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Does anyone build their own wheels anymore?

Old 06-04-20, 08:52 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by qclabrat View Post
Invest in a good spoke wrench. I used a stack of quarters and three cans of beer for dishing. Make sure they are nice and cold as reward beverages when doing the final truing and tensioning on the bike.
Usually when I build up or true wheels, I substitute red wine for the beer. But I suspect that is solely personal preference.
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Old 06-05-20, 12:13 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
The last wheel I bought cost $8 at the Performance Bike closeout. Before that, I paid around $20 each for three wheels. Hard to justify building your own at that price. Should be set with wheels for the next decade or so.
What sort of touring wheels only cost $20? No need to re-tension/re-true? Of course with a pair of wheels that cost over $500 just for the parts, who is worrying about saving ~$120 for pro building fee? Wheel building has a steep learning curve & the tools to make it easier are expensive: Park pro truing stand + centering gauge + tension meter is ~$450.
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Old 06-05-20, 12:31 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
The last wheel I bought cost $8 at the Performance Bike closeout. Before that, I paid around $20 each for three wheels. Hard to justify building your own at that price. Should be set with wheels for the next decade or so.
I've been known to buy sale wheels but like pdlamb,they are projects, Now I am light and kind to wheels but that also means that stock wheels with 14 gauge spokes beat me up. They're not really "mine" until I re-lace them with much lighter butted spokes. It is an excellent way to get good hubs and rims.
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Old 06-05-20, 07:58 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
What sort of touring wheels only cost $20? No need to re-tension/re-true? Of course with a pair of wheels that cost over $500 just for the parts, who is worrying about saving ~$120 for pro building fee? Wheel building has a steep learning curve & the tools to make it easier are expensive: Park pro truing stand + centering gauge + tension meter is ~$450.
“Going out of business sale“ wheels. They are decent wheels. 26” Rhynolite rims, Shimano disc hubs, straight gauge spokes. Not the lightest, but plenty strong. The regular price was $80. The mechanic put them on the stand and they were true, and didn’t require any adjustment. They have held up very well under daily commuting and touring. $68 for 4 wheels is almost a steal.
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Old 06-05-20, 08:02 AM
  #30  
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I've been building my own. A truing stand makes it easier and if I only had a fork to build wheels on, I wouldn't swap rims/hubs as much as I do. I also have a Park tensionometer which I use after I tension by plucking for a final examination which tells me what I already know: it is close enough. My dishing tool is a piece of Luann and a reciprocating saw blade I pinch against it at the center. It is super easy to adjust and works fine. I made a nipple driver from a cheap screwdriver blade that I can twist/spin to get a build started or disassemble one. My second hand wheels are rebuilt by backing off all the spokes to the initial lacing point and then retensioning them. I imagine a much better ride on the rebuilt wheels--most noticeable on high speed descents.
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Old 06-05-20, 08:13 AM
  #31  
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Off and on I'll build or rebuild wheels. So, some I get are good used wheels. Some I've built.

If you're wanting something different like a quality dynamo, then a custom wheel may be the way to go whether you build it, or get it built.

I've used a homebuilt truing stand for years. I've finally splurged and bought one. Hopefully it will last my lifetime, and the lifetime of whoever inherits it.

Plus... skills like replacing broken spokes both on the road and at home.
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Old 06-05-20, 08:43 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
I've been known to buy sale wheels but like pdlamb,they are projects, Now I am light and kind to wheels but that also means that stock wheels with 14 gauge spokes beat me up. They're not really "mine" until I re-lace them with much lighter butted spokes. It is an excellent way to get good hubs and rims.
I've read and heard claims made about differences in comfort as a consequence of spoke diameter in the 50-plus years that I've ridden racing bikes, but I've never experienced such myself.

Just did a search, and found a very long thread the topic of wheel comfort on another forum with a ratio of about 20 skeptics to 1 believer. Here's what the late, great Jobst Brandt (who had worked for years as an engineer designing suspension systems for Porsche) had to say on the subject:

Considering that spoke elasticity accounts for about 1/100 the radial
(vertical) motion of the hub (in a 36 spoke wheel) with respect to the
road and that differences among wheels varies as the number of spokes
in the load affected zone, the person who can feel this would need to
be able to feel a bump when riding over a sheet of copier paper
(0.003").

