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wants a taco
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498 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Another recent post on building their first wheels ever has got me currious... What was the first wheel you ever built? Defintally doesn't have to be anything blingy, just something built with passion. Other than that feel free to post some problems you came across, some of the things you would do different, etc.. really anything that can help inspire another to the world of handbuilt wheels.

Besides, as much of us might deny it we all like to brag a little every once and a while :thumbsup:

heres my first baby, obviously for my road bike but i dont hold that against him. Chris King classics, wheelsmith 2.0 - 1.7 db spokes, and 36 hole Mavic open pro rims.







 

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1,034 Posts
My first one was a Wolber Model 58 touring rim (27" x 1 1/4") on a Suzue high-flange front hub with DT 14-gauge spokes. That was in 1984 or so. No pics :) I had been wanting an alloy front rim because my chrome-plated steel rims had poor braking performance when wet, and I commuted on the bike down a hill that you can get 50mph+ on, with a stoplight at the bottom. Exciting! :)

Lessons learned from Wheel #1:

1) if a bike shop gives you the wrong length of spokes, don't try to complete the build with them. Go back and get the right length.

2) after building your first wheel, don't slot it into a bike-parking rack and let the bike fall over with a heavily-stuffed handlebar bag. Your wheel may never be the same again! :(
 

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Double-metric mtb man
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4,482 Posts
My first build was a set of Hope Pro II's laced to Mavic XM819's using DT Comp double-butted spokes and 16mm brass nipples. They were fun to build up and I was a bit anal about doing it right...but it paid off as they have been absolutely bomb-proof.

In fact, they are what I am riding on these days. :)
 

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Beware the Blackbuck!
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469 Posts
I built my first wheel about a month or two ago, it was a rear wheel on a Surly 135mm flip flop hub, and an Alex "Adventurer" rim. I used some DT Swiss Comps with brass nips. It was a lot of fun, and there's something extremely focusing about the truing process. I put a track cog on the Surly hub to make my complete CrossCheck into a fixie for winter commuting. It's been awesome. I actually tacoed my original geared rear wheel in a crash, and tried to bend the rim back into shape. It was marginally successful, but I had really no idea what I was doing. Surprisingly it lasted a while like that, but I wasn't eager to have it fail and have to hike in bike shoes through the snow, so I went ahead and built this wheel myself.

Around the same time I decided I was going to build up a 29er mountain bike from a frame, and my hubs for those two wheels arrive tomorrow. I'm really excited about getting these built up, and I can really see where people are coming from when they say how after they learned they almost looked for excuses to build up more wheels. On one hand I want to get my girlfried a complete bike because of how much cheaper it is when you buy it all together, but on the other I want to buy just a frame so I can build her wheels also. I'm sure I'll be back with pictures of my new 29er wheels when I start that process later this week.
 

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A wheelist
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5,991 Posts
My first wheels would have been back in 1962 in my native UK. I was 14 at the time and racing on the road. I was building up a custom Harry Quinn (Liverpool) road bike from the parts I had bought with paper route money and other odd jobs. Of course I needed wheels and paying to get them built was not an option so I had no choice but to build them myself. There were no websites on wheelbuilding back then (the computer hadn't even been dreamed about!), no e-books, not even any hardcopy books. The only way to build a wheel was to giv'er!

Here's me in a 25 mile time-trial on the road between Manchester and Liverpool. The bike was a replica of what my heros rode - the local pro internationals - and all Campagnolo. The wheels were -

Campagnolo Record large flange hubs. 36h. 5-spd.
Rims - tubular. I don't remember the make but probably Mavic.
Spokes - Chrome plated. Stainless spokes hadn't been invented back then. Check the sparkle!

My first set of wheels carried me all over northern England and I've been building my own wheels ever since.

Edit - they would have been built with nothing more than a spoke wrench and some oil. The frame and fork would have been the "wheelstand" and the pads as a gauge. That's the way I did 'em for the next 44 years ~ until two years ago when I started using an old fork as a stand and more recently, one given to me by Roger Musson, as shown in his e-book and on my website.
 

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Premium Member
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3,029 Posts
My first wheel was a Machine Tech front hub laced up to a Bontrager Mustang Rim with WS spokes. Used Sheldon Brown and Jobst Brandt for advice. The local shop was a big help too, as they got me all the parts - and a screaming deal on that blue hub that was in the case. :)

That was over 10 years ago. It is still on the wife's bike today. She's been through three frames, but still on that same set of wheels.

