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Hubs

Old 11-14-21, 04:41 PM
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cyrano138 
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Hubs

For those of you who build your own wheels, which is what I would like to learn how to do, or just have a preference about what's on the or built wheels you buy, what do you guys prefer?

I have found a few here and there, and I prefer something like an origin8 or formula 36 hole hub with loose bearings. I really prefer relatively inexpensive, but durable, components, so when I say I was kind of surprised they were around $50 each, I mean that seems expensive. I had an idea they might be cheaper.

What do you guys generally like to use, and where do you get them?
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Old 11-14-21, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by cyrano138 View Post
I mean that seems expensive. I had an idea they might be cheaper.
based on what
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Old 11-14-21, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by tombc View Post
based on what
As recently as last month, I was able to buy a wheelset with origin8 36 hole track hubs laced to weinmann lp18s for $170. At $50 each for the hubs, $30 each for rims, and 72 bottom of the barrel spokes at $.9 each, that's $220. That's before labor and shipping.
I realize that wheelbuilders would rely on an economy of scale obviously, and that they don't pay retail prices for hubs or spokes, but even with steep discounts for parts it's hard to see where they're making a profit unless some of those prices are inflated. Hence, my feeling that I'm doing something wrong in my search for parts and that $50 for a basic hub might be a bit much and there might be cheaper options available.

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Old 11-14-21, 07:35 PM
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I've built three or four singlespeed wheelsets with Surly hubs, and I've been very happy with the results. Any QBP retailer can get them.
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Old 11-14-21, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by cyrano138 View Post
As recently as last month, I was able to buy a wheelset with origin8 36 hole track hubs laced to weinmann lp18s for $170. At $50 each for the hubs, $30 each for rims, and 72 bottom of the barrel spokes at $.9 each, that's $220. That's before labor and shipping.
I realize that wheelbuilders would rely on an economy of scale obviously, and that they don't pay retail prices for hubs or spokes, but even with steep discounts for parts it's hard to see where they're making a profit unless some of those prices are inflated. Hence, my feeling that I'm doing something wrong in my search for parts and that $50 for a basic hub might be a bit much and there might be cheaper options available.
You're comparing something bought by the 1000 to something bought by the 1, by you. the latter option requires an intermediary broker who buys in bulk and sells in smaller quantities, requiring their own cut to operate. So the price you're looking at pays for that guy in the middle.
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Old 11-14-21, 09:32 PM
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I build my own wheels because I enjoy building wheels.

I tend to want combinations of parts that aren't available in off-the-shelf wheels, but that's secondary because I could always have custom wheels built by someone else.

And I don't save any money at it, quite the opposite!
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Old 11-15-21, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
I build my own wheels because I enjoy building wheels.

I tend to want combinations of parts that aren't available in off-the-shelf wheels, but that's secondary because I could always have custom wheels built by someone else.

And I don't save any money at it, quite the opposite!
That's what I was afraid of
It's okay though. I still want to learn to build wheels. It's just a little disappointing that it's not even cheaper if I already have the rims. Even if I just have to buy smokes and hubs, it's still cheaper to have them built by someone else.

I'm guessing the real savings would come if you were building very high-end wheel sets that were generally handmade and the labor costs were very high. In that case, doing the labor yourself would save you a significant amount of money. I'm guessing the labor costs are fairly low with something like a weinmann race to a formula.
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Old 11-15-21, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by cyrano138 View Post
That's what I was afraid of
It's okay though. I still want to learn to build wheels. It's just a little disappointing that it's not even cheaper if I already have the rims. Even if I just have to buy smokes and hubs, it's still cheaper to have them built by someone else.

I'm guessing the real savings would come if you were building very high-end wheel sets that were generally handmade and the labor costs were very high. In that case, doing the labor yourself would save you a significant amount of money. I'm guessing the labor costs are fairly low with something like a weinmann race to a formula.
I say, make wheelbuilding a new hobby. It's okay to "lose" money on hobbies. That's what distinguishes them from your job.
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Old 11-15-21, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
I say, make wheelbuilding a new hobby. It's okay to "lose" money on hobbies. That's what distinguishes them from your job.
Way ahead of you
All my bike mechanic-ing so far has been an expense. I just like learning about how to do it. Once in awhile I get a nice upgrade to one of my bikes out of it.
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Old 11-16-21, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
I build my own wheels because I enjoy building wheels.
Same.

Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
I tend to want combinations of parts that aren't available in off-the-shelf wheels, but that's secondary because I could always have custom wheels built by someone else.
Same...

Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
And I don't save any money at it, quite the opposite!
... and SAME.


I am just like ThermScott.

If you're trying to save money by building your own wheels, you will probably lose every time. But you can definitely win if you want to have fun, learn a lot, and end up with wheels that give you a sense of pleasure. You can build wheels that are overall higher quality than those you'd buy complete, even as an amateur builder... provided you take your time and pay close attention to details.

I have no valid answer to the question, "What [components] do you generally like to use?" because each of the four or five wheels I've built was unique. I've bought parts from Modern Bike, Retrogression, Harris Cyclery, and maybe some others.

I have a set of track wheels (not built by me) with Phil Wood hubs, and I love those hubs. They appeal to me so much, I've seriously considered buying another set that recently came up in a local online classified ad. I don't need any more fixed gear wheels; I already have more than I can use. This "new old stock" set is still quite expensive, even at ~30% less than retail. But they're beautiful, and I could make them into an outstanding wheel set! Must resist urge! Shiny things grabbing my attention!! Resolve weakening... Broctoon getting sucked in... ahhhhgh!!!
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Old 11-16-21, 07:21 PM
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I am all for handbuilt wheels, I have many sets of them at least 6 at this point (though soon to be 7 as one is being rebuilt now and the front wheel was just built up for me) I have built one wheel so far and want to eventually do more but I am honestly quite happy to farm out the work to an experienced wheel builder who has done it a lot. It don't bother me one bit because typically if I do have a problem which so far I haven't in any handbuilt stuff I can go back to the builder and have them take a look at them.

I don't tend to like most of what exists partially because I am particular about parts and another part because I am a bigger person and weak wimpy wheels just don't hold up well.
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Old 11-17-21, 12:40 PM
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I’ve built my own wheels sets for all my track framed bikes because I enjoy it and want something out of the norm. It’s not saved me money, but the originality and sense of achievement outweighs cost.
Hubs I’ve built with include Miche, Mack, Harmony and cheap BLB hubs for my winter bike that run beautifully.
My advice to anyone is give it a go.
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Old 11-18-21, 08:11 AM
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I guess it's probably useful to say why I want to build my own wheels and why I asked about it on the first place. There are three reasons:

1. I enjoy learning about bikes and prefer to build as much as I can from scratch.

2. I want a few more options for my own wheels. Sometimes it can be pretty tough to find exactly what you want, as others have mentioned. For example, I prefer wheels with fixed threads on both sides which, without looking at very expensive, hand built, boutique wheels can be hard to find or prohibitively expensive, especially if you're not looking for top of the line stuff.

So I'd like to be able to find the hub I like and lace it to the weinmann lp18s I also really like, with regular, straight gauge, 2mm spokes.

3. I really don't want to be a bike flipper. But. I like buying and working on older steel road bikes (and to a lesser extent older mtbs), and it's nice to have a reason to do it, even if I never actually make my money back.
Folks in my area don't care much about older steel road bikes, which are amazing in their own ways, but unless you're buying rare or relatively expensive ones, they're pretty heavy.
They do make really nice fixed conversions, though, and I think there is some interest in those, so, at least I can occasionally sell one or donate it and make someone happy and/or lose slightly less money on the whole thing.
My thought was to take older steel bikes that had alloy wheels and lace track hubs to them (instead of buying a new wheelset which makes it necessary to ask too high a price for the bike).
I wouldn't really have been too too surprised to find out that buying a wheel is more expensive than building it from the start, but I was definitely surprised to find out that lacing a new hub and spokes to an existing rim was still more expensive than just buying a new wheel.
So anyway, sorry for the long ramble. Just figured I'd explain the point of the initial post. I'm still going to start building wheels, but I guess I'll just have to do it because it's fun.

Last edited by cyrano138; 11-18-21 at 08:14 AM.
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Old 11-22-21, 12:03 PM
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I've done the same thing you're into a time or two.

