Workshop tales, trials and disasters.
Maintenance tips, techniques and myths.
Technical discussion, description and outright lies
I think this may have been discussed before but should we have a general wheel building topic? Maybe we can start by asking for people to post details, pictures, etc. of their latest wheel build (or their future project)?
Ok, I'll get the wheels in motion. I've just built a set of alloy semi-aero clinchers. The rims are 23mm wide and 28mm deep. Sapim CX-Ray spokes with 20 front laced radially and 24 rear laced 2x both sides. Brass nipples. Total weight came to 1490 grams. The wider rim means that a 23mm tyre measures 25mm across which provides better grip in corners and allows the running of lower pressures. I'm still experimenting but could run up to 10psi lower. The tyre profile is flush with the rim rather than looking like a lightbulb shape which provides better aero benefits.
Sweet wheels biker jk.
but really, that's rubbish. We get none of it because the choices are illusory.
The total cost for the build was $430. This is parts only. It's a labour of love so the time spent building the wheels is cost free for me. I already had a truing stand, home made dishing tool, Park spoke tension gauge, spoke keys, etc. Boyd Cycling sells the same wheelset for $630 delivered to Australia. So I saved $200 and had the enjoyment of building the wheels myself.
The rims are made by Kinlin and sold by BikeHubStore as the C472w. The hubs are Bitex (Taiwan) and sold by BHS. I used the SuperLight 71 Wide front hub and SL218 rear hub. The spokes were also purchased at BikeHubStore which is located in the US.
My latest build, even if it was early last October that I built them.
Novatec 15mm hub set (D811SB-15 & D812SB). I've become quite a fan of Novatec hubs and now have sets on my road and mountain bikes - good quality, inexpensive and easy to work on.
Laced to some WTB i19 Frequency 29" rims. These have a UST rim bead and are the first rim accredited as UST compatible with a rim strip. I've not done the tubeless conversion yet, but will one of these days. They are well made and finished rims, pretty well priced and built up well.
The spokes are my my standard - DT Competition (double butted)
Mated to some Shimano brake rotors and Michelin Wild Race'R 29" tyres. I really like these tyres as they have a wonderfully supple feeling, roll very well and offer fantastic grip in the conditions around Canberra. I'll probably put something more aggressive on the front next time, but these are great.
I didn't weigh the wheels or any of the components. I don't have the scales and it's not my thing anyway, particularly as they have gone on a steel hard tail 29er.
I was in a bit of a hurry to build the wheels, which meant I wasn't as carefull as I should have been. I had to retension the rear after a few weeks, but that was my fault and I should have known better. Still, I like these wheels a lot and won't be changing any time soon.
There we come up against the difference between "need" and "want"
To build wheels, you need a spoke key. And that's all.
You can use your bike frame / fork as a trueing stand.
A screwdriver is convenient for getting the nipples on and taking up the initial slack before you start tensioning. I stick a dob of blu-tac on a straight blade screwdriver to hold the nipple as I poke it through the rim hole and on to the spoke.
I've built about a dozen wheels, all using the bike as a stand. Lately, I've been putting a piece of masking tape across the seat stays (or fork tynes) right at rim height, measuring and marking the centre and ± half a rim width, so I can see how far off-centre I am. If I get the height of the tape right, it brushes at the high points and has a gap at the low points. Brake pads can be a good guide (for both radial and lateral true), but aren't so accurate for centering the rim.
As for what you want for wheel builting...
One day I really should get a trueing stand. Would make for a more comfortable process if nothing else.
I used to think that tension gauges were a silly idea, but after my last wheel build I'm less convinced. I've usually built MTB wheels, with fairly robust rims which make it hard to over-tension the spokes (tighten them up until you start rounding nipples then back off slightly ). This latest set were road wheels - 32 spokes into light rims. The limit to spoke tension is when the rim starts to buckle under compression, and goes taco shaped. It's not a permanent failure - you just have to slacken all the spokes off, the rim goes straight, and you start again. With so many spokes pulling such a weak rim, I thought I was still taking up the slack, getting the spoke tension fairly even (by plucking or hitting them - a familiar process for any musician who has tuned a few instruments in their time). But the "tuning" notes kept going haywire, and the wheel seemed to be getting wobblier... took a while for the penny to drop. So I was much more conservative in my tensioning, after loosening them all off and starting from scratch.
