Wheel building



P

Paul Boyd

Guest
Lots of people on here say how easy it is to build a wheel. I remain
unconvinced though!

So, has anyone taken the plunge and built a wheel that was a success
first time round? Experienced wheel-builders seem to knock them out for
a past-time (but unless you're doing it professionally why do you need
to keep building wheels?), but I'd like to hear from people who might
have just built one or two without any problems :)

I was horrified to notice a very badly worn rear rim yesterday, and I
will admit to chickening out and buying a wheel from the BoB (who do
know how to build wheels!). I will at least have my old wheel to
practise on, I suppose for the future!

--
Paul Boyd
http://www.paul-boyd.co.uk/
 
A

Ace

Guest
On Wed, 11 Jul 2007 17:37:45 +0100, Paul Boyd <[email protected]>
wrote:

>Lots of people on here say how easy it is to build a wheel. I remain
>unconvinced though!
>
>So, has anyone taken the plunge and built a wheel that was a success
>first time round?


Yupp. As I said up there ^^^ I followed Sheldon's destructions and had
no problems. The only thing I did differently was dispense with the
'dishing tool' that he shows you how to make. I found that putting the
wheel in the frame (upside-down, of course) and attaching a couple of
allen keys or similar with sticky tape allowed trueing to be simply
performed and a similar arrangement at 90deg to get the wheel properly
centred.

> Experienced wheel-builders seem to knock them out for
>a past-time (but unless you're doing it professionally why do you need
>to keep building wheels?), but I'd like to hear from people who might
>have just built one or two without any problems :)


That was about <thinks> eight or nine years ago, and I was replacing a
badly bent rim, so re-used the hub & spokes. I've done a couple since,
I think. Certainly there's a spare hub kicking around that says I must
have replaced it at some point, but I can't remember exactly why.
 
S

Simon Brooke

Guest
in message <[email protected]>, Paul Boyd
('[email protected]') wrote:

> Lots of people on here say how easy it is to build a wheel. I remain
> unconvinced though!
>
> So, has anyone taken the plunge and built a wheel that was a success
> first time round?


Yes, my first pair of wheels remained true until the bike they were on was
stolen three years later. There's something very satisfying about riding
on your own handiwork.

--
[email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

;; When your hammer is C++, everything begins to look like a thumb.
 
J

Jeremy Parker

Guest
"Paul Boyd" <[email protected]> wrote

[snip]

> So, has anyone taken the plunge and built a wheel that was a
> success first time round? Experienced wheel-builders seem to knock
> them out for a past-time (but unless you're doing it professionally
> why do you need to keep building wheels?), but I'd like to hear
> from people who might have just built one or two without any
> problems :)


[snip]

I must have built at least half a dozen, but, since that has been
spread out over 30 years or so, it's like being a novice each time.
Once I did it wrong, and found the spokes crossing over to obstruct
the valve hole. I swore a bit, and moved all the spokes round by one
spoke hole.

I'm slow too. I would starve if I had to do it professionally, and
didn't speed up. I've built wheels by reading instructions from a
book, and I've done it by copying a identical wheel.

It helps if you have spokes of *exactly* the right length, so that
you can see just a few turns of the threads when the spoke nipples
are tightened up. Rims and spokes are made amazingly precisely, so
the wheel will be pretty round if you see the same number of threads
sticking out of the spoke nipple (towards the hub - you don't want a
too long spoke that sticks out where the inner tube goes).
Professionals can probably get away with a spoke that is slightly too
long. You can file those too long ends off, but a too long spoke
won't show any threads, losing you the helpful short cut in truing.

There is, or at least was, a book, "Sutherland's Handbook for Cycle
Mechanics" which has tables of spoke lengths needed for different
makes of hub and rim. The book has got thicker, and more expensive,
over the years, but I imagine bike shops would have a copy, or some
equivalent.

Because spoke length matters less, I think, to professionals, some
bike shops will try to sell you the wrong length spoke, if they don't
have quite the right length in stock.

If you have to dish the wheel, as you will for a back wheel, then the
spokes on the two sides will be of slightly different lengths, not
enough to need to buy two kinds of spoke, but enough to get two
different numbers for your spoke thread counts.

