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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there,

I'm looking to lighten the wheelset on my Trance-3 and had mind buying Crossmax-SLs (standard with the top-of-the-range Trance 1). However, I was wondering about having a go at building my own wheels. So my question is; how hard is it? I am OK with most aspects of bike building and maintenence, but have not tried building wheels before.

Also any suggestions for rims/hubs lacing patterns etc that will give me a wheelset comparable/better than Crossmax's for (hopefully) a bit less cost than the Mavics would be greatly appreciated. (I'm 158lbs, by the way).

cheers

Mel
 

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Mel-UK said:
Hi there,

I'm looking to lighten the wheelset on my Trance-3 and had mind buying Crossmax-SLs (standard with the top-of-the-range Trance 1). However, I was wondering about having a go at building my own wheels. So my question is; how hard is it? I am OK with most aspects of bike building and maintenence, but have not tried building wheels before.

Also any suggestions for rims/hubs lacing patterns etc that will give me a wheelset comparable/better than Crossmax's for (hopefully) a bit less cost than the Mavics would be greatly appreciated. (I'm 158lbs, by the way).

cheers

Mel
It can work out to cost more to roll your own than to buy handbuilt wheels, but it will likely cost less than a 'system' wheel (like Crossmax or similar).

Depends on how rough of a rider you are, and what type of riding you're doing. What are your goals with a new wheels? Lighter? A race only wheelset? More durable? Both?

Building wheels does take patience, but isn't too difficult. Check Sheldon Brown's website, and search more MikeT's site (from the boards here) for some good instructions. There are also some good books out there. I've used Jobst Brandt's book. I built my first set of wheels several years ago. You will need a spoke wrench, some oil/grease, the parts to build the wheel. It would be nice, but not necessary to have a truing stand, tensionmeter, and a dishing guage.

For a quick breakdown on parts:

Hubs - Take your pick. Lots of good choices out there, and figure out your budget first. Popular choices currently are Shimano, Hope Pro II, King, Hügi (Sorry DT) 240 (or 340), and a few others.
Spokes - Standard are DT or Wheelsmith double butted 14/15's. 50-75 cents a spoke. About 180g or so for spokes per wheel. Other spokes spoken highly of around here are the Sapin X-Rays (Flat bladed spokes), and DT Supercomps. I've only used the standard double butted spokes and can't speak to the other ones, sorry.
Nips - Brass or Aluminum. Brass is a bit more durable, Aluminum is lighter in weight. (32 vs 10g per wheel)
Rims - Depends on your type of riding. For XC riding popular ones are the Mavic 517 (or whatever it's called currently), the DT 4.1, Velocity Synergy, and a few others.
Rim Tape - Velox, Rim Strip for Stans, or 3M strapping tape.

Good luck,

JmZ
 

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A Real Winner.
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Just do it! The wheel systems that are out are nice, but nothing can match the customization of building and undertanding your own wheelset. You can do a lot more in terms of customization and weights with your own wheelset, and cost-wise you will save a *little* bit of money. If you enjoy working on your bike, definetly build your own wheelset.
 

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Easy to learn. Hard to master.

I think the biggest mistake new wheelbuilders can make is the try to build that ultimate lightweight wheelset for their first (or 2nd or 3rd) attempt.

Better to learn the basics on basic wheels. Use good rims and lots of thick spokes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank guys, good advice-

I'm basically after a lighter set. I mostly ride hilly tracks that tend to muddy or loose gravel with ruts and tree roots- no big jump or rocks. I like the handling of my Trance 3, but it's not the lightest of bikes (30lb), so now I've a bit of spare cash, I'd to get somewhere towards the Trance 1 weight (25lbs).

OK, I feel persuaded to give it a go; time to do some research!

:thumbsup:

thanks

Mel
 

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Wow, dropping 5lbs is going to be rather expensive in total, isn't it? Dropping 2-3 lbs is more reasonable I would think, unless you have very deep pockets. But at that point be better off saving for a new lighter bike to begin with.
 

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Mel-UK said:
I was wondering about having a go at building my own wheels. So my question is; how hard is it?
I made my Wheels FAQ just for guys in your situation.

Also any suggestions for rims/hubs lacing patterns etc that will give me a wheelset comparable/better than Crossmax's for (hopefully) a bit less cost than the Mavics would be greatly appreciated. (I'm 158lbs, by the way).
Listen to Shiggy. The heavier the rims/spokes and the greater the number of spokes the easier wheels are to build. But that doesn't mean you can't build a fine first set of lightish wheels. If you go with stuff like 32h, 3x, 14g DB spokes and good rims like the DT-Swiss you should be ok. Lighter spokes, less spokes, less crosses and lighter rims and the difficulty ramps up fast.

