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04-27-2012, 03:02 PM #1Registered User
- Join Date
- Nov 2011
Wheelbuilding: for the faint of heart?
I consier myself a semi-skilled amateur mechanic. Back in the 80s I raced road purely as an amateur, and took care of my own ride entirely (I would test out roommates by disassembling a bike in the dorm room or apartment for a few days, if they hated it and gave me crap, I knew I was gonna need a new roommate, my best roommate passed this test repeatedly and eventually went to work in a shop). I'm less skilled with MTB tech, but I'm learning. For instance, I just tore this: down to the frame and rebuilt it with about 50% new components. I have had my share of dumb mistakes, but none fo them have ever resulted in injury or insurance claims.
I also have an ability to actually learn from written descriptions, videos, and the like, of even complex processes. I build bamboo flyrods from raw bamboo and have never had any instruction.
So just how hard is wheelbuilding? I'd love to be able to affordably try out different hubs and rims, but buying wheelsets is just prohibitive. I'd also like to have the confidence that I can utterly abuse a ride and, if necessary, completely rebuild if necessary. How many of you are wheelbuilders, how'd you learn, and on a scale of manual difficulty where 1 is walking and chewing gum and 10 is brain surgery, where would you rate this activity?
04-27-2012, 03:19 PM #2
I built my first wheel by sitting there and looking at a pile of parts and an already built wheel for reference. The actual lacing of the wheel isn't too difficult - only tricky part is getting the spokes to not cross in front of the valve hole. There are plenty of online instructions that'll give pointers on how to actually make the wheel strong.
04-27-2012, 04:47 PM #3
wheel building is not hard, per-se, but its time consuming, and requires patience. do you know how to dish, true and round wheels already?
it also requires a few fairly expensive/specific tools and parts:
1. wheel truing stand (a good one, makes the experience much better, such as the park ts2.2) $250
2. wheel dish tool $30+
3. spoke tension meter $70+
4. dt spokey (the best spoke wrench out there, pretty important to get a high spoke tension) $30
5. nipple prep (pretty cheap)
6. spokes (if you are changing rims/hubs you will almost assuredly need new spokes every time) figure $1-2 per spoke, depending on straight vs. butted and color
hope that helps. wheel building is fun, not hard. but it does take time. figure about 2 hours per wheel.
04-28-2012, 08:01 AM #4
Proving once again that TGR is consistently the best source for any information.
Next time........Search JONG!
04-28-2012, 11:49 AM #5Registered User
- Join Date
- Oct 2011
So long as you already know how to true, dish, and tension a wheel, it'll be easy. If you aren't skilled in those things, forget it. You will need a bunch of tools.
Adding to the list Marshall made, I'd get a nipple driver, and you'll want a little doodad to hang the nipples on while you drop them thru the rim so you don't end up with nipples inside the rim. I use a filed down old spoke for this.
Expect your first one to take at least two hours (and probably more), but it gets faster with time.
04-28-2012, 12:04 PM #6Registered User
- Join Date
- Feb 2005
- North Vancouver/Whistler
Sheldon Brown has a pretty good tutorial too as does the master of anality - Jobst Brandt's book. It's kinda fun. Something to do while watching mindless pap like hockey playoffs
04-28-2012, 01:17 PM #7
What Lee said. You can produce acceptable results with <$100 of tools bought retail. Make a dishing gauge yourself. Cheap true stands are ok enough.Lord King of the Beater-Kooks
04-28-2012, 01:52 PM #8
Gerd Schraner "The Art of Wheelbuilding" free pdf. Great how to and resource that will walk you through your first wheels.There's nothing better than sliding down snow and flying through the air.
04-29-2012, 05:40 PM #9
You can build wheels just fine using the bike and some zip ties as a truing stand. If you are going to lay out cash for a truing stand, it's worth it to get a good one. The dishing tool is a complete waste of money, just flip the wheel around in the stand to see if it's centered. The spoke tension meter is a fun toy, but I don't find it particularly useful.
You need a decent spoke wrench anyway, so just try building a wheel ( I suggest front to start with ) and if you like it, invest in the tools. If you don't enjoy it, it's really not worth it since you don't save much if any money, the cost of getting spokes at retail eats up any labor savings. It's worth doing at least once, just so you'll understand better how to true a wheel and what goes into making a strong wheel.
FWIW, I've been building wheels for 10 years now, just for myself. Maybe 20 wheels all together, I'm not the fastest, but I get there eventually and my oldest wheels are still going strong. The best piece of advice I can give is to work on it a bit at a time to start with. If you're getting frustrated, just loosen everything up one turn and walk away. The first one will take some time. I started out more or less just following the advice on Sheldon's wheel building page.
06-02-2012, 11:49 AM #10
Does know where I can find a decent step by step video for wheel building? I'm building up a 26", 32 hole, 3 cross front wheel. My searches aren't finding any that worthy."Fuck the ski hill and your ego, go ski touring" - PS
06-02-2012, 09:39 PM #11
I am sure there are other videos that are free. But if you are willing to buy the wheel building book by Roger Musson you can access his videos
06-02-2012, 10:35 PM #12There's nothing better than sliding down snow and flying through the air.
06-02-2012, 11:41 PM #13
Thanks. i found this did the trick for me.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5ADTpzMPgU"Fuck the ski hill and your ego, go ski touring" - PS