Last edited by Trakhak; 06-05-20 at 09:08 AM.
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Old 06-05-20, 10:05 AM
  #33  
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I do & did.. My touring bike wheels built in the 80's are 622 '700c' specs: tandem like..

both wheels on this:

Last edited by fietsbob; 06-06-20 at 09:17 PM.
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Old 06-05-20, 12:24 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
I've read and heard claims made about differences in comfort as a consequence of spoke diameter in the 50-plus years that I've ridden racing bikes, but I've never experienced such myself.

Just did a search, and found a very long thread the topic of wheel comfort on another forum with a ratio of about 20 skeptics to 1 believer. Here's what the late, great Jobst Brandt (who had worked for years as an engineer designing suspension systems for Porsche) had to say on the subject:

Considering that spoke elasticity accounts for about 1/100 the radial (vertical) motion of the hub (in a 36 spoke wheel) with respect to the road and that differences among wheels varies as the number of spokes in the load affected zone, the person who can feel this would need to be able to feel a bump when riding over a sheet of copier paper (0.003").
I know. I've been reading that a long time. And I have also observed my lighter spoked wheels are more comfortable, more fun to ride (and last longer). I'll keep doing it like I will anything that experience shows me works better than what the "experts" say. (Started riding sew-ups 47 years ago, lightly spoked ones 44 years ago.) I've ridden more than a few rides where I noticed I was getting beat up more than usual, just wrote it off to it being a bad day, then noticed I was riding a straight gauge wheel when I hung the bike up.

Ben
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Old 06-05-20, 12:48 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
I know. I've been reading that a long time. And I have also observed my lighter spoked wheels are more comfortable, more fun to ride (and last longer). I'll keep doing it like I will anything that experience shows me works better than what the "experts" say. (Started riding sew-ups 47 years ago, lightly spoked ones 44 years ago.) I've ridden more than a few rides where I noticed I was getting beat up more than usual, just wrote it off to it being a bad day, then noticed I was riding a straight gauge wheel when I hung the bike up.

Ben
Truly, who knows? It's just that this sort of discussion is a bit reminiscent of what goes on in audio forums, with the contributions of electronics engineers with multiple PhDs in the field and with decades of experience designing audio equipment and testing facilities being dismissed by amateurs on the ground that their own "golden ears" can detect nuances no test equipment can, e.g., the "bloom" of audio reproduction that is lost when power cables that cost less than $500 are used to connect amplifiers to power outlets.
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Old 06-05-20, 01:14 PM
  #36  
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When someone says that their thinner gauge spokes give a softer ride, I have no clue if they can feel it or if it is just imagination.

But this is the touring forum. I have toured on tires that are 37mm, 40mm, 50mm and 57mm wide. I can assure you that with the wider tires and bigger footprint on the ground, you can't feel it. My rando bike uses 32mm tires, I doubt that you could feel it with those, I know I can't.

Now if I was on 23mm tires or something like that, maybe I would think I could feel it, but I would probably have to be on a stiff Aluminum frame to feel it.

When I used to use tubular tires decades ago at over 100 psi, I had those wheels on a really comfortable Columbus tubing frame, and I am 100 percent convinced that it was the frame that gave me an acceptable ride, had nothing to do with the spokes.
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Old 06-05-20, 04:38 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Usually when I build up or true wheels, I substitute red wine for the beer. But I suspect that is solely personal preference.
Chianti?