Since then have built pretty much all the wheels I'm using today, plus a few I've sold off. The only wheels that I did buy after that one were a set of Nuke Proof Carbon hubs on Bontrager Mustang/Valiant rims with Ti spokes, and I sold those a while back to help fund a new bike.

JmZ
 

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2,423 Posts
My first, at the age of 17 (I turned 18 in September). I built these last summer, before my senior year of high school. They are a super solid wheelset that I have raced, and trained on.

Front:
Olympic 32h (332g)
Lefty Hub (117g)
Revolutions 1.8/2.0 + silver alu nipples (166g)
Total: 615g

Rear:
Olympic 32h (333g)
Ringle Dirty Flea (275g)
Revolution 1.8/2.0 + silver nipples (167g)
Total 775g

Wheelset Total: 1390g

 

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2,283 Posts
My first was for a Yamaha 125 dirt bike in about 1974. I'd bent the rim by taking a corner too fast and deciding I could cut back to meet the track on the other side. I didn't see the large rock hiding in the long grass (probably the reason the corner was there in the first place). I remember seeing the headlight fly past me as I was also flying through the air on the way to breaking a rib.

I found a straight second hand rim and reused the spokes that weren't bent. I had no idea what I was doing, but used a couple of pictures of wheels and the back wheel to get the right idea on how to lace the spokes. I think I did it properly, or at least it lasted me a few more year without any noticeable problems.

In more recent times I've used Mike T and Sheldon Brown's excellent sites to actually understand what I was doing when building a few sets of XT hubs with F719 rims. They have survived well, including after a rough landing where I bent the front wheel so that the rim touched the forks on both sides, and both the axle and QR were bent. I re-trued the rim and replaced the axle and QR and, 4 years later, the wheel is still going strong.

Tim
 

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offroader
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2,190 Posts
First Wheel Build
Mavic XC717
Shimano XT 756 Disc Hubs
Black DT Champion 2.0 Spokes

Second Wheel Build
Notubes Olympic ZRT
WTB LaserDisc Lite Hubs
Black DT Competition 2.0/1.8 Spokes





The ZTR Wheels set rear wheels weigh nearly as much as the front wheels of the Mavic set. Uber Lite.
 

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916 Posts
CupOfJava said:
First Wheel Build
Mavic XC717
Shimano XT 756 Disc Hubs
Black DT Champion 2.0 Spokes

Second Wheel Build
Notubes Olympic ZRT
WTB LaserDisc Lite Hubs
Black DT Competition 2.0/1.8 Spokes

The ZTR Wheels set rear wheels weigh nearly as much as the front wheels of the Mavic set. Uber Lite.
Valve not possitionned correctly:nono: on the rear wheel :p
 

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552 Posts
My first (and so far only) wheel build was a low-cost wheel I built for my commuter, a 36 hole Sun CR18, a mix of black/silver DT Swiss spokes, red nipples, and a Suzue flip-flop hub laced in traditional 3-cross pattern:

 

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cgrocho
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85 Posts
Just built my first wheel - thanks Mike T.!

Mike T. said:
The hub was rotated the wrong way, thus crossing a spoke under the valve :nono: Baaaaack to wheelbuilding school! :D
Just built my first 4 days ago from a salvaged XT front hub and a Mavic x317 rim - my guinea pig parts. I had intended to do this years ago so I already had brass nipples and Wheelsmith 2.0 spokes that happened to be the right lengths. As resources I bought Musson's e-book and methodically used all of Mike's tips. Put on the tunes in the garage and went for it. Even though the rim was used, the wheel came out nice and true and I didn't need any do-overs. I must say it's quite Zen-like to build a wheel and now I have a nice spare.

Now I get to replace the old rims on my King ISO disc hubs with some nice tubeless 819s and looking forward to it. Thanks again.
 

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Live, Freeze, and Ride
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315 Posts
Built it for post apocolyptic conditions

Made some rookie mistakes.
1) hub label is 180 degrees off, oops
2) didn't use anything on the spokes/nipples :eek: , I've since fixed that
Didn't have any web access or books when I did it. Just took a wheel I had and went from there.
One day I'll relace it with lighter spokes, maybe.
The wheel has taken some serious hits since I got my TomiCog, mostly because of pilot error, but fixie is fun sometimes.
Oh yeah, rim is a Velocity DeepV 32h V-brake rim and hub is Surly SS disc.
 

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