If the rim is slightly out of round, as with a beat-up old rim, I
can't help you. Flat spots, from hitting something, such as landing
after a jump, are the usual problem. Some people, claim that they
can get the rim round again by tightening spokes appropriately, or by
beating on the rim with a rubber mallet (into a mould) but I usually
can't

When you have built the wheel, you have to true it. In fact there
are a lot more times you have to true a wheel than build one.

My theory is that a factory, machine built, wheel ought to be as good
as a hand built wheel, provided the factory wheel is hand trued after
being built. Cheap machine built wheels don't get de-stressed,
either at the factory, or in the bike shop, so you will likely need
to de-stress your wheel when you get your new bike, or new wheel,
home.

The reason for de-stressing is that when you screw a nipple onto a
spoke, screwing the nipple twists the spoke rather, winding the spoke
up like a spring. If you leave the spoke wound up, it will gradually
try to unwind itself, thereby unscrewing itself from the spoke
nipple, and messing up the trueness of the wheel, after some miles of
riding.

To de-stress a wheel you prop the wheel up between floor and wall, so
it is at 45 deg to the horizontal. You then lean on the rim where
the rim is furthest away from wall or floor. By leaning on the rim
you bend the rim slightly, enough for some spoke nipples to be loose
in their holes in the rim. The loose nipples let the wound up spokes
unwind themselves, which will make a sort of creaking noise as it
happens. To let more spokes de-stress, turn the wheel round by a few
degrees, and repeat the leaning. When you have gone all the way
round, and turned the wheel over and done it from the other side,
there should be no more creaking, which means the spokes will no
longer try to unwind themselves.

Actually, after you have de-stressed the wheel it will probably be
worth while to true the wheel again, to get it exactly right.

I will let somebody else talk about wheel truing

Jeremy Parker
 
M

Martin Dann

Guest
Ace wrote:
> On Wed, 11 Jul 2007 17:37:45 +0100, Paul Boyd <[email protected]>
> wrote:
>
>> Lots of people on here say how easy it is to build a wheel. I remain
>> unconvinced though!
>>
>> So, has anyone taken the plunge and built a wheel that was a success
>> first time round?

>
> Yupp. As I said up there ^^^ I followed Sheldon's destructions and had
> no problems. The only thing I did differently was dispense with the
> 'dishing tool' that he shows you how to make.


I did not dish my first wheel whilst tensioning it. (A
front wheel).
All I did was calculate the difference in length between
the left and right spokes, measure (or guestimate) the
thread pitch. When lacing the wheel I then tightened the
spokes on the short spoke side the extra bit to centre the
wheel.

When I finished tensioning and trueing the wheel, it
looked dished enough by eye so I used it like that.

Martin.
 
I

Ian Smith

Guest
On Wed, 11 Jul 2007, Paul Boyd <[email protected]> wrote:

> Lots of people on here say how easy it is to build a wheel. I remain
> unconvinced though!


I was unconvinced right up until I'd finished my first.

> So, has anyone taken the plunge and built a wheel that was a
> success first time round? Experienced wheel-builders seem to knock
> them out for a past-time (but unless you're doing it professionally
> why do you need to keep building wheels?), but I'd like to hear
> from people who might have just built one or two without any
> problems :)


My first one was a bit time-consuming and I partly laced it wrong and
had to dismantle and re-do half the spokes. I needed to tweak it
after a few hundred miles. My second never had any maintenance ever.

If you take it slow and steady, your first while might take a bit of
time, but it will be better than a machine-built wheel. Your second
will be much better - probably as good as you can buy without tracking
down a world expert (but of course you'll take longer than someone
that's practised).

> I was horrified to notice a very badly worn rear rim yesterday, and
> I will admit to chickening out and buying a wheel from the BoB


I once bought a wheel from them because they had a particular hub and
rim I wanted. So of course, I also needed spokes and they were going
to charge me more to work out the spokes to go with the hub and rim
I'd selected than they would to build the wheel. I couldn't
understand that - they had to work out the spoke length to build the
wheel themselves, but charged me less if they did that and then went
on to do more work than if they stopped after having got the spoke
length.