There's nothing particularly hard about wheel building. It just takes patience and process. Or experience, to truncate the iterative adjustment process and do it more quickly... some people even get fast enough to make money out of it. Nobody would ever pay enough for a wheelbuild to justify the time I spend, if I were charging an hourly rate that would make it worth my while. It's purely a hobby.
I have an inexpensive wheel truing stand (Minoura brand), home made dishing gauge (instructions in Roger Musson's book which you can buy online for less than $15), spoke wrenches, tool to hold bladed spokes and prevent twist, and Park tension gauge. All up cost for these would be less than $250.
Here is the link to Roger Musson's book which is excellent for a novice. Also has instructions on making a nipple driver from a screwdriver.
Wheelbuilding is great fun and I highly recommend it. Apart from the pleasure in building your own wheels you learn so much about what makes a good wheel and can also maintain them yourself (well at least the truing, spoke replacement side).
Jean's picture of the workshop gives me a major jealous.
Tools: My wheel truing stand is an old Apollo III frame that was too rusted/smashed up to use as a bike, so I chopped it up to use the rear triangle. I generally use a bulldog clip on the chain stay to use as a truing gauge.
For spoke tools, I ground the centre out of a cheap screwdriver bit for screwing the nipples in, then just use cheap spoke tools to finish the job.
For rebuilding other peoples "beyond salvageable" rims I have taken to using the stormwater drain outside the house to get the rims straight
I have been meaning to download the http://www.wheelpro.co.uk/wheelbuilding/book.php book about wheelbuilding, but when I started I just began with replacing my own broken spokes and progressed steadily to building wheel sets. The best way to learn I found was getting an old wheel from the tip, tearing it down and putting it back together.
but really, that's rubbish. We get none of it because the choices are illusory.
i found this truing stand from cycling deal
i looked into them when i was wondering about their hasa bikes from 2 years back.
will it work?
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Bike-Wheel-T ... 27c625c651
whats the difference between that and the expensive ones?
is there some sort of a wiki guide in terms of good spokes/hubs, etc?
if i were to start on this should i buy cheap hub/spokes to practice on, or should i build what i intend straight away?
ps, i managed to find a copy of the Bicycle Wheel by Jobst Brandt online. let me know if you want the link.
apparently it is the 'bible' of wheel building.
Oooh. Now that makes it pretty hard to justify not having a proper wheel building stand.
Good ones might be a bit more robust, straighter and more accurate, but as we've said above, it's eminently possible to built a wheel using a bike frame and sticky tape (or bulldog clip or zip ties), so any kind of stand is going to be an improvement.
Hubs and rims: holy wars are fought, just like any other bike part.
Spokes: DT by default. Wheelsmith and Sapim also do good spoke. Straight-gauge spokes work just fine, but butted spokes build a better wheel (the ends are standard thickness for strength, the long bit is thinner for a bit more "give", which allows the wheel to handle big loads better. Also marginally lighter, but... meh).
Back in the day, butted spokes used to be triple the price of straight-guage (DT Champion), so I built with straight. Now they're only about a 25% premium (and I have more money), so I use DT Competition. DT Revolution have even skinnier middles, and have a reputation for being difficult to build with and not as robust when built. They're also more expensive again, and I don't bother.
Jump straight in.
It's really quite hard to screw up irreversibly. You're not "risking" quality hardware by having a go. Worst case, it will take you a long time, and you might even damage a couple of nipples somehow. So, replace the damaged ones and keep going.
Since I started building my own wheels, I've folded three wheels. They were all new... from the factory. I've never folded a wheel that I built, or that I adjusted and re-tensioned. I am quite certain that my dodgy home-built (or home-adjusted) wheels are far stronger than a factory wheel. You really have nothing to lose.
Oooh, yes please.
I learned to build wheels from Sheldon Brown's instructions. He was a disciple of the Jobst school, when it comes to wheels.
