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  1. #1
    Formerly PaintPeelinPbody
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    At What Point Do You Start Your Own Wheelwork?

    I like bikes. I've been riding them since I could barely walk, and I still do 30 years later (like many of you).

    Like many long-term riders with mechanical aptitude, I can do pretty much any service necessary on my bikes. Repacking loose bearings, cutting steerer tubes, installing headsets, rebuilding suspension and droppers and brakes, pulling bearings and setting wheels up tubeless.

    I have never, however, learned how to properly build or true a wheel.

    Now, I can do basic truing, IE enough to get me home, but nothing serious.

    In the last two years alone, I've spent probably $200 just on wheel servicing at my local shops. This is one just two sets of wheels, one 28h XC wheelset I never ride (but everytime I do it gets bent so it will be replaced with another 32h wheelset) and one 32h wheelset that is generally reliable except for busted spokes. Whether it's truing wheels, retensioning spokes, replacing busted spokes or nipples. Not to mention running around town having to drop-off and pick-up wheels, I'm spending a lot of time keeping the wheels straight.

    Why don't I just buy the tool necessary to start doing it myself? At what point do I just start doing all my own wheelwork?
    GIS/GPS Pro using ArcFM for Utility Mapping - Always willing to connect with other MTBers in the industry.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post

    At what point do I just start doing all my own wheelwork?
    When your disposable income decides it's time.
    A bad day of cycling is better than a good day at work

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  3. #3
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    I tried building a BMX wheel when I was 14y.o. and the spaghetti mess kept me from trying again for another 35 years. My first step was to buy a good truing stand, dish gauge & tensiometer - I know a lot of builders can get by w/o tools they deem fancy but having the proper tools really did help me start my own building. Once built I am still amazed I have not had to re-tension / true like builds done elsewhere.

  4. #4
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    When you bring a broken spoke to the bike shop and they say sure, take a ticket, we don't stock any spokes, we'll have it for you next Wednesday, minimum charge is $35, and then you go look and see the price of a spoke and a spoke wrench is <$10 tomorrow via Amazon Prime

  5. #5
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    Everything short of building your own wheels can easily be accomplished with minimal tools and skills. Even the mechanically challenged can learn to true a wheel, replace a few broken spokes and even tension the spokes by 'plucking' within a reasonably acceptable tolerance.

    If you're regularly 'bending' wheels, that is most likely a tension issue that can easily be corrected on your own.
    A bad day of cycling is better than a good day at work

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  6. #6
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    I learned recently, although it was more out of interest than necessity or for cost savings.

    A good (used) truing stand will run you $150, and a spoke tension gauge will cost at least $50, so it's going to take some time to recoup those costs. If you buy better wheels with that same money, you're much less likely to need to ever true them.

    Other than that, I enjoy having the ability to do it but it isn't a particularly enjoyable thing to do. Building wheels is kind of a pain, and truing them is a short process.

    Anyways, not trying to encourage/discourage you. Just know what you're in for! It was the only thing I didn't know how to repair and I'm glad I conquered that mole hill. There are a lot of educational videos on youtube and this is an excellent book: http://caravan.hobby.ru/materiel/Bic...bst_Brandt.pdf

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Porch View Post
    I If you buy better wheels with that same money, you're much less likely to need to ever true them.
    There's a lot of truth in that statement.

    With a properly built wheel, you are not gonna be spending much time truing your wheel. I have wheelsets that have 5 or 6 thousand miles on them, many tire swaps and they don't get baby'd that require very little attention.
    A bad day of cycling is better than a good day at work

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  8. #8
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    At What Point Do You Start Your Own Wheelwork?

    When what you want doesn't exist? Wheel building was easy to learn and is a great skill to have! I can't wait till my next build, if only I could decide on what they'll be!!!

    These are really helpful and all you need other than a few basic tools:

    Wheels

    https://www.parktool.com/product/spo...ion-meter-tm-1 (may not need this, but it's so reassuring!)

    I bought this and am quite happy I did: https://www.wheelpro.co.uk/wheelbuilding/book.php
    Cool heads prevail

  9. #9
    BOOM goes the dynamite!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleared2land View Post
    When your disposable income decides it's time.
    This, or when you decide you want to. I put the effort in to learn when the wheels I really wanted cost about the same as the parts. I already had a truing stand and don't use a tensionometer. It IS a bit of a pain (especially the first few), but I get a certain satisfaction doing it myself.

