Reynolds assault + powertap gs + wheel lacing - how hard is it??


New Member
Jul 21, 2016
HI All

Recently bought a new set of wheels (Reynolds Assault) and have been looking at a power meter also.

Have found a good price on a PowerTap GS, but was pondering whether I'm game to relace the wheel myself...

Having not done it before, I figure I can just follow the pattern on the existing wheel so the basic lacing doesn't worry me too much, I'm more concerned about:
  1. Getting the spoke lengths right - how much leeway is there typically - I have the ERD from the Reynolds service manual, and I have calculated the required lengths from the formula on the powertap site, but they've come out about 20mm shorter than the existing spokes...does this sound right?
  2. getting the right nipples - I've heard that reynolds have some odd nipple heads, but I think they've gone back to a more 'normal' nipple for the 2015 models - can anyone advise?
  3. Truing the wheel and getting correct tensions - This one is probably my biggest concern - Should I be investing in a dish tool + spoke tension meter to do this???
Thanks in advance for any advice!
You've never built a wheel up from scratch in your life and you want to lace up a carbon rim to a high zoot Power Tap hub? Well, my real world advice to you would be to take your parts to the nearest reputable wheel builder.

I guess you are braver and more bold than most though and it seems like you have at least thought the project through the initial parts gathering stage. Bonus points awarded for proper planning.

It's not anywhere near the 'learning' project I would advise for anyone with zero experience in wheel building, but if you really want to tackle the job it is fairly straight forward. Power Tap can advise you spoke length required and any specific type of spoke or nipple requirement will come from Reynolds.

You will need a spoke tension meter. You can get by without a dish tool, but for what little they cost in the grand scheme of the project you might as well add one to your toolbox. You'll use it in the future I'm guessing. While you can balance spoke tension using your ear, staying close to Reynolds' build tension specifications and avoiding spoke nipple pull through...that's where I use the tensiometer every time when it comes to carbon.

If you think you are going to enjoy wheel building for a few years, invest in the professional Park Tool trueing stand. The lesser model will work fine for the infrequent build job or for maintenance trueing. Even a Nashbar trueing stand and dish tool is fine for home wheel building, but do buy a decent tensiometer. The Park Tool tensiometer is about as cheap as I would go when it comes to that tool.

Just go slow and keep the tension as evenly balanced from spoke to spoke as possible as you pull in up to tension while getting it centered and keeping it concentric.
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I had a feeling that may be the answer I'd get, and was kind of where I was leaning...Perhaps I'll grab the hub and get the LBS to lace the wheel...

I have always been a bit curious on the wheel building side of things...maybe I'll pick up some cheap components and have a bit of a play before tackling something quite this grand!

Cheers for the advice though!
Wheel building is fun. It is a skill serious cyclists don't absolutely, positively have to have, but just like building and tuning a bike from the frame up and a bunch of component sure makes life more self-reliant and you get exactly the quality of workmanship you are capable of putting into the job.

If you really do want to learn the art and skill of wheel building, start out with a spoke wrench and a dish tool. You can build wheels in a frame that's been flipped upside down for your first few jobs. Then, if you enjoy what your doing, go out and start building your tool collection...the trueing stand...the tensiometer...nipple speed drivers...etc.

Starting out with a simple and more forgiving combination of something like a pair of shimaNO 105 or Ultegra hubs and some Mavic Open Pro rims would be my preferred learning project. I use DT or Sapim spokes with brass nipples for most of my road wheels.

Good luck and have fun!

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