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Old 06-05-20, 05:24 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
$68 for 4 wheels is almost a steal.
That is robbery, I've seen people go to jail for less. The mere components for 1 wheel cost me more than that.
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Old 06-05-20, 10:22 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
“Going out of business sale“ wheels. They are decent wheels. 26” Rhynolite rims, Shimano disc hubs, straight gauge spokes. Not the lightest, but plenty strong. The regular price was $80. The mechanic put them on the stand and they were true, and didn’t require any adjustment. They have held up very well under daily commuting and touring. $68 for 4 wheels is almost a steal.
Great find, I paid ~$150 some years ago for XT/Rhyno-Lite wheels that have worked fine. Primo hubs cost so much more that I don't see the point unless for long tours in remote areas.
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Old 06-06-20, 05:53 AM
  #40  
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I'm still on the steep side of the learning curve. Last year I took a store bought rim down to zero tension and back up to full tension and true. Most of the parts for my first full build, a 700c SA 3speed wheelmset for "Rough Stuff" are collected, but the consecutive hours to focus on a project are in the distant future.
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Old 06-06-20, 08:46 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by bark_eater View Post
I'm still on the steep side of the learning curve. Last year I took a store bought rim down to zero tension and back up to full tension and true. Most of the parts for my first full build, a 700c SA 3speed wheelmset for "Rough Stuff" are collected, but the consecutive hours to focus on a project are in the distant future.
The more wheels you build, the easier it gets. Rather than “wait”, start building. You won’t gain experience from parts sitting in a box somewhere.
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Old 06-06-20, 10:43 AM
  #42  
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I will probably take the plunge this winter after getting a local quote to build a set of fat bike 29r wheels at about $1000, not including the hubs - that I had to source myself. WTF? If I have to buy the hubs , why not the spokes and rim too and do it myself.

Sometimes living in Canada sucks, as our market is so small that anything out of the ordinary can't be bought (in house) or costs a fortune.

Thats my only complaint about Canada though.
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Old 06-06-20, 12:16 PM
  #43  
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I personally don't build my own wheels (well one) but I do have my master techs build them. I want to get a truing stand and start doing stuff on my own as well just to truly learn and practice. I am always for custom built wheels.
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Old 06-06-20, 07:42 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Chrisp72 View Post
Hello all!

I know that wheel building is a dying art and to do it well you need to use the proper tools which is a bit of an investment. Does anyone build their own wheels in their own set up space? If you work in a bike shop I figure learning to build wheels is part of the training and it's easier with all the tools at your disposal. I feel that wheel building is part art and part science and would like to learn but I don't have the space and I can't justify wheel building one wheel every ten years or so. The cost of investing in the equipment is prohibitive for me...Thoughts?
thoughts: not an art, not dying, spoke wrench is about $5. I’ve bought crappy wheels “custom built” that I retensioned and well made production wheels. First wheels I built I used the bike and brakes as gauges. Later when I had a bike shop enjoyed good tools but the process was the same. Dish tools can be cheap and the experience rewarding. Pretty sure most of my first wheels were under tensioned but I was light and rode a lot with no problems. You can learn without space and expensive specialized tools.
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Old 06-06-20, 08:00 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Sometimes living in Canada sucks, as our market is so small that anything out of the ordinary can't be bought (in house) or costs a fortune.

Thats my only complaint about Canada though.
I see many complaints about this but don't quite understand the cause. There are some tariffs but also in the US. 38 million population would seem big enough that distributors could stock the majority of bike stuff. Maybe there's some sort of secret bicycle cartel.
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Old 06-08-20, 12:16 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Chrisp72 View Post
Hello all!

I know that wheel building is a dying art and to do it well you need to use the proper tools which is a bit of an investment. Does anyone build their own wheels in their own set up space? If you work in a bike shop I figure learning to build wheels is part of the training and it's easier with all the tools at your disposal. I feel that wheel building is part art and part science and would like to learn but I don't have the space and I can't justify wheel building one wheel every ten years or so. The cost of investing in the equipment is prohibitive for me...Thoughts?
I have been building and truing my own wheels since 1985. Originally I would lace them then put them on the bike for truing. I invested in a TS2 in the early 1990's. I have not built a wheel from scratch in a few years but I do routinely use the TS2 to do more than minor truing. Minor truing is simply performed on the bike in just a minute or two. Of course I stay on top of the trueness of my wheels and don't ride through many obstacles.
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Old 06-08-20, 02:44 PM
  #47  
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I (personally) do not build wheels. That said, i have 3 sets of custom, hand built wheels. All 3 wheelsets were actually less expensive than anyThing factory built. Also, the wheels are much more reliable and maintainable. Finally, i like supporting local small business. See Mill City Cycle on facebook.
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Old 06-08-20, 06:27 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by Trevtassie View Post
A spoke key expensive?
That's pretty well all you actually need to build a wheel, and you could even use a small shifting spanner if you were very patient.
The frame or forks can be used to true. Dishing = 3 cans on a flat table with some coins as a height gauge. Little spanner to tap spokes check for even tension, or if you want to be fancy, a phone app.
I haven't built that many sets in my life because I tend to stick with a bike for a long time, I am working on my fourth set, with a few more in the queue, but...
This is true, all you really 'need' are the spokes/hubs/rims, a bike frame and a spoke key, a willingness to learn, attention to detail, some patience, and perseverance. There are plenty of great resources out there: wheelfanatyk.com is great, and Roger Musson's book is very good, and I'm sure there are other great resources out there, along with plenty on youtube that are done by clueless idiots. Stick with professionals.

