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First wheel build...first problem?

Old 05-31-20, 04:09 PM
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67tony
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First wheel build...first problem?

Using Sheldon Brown's tutorial, I believe I 3-cross laced this front wheel correctly.
Then, I gradually ran the nipples in until the bottom of the nipple reached the bottom of the spoke threads.

Now, though, the trailing spokes on the left side (exiting inside the flange) are very tight, and the leading spokes (exiting outside the flange) are very, very loose.

Conversely, on the right side, the leading spokes (exiting outside the flange) are very tight, while the trailing spokes (exiting inside the flange) are very, very loose.

The wheel is pretty round, and true, but is off-center to the right about 1/4".

My guess is that I went wrong somewhere...so says Captain Obvious!
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Old 05-31-20, 04:51 PM
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Double-check that you have them ALL in the correct holes. It only takes two swapped to really mess things up. This is easier to do/ harder to notice when all the spoke holes are on the centre-line of the rim.
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Old 05-31-20, 04:56 PM
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Spoke lengths might be mixed up. Are the shorter spokes on DS?
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Old 05-31-20, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Ferrouscious View Post
Spoke lengths might be mixed up. Are the shorter spokes on DS?
Front wheel, all spokes are the same, 299 mm.

I've started over, and switched to the jimlangley.net site for a different set of directions. Starting the opposite side in the exact correct spot is apparently a key step!

Last edited by 67tony; 05-31-20 at 07:23 PM.
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Old 05-31-20, 05:19 PM
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Post photos.
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Old 05-31-20, 05:52 PM
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I'd loosen all of the spokes, and then work your way around the wheel to tighten them evenly. I usually try and get the nipples threaded most of the way down the threaded part of the spoke before I go at it with a spoke wrench (using my fingers or a screw driver for preliminary tightening).
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Old 05-31-20, 06:09 PM
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I'd loosen all of the spokes, and then work your way around the wheel to tighten them evenly.
Yup, a bit at a time. I hook it all up, then start to snug up. I thread half way, all the way around, then go around again, tightening each nipple a bit more. Repeat this until spokes ate snug. Finger snug, if possible. If all looks good, then start to dish and true. Or...

Help us with some pictures. This is interesting.
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Old 05-31-20, 06:14 PM
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need images, I bet there is an offset to the lacing.
Post an image and or CAREFULLY examine the wheel to another similar one.
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Old 05-31-20, 06:45 PM
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I can't imagine building a wheel for the first time without a nipple driver. It gets you real close to the best starting "tension" but at the start there is none. At this point though, I agree with above comments: back them all off. They could be a bit short so back them off so that each spoke has the same number of threads showing using only your fingers to turn the nipple. If some are still to tight, back them all of another couple of turns.
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Old 05-31-20, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
need images, I bet there is an offset to the lacing.
Post an image and or CAREFULLY examine the wheel to another similar one.
This would be my guess too (fwiw). Not sure what Sheldon's method is but the way I do it,the hub is pre-filled before lacing so it's easier to notice anything off early in the process.
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Old 05-31-20, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Bianchi84 View Post
Not sure what Sheldon's method is.
Here it is:

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/wheelbuild.html#lacing

That's been my recipe.
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Old 05-31-20, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
Here it is:

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/wheelbuild.html#lacing

That's been my recipe.
Thanks for the link! That looks like a spoke as you go method. I learned the fill whole hub method back on 1985. I got my Schwinn factory mechanic training back then (Still have my card!). That's the only method I ever learned so I've stuck with it. If you've been using Sheldon, I might have to give it a try. (Do I suddenly need new wheels now? )
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Old 05-31-20, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by 67tony View Post
Front wheel, all spokes are the same, 299 mm.

I've started over, and switched to the jimlangley.net site for a different set of directions. Starting the opposite side in the exact correct spot is apparently a key step!
When I built my first wheel, I tried Sheldon's site and found it difficult to follow. Switched to Jim Langley same as you and got the job done.
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Old 05-31-20, 07:37 PM
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Just be happy you did not try the method shown in the first edition of Sloane’s book.
i looked at it, seemed odd.

learned at work, then returned to it - oh dear for the daring who tried. Reportedly fixed later editions.
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Old 05-31-20, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
Yup, a bit at a time. I hook it all up, then start to snug up. I thread half way, all the way around, then go around again, tightening each nipple a bit more. Repeat this until spokes ate snug. Finger snug, if possible. If all looks good, then start to dish and true. Or...

