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a.k.a. Yeti Ken
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After many years of riding and having built a few bikes, I'd really like to learn how to build a wheel. Does anyone have a suggestion on a book or video that that will help someone who is somewhat mechanically inclined but knows nothing about wheels (other than servicing Mavic hubs) build a wheel?

I realize this question has probably been asked before, but my search through the archives was bringing up too many results so I thought I'd post it fresh. Thanks for your help...I need a winter project ;)

Ken
 

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A wheelist
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Yeah sure we can help. I've been a home wheelbuilding freak for 5 decades and have read everything in print and on the 'net (well I'm sure I missed something) on the subject. Read the info in my sig and at the end of it you will see some of my fave resources especially Roger Musson's e-book. Get it! It's all you'll need. It's what I wish I had written. Yes I have it too and I paid for it.

Don't bother about any other book.
 

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Premium Member
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+1 on Mike's advice. I got started with just Sheldon Brown's site and Jobst Brant's book.

Damon Rinard's spoke calc has been spot on for the wheels I've built too.

I don't know if the wheels I've built have been perfect, but only taco'd one (out of about a dozen wheels), and even the first one is still being used (over a decade later).

And for supplies the best pushers, I mean suppliers, the best bike shops I've used have been Larry at Mountain High cycery, and Mike at Odds and Endos. Best to call 'em though. Lots of other good places too, these are just a few of the ones I know of...

JmZ
 

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I'm interested in learning to build wheels too.

What I'm wondering is to start off, can I disassemble an old wheelset and use the parts to rebuild? Or is it better to buy cheap new parts and try from there?

How difficult is building a wheel? Is a first attempt usually rideable??? I want to be able to build wheels to save money so I'm trying to figure out how much it's going to cost to get started and set-up.
 

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Roger Musson's eBook is AWESOME. I would definitely recommend it. Easy read, very informative. The steps were very memorable (didn't have to refer back to it very much after doing the first wheel). Definitely worth the money.

http://www.wheelpro.co.uk/wheelbuilding/book.php

Building a decent rideable wheel is not difficult as long as you have a bit of patience and don't rush it. Building an absolutely perfect one may be a little tricker...

A good spoke wrench, truing stand, and dish tool go a long way. (Although Musson's book show's you how to make a cheap free dish tool). I was fortunate to have some friends who have a plethora of tools. They lent me their gear for my first couple wheel builds until I got my own stuff. Mike T's guide is good if your looking to do the whole thing on a budget (although having a proper stand with calipers on both sides of the wheel will make things a bit easier)

Better to start off with new stuff (at least new spokes and rims). Used pokes may get a tad distorted or stretched, and rims may be out of true from riding. You will find yourself counteracting all sorts of imperfections of the rims when you are trying to bring the tension up evenly.

Tips from my experiences:

- I prefer brass nipples, but if you are set on aluminum nipples for weight or colour options, make sure you invest in a 4 sided spike wrench (like the pedro's spoke keys or the newer park wrenches) as they are generally much easier to round out with a traditional style wrench

- everyone seems to have a different take on lubricating/preping spoke threads, but one thing is for sure, make sure you lube the exterior of the nipple to make adjustments at higher tensions easier (less friction against the rim) - some people use a light oil (I have had good luck with very very thin layer of Phil's Tenacious Oil), and others use loctite, spoke-prep (DT and Wheelsmith both have their own), or linseed oil

- Mike T's advice of slowly bringing the tension up until the spoke threads disappear into the nipple is a good one, you won't have much tension in the spokes until you get to this stage, and this is a good measure to make sure all of the spokes are at the same level of tension

- i generally try to bring the spoke tensions up all at once, and then correct any areas that are out of true laterally, and then radially, and then bring up the tension once more with a couple more rotations of the entire wheel

- i try to keep the changes in spoke tensions as little as possible when truing the rim, meaning I try to correct the problem with slight tightening as well as slight loosening of spoke nipples (I found it results in much more even spoke tension, but others may have other suggestions here)

- stress the wheel as you go! Musson's book has a few different methods of achieving this, you shouldn't hear any spokes popping on your first ride if you relieve the stress. If you don't, chances are you are going to have to throw them back on the stand to true them a little

- tension meter can be handy but definitely not critical, I built my first wheelset obsessing over spoke tensions, and for my 3rd wheelset I didn't use it at all, if you bring all your spoke nipples up to tension evenly and systematically, the tensions will more or less be what they need to be in order to be true with proper dish (tension meter is handy for taking it that extra step further and really trying to equalize spoke tensions)
 

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i think i learned how to build wheels basically from miket's write up :lol:

it really is pretty basic.. once you get the fundamental idea (equal tension), it just takes a little practice. tensioning by tone makes sense and works fantastically. ive been rebuilding machine built wheels, its like having a brand new, drastically better wheel setup after doing so.
 

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A wheelist
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komekomegaijin said:
What I'm wondering is to start off, can I disassemble an old wheelset and use the parts to rebuild? Or is it better to buy cheap new parts and try from there?
It's going to be harder taking an old wheel apart and re-building it. You're using an old rim that could have slight bend that was compensated for by truing. This is going to make it harder and you'll never have a wheel with equal spoke tensions. You'll be dealing with the possibility of old gummed up spoke threads too. If you want to go that route, invest in this $100 set from our forum sponsor. You can't buy the parts for those yourself for that money.

How difficult is building a wheel?
Compared to what? It depends on your mechanical ability and willingness to learn and how much you pay attention to the instructions you're using. I'd strongly suggest reading my stuff first and then Roger's e-book.

Is a first attempt usually rideable?
I don't remember ever hearing about anyone's first wheel that wasn't - I had a buddy once whose first wheel lasted about twenty minutes but he didn't follow any basic steps to achieve a decent wheel build.

I want to be able to build wheels to save money so I'm trying to figure out how much it's going to cost to get started and set-up.
That might be hard to do as this forum sponsor BWW (top o' this page!) can sell you a complete wheelset for much less money that you can buy the parts for. But knowing how to build wheels and maintain & repair our own wheels is a very good thing to know. It's just not cheaper to build them yourself though. The only way it's cheaper is if a custom builder is charging list for the parts plus his labor charge.
 

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Thanks Mike,

Had a message from another user who mentioned similar things. I've had a skim over your page and it's great - thanks (especially love the look of that Unior spoke wrench!)

Well, I'm feeling a lot more confident about giving it go now so just gotta pick the parts and start things rolling (sorry, no bad pun intended!)
 

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A wheelist
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I've spent ten years or so fine tuning my site for newby wheelbuilders and I react with changes and addtions to their comments and questions about its contents and message. It, and the valuable resources at the end, are the finest things I can offer at this point in time.

Go for it and do let us know how you make out. You will be sooooo pleased when you take the first ride on your first wheel.
 

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I just read Mike T's page and bought Roger's e-book on his recommendation (among others).:thumbsup:

EXCELLENT e-book, it absolutely BLOWS AWAY "The Art of Wheelbuilding".
(I bought "Art" at Amazon's "Gold Box" price and still felt cheated.):bluefrown:
 

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A wheelist
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kenja said:
Roger's e-book...........it absolutely BLOWS AWAY "The Art of Wheelbuilding".
I own "The Art" and it wasn't a good book for me. I've no idea how anyone can spoke a wheel using its instructions. They're weird and don't make sense. Roger's e-book cuts to the meat & 'taters.
 
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