Your second wheel should be as good as you get from them (in that my
BoB wheel has never needed attention, and my own 2nd wheel has never
needed attention).

Just do it - you know you want to.

regards, Ian SMith
--
|\ /| no .sig
|o o|
|/ \|
 
P

Paul Boyd

Guest
On 11/07/2007 20:31, Ian Smith said,

> Your second wheel should be as good as you get from them (in that my
> BoB wheel has never needed attention, and my own 2nd wheel has never
> needed attention).


I had a wheel from them a couple of years ago, and it is still as tight
and true as it was new.

> Just do it - you know you want to.


I do, don't I? When the new wheel arrives, I'll strip down the old one
and have a go at rebuilding it. Then I might well wonder why I paid for
a new one (although from what you've said it might be cheaper than
buying the bits anyway. Uh?)

--
Paul Boyd
http://www.paul-boyd.co.uk/
 
T

Tony Raven

Guest
Paul Boyd wrote:
> Lots of people on here say how easy it is to build a wheel. I remain
> unconvinced though!
>
> So, has anyone taken the plunge and built a wheel that was a success
> first time round? Experienced wheel-builders seem to knock them out for
> a past-time (but unless you're doing it professionally why do you need
> to keep building wheels?), but I'd like to hear from people who might
> have just built one or two without any problems :)
>


My first ones took a long time to get right because of inexperience but
have performed well. As I built more wheels I found I spent less time
reading the instructions and so building goes quicker plus I now know
what needs to be done rather than tentatively experimenting.

Tony
 
N

Nick Maclaren

Guest
In article <[email protected]>,
Ace <[email protected]> writes:
|> On Wed, 11 Jul 2007 17:37:45 +0100, Paul Boyd <[email protected]>
|> wrote:
|>
|> >Lots of people on here say how easy it is to build a wheel. I remain
|> >unconvinced though!
|> >
|> >So, has anyone taken the plunge and built a wheel that was a success
|> >first time round?
|>
|> Yupp. As I said up there ^^^ I followed Sheldon's destructions and had
|> no problems. The only thing I did differently was dispense with the
|> 'dishing tool' that he shows you how to make. I found that putting the
|> wheel in the frame (upside-down, of course) and attaching a couple of
|> allen keys or similar with sticky tape allowed trueing to be simply
|> performed and a similar arrangement at 90deg to get the wheel properly
|> centred.

I did the same, except WITHOUT reading any instructions!

Yes, my first ones took forever, and I misestimated the length of the
spokes, so had to file them down, but I didn't have any major problems.
As I have said before, that is building a wheel (i.e. with a model to
copy) - designing a wheel is something I have not done, and would need
instructions for.

And, as other people observed, even my first wheel outperformed the
ones I bought.


Regards,
Nick Maclaren.
 
A

Alan Braggins

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, Paul Boyd wrote:
>Lots of people on here say how easy it is to build a wheel. I remain
>unconvinced though!
>
>So, has anyone taken the plunge and built a wheel that was a success
>first time round? Experienced wheel-builders seem to knock them out for
>a past-time (but unless you're doing it professionally why do you need
>to keep building wheels?),


Because you enjoy it and have friends who appreciate hand-built wheels?
Just a guess.

but I'd like to hear from people who might
>have just built one or two without any problems :)


I've built two without problems, but one was a 20" wheel which is
likely to be strong even if not well built (and it is using the wrong
size spokes, a rim from a scrap bike, and a 25 year old SA hub), and
the other was for a spare bike that doesn't get used much (and was using
a used freehub, used rim, and re-using spokes), so I can't really claim
too much for them.
 
B

Ben C

Guest
On 2007-07-11, Paul Boyd <[email protected]> wrote:
> Lots of people on here say how easy it is to build a wheel. I remain
> unconvinced though!
>
> So, has anyone taken the plunge and built a wheel that was a success
> first time round? Experienced wheel-builders seem to knock them out for
> a past-time (but unless you're doing it professionally why do you need
> to keep building wheels?), but I'd like to hear from people who might
> have just built one or two without any problems :)


I did just that about a year ago, using only the instructions on
Sheldon's site, which are excellent, plus a bit of other RBT wisdom
(linseed, avoid excessive tension).

