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Wheels - Few questions.

Old 01-17-11, 11:10 AM
  #1  
christopher v.
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Wheels - Few questions.

First off, not sure if it's acceptable to post build questions in this forum but I can't think of a better one, so here it goes:

Building up a new bike this winter and wheels have me a bit stumped. I'd like to be able to do a few short tours/camping vacations with this build and my Mavic Aksiums worry me (despite them proving themselves to be almost bombproof over the last 2k miles), I don't want to break a spoke and be stuck trying to find a bladed spoke somewhere.

Initially I wanted to build up a set of Chris Kings to Open Pros, but being 25 and having a lower income I've got to compromise somewhere, right? I'm looking for a decent set of hubs (sealed, pref. 36h, Shimano/SRAM 10sp compatible) that are a bit more affordable than the Kings. I've browsed around a bit and am more overwhelmed than anything, haven't been into road bikes long enough to know which companies produce the quality goods when it comes to a specific component such as a hub. Any help with suggestions or even just things I should keep an eye out for while scouring mailorders/craigslist/e-bay would be much appreciated.

Second, are there any good spoke size calculators kicking around on the internet? I know of a good one for BMX wheels, but again never had the need for road.

Third and final: When building a rear wheel I'm assuming I use two different size spokes? A shorter size for the drive side? Or do I achieve the proper dish through truing alone? I've never built a set of road wheels before, but have built more than my fair share of 20" wheels, they don't require any dish though.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-17-11, 11:48 AM
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1) I've always maintained that some of the most durable and smooth rolling hubs for a decent price are Ultegra. If you're buying bare hubs to build up, they're often cheaper than 105. If you really want cartridge bearings, Novatec and Formula make some hubs I feel are pretty close to the weight and quality of DT or White Industries. They are often on ebay or Rob at psimet.com sells them for very nice prices.

2) My favorite online spoke calculator is https://lenni.info/edd/ and an industry standard is to use Spocalc https://sheldonbrown.com/rinard/spocalc.htm . I recommend using at least 2 so that if they disagree, you know to look into why... perhaps with a third calculator.

3) Yes, road bike wheels usually have slightly shorter spokes on the drive side (assuming equal flange diameters). The spoke length calculators should tell you that, assuming the correct dimensions are used.
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Old 01-17-11, 12:38 PM
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If these are going to be limited use wheels, and you don't want to spend a bundle and don't insist on building your own, check out Jenson USA's wheel offering. I bought a prebuilt rear wheel from them with a Tiagra hub, Alex R390 rim and DT 2.0 mm straight gauge spokes, laced 32H, 3X for about $110 delivered. It came properly tensioned and very true right out of the box. So far it's been perfectly satisfactory for over 2000 miles of harsh rain-bike duty.

If you REALLY want to build your own, please ignore the above. If that's the case, I second the recommendation for Ultegra hubs. They are super durable, very smooth, easy to work on and priced far under CK or DT or Phil Wood.
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Old 01-17-11, 01:42 PM
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Thanks, I'll look into more complete wheels. I suppose the only real reason I wanted to build my own wheel set is to say "I built them."

Do you have any suggestions for rims? I only picked the Open Pros because I've heard so many people talk about them. I generally ride 28mm tires, but wouldn't mind being able to rock 32s or 35s so I can still commute on it during the winter months.
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Old 01-17-11, 01:48 PM
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Mavic A-319, or A-719 with 32 or 36 holes
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Old 01-17-11, 01:51 PM
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Check out Neuvation for some good wheel values; ~$200 for a set of aluminum aero with high grade cartridge bearings. I got a set for my backup bike and they are still taught and true after ~400 miles on some pretty rough roads.
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Old 01-17-11, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by christopher v. View Post
Thanks, I'll look into more complete wheels. I suppose the only real reason I wanted to build my own wheel set is to say "I built them."

