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First time wheel building - What should I look out for?

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First time wheel building - What should I look out for?

Old 07-05-22, 10:00 AM
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sebcast
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First time wheel building - What should I look out for?

Hello all,
I'm going to try my hand at wheel building!

A bit of background of why I'm doing this:
  • I bought a cargo trike that has rim brakes in the front two wheels and want to convert to disc (more info in this thread, with pics. New (to me) frontloader cargo trike)
  • The front wheels are 20 inch, and I've found it hard to find already built disc ready wheels in that size.
  • I wanna learn

Here's a picture of the existing hub, any ideas what brand this is?
I think I'm going to reuse the rim, so from what I've gathered I just need a disc brake hub with the same dimensions, and then I can plug all the numbers into one of the online calculators to calculate spoke length.

Is there anything else I should be considering? any pitfalls and things to avoid?

thanks!
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Old 07-05-22, 11:18 AM
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Most disk hubs use medium to large flange diameters, noy fairly low flanges as the current wheel has. What gage are the current spokes? (Kind of looks to be bigger than the way common 2mm/14g size spokes, maybe 105g/2.3mm?) If the spokes are larger than 2mm in diameter then the rim likely also has larger nipple holes too. This might change your planning so check before spending $. The current hub also looks to have a 10mm axle size. True? if so then the replacement hub ideally should also have that size to best fit in the fork drop outs.

As you are learning and this is a cargo bike and these wheels are also your steering control I suggest keeping these wheels intact as back ups if nothing else. Build up a second set of wheels with the combo of specs you need/want. Andy

Those OEM hubs are sure generic Asian made for a price point type. Could be from one of the many "secondary and privet label market" makers that dot the SE Asia region.
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Old 07-05-22, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by sebcast View Post
I can plug all the numbers into one of the online calculators to calculate spoke length.
I do my own calculations and then compare the result to what the websites come up with. At the very least, run the numbers through a couple of different calculators and take the average.
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Old 07-05-22, 01:31 PM
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What's your plan for converting the bike itself to disc brakes? Looks like the back end has mounts, but the cart part might need some fabrication.
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Old 07-05-22, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
What's your plan for converting the bike itself to disc brakes? Looks like the back end has mounts, but the cart part might need some fabrication.
yep! that's right.
I found a frame builder near me that's going to braze on some mounts for the front wheels. He said he'd need to laser cut them since they're not standard, but still comes out to just around $150 (considering I got the trike for $300, seems reasonable to have it disc ready for that price).
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Old 07-05-22, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
Most disk hubs use medium to large flange diameters, noy fairly low flanges as the current wheel has. What gage are the current spokes? (Kind of looks to be bigger than the way common 2mm/14g size spokes, maybe 105g/2.3mm?) If the spokes are larger than 2mm in diameter then the rim likely also has larger nipple holes too. This might change your planning so check before spending $. The current hub also looks to have a 10mm axle size. True? if so then the replacement hub ideally should also have that size to best fit in the fork drop outs.

As you are learning and this is a cargo bike and these wheels are also your steering control I suggest keeping these wheels intact as back ups if nothing else. Build up a second set of wheels with the combo of specs you need/want. Andy

Those OEM hubs are sure generic Asian made for a price point type. Could be from one of the many "secondary and privet label market" makers that dot the SE Asia region.
Thanks! this is great info!
I just took the wheel out yesterday and didn't bother to look at it in detail, but now that you mention it, the spokes do seem thicker than what I'm used to. I'll be sure to measure them and the axle size. I'll report back.
And your suggestion to keep these two intact makes a lot of sense. thanks!
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Old 07-23-22, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
Most disk hubs use medium to large flange diameters, noy fairly low flanges as the current wheel has. What gage are the current spokes? (Kind of looks to be bigger than the way common 2mm/14g size spokes, maybe 105g/2.3mm?) If the spokes are larger than 2mm in diameter then the rim likely also has larger nipple holes too. This might change your planning so check before spending $. The current hub also looks to have a 10mm axle size. True? if so then the replacement hub ideally should also have that size to best fit in the fork drop outs.

As you are learning and this is a cargo bike and these wheels are also your steering control I suggest keeping these wheels intact as back ups if nothing else. Build up a second set of wheels with the combo of specs you need/want. Andy

Those OEM hubs are sure generic Asian made for a price point type. Could be from one of the many "secondary and privet label market" makers that dot the SE Asia region.
OK, finally had some time to measure everything (we have a 2 month baby at home, so hard to find the time):
Spokes: 2.3mm
Axle: 9mm
OLD: 100mm
Flange diameter: 40mm

I think I'll just go with regular 2mm spokes for the new wheels, don't want to overcomplicate things for my first build.

Thanks for your help!
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Old 07-23-22, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by sebcast View Post
OK, finally had some time to measure everything (we have a 2 month baby at home, so hard to find the time):
Spokes: 2.3mm
Axle: 9mm
OLD: 100mm
Flange diameter: 40mm

I think I'll just go with regular 2mm spokes for the new wheels, don't want to overcomplicate things for my first build.

Thanks for your help!
You indicated your cargo trike had front wheels (plural). To me, that implies it may carry it's cargo over the front wheels. That in turn would mean the front wheels are substantially more heavily loaded than a single front wheel/2 rear wheel design with cargo space in the rear.

In any case, I have to think that the original manufacturer used 2.3mm spokes for a reason. The reason simply could be cost (many ebikes use 2.3mm spokes, and they may build ebikes too and buy their spokes in bulk). The reason could be engineering overkill to avoid potential lawsuits.

But it's also possible that the reason is that the thicker spokes are needed for max load. A 2.3mm spoke has roughly 1/3 more cross-sectional area (and thus about that much more steel) than a 2.0mm spoke, so they should be considerably stronger.

Dunno.

If it were me, I'd want to run this by someone at a LBS who's familiar with cargo bikes and wheel building before making any purchases. I'm not an expert in either cargo bikes or wheel building, but I'd hate to find out the hard way that 2.0mm spokes weren't quite strong enough.

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Old 07-23-22, 04:21 PM
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The most handy thing when I was learning was to have another built wheel with the same spoke count and crossings at my side to copy. It's easy peasy to get led astray..
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Old 07-23-22, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Hondo6 View Post
You indicated your cargo trike had front wheels (plural). To me, that implies it may carry it's cargo over the front wheels. That in turn would mean the front wheels are substantially more heavily loaded than a single front wheel/2 rear wheel design with cargo space in the rear.

In any case, I have to think that the original manufacturer used 2.3mm spokes for a reason. The reason simply could be cost (many ebikes use 2.3mm spokes, and they may build ebikes too and buy their spokes in bulk). The reason could be engineering overkill to avoid potential lawsuits.

But it's also possible that the reason is that the thicker spokes are needed for max load. A 2.3mm spoke has roughly 1/3 more cross-sectional area (and thus about that much more steel) than a 2.0mm spoke, so they should be considerably stronger.

Dunno.

If it were me, I'd want to run this by someone at a LBS who's familiar with cargo bikes and wheel building before making any purchases. I'm not an expert in either cargo bikes or wheel building, but I'd hate to find out the hard way that 2.0mm spokes weren't quite strong enough.
Hmm... good point! Glad I asked!
Reading on another thread that regular hubs would fit 2.3mm spokes. Does this sound right?
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Old 07-23-22, 06:44 PM
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Hmm... good point! Glad I asked!
Reading on another thread that regular hubs would fit 2.3mm spokes. Does this sound right?
I ordered front disk hubs from two manufactures recently. Two of them will work with 2mm or 2.3mm and two of them won't work with 2.3mm. check before ordering.
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