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Build Coaster brake bikes

Old 09-26-23, 04:08 AM
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Build Coaster brake bikes

Hey everyone,
I run a small bike shop (among other things) but bike tech-ing has never been a strong point for me so I知 having to teach myself a lot.

At my shop, we primarily deal cruiser bikes with coaster brakes as part of a rental fleet, but I've noticed that the ready made coaster brake rims tend to be on the pricey side. Would it be more cost-effective to source the parts separately and build these bikes from scratch? Like rim, spokes, hub. If they even do that.

I'd love to hear from those of you who have experience with DIY bike building. Is it a practical solution, and does it indeed lead to significant cost savings? Where would I get the parts? My shop uses QBP but, I知 struggling to find the parts there. Moreover, if it is a viable option, how challenging is it to learn and execute correctly? I知 new to the forum so I appreciate the help!

Last edited by URec; 09-26-23 at 04:56 AM.
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Old 09-26-23, 04:52 AM
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1. It痴 澱rakes
2. Welcome!

Someone who actually knows these components will be along shortly. There was another thread on them recently but that wasn稚 in the 都upply chain topic area.
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Old 09-26-23, 05:31 AM
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Hand built wheels will always be more expensive for you. Find a distributor who sells those machine built wheels and you'll save a lot of money. You probably want single-walled rims, laced with straight gauge spokes, to whatever decent coaster (single speed?) brake hub you can work on. Aside from that, get a good wheel from a spare bike, loosen the spokes, stick it on the truing stand and learn how to tension and true a wheel; then order a rim, spokes, and hub for yourself, and do your first build.
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Old 09-26-23, 10:20 AM
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Buy a wheel with a good hub.
Learn to tension/true to make it a better wheel.
Cheap wheels usually need proper tensioning and bearing lube. Those 2 things can greatly extend the useful life.
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Old 09-26-23, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by URec
Hey everyone,
I run a small bike shop (among other things) but bike tech-ing has never been a strong point for me so I知 having to teach myself a lot.

At my shop, we primarily deal cruiser bikes with coaster brakes as part of a rental fleet, but I've noticed that the ready made coaster brake rims tend to be on the pricey side. Would it be more cost-effective to source the parts separately and build these bikes from scratch? Like rim, spokes, hub. If they even do that.

I'd love to hear from those of you who have experience with DIY bike building. Is it a practical solution, and does it indeed lead to significant cost savings? Where would I get the parts? My shop uses QBP but, I知 struggling to find the parts there. Moreover, if it is a viable option, how challenging is it to learn and execute correctly? I知 new to the forum so I appreciate the help!
My guess is you only need to know 2 things.

1. How to tension spokes and true wheels. If you keep the spokes properly tensioned the customers will break less spokes.

2. How to service the coaster brakes. The Shimano and KT hubs are made in the same factory.

Watch videos below.

:: COASTER CULTURE :: COASTER BRAKE BIKES CULTURE

Edit to add. I don稚 think it痴 worth building your own wheels. Keep the spokes properly tensioned. A really heavy and abusive customer can break a nice wheel just as well as a cheap wheel.

Last edited by SkinGriz; 09-26-23 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 09-26-23, 12:35 PM
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Why are you needing to replace the wheels on the Rental fleet?
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Old 09-26-23, 01:08 PM
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Is it your rental fleet, or are you servicing someone else's? Basic coaster wheels are readily available. I wouldn't bother building them, unless you are in the Hampton$...
Servicing the rental fleet was one of the off season projects, better than painting the shop.
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Old 09-27-23, 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by wheelreason
Is it your rental fleet, or are you servicing someone else's? Basic coaster wheels are readily available. I wouldn't bother building them, unless you are in the Hampton$...
Servicing the rental fleet was one of the off season projects, better than painting the shop.