Do you have any suggestions for rims? I only picked the Open Pros because I've heard so many people talk about them. I generally ride 28mm tires, but wouldn't mind being able to rock 32s or 35s so I can still commute on it during the winter months.
The Open Pro was a favorite rim for cyclocross wheels before the deep section types took over and they were routinely used with 700-32 and 35 tires.
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Old 01-17-11, 03:17 PM
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I never discourage people who want to learn wheelbuilding. It's a cool skill, though (early on) you'll be swearing a lot and will run the risk of tacoing a rim and ruining some spokes if you aren't careful.

Chris Kings are crazy expensive - even more expensive than Phil Woods, which from personal experience are an absolute joy. I'm also young and poor and wouldn't have the heart to ride such nice gear in winter commuting.

FWIW, Sheldon Brown really extolled the virtues of Shimano hubs. From what I've seen of them, Shimano hubs are pretty great stuff and are way more affordable than CK or PW hubs - even Ultegras are less than half of the price once the quick-release skewers (included with the Shimanos) are factored in.

I haven't yet used Open Pros, though I've had great experiences with Velocity Synergy rims. I once had a problem with Sun CR-18s - they were very frustratingly tight with Panaracer tires. I use DT Swiss double-butted spokes, which have been great for me.

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Old 01-17-11, 03:25 PM
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Open pros are nice rims and you'll have no reason to regret using them. There are lots of nice hubs out there, but for touring, which involves lots of all weather miles, consider field serviceability to be something of a priority. Hubs that are generally bombproof become a liability if they fail and you don't have toe tools and parts required for service where you happen to be.

In answer to your last question about spoke length and dish, it isn't either or, you establish dish by increased tension on the right side vs. the left, which is an aligning function, but the rim being further to the right means that the right spokes will end up 2mm shorter on average. It's possible to do this using the same length spokes if everything is dead-on perfect, but it's easier to plan ahead and use 2 different spokes lengths.

Good luck with your build, and have a great trip.
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Old 01-17-11, 03:34 PM
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Oh yeah - your questions about spoke lengths. Spocalc has worked very well for me:

https://sheldonbrown.com/rinard/spocalc.htm

Ditto for Sheldon's wheelbuilding instructions. It's one of the few parts of his website that I cached locally on my computer in case his website goes down.

Sometimes you have to use different spoke lengths for the different sides. Other times, you can get away with the same nominal spoke length. Depends on the choices of hub and rim (I used an asymmetric rim on my nice bike to get basically zero dish). The important thing is to have plenty of spoke thread in the nipple but not to have the spoke protruding into the inner tube area. If spokes are protruding, you're at the rim tape's mercy to prevent a puncture, particularly at high pressures.

I've seen in some places to round up quite a bit from the calculators' results. To the contrary, I've found Spocalc to be pretty much spot on.

If you can afford it, get a tensiometer! This won't be your last wheel build. Once the word gets out that you build wheels, you'll be earning brownie points left, right, and center from your friends for building them wheels.
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Old 01-17-11, 03:57 PM
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Hahah, thanks for the advice. I only have three friends that ride road enough that they've gone beyond riding a single speed they've found in the trash (they generally just commute and wouldn't spend money on them), so thankfully the only time people ask me to build wheels is when they need a new one laced up for their BMX bikes.

