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Advice for a wheel rebuild

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Old 01-29-19, 12:56 PM
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Sealth
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Advice for a wheel rebuild

Hi, I've had the Wabi cycles wheelset for about 5-6 years now and they've finally quit on me. This is my fault for doing literally nothing to maintain them. The rear hub feels like it's been greased with a molasses, dirt combination, and the front wheel is way out of true with some damaged spokes. At one point I rebuilt the front wheel after I damaged the old rim in a crash, but I did a bad job rebuilding and the spokes paid for it.

I am planning on rebuilding the whole set. This bike is almost entirely for commuting, but I still like to go fast so I'm looking for a moderately priced (~$100) rebuild that balances strength, weight, and quality. Because a new Wabi wheelset is only $150, I want this rebuild to be an upgrade from that wheelset. Assuming I can salvage as much of the wheels as possible I think I will need to replace all the spokes and the rear hub. I believe the front hub and rim are OK (I imagine I should grease the front hub right about now), but I still need to check the rear rim.

Question 1: How can I check how circular the rims are? It's easy enough to check for a warp, but checking roundness seems difficult.

Question 2: What spokes should I use? I think I want to use double butted spokes. A local shop has some DT Comp spokes, but should I look at other brands?

Question 3: What rear hub should I buy? I want a flip-flop hub for the occasional comfort of a freewheel on long rides. Given my price point, what should I get?

Question 4: Should I just buy a new Wabi wheelset? Can I even get a significant upgrade for $100 or less?

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Old 01-29-19, 01:36 PM
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1. Buy a new wheelset. A new wabi standard wheelset is a fine choice, and literally has everything you’ve stated you want. No you can’t get a significant ‘upgrade’ over what you’re running, for that price. If you’re a commuter, and you have no prior serious wheelbuilding experience, don’t trust your transportation to your own lack of skill. Wabi wheels are hand built, stressed and re-trued. Hard to beat that for the price.
2. If it has cartridge bearings, don’t operate under the notion of ‘requires no maintenence, spins smooth forever.’ Or to be more blunt, don’t be lazy. Because all bearings need to be maintained or replaced. You now know what happens when you’re lazy: it costs you money.

if you want something more exotic on your commuter, then save up for it. But in the mean time, you need a sensible and reliable wheelset for you know, commuting. Once you’ve handled that, you can buy what you need here and there to rebuild your current wheels and practice wheelbuilding.

if your current rims are warped in any way, replace them. You’ll never be able to get them perfect again, and they will increase the likelihood of broken spokes the longer you use them. The problems are, you know, circular. See what I did there? Of course you did. Cheers.

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Old 01-29-19, 01:59 PM
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A hub service would address the bulk of your concern, then a "tune & true" would address the rest. Bearings themselves are cheap. If cartridge, they press in/out easily. Or if loose, balls come in boxes by the hundreds. Unless your rim thickness has been significantly worn by friction with the brakes, I don't see why a shop couldn't get you back on the road quite easily.

You can, of course, swap in just about any ol' wheels until the prized set returns, if you're desperate.

No "upgrade" exists for $100 on a $100 wheelset. Spokes are a minimum of a buck a piece. That's a dangerously large percentage of your budget not including anything else.

Before doing wheel work, remove the tire, tube, rim tape. You can check for roundness by taping a spoke to the chainstay or brake bridge and adjusting it until it touches the rim. Plus or minus a millimeter is pretty insignificant.

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Old 01-29-19, 04:56 PM
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Thanks for the responses. That trick for determining roundness will be useful in the future. I quoted the wheelset price wrong. It's actually about $300. I think I would like to learn how to build wheels so I think I'm going to go for it.

I'm going to get the rear wheel looked at to see if the hub is salvageable. If it's not, I'll upgrade with something nice, any suggestions?
I'm going to re-build the front wheel myself because I already took it apart and some of the spokes were screwed anyway. I just need to find a truing stand.

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Old 01-30-19, 02:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Sealth View Post
Thanks for the responses. That trick for determining roundness will be useful in the future. I quoted the wheelset price wrong. It's actually about $300. I think I would like to learn how to build wheels so I think I'm going to go for it.

I'm going to get the rear wheel looked at to see if the hub is salvageable. If it's not, I'll upgrade with something nice, any suggestions?
I'm going to re-build the front wheel myself because I already took it apart and some of the spokes were screwed anyway. I just need to find a truing stand.
a quality trying stand is a serious investment. the cost of a new set of wheels in your budget or more. But if you think it’s a worthwhile investment, there’s nothing wrong with that. The problem is that you likely find you don’t use it often enough to be worth the total investment. Because if your rims are going out of true that quickly, there are other problems that need to be addressed. Your money though. A dura ace 7600 is always a nice investment for a hub. There are plenty of cheaper quality options though. Good luck.
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Old 01-30-19, 02:41 AM
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Originally Posted by seamuis View Post
a quality trying stand is a serious investment. the cost of a new set of wheels in your budget or more. But if you think it’s a worthwhile investment, there’s nothing wrong with that. The problem is that you likely find you don’t use it often enough to be worth the total investment. Because if your rims are going out of true that quickly, there are other problems that need to be addressed. Your money though. A dura ace 7600 is always a nice investment for a hub. There are plenty of cheaper quality options though. Good luck.
​​​​​​
It turns out there's a local community bike shop with plenty of truing stands. Membership is about $50 a year, but I also have access everything in the shop and I'll probably be able to get some help there too!
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