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  1. #1
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    Hope should I bother to build my first wheel..?

    I have worked on bikes a long time, my own bikes. So I do well if I spend enough time on it. Have done about everything but build a wheel. I have trued wheels a lot. I also restore cars and am car mechanic recently after another career option failed, so just saying I can be pretty detail oriented.

    Have a wheel that the rim is taco'd, its for my daughter's bike 26" v brake wheel. Has a bonteger asym rim on it, and its a SLX hub.

    Ok, tempting to get a rim and watch some videos / read up on it and try it, but I am wondering if I am just being stubborn? I realize you need to have correct length spokes, and unless I was able to find the same rim would likely need different ones. I imagine shops have piles of different lengths to try, I would not have that sort of luxury.

    I don't need a How To - that's probably elsewhere already, but should I just get a new wheel and forget about it? I always wanted to try wheel building, but seems a bit intimidating getting it right and getting right spokes / rim to match the spoke count, etc.

  2. #2
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    Definitely do it! Use DT swiss's spoke length calculator and measure the rim and hub yourself. Its very easy to get measurements and order the correct length spokes. Shops definitely dont try spoke lengths either, just measure once and use the right ones. The online calcs really simplify the process.

    Its only intimidating until you try If you can true, you can build. Its a good skill to have, and its really a good feeling to ride your own handbuilt creations.

  3. #3
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    Thanks...that is encouraging. This is for my daughter's hard tail bike, not super light but schwinn moab. She won't be jumping, just XC. She is about 80 lbs and skinny (but growing). What spoke is recommended, a tapered one? I guess a DT website would have a lot of info...have to check that. Its been a fun build and she's learning a lot! Guess I can learn some stuff too!

  4. #4
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    Danscomp.com has sapim race spokes for 40 cents a piece in any length you need. They're double butted spokes and extremely high quality (basically the industry standard "good" spoke).

    Our own Mike T has a very informative site about DIY wheelbuilding. Sheldon browns site is also very good, and park tools has info too.

  5. #5
    turtles make me hot
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    Absolutely build your own wheels. I started a few years ago and love doing it.
    I figured if I can build engines and diesel injection pumps, I can do it.
    Just built one for a friend today.
    I like turtles

  6. #6
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    Do it. Its not that hard as long as you're not trying to do it fast enough to make a living at it. I usually have my shop calculate the spoke lengths for me. I just take in the hub, go in, order then rim I want, and have them calculate and supply the proper length spokes.

  7. #7
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    Thanks folks, one last thing...do I need a dishing tool, truing stand, or can I just use the upside down frame? Looks like I need to do research on those sites you folks recommended. Unfortunately, time to mow the grass right now. Man, if I get the hang of this...lookout! I could see reworking some more wheels on my bikes.

  8. #8
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    You can get by without the dishing tool. The truing stand is a big help though. REI is having a 20% off sale right now. You could get a Park TS2 for about $200.

  9. #9
    turtles make me hot
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    I love my TS-2. I just use a known wheel to set up the stand.
    I like turtles

  10. #10
    db9
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    I have been using a old fork for a long time.. you can make a dish tool from some wood (on the cheap till you feel like investing in one) or just measure to the 'fork' using a scale and flipping the wheel... (depending upon method)

    Then bought one of these..
    Feedback Sports TRS-80R Truing Stand Tools Reviews

    not as expensive as the Park (Park wasn't in my budget)

    Have fun..

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirkdaddy View Post
    Thanks folks, one last thing...do I need a dishing tool, truing stand, or can I just use the upside down frame? Looks like I need to do research on those sites you folks recommended. Unfortunately, time to mow the grass right now. Man, if I get the hang of this...lookout! I could see reworking some more wheels on my bikes.
    Read my site. All you really need is the correct spoke wrench; everything else is a luxury that doesn't guarantee a better or faster job (and 'fast' is the last thing you should be concerned about).

    Do it. You will be so glad that you did.
    Mike The Bike's home wheelbuilding info - dedicated to providing Newby wheelbuilder information and motivation.

  12. #12
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    I have a 50 dollar stand from performance bike and I love it. I wont even bother trying to build a wheel on a bike, its an ergonomic nightmare. I can do it, but no thanks! I think its worth it to buy a stand.

    I agree that no tool guarantees a better job, but the stands are mostly about ergonomics. Its a lot easier to build one on a stand, on a table.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    I wont even bother trying to build a wheel on a bike, its an ergonomic nightmare. I can do it, but no thanks! I think its worth it to buy a stand.
    I agree that no tool guarantees a better job, but the stands are mostly about ergonomics. Its a lot easier to build one on a stand, on a table.
    I used my frame & fork for almost 50 years and never had an issue with that. I now have a stand (given to me). My wheels are no better (and no worse either). I can't say it's anymore hard/easy either way. In more recent years my titanium frame and carbon fork were probably the world's most expensive stand and certainly more rigid than any other. What was I missing?
    Mike The Bike's home wheelbuilding info - dedicated to providing Newby wheelbuilder information and motivation.

  14. #14
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    I build wheels at my computer desk while watching movies. I cant fit a bike on my desk. I could probably plop a bike on my dinner table and do it there, but that has its own issues on a coffee table doing the rear wheel on the bike is still awkward. Using the fork is much easier, the chainstays dont offer the best visibility while truing. Using zipties for feelers gets cumbersome.

    Ive been everywhere in the last few years from pretty well off, to dead broke and back in college. I can appreciate anyones financial situation. If 50-100 bucks isnt in the budget now, sure do it on the bike. If you dont mind some cash for a tool, definitely go for the stand! If you're feeling creative, its pretty easy to build your own as well.