The most important thing you need is patience. The least important thing you need is expensive equipment.

Dropping 5lbs off a bike will cost you about the same as a new 5lb lighter bike. I'm talking a "real" 5lbs, not a "manufacturer's claimed" 5lb.
 

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I Have Gnarly Potential
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take an old beater wheel you have, delace it fully, clean off the spokes/rim/hub and then build it up a few times (only if the wheel is standard, and not some recessed nipple one or somethin :p)
 

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Krause said:
take an old beater wheel you have, delace it fully, clean off the spokes/rim/hub and then build it up a few times (only if the wheel is standard, and not some recessed nipple one or somethin :p)
This is more difficult than building a new wheel.
Used parts are a huge PITA to work with and almost always impossible to true and tension easily or properly. Can be very frustrating without learning much useful technique.
 

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Mel-UK said:
Thank guys, good advice-

I'm basically after a lighter set. I mostly ride hilly tracks that tend to muddy or loose gravel with ruts and tree roots- no big jump or rocks. I like the handling of my Trance 3, but it's not the lightest of bikes (30lb), so now I've a bit of spare cash, I'd to get somewhere towards the Trance 1 weight (25lbs).

OK, I feel persuaded to give it a go; time to do some research!

:thumbsup:

thanks

Mel
My opinion - don't forget about tires and tubes too. Getting a light set of hoops and putting heavy sneakers or (heavy) discs on 'em almost invalidates the effort.

It would be hard to drop that all in the wheels. 5 pounds is a lot. Go visit the weight weenie forum for some ideas. A quick thought for a pretty light and hopefully reliable set would be...

Hope Pro II Rear Hub (Black). WTB Lazerdisc Lite Front Hub
Wheelsmith DB 14-15 spokes.
DT Swiss 4.1 Rims
Aluminum Nips.

Should be around 1600-1650g for the set.

A set of light tubes would be an additional 200g, discs about another 180g (Hope Floating Discs for 160mm), Bolt on Skewers 65g, and then whatever tires you're looking at... Should be possible to get a set of wheels with 3000g total weight or about 6 1/2 pounds.

What does the current wheelset weigh? Everything? If it's closer to 11 pounds - then the 5 pound mark is possible, more likely it'll be less than a 3 pound weight drop. Hmm I'm curious... hits up Giant Web site... and weight weenies...

Hubs Formula Disc 200/450
Spokes Stainless Steel 190/190
Nips Brass 32 32
Tubes 175 175
tires Hutchinson Bulldog MRC AirLight, wire 26x2.1 The Kevlar ones are about 525g and I'd be surprised if the wire were not at least 100g more per tire.
Hayes SOLE 120 120
Rim 440 440
Skewers 220

Total 3834 or about 8.5 pounds, or about a 2 pound drop in weight. If the tires alone weigh in at 625 or more that increases the weight savings by another half pound plus.

Good luck,

JmZ
 

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shiggy said:
This is more difficult than building a new wheel.
Used parts are a huge PITA to work with and almost always impossible to true and tension easily or properly. Can be very frustrating without learning much useful technique.
Dont need to get it perfect, just figured it might be better then potentially gettin frusturated with new expensive parts :) But yea, if the rim has been bent slightly and was trued, re assembling it and getting it true will be a PITA :(
 

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On the subject of wheel building, how far can one allow a wheel to become out of true before it should be repaired? My rear has about 1/8 inch total movement.
 

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Destroy said:
On the subject of wheel building, how far can one allow a wheel to become out of true before it should be repaired? My rear has about 1/8 inch total movement.
Wheel trueness for rim brakes is more critical than for disc brakes but 1/8" would be at the beyond the extreme end of tolerance for me, even for disc brakes.

For that amount of wobble there has to be a big imbalance of spoke tensions - something that leads to spoke fatigue and failure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Wow! Lots of great advice, thanks again

regarding losing 5lbs; I've no intention of shedding that sort of weight from the bike (which is why I said 'approach' 5lbs). I realise it's not cost-effective. However, my understanding is that losing even a modest amount of weight from the wheel/rims can make a difference.
Also, I've already added a Thompson stem and carbon bars and WTB stealth seat. I will add a lighter crankset and possibly an XTR cassette and Ti Eggbeaters, but that will be it for upgrades. Hopefully that will lose me around 2lbs. Current rims are mavic 117s by the way.

I take the point about tyres too. I'm currently using Panaracer Fire XC Pros. Is it worth considering a lighter tyre? If so, which ones? Oh, and I don't really want to go tubeless yet.

thanks Mel
 

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Destroy said:
On the subject of wheel building, how far can one allow a wheel to become out of true before it should be repaired? My rear has about 1/8 inch total movement.
As soon as you notice a wobble it needs to be repaired.
 
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