    The cost savings will come if I ever kill a wheel and need to rebuild since I can re-use the hubs, which can get quite pricey for the better ones. Still hasn't happened, but if OP's in that boat then it could be the time.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    I'm spending a lot of time keeping the wheels straight.

    Why don't I just buy the tool necessary to start doing it myself? At what point do I just start doing all my own wheelwork?
    You are at the point of doing it yourself. A second hand Park stand, a couple of tools and that 28h set that won't stay true are all you need.

    A book or two, or a video or two combined with a patient, "I enjoy learning new skills" attitude and your new problem will be how to stop building multiple wheelsets for all your bikes
    Bicycles don't have motors.

  11. #11
    A wheelist
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleared2land View Post
    Everything including of building your own wheels can easily be accomplished with minimal tools and skills. Even the mechanically challenged can learn to true a wheel, replace a few broken spokes, build wheels and even check relative tension of the spokes by 'plucking' within a very acceptable tolerance.
    Fixed that for ya.
    Mike T's home wheelbuilding site - dedicated to providing Newby wheelbuilders with information and motivation.

  12. #12
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    Thanks!

    Comprehensive site that you have.
    A bad day of cycling is better than a good day at work

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  13. #13
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    It was all about downtime for me. A busted wheel means you're out for likely two weeks during summer. Locally, the quality of work was bad enough that you could count on needing work, frequently.

    Got tired of that. Wheel building is easy! If you're less experienced, it can take longer but even new guys can do excellent work. It's incredibly satisfying to ride what you made too. Even a long wheel build is just hours, not weeks like a busy shop can take.

    In short, the time to start was last week. Go go go!

  14. #14
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    I've built a few sets and it started for me when I get bored over the winter. A few years back I was looking at new xc wheels and decided since I had time on my hands, so I went to my lbs and bought the parts. I also bought Roger Musson's wheel building book.
    Just this evening I picked up new hoops and spokes to build up a new set of cx wheels on some hubs I already have.
    Personally, I thoroughly enjoy the art of building a wheel. It's sort of cathartic for me. I also know when it's time to just spend the money. I took advantage of a good buy on some Nox wheels this year. First wheel set that I've bought in several years, but I couldn't have built them for what my lbs got them to me for.

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  15. #15
    turtles make me hot
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    I was riding for years and had never had a problem with wheels being straight. Maybe slightly on a 700c road wheel but nothing I couldn't handle with a spoke wrench on the bike.
    Then, when I was 37 or 38, I bought a FS 29er that was like 3500 bucks. My first real expensive bike. The wheels were crap. Any time I broke a spoke or needed a wheel trued, by the time I dropped it off, then got back from work and maybe make it to the shop before they closed, I might get my wheel back in two days. I thought to myself, I can build engines and fuel injection pumps and set up ring and pinions... I should be able to build a wheel.
    I read Sheldon Brown's wheelbuilding instructions and bought a Park TS-2. Went to it.
    I took to it like a duck to water. Now, I build whatever wheels I want, I build wheels for all my friends and sometimes, I even make a little money.
    If you're mechanically inclined and a little patient, you'll do fine.
    I like turtles

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    I like bikes. At what point do I just start doing all my own wheelwork?
    Right Now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T. View Post
    Fixed that for ya.
    Visit Mike T's site in his sig. It's the go-to instructional I send to friends who are interested in doing their first wheel build. Over time, we all develop our own techniques, but this is a solid way to get started with minimal investment in tools and time. And dozens and dozens, if not hundreds of wheels later, there's still no need for a truing stand as long as you have a bike the wheels fit into.

  17. #17
    A wheelist
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitsBoy View Post
    a solid way to get started with minimal investment in tools and time. And dozens and dozens, if not hundreds of wheels later, there's still no need for a truing stand as long as you have a bike the wheels fit into.
    I built my own wheels and some for friends using frame & fork for almost 50 years. That was mostly "because I could" rather than what I had to do. For me there was no draw-back to not having a commercially made stand. I'd still be doing it if good ol' Roger Musson hadn't taken pity of me! Now that I have one, the job of finishing (truing, tensioning etc) is no faster or accurate. The lack of special tools (other than a spoke wrench) should not be the excuse not to build wheels. Hence my site.
    Mike T's home wheelbuilding site - dedicated to providing Newby wheelbuilders with information and motivation.