Several years ago I bought a late 70s or early 80s Japanese road bike. Takara brand, made of high-ten steel. I immediately scrapped most of the components and converted it to a fixed gear. I specifically chose this one because it has semi-horizontal dropouts, the frame was in decent condition, and it was offered for a mere $25.

After riding it with FG for a while, I decided I wanted a single speed, so I reconfigured it again. Then I decided I wanted a 3-speeed IGH, so I changed it once more. I've left it alone for the past few years and just might end up keeping it forever.

The wheels on it now--both built by me--look good and work really well. The wheel components were not terribly expensive, although I did spend more on them than the entire bike would sell for now. That's okay, since I didn't build it to flip, but to ride. It weighs as much as a tank, and that's okay too, because I have other bikes for when I want to go fast. This one is is like Forrest Gump: kind of slow, but very nice.
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Old 11-22-21, 04:45 PM
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Milwaukee bicycle co hubs

Ben's cycles in Milwaukee has the "good ol days" wheelset. Weighs in an honest 1850ish with track nuts. Excellent hubs (very, very nice), hand built and tensioned wheelset for $200 shipped. No tax, straight $200 to your door.

Their hubs, which I have on two bikes are a great value. Smooth AF, pretty light, and good quality. They go for about $91 a pair, which I think is fair. I believe them to be house specced novatec hubs.

Unless going for period correct for vintage, or super high end, I don't see the value in building wheels unless doing it for experience alone. Even then, with cost of good lately, it'd be hard for me to justify with the amount of bikes in my herd currently.

Good luck.
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Old 11-22-21, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by cyrano138 View Post
I guess it's probably useful to say why I want to build my own wheels and why I asked about it on the first place. There are three reasons:

3. I really don't want to be a bike flipper. But. I like buying and working on older steel road bikes (and to a lesser extent older mtbs), and it's nice to have a reason to do it, even if I never actually make my money back.
Folks in my area don't care much about older steel road bikes, which are amazing in their own ways, but unless you're buying rare or relatively expensive ones, they're pretty heavy.
They do make really nice fixed conversions, though, and I think there is some interest in those, so, at least I can occasionally sell one or donate it and make someone happy and/or lose slightly less money on the whole thing.
My thought was to take older steel bikes that had alloy wheels and lace track hubs to them (instead of buying a new wheelset which makes it necessary to ask too high a price for the bike).
I wouldn't really have been too too surprised to find out that buying a wheel is more expensive than building it from the start, but I was definitely surprised to find out that lacing a new hub and spokes to an existing rim was still more expensive than just buying a new wheel.
So anyway, sorry for the long ramble. Just figured I'd explain the point of the initial post. I'm still going to start building wheels, but I guess I'll just have to do it because it's fun.
This changes it a little for me. As much as I LOVE building wheels, I wouldn't do it just to make a bike or two "go away". You might as well advertise that you're handing out free $20 bills on CL.

The best way to do this with old 10-speeds is to re-dish the rear wheel and throw a single-speed freewheel on it. No new parts (except for the FW), just loosen one side of the wheel and tighten the other.
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Old 11-23-21, 03:18 AM
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My new wheels have Paul hubs and they're the first "high end" aka expensive single speed hubs I've had. They really are much better than cheaper hubs but of course it's a matter of opinion if they're worth that much more money.

The bolts are 6mm as opposed to 5mm on my Wabi's so I have less of a chance of the allen tool slipping out and rounding the bolt out. And you can disassemble/adjust them much quicker. Just remove an axle nut and loosen the adjuster ring with an allen wrench. Even the lock ring for the cog is higher quality.

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Old 11-23-21, 12:11 PM
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The Harmony hubs I built into H Plus Sons rims for my Nagasawa. The Mack hubs are in Araya rims on my Panasonic, and the Miche hubs are in vintage Araya rims on my Stratos.
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Old 11-29-21, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
I say, make wheelbuilding a new hobby. It's okay to "lose" money on hobbies. That's what distinguishes them from your job.
You should try homebrewing.
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Old 11-29-21, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
You should try homebrewing.
I've helped a few buddies who were into it over the years, and boy is that a rabbit hole! If good beer were still hard to get in my state, I'd consider it.
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