I practised a bit on an old wheel by taking it apart completely and
putting it back together again a couple of times.

With new rims I found that if you're careful to bring the tension up
evenly (counting turns) the wheel becomes close to true as soon as you
start getting some tension in, perhaps because the parts are all made to
a fairly good precision. Dishing wasn't hard either: you don't need a
dishing gauge, just measure distance from one side of the "stand", flip
the wheel around and measure again from the same side.

Getting the lacing right is easy if you follow the Sheldon doc.

Anyway these new wheels came out very true and round and I've ridden a
few thousand km on them and not touched them since. And I'm fairly
cack-handed usually with this kind of thing, so it can't be that
difficult.

> I was horrified to notice a very badly worn rear rim yesterday, and I
> will admit to chickening out and buying a wheel from the BoB (who do
> know how to build wheels!). I will at least have my old wheel to
> practise on, I suppose for the future!


The problem with buying complete wheels is either they're boutique
wheelsouttaboxes (boo hiss) or you get one-size-fits-all things like a
hub with a flange for a disk in a rim that's meant for caliper brakes;
or it just doesn't have the hub you want or the rim you want etc.

Besides I wanted Campag hubs and almost no-one even sells the hubs in
LBSes I could find, let alone wheels built up with them in.
 
P

Paul Boyd

Guest
Ben C said the following on 11/07/2007 22:32:

> Anyway these new wheels came out very true and round and I've ridden a
> few thousand km on them and not touched them since. And I'm fairly
> cack-handed usually with this kind of thing, so it can't be that


Sounds promising! Thanks for your comments.

> The problem with buying complete wheels is either they're boutique
> wheelsouttaboxes (boo hiss) or you get one-size-fits-all things like a
> hub with a flange for a disk in a rim that's meant for caliper brakes;
> or it just doesn't have the hub you want or the rim you want etc.


The BoB sell exactly the hub/rim combination I wanted - they're not "you
get what you get" wheels. This is why I bought from them. Anyway, they
are one of my LBSs, sort of :)

Actually, in this context they shouldn't really be called the BoB.
Postage for a wheel was only a fiver - they used to charge that to post
a valve cap!

--
Paul Boyd
http://www.paul-boyd.co.uk/
 
D

Dave Larrington

Guest
In news:[email protected],
Paul Boyd <[email protected]> tweaked the Babbage-Engine to tell us:

> So, has anyone taken the plunge and built a wheel that was a success
> first time round? Experienced wheel-builders seem to knock them out
> for a past-time (but unless you're doing it professionally why do you
> need to keep building wheels?), but I'd like to hear from people who
> might have just built one or two without any problems :)



I used Sheldon's intructions and had no problems, though the first couple I
did were front ones, one raidially-spoked and one 1x. The first rear one I
built lasted precisely sixteen hours, as TWFKAML rather foolishly rode down
the nearside of a lorry at the lights and was knocked down. The lorry drove
over both wheels and serenely into the distance.

--
Dave Larrington
<http://www.legslarry.beerdrinkers.co.uk>
und keine Eie.
 
R

Rob Morley

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, Paul Boyd
[email protected]lid says...
> Lots of people on here say how easy it is to build a wheel. I remain
> unconvinced though!
>
> So, has anyone taken the plunge and built a wheel that was a success
> first time round?


Hehe. :)

> Experienced wheel-builders seem to knock them out for
> a past-time (but unless you're doing it professionally why do you need
> to keep building wheels?)


Once your friends know you do it they're often happy to let you practice
on theirs.

> but I'd like to hear from people who might
> have just built one or two without any problems :)


First one I built was actually a rebuild to replace some chewed and
broken spokes - I didn't know that you had to get the right length so I
just asked the bloke in the shop for some spokes for a 27" wheel and
used what he gave me. I chopped out all the old ones without looking at
them carefully, as a result of which I got the lacing wrong at the first
attempt (make sure you can get to the valve!) and all the spokes were a
bit on the long side, but I got it together in the end and (after a lot
of filing of spoke ends) it worked fine.
>
> I was horrified to notice a very badly worn rear rim yesterday, and I
> will admit to chickening out and buying a wheel from the BoB (who do
> know how to build wheels!). I will at least have my old wheel to
> practise on, I suppose for the future!
>

If the existing spokes are OK and you can get another rim that will let
you use the same spoke length it's easy to swap rims without unlacing
the wheel - just slacken the spokes, tape the new rim to the old one and
swap the spokes one at a time.
 