  15. #15
    A wheelist
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    I build wheels at my computer desk while watching movies. I cant fit a bike on my desk. I could probably plop a bike on my dinner table and do it there, but that has its own issues on a coffee table doing the rear wheel on the bike is still awkward. Using the fork is much easier, the chainstays dont offer the best visibility while truing. Using zipties for feelers gets cumbersome.
    Ive been everywhere in the last few years from pretty well off, to dead broke and back in college. I can appreciate anyones financial situation. If 50-100 bucks isnt in the budget now, sure do it on the bike. If you dont mind some cash for a tool, definitely go for the stand! If you're feeling creative, its pretty easy to build your own as well.
    My whole goal for many years, with my home-wheelbuilding site, is not to place any negatives in front of the Newbs. So just because you can stand the distraction of movies and have the luxury of a computer desk to build wheels shouldn't have a bearing on info for Newbies. I find that giving them the lowest common denominator (a spoke wrench and some form of lube plus your bike is all you really need) encourages far more of them than scaring them off with "ergonomic nightmares" and "chainstays dont offer the best visibility" (I use my thumb these days and don't have to look; feel is all I need) and "zipties for feelers gets cumbersome" (see my last comment in brackets). Yes, IMO, zip-ties are the worst thing I've ever tried for wobble indicators. For me the best way is a toss-up between the audio value of my screwdriver and the tactile feel of my thumb.

    Of course the differences in delivery could be why I've encouraged thousands of people that they can build wheels easily and cheaply and probably you haven't.
    Mike The Bike's home wheelbuilding info - dedicated to providing Newby wheelbuilder information and motivation.

  16. #16
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    If my suggestion for buying a cheap truing stand scares anyone off from building, by all means dont buy it and use your bike. I think its good that people know the cheap stands are out there, and work great and build quality is completely unrelated to the tools used. I dont think the money scares people off from giving it a try, I think the perception of it being difficult does. Its easy to do, many of us think its even easier with a stand instead of a bike though.

  17. #17
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    I'm a tool junkie. I stepped up and bought a TS-2 figuring just truing and building wheels for myself would pay off. After a few years, I landed a gig building wheels for a small specialty shop. Now, the stand has paid for itself a couple of times over.
    Having the high quality stand definitely made learning to true easier. I can do a fatbike wheel in about 40 minutes start to finish since they're single wall.
    I just gotta get my son to do the spokeprep... I hate applying that stuff. It's time consuming.
    I like turtles

  18. #18
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    Ok, a dumb question again - I have been looking now for about a week on and off in spare time for a reasonable, light budget 26" rim brake rear 32 spoke rim. Two local shops have no rims, just wheels, Performance Bike, NO. Nashbar No. Ebay - none that fit criteria, Amazon - no. Jensen - yea, but spendy for a kids budget bike. WTH? Where are you guys getting the rims for these builds?

  19. #19
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    Oh and I checked with a bike-friendly neighbor and he has both a truing stand, dishing tool and a spoke tension gauge! BING! Plus the PDF file for building. Just need the dumb rim.

  20. #20
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    I believe mavic makes the 719 in rim brake still. Its a STRONG rim, but its nothing special, all things considered. It'll built a very long-lasting wheel though.

  21. #21
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    Velocity Aeroheat.
    I like turtles

  22. #22
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    I just had a SCORE on Ebay. I needed a pair of vee brake compatible 700c rims for my mom. Found a seller with a pair of Sunringle' CR18 rims for 28 bucks. I grabbed em. Box comes, I open it up, there's 4 rims in it.
    Not sure when I'll ever need them, but it sure will be cool when I need em and I have em.
    I like turtles

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirkdaddy View Post
    Ok, a dumb question again - I have been looking now for about a week on and off in spare time for a reasonable, light budget 26" rim brake rear 32 spoke rim. Two local shops have no rims, just wheels, Performance Bike, NO. Nashbar No. Ebay - none that fit criteria, Amazon - no. Jensen - yea, but spendy for a kids budget bike. WTH? Where are you guys getting the rims for these builds?
    At this point 26er rim brake MTB wheels should be basically free. At the last bike swap our club did you could buy a set for $10, and nobody was buying.

  24. #24
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    Yea, I did find a complete wheel set on ebay that would be nice the colors even match the bike frame, retro, but have to deal with seller, he has a "reserve" like they are worth something. I have two fronts already, a rear with a bad rim.

    We live in flat Houston and daughter is light, the Avid SD brakes I'm installing got me through Moab just fine years ago with more than enough power, so for this bike will be fine. If she take more of shine to it and out grows this bike we'll give it to her sister and she can get a newer one. Plus disks are heavier and more maintenance IMHO, those SD brakes are bulletproof.

  25. #25
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    I just built my first wheel and it was easier than I thought it would be. Granted, its for my son's 20" bike and wont have a heavyweight hack like me abusing it. But, it was still really fun to give it a try. I just found great instructions online (Sheldon Brown's site) and got down to it. If you are just careful and follow the instruction perfectly, getting it laced up is no problem. The tensioning and truing took some patience, but if you take your time and make small adjustments, its really not that nard. I just used the bike itself and some "home made tools" (See the section on the Sheldon Brown website) as the truing stand. It took me 2-3 hours all up, but that including watchin TV and drinking a few beers while I was at it! When I was done, I was pretty impressed and was happy I tried it.

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