Thanks for the tips on the Open Pros and other suggestions as well. I was looking at a few wheels that came with Velocity A23s, any positive/negative feedback on these rims? They seem a bit cheaper and seem wide enough to handle larger tires. A quick google search brought nothing but praise, but every link referred to them as a "new product" so I'm unsure if I can trust them based on those reviews.
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Old 01-17-11, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by christopher v. View Post
Third and final: When building a rear wheel I'm assuming I use two different size spokes? A shorter size for the drive side? Or do I achieve the proper dish through truing alone? I've never built a set of road wheels before, but have built more than my fair share of 20" wheels, they don't require any dish though.
The asymmetry between the driveside and non-driveside depends on the amount of offset built into the hub flange to make room for the cassette. 8-speed through 11-speed require the same amount of offset (for each brand). These wheels require a bigger differential in spoke tension to center the rim in the bike's frame. It's not uncommon for the drive-side rear spokes to have twice the tension as the non-driveside. Wheels with 7 cogs or fewer generally have less tension differential. Any good spoke calculator can be used to find the best spoke lengths, and the driveside spokes are usually about 2 mm shorter. On the driveside it's a good idea to keep the spokes no thinner than 1.8 mm (15 gauge) and at least 2 mm (14 gauge) at the hub flange. My experience has been that the high tension required in the driveside spokes will cause thinner spokes to stretch quite a bit.

Doing the final truing and rim centering needs to be done with the tire and tube fully inflated. The air pressure reduces spoke tension and on a rear wheel will effect rim centering.

The trick to building multi-speed wheels is getting enough tension in the non-driveside spokes to avoid breakage in the "J' bend at the hub due to excess flexure, and at the same time center the rim between the dropouts. I think 120 kgf in the driveside spokes is generally a minimum.
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Old 01-17-11, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by urbanknight View Post
My favorite online spoke calculator is https://lenni.info/edd/ and an industry standard is to use Spocalc https://sheldonbrown.com/rinard/spocalc.htm . I recommend using at least 2 so that if they disagree, you know to look into why... perhaps with a third calculator.
Here you go:

Sutherland's 4th ed.

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Old 01-17-11, 04:39 PM
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I wouldn't use the Open Pros for a tourer because they aren't meant to take a load. I have had one rear on my road bike develope cracks at the spokes. A 225 lb friend who is as strong as an ox managed to seperate the sides from the inside of the rim and crack it at 5 or 6 of the spoke holes.
Most of the high dollar hubs are little more than glorified freewheel hubs that take a cassette.
shimano and some of the Joytech and Formula hubs are better by design. They have the right side bearings outboard to support the axle.
The 105 hubs are as good as anything else on the market and will build a strong wheel. If your bike has 135 spacing in the rear then the shimano Deore hubs will be good.
The minimum rim I would go with is the Mavic Open Sport. It has a little more Al. in it than the Open Pro and does hold up better under a load. I built one up for a friend who was quite heavy (over 250) and as he has lost weight the wheel has held up for over 6000 miles.
The Mavic 319 is cheaper than the 719 and has more al. in it than the 719 so I'd go with that.
36 double butted spokes front and rear should make for long lasting trouble free wheels.
You can use 19 to 32mm tires on the Open Sport and 28 to 47mm on the 319 according to Mavic.
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Old 01-17-11, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
Here you go:

1. If you are going to copy and paste straight from the source - how about crediting the source properly?

Wouldn't kill you to do so would it?


2. Mavic A319 or A719 or any other ATB rated rim. OpenPros are lightweight racing clinchers - unless you are a wheelsbuilder yourself and can handle all failures yourself - better to go with wheels intended for touring.


3. Spokecalc is the industry standard? Says who? Been building wheels since 1984...and either I did it using the formula and a calculator - or watched others use the Wheelsmith kit that at one time was included with the Phil Wood spoke machine. Starting in 1994 wrote and compiled my own code - and made a spreadsheet which I've used since - along with a dozen others who happened to like it.

Far as I'm concerned - the only standard is the formula. And no one person owns it...

=8-)
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Old 01-17-11, 10:41 PM
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I just meant that it seems the majority of wheel builders Spocalc. It's 2010, so what people did in 1984 isn't necessarily the current standard, nor is "what mrrabbit does". However, if I'm incorrect and the majority of today's builders use a formula, I stand corrected. The only people I know who use a formula are engineers, and now mrrabbit as well. The rest use Spocalc because it is simply a spreadsheet that uses the formula to calculate it for you. There's merit to being able to run the numbers yourself, but you sound like someone insisting on using a slide rule instead of a calculator.