I built my very first set as a college student in about 1981, I had just bought Jobst Brandt's brand new book on wheelbuilding (also a great resource, my hardcover copy is a First Edition), and that's all I had, because really that's all I had available to me. No internet, nobody to show me how, no bike shop giving me guidance, no dishing tool, nothing but the pure will to do it. I know I just bought a full box of all-the-same-length spokes. Not ideal, but it was cheaper, worked, and I rode those wheels thousands of miles of touring in all kinds of conditions and they stayed true enough for me for years. (I am NOT recommending all-same-length spokes now, plenty of sources to get what you need )

It's good to do it this way for your first set or two, because it may sound fun and romantic to build wheels but you may discover you don't have the knack or it's just not your thing. That's OK, we can't all be good at everything. I bought my current truing stand from a guy who fit this description.

It's very rewarding, and I highly recommend it!
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Old 06-08-20, 07:01 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by ridesoldtrek View Post
I haven't built that many sets in my life because I tend to stick with a bike for a long time, I am working on my fourth set, with a few more in the queue, but...
This is true, all you really 'need' are the spokes/hubs/rims, a bike frame and a spoke key, a willingness to learn, attention to detail, some patience, and perseverance. There are plenty of great resources out there: wheelfanatyk.com is great, and Roger Musson's book is very good, and I'm sure there are other great resources out there, along with plenty on youtube that are done by clueless idiots. Stick with professionals.

I built my very first set as a college student in about 1981, I had just bought Jobst Brandt's brand new book on wheelbuilding (also a great resource, my hardcover copy is a First Edition), and that's all I had, because really that's all I had available to me. No internet, nobody to show me how, no bike shop giving me guidance, no dishing tool, nothing but the pure will to do it. I know I just bought a full box of all-the-same-length spokes. Not ideal, but it was cheaper, worked, and I rode those wheels thousands of miles of touring in all kinds of conditions and they stayed true enough for me for years. (I am NOT recommending all-same-length spokes now, plenty of sources to get what you need )

It's good to do it this way for your first set or two, because it may sound fun and romantic to build wheels but you may discover you don't have the knack or it's just not your thing. That's OK, we can't all be good at everything. I bought my current truing stand from a guy who fit this description.

It's very rewarding, and I highly recommend it!
I'd probably add for your first wheel use butted spokes, straight gauge are a little harder to deal with in the rear wheel if you don't have a tension meter, especially thicker straight gauge. Butted spokes will stretch more and hold tension on the non drive side of you don't know what the actual tension is on the drive side. So even if you don't get the maximum on the DS at least the nipples won't unscrew on the NDS.
And don't even think about using spokes like the Sapim Strong on your first wheel.
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Old 06-08-20, 07:33 PM
  #50  
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For a dishing tool I used a straight length of timber, longer than the wheel rim diameter. Screwed a short Hex Head in the centre along the length. Then screwed two long Hex Heads in to match the diameter of the braking surface, measured out evenly from the centre screw.

The long screws must be screwed in at exactly the same height. The centre screw can be adjusted in or out to suit the dish you want.

I built a set of wheels with H+Son Architype rims, Campagnolo hubs and DT Swiss Competition spokes for my 91 Concorde Aquila.

No special tools or stand.

Very satisfying to build and ride.
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