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building 36 spoke wheels gets expensive

Old 10-27-09, 07:15 AM
  #1  
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building 36 spoke wheels gets expensive

I just spent a mint at my LBS on spokes for a wheelbuild, and it seems like spokes are just as much online (if not more with shipping and duty).
I guess this is just the reality of a wheel with a high spoke-count. I mean, that's 72 spokes for a pair of wheels...add taxes and...damn!
I know that 36 hole front wheels aren't common, but anyone else have a shock the first time they built a set?
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Old 10-27-09, 07:19 AM
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I have been planning on building a set for my commuter, now, I'm getting worried
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Old 10-27-09, 07:20 AM
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Your experience shows why prebuilt complete wheels are generally much less expensive than building your own. I've found it's cheaper to buy a complete wheel than to build one, even if I already own a perfectly good hub.
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Old 10-27-09, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by engo View Post
I just spent a mint at my LBS on spokes for a wheelbuild, and it seems like spokes are just as much online (if not more with shipping and duty).
I guess this is just the reality of a wheel with a high spoke-count. I mean, that's 72 spokes for a pair of wheels...add taxes and...damn!
I know that 36 hole front wheels aren't common, but anyone else have a shock the first time they built a set?
On the "plus" side, buying high quality spokes for a 36-hole wheel means you only have to buy them once.
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Old 10-27-09, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by engo View Post
I just spent a mint at my LBS on spokes for a wheelbuild, and it seems like spokes are just as much online (if not more with shipping and duty).
I guess this is just the reality of a wheel with a high spoke-count. I mean, that's 72 spokes for a pair of wheels...add taxes and...damn!
I know that 36 hole front wheels aren't common, but anyone else have a shock the first time they built a set?
I don't buy prebuilt wheels. I build my own but, just like building up a frame, I don't do it because it's cheaper. I do it because I get a wheel that I can't buy prebuilt...and I get satisfaction from doing the build
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Old 10-27-09, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I don't buy prebuilt wheels. I build my own but, just like building up a frame, I don't do it because it's cheaper. I do it because I get a wheel that I can't buy prebuilt...and I get satisfaction from doing the build
Right, but you realize it's going to cost more. The OP was shocked at the price of components but you aren't.

Note to JohnDThompson; all of the prebuilt wheels I've ever bought have DT or Wheelsmith spokes so there is no sacrifice in quality.
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Old 10-27-09, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
Your experience shows why prebuilt complete wheels are generally much less expensive than building your own. I've found it's cheaper to buy a complete wheel than to build one, even if I already own a perfectly good hub.
In the past I've bought prebuilt (though not machine built) wheels for this reason. I can get a good quality wheel, but it seems less expensive to pay retail for a finished product than to pay retail for parts. However, in this case these early dura-ace hubs are just begging to be built up! Also, like cycocommute I enjoy doing the work myself.
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Old 10-27-09, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
Right, but you realize it's going to cost more. The OP was shocked at the price of components but you aren't.
Hence the comment "I don't do it because it's cheaper." Perhaps I should have added "It's not," for clarity
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Old 10-27-09, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Hence the comment "I don't do it because it's cheaper." Perhaps I should have added "It's not," for clarity
Hence my comment "...you realize it's going to cost more..." We are on the same page with this one.
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Old 10-27-09, 10:01 AM
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If you were building a (more common these days) 32 spoke wheel you would still be buying 64 spokes... only a difference of 8.

DT Champion spokes are generally ~$0.50 each.

As others have said, pre built wheels are cheaper, but you need to have them properly tensioned before riding so that will cost a few more bucks.
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Old 10-27-09, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by engo View Post
, but anyone else have a shock the first time they built a set?
I sure did. You`re right- they add up. And it gets more expensive if you screw up the calcs and have to buy another half wheel`s worth (ask me how I know). Still I keep doing my own because I LOVE lacing wheels. I`ve heard of people buying prebuilts for the parts, then detensioning and retensioning/dishing/truing. Although that would take a little of the fun out of the project, it makes a lot of sense to me.
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Old 10-27-09, 11:18 AM
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With me, building wheels is a hobby with long time positive results.

Last edited by Al1943; 10-27-09 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 10-27-09, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by engo View Post
I mean, that's 72 spokes for a pair of wheels...add taxes and...damn!
Could be worse.

One of the nice things about buying spokes at the LBS is, if you need 72 spokes, you generally only have to buy 72 spokes.
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Old 10-27-09, 11:52 AM
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Oh come on.... It's only 8 more spokes than you'd need for a pair of 32 spoke builds.

The last time I priced butted spokes it reminded me of how long it's been since I did a wheel build from scratch with them. They've sure gone up!
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Old 10-27-09, 11:54 AM
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Bike stuff is just expensive. But then again, it's worth it.
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Old 10-27-09, 12:09 PM
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Because of the various spoke lengths inevitably required for different hub/rim combos, it's near impossible to consider hoarding spokes, even when they are deeply discounted - unless of course you use the same components in repeated builds.
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Old 10-27-09, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by LarDasse74 View Post
If you were building a (more common these days) 32 spoke wheel you would still be buying 64 spokes... only a difference of 8.