Help us with some pictures. This is interesting.
+1 Even when I true wheels that are built older and even semi new stuff I tension a bit then then loosen make sure all spokes are free and lightly tighten all spokes then start . I have rebuilt built up about 100 wheel sets most free hand just a spoke wrench and the bike frame brakes using the upside down bike and got most decent wheels within 1mm or less side to side and 2mm or less round which is enough to ride nearly mice on almost any wheel set.
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Old 05-31-20, 08:06 PM
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I usually leave a couple threads showing for the first go round. That gives you more leeway to find out where you're at after the spokes are all in. Depends though. Without pictures we can't tell what your issue is.

A first wheel for everyone is going to be difficult.
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Old 05-31-20, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by 67tony View Post
...Starting the opposite side in the exact correct spot is apparently a key step!
Yes! If the spokes on the two flanges are not laced with the correct relationship to each other you will get exactly the problem you described.
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Old 05-31-20, 09:24 PM
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Thanks for the great replies.

I started all over, and built up a spoke at a time. But, again, half the spokes on each side are pretty tight, and half of them pretty loose (last two pics). Same as the first go-around, but not quite as bad. And, this is with all 32 nipples run in evenly, so that no threads currently show on the spokes.

I'm confident that the right side is done right, but the first spoke on the other side is where it gets a bit confusing. The jimlangley site describes a method for making the 17th spoke parallel to the 1st one, surrounding the valve hole, and I thought I was careful there.










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Old 05-31-20, 09:34 PM
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If I laced it correctly, threaded nipples just to where I can no longer see threads, and notice some spokes are loose, I just keep going. If I didn't lace it correctly, I always find the mistake before I'm done lacing.
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Old 05-31-20, 09:44 PM
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I don't know enough to help you figure out what's wrong, but I'm pretty sure I had to tear down completely and start over at least
​three times on my first wheel. I tried following Sheldon, then Jobst Brandt, then used Zinn''s book. Hopefully yours will go faster, hang in there. I'm sure the experts will be along to help.
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Old 05-31-20, 09:58 PM
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I read The Bicycle Wheel by Jobst Brandt prior to my first wheel build years ago and I had no problems at all, it is very clear and well written. I still ride those wheels, among others I've built using his book.

In your previous thread, you mentioned using a "fork" as a trueing stand, is that what you are using or did you get a proper trueing stand? Do you have a dishing tool? Spoke tensioner? Spoke wrench?
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Old 05-31-20, 11:14 PM
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I don't see anything obviously wrong with your lacing pattern, but I can only see the flange on one side. It looks OK I think, but it isn't possible to definitely know that the two sides are aligned correctly.

It looks to me like your spokes are too long. Spokes often seem all wacky and uneven until you start to tension. By the time the nipples are snugged enough to cover all the threads, they should be getting pretty even, and the wheel should start feeling like a wheel.

IF you have carefully tightened all those spokes just enough to cover the threads, I think it's worth a shot to start to bring it up to tension. Maybe you'll get lucky. Go around, put one turn on each spoke, see how that is. Repeat. If the spoke are starting to stick out the back of the nipples and the wheel is too loose, there's no hope. You'll need to get shorter spokes. Take the wheel apart and start over.

Also, double check your spoke lengths. Are you certain they are all the same length?

Triple check your lacing and the left right alignment before you do any of this.
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Old 06-01-20, 01:12 AM
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I think you've got your inside spokes in the wrong rim holes. Probably you didn't rotate the hub enough after placing the key spoke. Jobst Brandt's method has you lace all the inside spokes before rotating the hub, which I think makes this easier to judge.

The spokes you see here, one inside and one outside, should insect at equal lengths and they don't.

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Old 06-01-20, 01:43 AM
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^^^^^ This. Even more noticeable at the outermost cross. Look at any third (outer) cross, follow the outer and inner spokes from that cross to the hub. The distance for the outside spoke is more than for the inside spoke.
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Old 06-01-20, 03:36 AM
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Originally Posted by branko_76 View Post
I read The Bicycle Wheel by Jobst Brandt prior to my first wheel build years ago and I had no problems at all, it is very clear and well written. I still ride those wheels, among others I've built using his book.

In your previous thread, you mentioned using a "fork" as a trueing stand, is that what you are using or did you get a proper trueing stand? Do you have a dishing tool? Spoke tensioner? Spoke wrench?
Stands are nice, but they're not necessary - and their advantages are mostly for speed of wheel production more than accuracy of build. A pair of clothes pegs on a bike frame are good enough. Anything to hold the rotating wheel and indicate the rim. I've built wheels with the axle held in a vice and an old spoke set in a wood block that I could move about on the bench.

p.s. which edition of The Book do you have - first one has a mathematical typo...only Allah is perfect.
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