P

Paul Boyd

Guest
Rob Morley said the following on 12/07/2007 10:15:

> If the existing spokes are OK and you can get another rim that will let
> you use the same spoke length it's easy to swap rims without unlacing
> the wheel - just slacken the spokes, tape the new rim to the old one and
> swap the spokes one at a time.


I did consider just changing the rim, but the hub itself is starting to
show signs of wear. Considering I don't think I've ever touched it in
over 10 years it's not done at all badly!

--
Paul Boyd
http://www.paul-boyd.co.uk/
 
S

Sandy Morton

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, Paul Boyd
<[email protected]> wrote:
> So, has anyone taken the plunge and built a wheel that was a
> success first time round? Experienced wheel-builders seem to knock
> them out for a past-time (but unless you're doing it professionally
> why do you need to keep building wheels?), but I'd like to hear
> from people who might have just built one or two without any
> problems :)


EBC made a video of wheel building which was pretty good and it also
came with a printed book of instructions.
 
T

Tosspot

Guest
Paul Boyd wrote:
> Lots of people on here say how easy it is to build a wheel. I remain
> unconvinced though!
>
> So, has anyone taken the plunge and built a wheel that was a success
> first time round? Experienced wheel-builders seem to knock them out for
> a past-time (but unless you're doing it professionally why do you need
> to keep building wheels?), but I'd like to hear from people who might
> have just built one or two without any problems :)


Built about 6 now[1], no problems from the word go. Some for friends,
some get taccoed due to bike-tree interactions and some get stoved in by
drunken passers by with nothing better to do.

> I was horrified to notice a very badly worn rear rim yesterday, and I
> will admit to chickening out and buying a wheel from the BoB (who do
> know how to build wheels!). I will at least have my old wheel to
> practise on, I suppose for the future!


Eh? Do it! Just buy the same rim and reuse the spokes, what have you
to lose?

[1] Ok, I *actually* built 10-12 because i've un-laced them and started
again a few times :(
 
T

Tosspot

Guest
Paul Boyd wrote:
> On 11/07/2007 20:31, Ian Smith said,
>
>> Your second wheel should be as good as you get from them (in that my
>> BoB wheel has never needed attention, and my own 2nd wheel has never
>> needed attention).

>
>
> I had a wheel from them a couple of years ago, and it is still as tight
> and true as it was new.
>
>> Just do it - you know you want to.

>
>
> I do, don't I? When the new wheel arrives, I'll strip down the old one
> and have a go at rebuilding it. Then I might well wonder why I paid for
> a new one (although from what you've said it might be cheaper than
> buying the bits anyway. Uh?)


It's like being able to splice rope or cut a deck of cards exactly in
half, no real point, just very satisfying :)
 
S

Simon Brooke

Guest
in message <[email protected]>, Jeremy Parker
('[email protected]') wrote:

> There is, or at least was, a book, "Sutherland's Handbook for Cycle
> Mechanics" which has tables of spoke lengths needed for different
> makes of hub and rim.  The book has got thicker, and more expensive,
> over the years, but I imagine bike shops would have a copy, or some
> equivalent.


They certainly do. The one usually recommended is this one:
http://www.damonrinard.com/spocalc.htm

But there's also this one:
http://www.dtswiss.com/spokescalc/welcome.aspx?language=en
(by DT Swiss - they make hubs, rims and spokes so ought to know what
they're talking about)

This one:
http://www.geocities.com/d_halem/wheel/wheel.html

This one:
http://www.machinehead-software.co.uk/bike/spokes/spoke_length_calculator.html

This one:
http://www.wheelpro.co.uk/spokecalc/

And dozens of others.

--
[email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/
Ye hypocrites! are these your pranks? To murder men and give God thanks?
Desist, for shame! Proceed no further: God won't accept your thanks for
murther
-- Robert Burns, 'Thanksgiving For a National Victory'