  18. #18
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    Iíd say when you have the time. Itís not the cost. Truing stand, tension meter and all other tools plus the parts for the new wheel set cost less than a new pre built wheel set.
    Sure lots of items are used. But rims, spokes, nipples and front hub are all new.

    I just started this month. Collected all the parts and tools to build my mid-fat wheel set for summer riding. Once itís done itís time for wider rims on an existing trail bike...


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  19. #19
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    I start at the beginning and when I get to the end, I stop.
    Last edited by meltingfeather; 01-15-2018 at 07:30 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by pvd
    Time to stop believing the hype and start doing some science.
    29er Tire Weight Database

  20. #20
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    Personally, I am just a perfectionist and very picky about my gear. I realized that with just about any wheel set I ever own, I am going to want to pick out the hubs, rims, and spokes and not have to settle on "I like this hub set but the rim ID isn't really ideal". I have built quite a few wheel sets now and would never go back to buying machine built wheels. Not to say there is anything wrong with machine built, but I had a set of commuter wheels I built that saw thousands of miles and I think I slightly adjusted/trued them once in their lifetime.


    The other element is, building a quality set of wheels is a pretty involved process and you can really get picky with your quality. I find it rather enjoyable. Grab a good beer and build a set of wheels is a great Saturday night imo.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by DualRollers View Post
    Grab a good beer and build a set of wheels is a great Saturday night imo.
    Grab a BUNCH of really good beers and building a set of marginally unrideable wheels makes for an AMAZING saturday, but a horrific sunday morning. Maybe this is why I have to keep building wheels?

  22. #22
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    This is why I said *A* good beer...

    1 x 10% stout = more focus
    2 x 10% stout = unequal tension
    3 x 10% stout = wobbly offset wheel that doesn't even fit in the dropouts
    4 x 10% stout = hubs accidentally laced into the old 1962 Schwinn wheels laying in the corner
    5 x 10% stout = build wheels another day

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by DualRollers View Post
    This is why I said *A* good beer...

    1 x 10% stout = more focus
    2 x 10% stout = unequal tension
    3 x 10% stout = wobbly offset wheel that doesn't even fit in the dropouts
    4 x 10% stout = hubs accidentally laced into the old 1962 Schwinn wheels laying in the corner
    5 x 10% stout = build wheels another day
    This applies to more than wheels.


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  24. #24
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    You can reverse engineer how much I had to drink if my rims sound like a baby rattle from all the dropped nipples I have to shake out of the rims the next day.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cary View Post
    This applies to more than wheels.
    You certainly don't want a bad case of Whiskey-Disc (brakes)

  26. #26
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    NOTHING makes me insane like a rim with a nipple in it. The last set of wheels I paid to have built had that. I would never send a wheel off like that.
    I like turtles

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitsBoy View Post
    You can reverse engineer how much I had to drink if my rims sound like a baby rattle from all the dropped nipples I have to shake out of the rims the next day.
    Quote Originally Posted by NYrr496 View Post
    NOTHING makes me insane like a rim with a nipple in it. The last set of wheels I paid to have built had that. I would never send a wheel off like that.
    A used spoke will solve the lost nipple problem. Thread it into the back side of the nipple and put it into the hole rather than trying to drop it in. Then all you have to do is grab it, unscrew used spoke and continue as usual.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by noapathy View Post
    A used spoke will solve the lost nipple problem. Thread it into the back side of the nipple and put it into the hole rather than trying to drop it in. Then all you have to do is grab it, unscrew used spoke and continue as usual.
    Yes, I always use the extra spoke, or a q-tip with the bud cut off on every single wheel build. The problem is that I dont start until AFTER I lose a nipple or two in the rim! I'm lazy, so when doing he initial two trailing spoke sides, I just spin the nipples on by hand. Invariably, a few get hung up, and not enough spoke is protruding through the hole. Instead of doing the smart thing and putting everything back down, back threading a nipple onto a free spoke, I decide its better to drop the nipple into the rim and spend the next hour violently shaking the rim while screaming a long string of obscenities at full volume.