DT Champion spokes are generally ~$0.50 each.

As others have said, pre built wheels are cheaper, but you need to have them properly tensioned before riding so that will cost a few more bucks.
Yeah, I opted for the competition double butted spokes. They were a bit more.

Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
Oh come on.... It's only 8 more spokes than you'd need for a pair of 32 spoke builds.

The last time I priced butted spokes it reminded me of how long it's been since I did a wheel build from scratch with them. They've sure gone up!
OK, so I would be whining and complaining regardless! That makes me feel a little better.
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Old 10-27-09, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by engo View Post
I just spent a mint at my LBS on spokes for a wheelbuild, and it seems like spokes are just as much online (if not more with shipping and duty).
I guess this is just the reality of a wheel with a high spoke-count. I mean, that's 72 spokes for a pair of wheels...add taxes and...damn!
I know that 36 hole front wheels aren't common, but anyone else have a shock the first time they built a set?
You'll come to realize that your LBS isn't exactly giving you competitive rates...

Shops like Yellow Jersey charge a flat rate for spokes (regardless of spoke count). That's whether you're building a 48 drill polo wheel, a 28 count aero wheel, a 32 or 36 count commuter wheel.

There is a reason that pre-built wheels are so ubiquitous. The LBS just doesn't produce good wheels, and certainly doesn't produce 'em at a reasonable price.

I'd have that LBS built wheel checked for even spoke tension, its probably not the quality wheel you paid for. Its easy to true a wheel, get a wheel to stay in round, or to have even high spoke tension, but all three? By an LBS that builds up custom wheels a couple of times a year? Sure.

Go with Yellow Jersey for lightweight riders (they use 14/16g spokes), and Peter White for duty rated stuff. With custom wheels either do it yourself or go to someone who specializes in wheels. Not a job for your LBS.

Think of wheels like a transmission, take it to a specialist.
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Old 10-27-09, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by LarDasse74 View Post
If you were building a (more common these days) 32 spoke wheel you would still be buying 64 spokes... only a difference of 8.

DT Champion spokes are generally ~$0.50 each.

As others have said, pre built wheels are cheaper, but you need to have them properly tensioned before riding so that will cost a few more bucks.
Hah! My LBS wants to charge $2/spoke.
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Old 10-27-09, 07:44 PM
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Yeah, I had no choice but to go 36 when building up a Nexus 8-speed wheel. For regular 32-hole front and rear wheels, you can save by buying a bag of 50, and there's a good chance you can use the spare for another build, especially if they're the common 298 or 294 mm. but there's not much chance I'll have a use for the sixteen spare 280mm spokes.
But I haven't had to true the wheel in the one thousand miles I've put on it since June, and it's been a reliable source of transportation from home to work and back five days a week, so the peace of mind makes up for the cost.
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Old 10-27-09, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by mtnbke View Post
The LBS just doesn't produce good wheels, and certainly doesn't produce 'em at a reasonable price.

I'd have that LBS built wheel checked for even spoke tension, its probably not the quality wheel you paid for. Its easy to true a wheel, get a wheel to stay in round, or to have even high spoke tension, but all three? By an LBS that builds up custom wheels a couple of times a year? Sure.
Because your LBS sucks. This is news now?

To produce a general blanket statement like that just makes you look very smart.
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Old 10-27-09, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by engo View Post
However, in this case these early dura-ace hubs are just begging to be built up! .
^ This.. And the 36h Record High flange rear track hub that told me to take him home with me. Like a puppy in the window.
I don't know if I can put spokes in it, too pretty.
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Old 10-27-09, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by mtnbke View Post
You'll come to realize that your LBS isn't exactly giving you competitive rates...

Shops like Yellow Jersey charge a flat rate for spokes (regardless of spoke count). That's whether you're building a 48 drill polo wheel, a 28 count aero wheel, a 32 or 36 count commuter wheel.

There is a reason that pre-built wheels are so ubiquitous. The LBS just doesn't produce good wheels, and certainly doesn't produce 'em at a reasonable price.

I'd have that LBS built wheel checked for even spoke tension, its probably not the quality wheel you paid for. Its easy to true a wheel, get a wheel to stay in round, or to have even high spoke tension, but all three? By an LBS that builds up custom wheels a couple of times a year? Sure.

Go with Yellow Jersey for lightweight riders (they use 14/16g spokes), and Peter White for duty rated stuff. With custom wheels either do it yourself or go to someone who specializes in wheels. Not a job for your LBS.

Think of wheels like a transmission, take it to a specialist.
I'll have Generalizations for $200, Alex........
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Old 10-27-09, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by well biked View Post
I'll have Generalizations for $200, Alex........
Daily double, see post #21
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Old 10-27-09, 08:13 PM
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Cost (wholesale) on a box of 100 DT Swiss Competition butted spokes is $56.99. Most shops will charge $1 - $1.25 per spoke.

Last edited by PlatyPius; 10-29-09 at 05:19 AM.
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