they are our fleet we池e servicing as needed. I just want to get a head up on inventory when we get the money in to make sure we can replace them as needed. Thank you!
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Old 09-27-23, 06:14 AM
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Originally Posted by maddog34
Why are you needing to replace the wheels on the Rental fleet?
it痴 not that I need to do them all at once. But we have 170 bikes we rent out and some are over 10 years old. So some stuff is just at a point where they need to be retired, or things start to break. So I thought it壇 be good to start purchasing to have some ready.
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Old 09-27-23, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by URec
it痴 not that I need to do them all at once. But we have 170 bikes we rent out and some are over 10 years old. So some stuff is just at a point where they need to be retired, or things start to break. So I thought it壇 be good to start purchasing to have some ready.
Yikes! 10 year old rental fleet is going to create headaches for you. What I find works best is to get a few seasons, and then sell them as used. YMMV. Also, 170 bikes sounds like a lot, I would cut that down and raise the rates. But I don't know your specifics, so maybe not. We have some customers that rent bikes seasonally for more than the retail price of the bike. Hourly rates is like purgatory...
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Old 09-27-23, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by wheelreason
Yikes! 10 year old rental fleet is going to create headaches for you. What I find works best is to get a few seasons, and then sell them as used. YMMV. Also, 170 bikes sounds like a lot, I would cut that down and raise the rates. But I don't know your specifics, so maybe not. We have some customers that rent bikes seasonally for more than the retail price of the bike. Hourly rates is like purgatory...
They're not all 10 years old, but a good portion definitely are. We have around 20 that are around 1-2 years old. This is actually part of a University's bike fleet for students renters. So cutting down isn't much of an option for us with the University demanding we expand. That's why I'm trying to find more alternatives to purchasing ready made parts new. I do have a staff of other bike tech's who are essentially learning on the job. So it's been tough to improve/expand without overworking. That's why I'm looking to see if just buying individual parts is the innovation we need, or if there are other alternatives.
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Old 09-27-23, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by URec
They're not all 10 years old, but a good portion definitely are. We have around 20 that are around 1-2 years old. This is actually part of a University's bike fleet for students renters. So cutting down isn't much of an option for us with the University demanding we expand. That's why I'm trying to find more alternatives to purchasing ready made parts new. I do have a staff of other bike tech's who are essentially learning on the job. So it's been tough to improve/expand without overworking. That's why I'm looking to see if just buying individual parts is the innovation we need, or if there are other alternatives.
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Old 09-27-23, 10:27 PM
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interesting situation

what size wheels? how many spokes?

you would really need to do an ROI on Cost of servicing and rebuilding a wheel vs cost to buy and decision tree to decide when to go one way or the at any point in process

need to know cost of

servicing hub (clean, lube, maybe new bearings and labor cost)
labor cost to true wheel
cost of new rim alone
cost of spokes and nipples
labor cost to build wheel

cost of purchased wheel

in general it is less expensive to buy a new wheel (of bike) than to build from new parts a whole wheel. Inexpensive/free labor helps, but even that does not always figue out

by guess is the triage should go like this
1) are the hubs in good shape, just need cleaned, greased and maybe new bearings? Yes go to next question No: Buy new wheel
2) is rim in good shape yes: go to next question No: new wheel
3) are spokes is good shape, with no more than 3 broken? yes go to next step no: new wheel
4) service hub, replace needed spokes, true wheel
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Old 09-27-23, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by URec
At my shop, we primarily deal cruiser bikes with coaster brakes as part of a rental fleet, but I've noticed that the ready made coaster brake rims tend to be on the pricey side. Would it be more cost-effective to source the parts separately and build these bikes from scratch? Like rim, spokes, hub. If they even do that.
I'd assume you mean ready made wheel and not ready made rim as any rim can be a coaster brake.
If you're looking for parts and more affordable wheels for cruisers, then QBP is a poor choice in my experience and you should check out J&B which tends to deal with cheaper bike parts and stuff. QBP can have cheaper stuff but J&B specializes in things like cruiser parts. Building wheels is a time consuming process, especially until you gain real experience in it. For a fleet, best bet is buy a good number of each the same and a box of 500 spokes, so you can do a dozen wheels at once, even still, you'll find a basic wheel will be cheaper through J&B unless you're getting some company's overstock.
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Old 09-30-23, 01:08 AM
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Pro mechanic here...
There's absolutely no way you'll save money hand building wheels for basic rental coaster brake bikes. You should get reasonably competent at overhauling the hubs, truing wheels, and replacing broken spokes as needed. But if anything's in truly bad shape you'll always save money buying a machine built wheel. I second the recommendation to open a JBI account for this kind of thing.
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Old 10-01-23, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by russ roth
if you're looking for parts and more affordable wheels for cruisers anything, then qbp is a poor choice
fify...
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Old 10-02-23, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by wheelreason
fify...
Huh? What is your issue with QBP? I have been using them for years and years and they have the easiest to use interface and you can search for and narrow down parts quite easily plus they have stocked all sorts of great stuff over the years and build some quite decent wheels and have helped with a lot of warranty issues or getting warranty parts quickly and easily. They generally ship quickly and it has been rare that I have had a mis-shipment from them or issues with the order and they have always taken care of those few incidents.

JBI is certainly a better bet for coaster stuff and lower initial cost stuff but QBP is a great overall distributor and I really have few complaints and the few I do have I could as well have for JBI, BTI, HLC, NAC, and others. There are certainly things that are cheaper at a different distributor and things that are more expensive but usually it is not by much and they do mark things down frequently which means good deals to be had. Plus Dealers Choice can save you a lot of money in the long run if you use it.

Maybe for a really small shop the minimums might be tough to meet and you are paying for shipping but that is a small little issue that is not enough to be really bothersome and minimums for shipping exist everywhere.

I do not work for QBP nor have I in the past worked for QBP or any other distributor just work in shops and in my previous job was the manager of a vast parts department/inventory and regularly was on Q, JBI and BTI amongst other distributors websites and my current job I am buying for my location.
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