  29. #29
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    All this wheel building talk is getting me excited. I'm gonna go look at some rims...
    Cool heads prevail

  30. #30
    turtles make me hot
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    I use a pick to install nipples. Can't remember the last time I lost one in a rim.
    This is another reason I love building single wall fat wheels.
    I like turtles

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by noapathy View Post
    A used spoke will solve the lost nipple problem. Thread it into the back side of the nipple and put it into the hole rather than trying to drop it in. Then all you have to do is grab it, unscrew used spoke and continue as usual.
    That works if you've never beheld the glory of the coffee stirrer. Cut the tip off crooked, jam that puppy in there, and thread away. It's magical. Even better than a Q tip. Possibly better than the unior spoke assembly tool.


    Quote Originally Posted by NYrr496 View Post
    I use a pick to install nipples. Can't remember the last time I lost one in a rim.
    Can you make a short video of this?

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  32. #32
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    Step 1: get roger musson's ebook.
    It demistifies the whole thing.
    Building wheels is not hard.
    The hard thing is building them fast.
    You could start by doing the lacing and bringing the wheel to your shop for tensioning.
    There is zero art to lacing a wheel in the standard way via musson's book. Just do exactly as he says and it will come out beautifully.
    Then next wheel do the whole thing yourself.

    Personally I really like building wheels and will gladly do friends wheels for alcohol and food.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by NYrr496 View Post
    NOTHING makes me insane like a rim with a nipple in it. The last set of wheels I paid to have built had that. I would never send a wheel off like that.
    Just spent 30 minutes fishing a nipple that dropped off the nipple tool on the second to last spoke. Ahhhhhhh.


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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by NYrr496 View Post
    NOTHING makes me insane like a rim with a nipple in it. The last set of wheels I paid to have built had that. I would never send a wheel off like that.
    It's like solving a Rubicks cube getting one out sometimes.
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  35. #35
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    I started building my own wheels because I could build the wheel set I wanted cheaper than buying it prebuilt. I also like doing tedious work
    2016 Evil Following V1
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  36. #36
    turtles make me hot
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottzg View Post
    That works if you've never beheld the glory of the coffee stirrer. Cut the tip off crooked, jam that puppy in there, and thread away. It's magical. Even better than a Q tip. Possibly better than the unior spoke assembly tool.




    Can you make a short video of this?

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    NOOOO! A dental type pick. I use a Snap On with a screwdriver type handle. It offers a tight enough hold on the nipple where I can get it threaded about halfway onto the spoke threads.
    I like turtles

  37. #37
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    Learn. It's fun and not that hard. If you can do everything else on the bike you'll be able to build wheels. If you take your time and do it right the wheels will be fine.

    I have the Musson book and it is ideal. It includes instructions for a DIY truing stand, my mate built one and it's fine, works well.

  38. #38
    Wanna ride bikes?
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    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    OneSpeed approved nipple loader
    Hey, I got a bunch of similar things I use to set nails. I'm gonna find one that'll work as a nipple loader. Thanks for the idea!
    Cool heads prevail

  40. #40
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    This one may be a better design? I like how the end spins and that it's knurled along the whole thing. I'm curious but I don't build enough wheels to justify owning another tool, the one I have works great.

    Pin Vise Nipple Inserter - Wheel Fanatyk
    Rigid SS 29er
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    I like bikes. I've been riding them since I could barely walk, and I still do 30 years later (like many of you).
    29 years plus a few months ago. There's nothing complicated about it, if you truly have some mechanical aptitude. Rebuilding suspension or droppers is much, much more complicated.

    Hell, I've been riding as long as you, and I'm not sure I've spent $200 total on having someone else work on my bike in that time.

    I often say "if the minimum-wage nose-picker at the shop can do it, why can't you?"
    In your case, the shop isn't even doing a good job (if your wheels need a spoke wrench more than once a year, something is probably wrong). It's not like you'd do any worse.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    Those are really nice, but I just use a toothpick... which cost $0.0004 cents.

  43. #43
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    Tool- $15

    Shipping-$20

    Lol!
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  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joules View Post
    29 years plus a few months ago. There's nothing complicated about it, if you truly have some mechanical aptitude. Rebuilding suspension or droppers is much, much more complicated.

    Hell, I've been riding as long as you, and I'm not sure I've spent $200 total on having someone else work on my bike in that time.

