Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  

Go Back   > >

Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

User Tag List

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 12-20-08, 04:29 PM   #1
Thread Starter
Amani576's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Raleigh, NC
Bikes: 1972 Raleigh Twenty, mid-80's Trek
Posts: 2,131
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Nervous about building my first set of wheels...

I know, this is probably normal, possibly even for experienced builders (especially when building for themselves, funded by themselves).
I've got a few questions, but, first some info.
What I'm building is 700c, 3x, 32 Spoke wheels, potentially with Phil Wood hubs and definitely Black Mavic OpenPro's. The Phil Wood's will be 126mm thread on Field Serviceable types - HERE and the matching front hub - HERE
Ok... so... I'd like some tips, any you've got.
These won't be my FIRST-first wheels (if that makes any sense). They'll be my first built wheels I'll ride. Currently I've got two wheels off an old Schwinn that I'm spending time dismantling, then relacing, then retruing. Trying to do the best job I can in that process. I know this is probably a good idea, and good practice. I've got a truing stand, The Minoura Pro stand, so, I'm not doing this the less advisable way between the brake calipers. I've also got one book (The Art Of Wheelbuilding), and just printed out the entire about wheelbuilding from Sheldon Brown, so, I've got good ideas, and advice. Though, I plan on getting "The Bicycle Wheel" soon, as well.
I'd just like some tips in being sure of spoke length, truing radially and laterally, and (while it's hard to give advice on it) being confident in your wheels.
I'm hope I'm not coming off as whiny or anything, I'm just new to this, and would rather have new wheels over old ones that I'm not sure where, or what, they've been through (that and finding new thread on wheels is nigh impossible).
Thanks all. Any help or suggestions will be much appreciated.
Amani576 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-08, 04:53 PM   #2
Senior Member
embankmentlb's Avatar
Join Date: May 2008
Location: North, Ga.
Bikes: Bernard Hinault Look - 1986 tour winner, Guerciotti, Various Klein's & Panasonic's
Posts: 1,987
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
The thing is "just do it". Keep a set of built wheels handy for comparison.
embankmentlb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-08, 05:19 PM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 81
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Read sections on stabilzing the build and tension balance.
You need to get the spokes in the positions where they will stay even after dynamic loads.
Bedding the spokes into the hub spoke holes and getting the rim eyelets "squished" by the nipples such that the spokes are aligned in such a way that they follow paths like threads (or strings).
The idea is to get spokes positioned at the asymptotic limit.
daveornee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-08, 09:53 PM   #4
aspiring bike mechanic
leweee's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Ontario. Canada
Bikes: 80's Marin mtb, 70's Raliegh mixte
Posts: 59
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
+1 on the link above.

try to pick a time when you will have the least distractions.
good luck & most of all have fun.....wheel building can be a great confidants builder.
Derailleur!!!! Hell, I just meet her.
leweee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-08, 10:41 PM   #5
Procrastinateur supreme
CrankyFranky's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Franko barada nikto
Bikes: Enough bikes...for today!
Posts: 1,166
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Hey Gene-

I built my wheelsets long before spoke tensioners were on the market; I've ridden my wheels 10s of thousands of touring laden miles with no probs. This has got to have been the most satisfying few hours I've ever spent in wrenching. There's something mystical about getting those parts to be so perfectly round and true!

You've started out right, by reading up - good references.

You're best bet is to compare spoke length specs from two different sources.

In lacing, pay attention to your consistency when crossing spokes - do them over or under in the same direction - and watch that pesky stem hole - your spokes should diverge from it.

Above all, just TAKE YOUR TIME! Once you have the lacing done and you start tensioning, do it in decreasing increments - turn the nipples less as you go on. While you are doing this, widen your attention from pairs of opposing spokes to groups of four, then six or eight when truing - in other words, don't focus on just an opposing nipple pair when truing an almost fully tensioned wheel. All the while, use your thumb and middle finger as a bridge to feel the tension between the opposing sides. Pluck each spoke - front should have all the spokes sounding the same pitch. The rear spokes should sound the same on one side.

If you need to take a break, use pieces of masking tape on spokes to tell you where you left off. Stop when you get tired, and leave it for another day when you are fresh and focused.

Don't forget to stress relieve the spokes on the hub before you approach final tensioning, or you'll end up doing it over. Try not to put too much pressure as you press down on opposite sides of the rim though. You'll hear the pinging.

Too tight is almost worse than too loose, as once you've distorted the rim ferrules (if you have 'em) it's only downhill from there.

Again, take it easy and ENJOY!
CrankyFranky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-08, 11:14 PM   #6
Domestic Domestique
UnsafeAlpine's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Michigan
Bikes: Brand New Old Catamount! Schwinn Homegrown, Specialized FSR, Salsa Vaya, Salsa Chile Con Crosso
Posts: 1,742
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Jeez...I just guessed and built a helluva rear mtb wheel.

Don't worry about it. Just do it.
UnsafeAlpine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-08, 06:03 AM   #7
Senior Member
z415's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Gainesville/Tampa, FL
Bikes: Trek 1000, two mtbs and working on a fixie for commuting.
Posts: 2,343
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
^ I did that too. For a set. Took too much time though.

Good luck.
z415 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-08, 06:26 AM   #8
Retro Grouch 
Senior Member
Retro Grouch's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: St Peters, Missouri
Bikes: Catrike 559 I own some others but they don't get ridden very much.
Posts: 27,815
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 589 Post(s)
Originally Posted by embankmentlb View Post
The thing is "just do it". Keep a set of built wheels handy for comparison.
"Just do it." That's what I think too.

Working with good quality components will be a lot easier to do than the relaceing that you've already done with your junk wheels.

My one piece of advice is not to try to build up the tension too fast. If you "walk" the tension up evenly on each spoke it'll keep the rim rounder and you'll have a much easier time with the final trueing.
Retro Grouch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-08, 12:13 PM   #9
Great State of Varmint
Panthers007's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Dante's Third Ring
Posts: 7,478
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Three words: Take it slow. Speed comes with experience. So take your time and have fun! You've got the right resources, and a forum here to help you. We all started at the beginning.
Panthers007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-08, 02:41 PM   #10
lymbzero's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: California
Posts: 697
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
lymbzero is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:18 PM.

  • Ask a Question
    get answers from real people!
Click to start entering your question.