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Thinking about building a wheel set for the first time..

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Thinking about building a wheel set for the first time..

Old 02-26-11, 12:35 AM
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ilovecycling
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Thinking about building a wheel set for the first time..

Hey everyone,

So lately I've been thinking about building a nice set of every day riding wheels from DT Swiss components. I'm thinking 240s hubs and RR 465 rims. I'm looking for an extremely durable and serviceable wheel that is still reasonably light (~1500g). I plan on using these wheels for many years to come.

I have a few options though. I can basically configure and buy this wheel set from www.wheelbuilder.com for $800-$900. Competitive Cyclist is also selling their tied and soldered DT Swiss wheels for $800, but these are a little overkill IMO. I'm looking to build them with 28h hubs because I think this is a better compromise of durability and weight savings.

So then I started thinking about buying the individual components off eBay for a good price to save a little money and using that money towards the equipment and tools needed to build my own wheels.

Only thing is I've never done it before. I'd be willing to learn and I think it could be a lot of fun, but I could be getting in over my head here. Could you wheel builders out there give me a few tips on how to get started? Any equipment recommendations would be great too.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 02-26-11, 01:35 AM
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building wheels is very rewarding. I build all my own wheels. that being said there is a very steep learnong curve to building wheels. you dont save a lot of money doing it yourself. yu still have to buy the parts. spokes cost! however it addictive. you dont need more than the correct size spoke wrench to start. you can use your bike frame and a zip tie as a stand ti true them once they are built up.

the best advice I can give you is too read everything you can find on wheel building then read it again. Its an art to do it right. good luck
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Old 02-26-11, 01:59 AM
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I'm certainly no expert but I'm having fun building wheels. I have been buying my rims on eBay and picking up the spokes & nipples at my LBS after they measure the rim ERD for me. I took a wheel building class locally and talk to the guy who taught the class all the time. You can measure the ERD yourself and order the spokes online but I just feel more secure buying the spokes locally.

Here's a list of tools and references that make life easier for me:

A truing stand is a must! This one is pretty sturdy and reasonably inexpensive.


Spoke wrench (obviously)


I think a tensiometer is required to build a strong wheel.


A nipple driver of some sort will make life so much easier.


The guy that taught the wheel building class also has a video out on wheel building that I'm reviewing now. I'm not done yet but it seems to be good guide to building a solid wheel.



For me my patience is my biggest asset while building a wheel. Lacing is easy. Bringing the wheel tension up takes time. Evening out tension takes time. Properly dishing takes time.

Good luck!
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Old 02-26-11, 04:46 AM
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Originally Posted by blacksquid View Post
I took a wheel building class locally ...
May I ask where? I didn't know we had wheel building classes around the area.
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Old 02-26-11, 05:52 AM
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I just built up that exact wheel as my first attempt at wheel building (just the front). I went with 28 spoke (DT comps) 2x lacing.

I bought all my stuff from Tree fort bikes, they match prices and I've had good luck with them in the past.

I bit the bullet and bought the nice Park Truing stand, it is just a great tool. I also bought the Park tension meter and already had a spoke wrench.

I started by tearing down and re-building an old wheel, it was really easy (watched a youtube video to get started).

I found it very rewarding. It's also nice that you can spend as much time as you want getting the wheel absolutely perfect (something you would not get from a shop since their time is $).
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Old 02-26-11, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by kissTheApex View Post
May I ask where? I didn't know we had wheel building classes around the area.
Spokes, Etc. in Alexandria off Quaker Lane. Bill Mould teaches the class and produced the video. The class was really worthwhile for me. Here's the link to the class schedule and cost:

Wheel Building School
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Old 02-26-11, 10:27 AM
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Get a GOOD 4-sided spoke wrench. IMO the Park SW-20 (the big silver one with butterfly wings) is well-worth the cost if you're building your own wheels. You don't need a tension meter (for most builds), or even a truing stand or dishing tool, but you NEED a good spoke wrench.

And FWIW, use an RR415 on your front wheel instead of an RR465. At 28h, that'll be plenty strong, especially if a 28h rear wheel is strong enough. And the RR415 is a lot lighter.
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Old 02-26-11, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by blacksquid View Post
Spokes, Etc. in Alexandria off Quaker Lane. Bill Mould teaches the class and produced the video. The class was really worthwhile for me. Here's the link to the class schedule and cost:

Wheel Building School
Thanks. It may be a nice class for me as well.
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Old 02-26-11, 10:46 AM
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Wow, thanks for all the good info! I know I can just buy a set of wheels, but I really want to build them for the personal satisfaction.
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