearin' Up are open limitedly but aren't able to allow customers to work on their own bikes for now.

I can help you with this if you don't mind standing at a distance in a concrete back yard on a weekend while wearing a mask. I can supply a truing stand, spokes, a spoke threader, a cheerful disposition, and the soulful sounds of Megadeth played through a bluetooth speaker. You supply contactless reimbursement for the spokes and boozy seltzer.
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Old 07-04-20, 10:26 AM
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I know nothing of shop operations in the time of Covid but any time we were confronted with a risky prospect we'd ask for a substantial deposit for the work, at least enough to cover the cost of the parts in case the customer never showed again. I'd hate to think that such a sound practice is now extinct.

The OP could always look for another used bike with a similar rear wheel and buy it to cannibalize. It would have to be a Shimano hub with the proper-sized rim and in better shape then the one he has, but it might be a while before one of those showed up. Worth a look.

@sweeks had a good idea about replacing just a few spokes and learning to true and @ericoseveins is emerging as the real hero offering to help you. Buy that man a beer, or however many he can consume during a wheel build.
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Old 07-04-20, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by ericoseveins View Post
Shops in DC are really busy right now. In normal times this would be the perfect project to take on at your local bike co-op and we're lucky to have a lot of them. But the Bike House in Petworth isn't opening until DC enters phase 3 and Vélocity, Mount Rainier, and Gearin' Up are open limitedly but aren't able to allow customers to work on their own bikes for now.
...Hi: sorry to insert something off topic, but I used to live in Mt Ranier in the 70's, while attending the U of Md. I was a member of the food buying club that gave birth to GLUT, and lived a couple of blocks from there. I had heard they had a bike co-op now in one of the big, olde houses that were so wonderfully predominant in the neighborhood. Have you used/visited that co-op ? Your impressions ? I was the Saturday manager for the one here for five or six years. Not sure how ours will re-open either...space is pretty tight in there.

Thanks if you choose to reply.
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Old 07-04-20, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
...Hi: sorry to insert something off topic, but I used to live in Mt Ranier in the 70's, while attending the U of Md. I was a member of the food buying club that gave birth to GLUT, and lived a couple of blocks from there. I had heard they had a bike co-op now in one of the big, olde houses that were so wonderfully predominant in the neighborhood. Have you used/visited that co-op ? Your impressions ? I was the Saturday manager for the one here for five or six years. Not sure how ours will re-open either...space is pretty tight in there
Aw, what would BF even be without going off-topic? I'm not a frequent visitor to Mount Rainier Co-op because I just live much closer to another co-op. I also don't really know any of the people managing the co-op these days, so my impressions are those of a total outsider. The house is an incredible space. The co-op used to meet in an alley so when the city offered the house it was definitely a huge improvement. I think the yearly rent is $1? Having the space means that the co-op always has a lot of parts on hand and it's pretty well-stocked with tools. Glut is the best and there's also a tool lending library. Mount Rainier is a delightful place.

Sorry to hear about the reopening issues. With all the models of cooperatives, I imagine that people are facing a lot of different situations. The co-op closest to me is lucky enough to have basically no overhead so it could probably weather a lost year financially. But I don't really know how to estimate the loss of momentum, morale, or impact on those in the community who depend on its services.
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Old 07-04-20, 01:09 PM
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When I visited my local bike shop with a wheel build request last year, they told me it would be cheaper and easier for me to simply buy a wheel already made the way I wanted it. This was pre-covid bike boom.

It used to be one could find 700c Nexus 3 wheel sets anywhere on the net for not too much money. Now it seems only 26" wheel sets with Nexus 3 or Nexus 7 are widely available.

Of course, there is this one 700c Nexus 3 rear wheel, but it has a coaster brake. Not sure how hard it is to disable that coaster brake to go onto a bike with a rear caliper brake?
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Old 07-04-20, 01:17 PM
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I've built three IGH wheels, and it's no more difficult than any other wheel.

If the wheel already has 3 broken spokes, it might be a bit warped, which means it can probably be brought into decent riding condition and last a long time, but might be difficult to get the last mm of truth out of it. As a starting point, loosen all of the spokes and see what condition the rim is in.
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Old 07-04-20, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
I've built three IGH wheels, and it's no more difficult than any other wheel.
Even easier, I'd say (based on my limited experience) because no dishing is required as would be for a wheel with a cassette or freewheel. :-)
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Old 07-04-20, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
When I visited my local bike shop with a wheel build request last year, they told me it would be cheaper and easier for me to simply buy a wheel already made the way I wanted it.
What the hell is wrong with shops these days, or with the people manning them? "Made the way you want it" means that somebody had to build it that way. You get the hub you want, you get the rim you want, you calculate the length of the spokes you need for the build and buy them, you build. There's not much more to it than that. I don't get it. The problem obviously predates Covid and they probably can't have afforded to pass up any work or business so maybe they thought the work was beneath them or they just didn't give a damn. Sorry to hear it.
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Old 07-04-20, 06:33 PM
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Old 07-04-20, 06:35 PM
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Old 07-04-20, 06:41 PM
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This is a good one...