Thanks for the info.
The wheels on my Giant have DT Swiss parts. but it's pretty heavy.
supposedly 1800g for the pair. (Giant PR 2 / P-R2 wheels)
alrighty i'm going to research into good spokes/hubs/wheels.
this is what i seem to enjoy the most, researching as opposed to the product itself.
i like the feeling of getting the best bang for buck. this goes for all of my hobbies.
I think butted spokes are the way to go too, as according to the book whilst they're harder to true, when true they will stay put.
they're also stronger and lighter too.
where can i learn about all the different rims and hubs and so forth?
I've got the spokes sorted - DT.
I've sent you the link via PM.
It's not a question of efficiency. It's equally as efficient as any other truing stand.
But some of the components are plastic and would not last as long as a pro stand.
For the part time amateur wheel builder it's likely to last a lifetime.
For the price, how could you go wrong?
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...
Here's a nice review of 2013 rim choices. They have also done an excellent review of hubs (although largely expensive models with none of the less expensive Taiwanese hubs reviewed because they don't sell them).
Aaah, a man after my own heart.
Should I mention then that my latest wheels are a RRP $400 hub set, with a pair of RRP $100 rims and two wheels-worth of DT Comp spokes... all built up and rolling for $200 the set?
Not bad for a 1750g set of 32-spoke disc-brake road wheels... light and bombproof!
hmm yeah ill definitely get one of those cycling deal truing stands.
I think ill go for Kinlin XR-270 for my first build
best bang for buck.
what do you rekon?
how did you buy the hubs? haha.
Where can i get good deals on hubs?
You could get these ones direct from WTB:
http://store.wtb.com/p/laserdisc-lite-f ... hole-black = $180 plus
http://store.wtb.com/p/laserdisc-lite-r ... hole-black = $275
...or you could get them here:
http://www.velogear.com.au/cycling/bike ... b-set.html = $99
They get mixed reviews, and they can certainly be had for cheaper than WTB's own prices elsewhere, but I don't think you'll find a better set of disc hubs for $99.
Then they had an extra 20% off a couple of weeks back so I bought a spare set for $80
thanks for the info,
bit out of my price range hehe.
(still at uni).
i've been doing some late night reading up on hubs.
i've decided on the kinlin 270 rim, but i'm reading up on hubs.
I'm leaning towards Taiwanese hubs for value
alot of the reading i've done seems to confirm that hubs are one of the least worrisome parts of a bike, that they will last.
I've also learnt that alot of brands basically buy Taiwanese hubs and then rebrand them.
I've also learned that Navotec is one of the best brands out of taiwan.
researching Navotec i discovered this very interesting link
http://www.pinkbike.com/news/Making-a-N ... -2013.html
I am definitely leaning towards Navotec now.
I also read on Gregs website on TWE that he uses taiwanese hubs.. maybe navotec?
okay so here are the figure (Weight guesstimations)
rims - kinlin 270 in white 465gx2 = 930g
novatec A271SB/F372SB = 107+277 = 384g
nipple - 1g a pop, 20/24 spoke = 44g
spoke - DT champion 6g a pop, =264 g
How much would I expect to pay for a 1622g wheel set online?
My current tyres are supposedly 1890g (Giant P-R2).
You can either buy a uni budget wheelset, or build the wheelset you actually want (in which case it won't be cheap, relatively).
Indications here are that you can build a pretty good wheelset (again, this is all relative) for under about $300. Whatever you build will ultimately be better than factory built at that price level, however if your budget doesn't extend that far, I suspect economies of scale will start to place reasonable wheelsets from the big online retailers at a price you may be happy with.
ftssjk. Try http://www.bikehubstore.com/. They provide excellent service and great prices. I believe their hubs are made by Bitex and are similar quality to Novatec.
You could try
Front hub: SLF85
Rear hub: SL218
Spokes: Sapim Laser on front and non-drive side rear. Sapim Race on drive side rear
Including deliver the total cost is just over $300 and weight is around 1450 grams.
I presume you are reasonably light for a 20 front, 24 rear spoke build?
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