Oh, and I agree that for touring purposes, stay away from the lightweight racing rims. That includes the Neuvation suggestion above. Because of the loads and distances, there's a reason they like strong rims with plenty of spokes.
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Old 01-17-11, 11:15 PM
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https://www.mrrabbit.net/wheelsbyflemingapplications.php

=8-)
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5000+ wheels built since 1984...

Disclaimer:

1. I do not claim to be an expert in bicycle mechanics despite my experience.
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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Old 01-17-11, 11:22 PM
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Hmmm, not compatible with my version of Windows. Too bad, because I can't get Spocalc to cooperate on Vista either. Shoulda gone with a Mac.

But I fail to see your point. It appears you have your own version of Spocalc. Both are free and simply employ a formula. Yours just isn't as widely known (yet).
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Old 01-17-11, 11:50 PM
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Windows versions are OSes...Microsoft Excel and OpenOffice Calc are applications...spreadsheets are formatted docs created and opened by those apps.

Try not to get the three confused. Get Excel or OpenOffice working first - the spreadsheet will open - regardless of whether it is SpokeCalc, Spokechart, or someone elses version thereof. Damon and I aren't exactly original or unique in that regard.

=8-)
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5000+ wheels built since 1984...

Disclaimer:

1. I do not claim to be an expert in bicycle mechanics despite my experience.
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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Old 01-18-11, 03:11 AM
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there's always the one on wheelpro.co.uk along with the EDD link up there.

If you absolutely wanted to use the one on the bikeschool website, I had to watch a video on Youtube in order to understand how to use it. lol The first two in my opinion are fine. I'm just too lazy right now to write more...
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Old 01-18-11, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by mrrabbit View Post
Windows versions are OSes...Microsoft Excel and OpenOffice Calc are applications...spreadsheets are formatted docs created and opened by those apps.

Try not to get the three confused. Get Excel or OpenOffice working first - the spreadsheet will open - regardless of whether it is SpokeCalc, Spokechart, or someone elses version thereof. Damon and I aren't exactly original or unique in that regard.

=8-)
Yeah, for some reason, ever since I got the new computer, Excel opens Spocalc chopping off some of the right columns and doesn't show a scroll bar to let me view them. I also can't get the macros to work. Of course, I'm technologically challenged, so it's probably something simple I'm missing.
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Old 01-18-11, 10:40 AM
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Now that is odd...almost sounds as though you are running a version of Excel with a restricted read-only type license...which sometimes happens with student versions. But you'd still have scrolling capabilities and full sheet viewability.

Might want to open the "options" tab or equivalent...do a look through.

Try installing OpenOffice 3.2 without Java - give Calc a try...don't know how well it'll work with SpokeCalc's macros though.

=8-)
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5000+ wheels built since 1984...

Disclaimer:

1. I do not claim to be an expert in bicycle mechanics despite my experience.
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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Old 01-18-11, 10:52 AM
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Well, I believe it is the "academic" version. I'll try the Open Office and Calc. Thanks!
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Old 01-18-11, 11:51 AM
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Thanks for the help everybody. I think I'm going to end up going with the 36H 105s to Mavic A319s front and rear, build it myself and ask a friend in a shop if they can check the tension and make sure it's up to snuff after I'm done building it (hopefully they won't mind since I'll be buying through them), and hopefully they won't have much to do and throw me a high five for a good job when all said and done.

Thanks again, very helpful.
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Old 01-18-11, 12:22 PM
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The formula JohnDThompson reproduced from Sutherland's Handbook (a similar one is given in Jobst Brandt's "The Bicycle Wheel") is definitive and will work for any rim and hub. However, you do need the parameters for the components you are using.

The various spoke length calculation spreadsheet and data tables just plug the measurements of the rims and hubs they had access to when the calculator was set up or last updated into this formula.

Incidentally, Mavic has a spoke length calculator on their web site as does DT.
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