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Old 07-05-20, 05:44 AM
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Originally Posted by ericoseveins View Post
Shops in DC are really busy right now. In normal times this would be the perfect project to take on at your local bike co-op and we're lucky to have a lot of them. But the Bike House in Petworth isn't opening until DC enters phase 3 and Vélocity, Mount Rainier, and Gearin' Up are open limitedly but aren't able to allow customers to work on their own bikes for now.

I can help you with this if you don't mind standing at a distance in a concrete back yard on a weekend while wearing a mask. I can supply a truing stand, spokes, a spoke threader, a cheerful disposition, and the soulful sounds of Megadeth played through a bluetooth speaker. You supply contactless reimbursement for the spokes and boozy seltzer.
Thanks all. I am amazed at the collective knowledge of this group.

Ericoseveins - That's an amazing offer that I'll take you up on -- with my lack of expertise, I am kind of stuck otherwise. Megadeth is soulful indeed. I'm headed out shortly, but I'll send you a private message when I'm back to coordinate something that works for you.
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Old 07-05-20, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by thumpism View Post
What the hell is wrong with shops these days, or with the people manning them? "Made the way you want it" means that somebody had to build it that way. You get the hub you want, you get the rim you want, you calculate the length of the spokes you need for the build and buy them, you build. There's not much more to it than that. I don't get it. The problem obviously predates Covid and they probably can't have afforded to pass up any work or business so maybe they thought the work was beneath them or they just didn't give a damn. Sorry to hear it.
Right. Off the rack. Just like the clothing I buy but with less variety.
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Old 07-05-20, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by sweeks View Post
You could remove one spoke, measure it, then buy a few (plus a few extras). Replace them and true the wheel. There's probably no "dish" on the wheel, and there are lots of videos to help do the repair.
Having said that, rebuilding a wheel like this isn't terribly difficult. I've successfully rebuilt several wheels with internally-geared hubs. It's quite satisfying to ride around on a wheel you built yourself. And the labor is all your own!

First wheel re-build. New rim, old spokes.
For the bikes we ride...

...there is no such thing as a no dish or zero dish wheel.

=8-|

As to the OP, this is not a big job. Wonder what else is going on...

=8-|
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Old 07-05-20, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by thumpism View Post
What the hell is wrong with shops these days, or with the people manning them? "Made the way you want it" means that somebody had to build it that way. You get the hub you want, you get the rim you want, you calculate the length of the spokes you need for the build and buy them, you build. There's not much more to it than that. I don't get it. The problem obviously predates Covid and they probably can't have afforded to pass up any work or business so maybe they thought the work was beneath them or they just didn't give a damn. Sorry to hear it.
There are many shops now where all the folks in it are simply sales people. Some of those are mechanics as owners who just want to only work on really really high revenue stuff, else it is trying to talk the customer into simply buying a whole new wheel.

There's a shop here in the Bay Area that does exactly this - everything on their website is all "we're mechanics," but their modus operandi for about 80% of their custom customers is to attempt to just get them to buy "new".

Some of those customers end up knocking on my Inbox.

=8-|
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Kahane, Howard. Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric: The Use of Reason in Everyday Life
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Old 07-05-20, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by DC_Cycle View Post
Thanks all. I am amazed at the collective knowledge of this group.

Ericoseveins - That's an amazing offer that I'll take you up on -- with my lack of expertise, I am kind of stuck otherwise. Megadeth is soulful indeed. I'm headed out shortly, but I'll send you a private message when I'm back to coordinate something that works for you.

One of the big problems shops are having right now is parts sourcing. Your average distributor abandoned Taiwan a decade ago, putting all their sourcing to China - just to save a penny. Now that China distribution is pretty much near non-operational, those distributors are running out of inventory, trying to go back to Taiwan only to be told: "Oh, you're back? Well, here's how much your order is going to cost..."

The 3 shops I support don't have to worry about me - I'm Taiwanese import, always have been, always will be. Stayed away from China with a 60 mile pole.

35 / 54 wheels delivered sold in just one week.

I'm a busy man...and my hands hurt.

=8-(
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Disclaimer:

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2. I like anyone will comment in other areas.
3. I do not own the preexisting concepts of DISH and ERD.
4. I will provide information as I always have to others that I believe will help them protect themselves from unscrupulous mechanics.
5. My all time favorite book is:

Kahane, Howard. Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric: The Use of Reason in Everyday Life
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