    I often say "if the minimum-wage nose-picker at the shop can do it, why can't you?"
    In your case, the shop isn't even doing a good job (if your wheels need a spoke wrench more than once a year, something is probably wrong). It's not like you'd do any worse.
    I worked part time at a shop a while back just for the hell of it, and while there are some really smart very mechanically inclined guys that worked there, I watched a high school kid that worked there part time true a set of wheels one time. I had to walk away.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by DualRollers View Post
    Those are really nice, but I just use a toothpick... which cost $0.0004 cents.
    You know who else needs toothpicks big enough to fit snugly into a spoke nipple?

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  46. #46
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    Not sure if someone has said this yet, but if you build your own wheel it's not a do or die, right or wrong, throw it in the garbage if you don't get it perfect kind of thing, especially with a carbon rim. You can build the wheel as many times as it takes to get it right. The first wheel I built I brought it up to tension and completely de-tensioned it three times until I liked the way it turned out. It probably took a three or four hours first time through including lacing, then two hours the next time, then an hour or so the third time. Even if you only look at it from a time standpoint, that added up to a six or seven hours work, but I haven't needed to bring a wheel up to tension more than once since then, and I haven't had to drive 45 minutes each way to the LBS to have wheels trued or spokes replaced in the past three years.

  47. #47
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    At What Point Do You Start Your Own Wheelwork?

    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    This one may be a better design? I like how the end spins and that it's knurled along the whole thing. I'm curious but I don't build enough wheels to justify owning another tool, the one I have works great.

    Pin Vise Nipple Inserter - Wheel Fanatyk
    Donít go that website! Itís nothing more than a porn site of cool tools you canít afford.


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  48. #48
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    Lots of good information here...
    For me it was all because I broke my leg year before last and decided that I wanted to do something to my bike while I was still on crutches. The Roger Musson book was the best thing ever for that, includes plans for both a truing stand and dishing tool (I like wood working as well) so that was pretty much a done deal. From there it was just the ability to follow instructions, have some patience and find something else to watch while you go through the process. Yes you will make mistakes the first time, but they are easily reversible and thus make life much easier.

    For the nipple loader I tried the q-tip trick where you break one end off but that did not seem to hold the nipples quite as well as I had hoped (spent an hour getting a nipple out of the rim at one point). So I started rummaging around the house for another solution and what I found was in my wife's manicuring box. An Orangewood Stick, looks like below, but the wood is soft enough that it will not mar any metal surfaces but still strong enough that it can hold nipple threads to the point where you can easily thread a nipple on if you want. Best thing is they are stupid cheap and most everyone has them. Hell I have used them to remove seals from my Land Cruiser as well as my bike fork and shock without issue. Again they are strong pieces of wood but soft enough that they won't mar anything.

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  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cary View Post
    Donít go that website! Itís nothing more than a porn site of cool tools you canít afford.
    Yeah, but I really need one of these. besides, $280 for a dish gauge seems like a bargain when it looks like this. Wheel Fanatyk Wood Dishing Tool - Wheel Fanatyk

    If you really want to melt your CC, check out Abbey tools. https://www.abbeybiketools.com

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  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by smithcreek View Post
    You can build the wheel as many times as it takes to get it right. The first wheel I built I brought it up to tension and completely de-tensioned it three times until I liked the way it turned out. It probably took a three or four hours first time through including lacing, then two hours the next time, then an hour or so the third time.
    Just FYI, if anyone is thinking about trying this, please use Brass nipples (or a 4 sided spoke wrench). Or use an old wheel for practice. Aluminum nipples may not survive that much fiddling around.
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  51. #51
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    i have musson's book. just picking the right spoke lengths seems rather complicated. one day i might get a park and figure it out. until then i'll stick to truing.

  52. #52
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    I've had great success with Freespoke. I also made a really nice tool for checking ERD.
    Makes life easier.
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  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    Just FYI, if anyone is thinking about trying this, please use Brass nipples (or a 4 sided spoke wrench). Or use an old wheel for practice. Aluminum nipples may not survive that much fiddling around.
    Regardless of brass or aluminum, one of these is well worth the $7.00. I keep one in my travel kit also.

    www.wheelfanatyk.com/store/spokey-spoke-wrench/


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  54. #54
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    I followed this forum for several years and collected all the tips and tricks and rules of thumb and good practices shared by real experts. Then I needed new wheel. I figured out that when I present all my demands how the wheel must be built, tensioned, stress relieved, etc to my wheelbuilder, he will throw me with some heavy objects. So I started wheelbuilding to avoid injures.

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    Just FYI, if anyone is thinking about trying this, please use Brass nipples (or a 4 sided spoke wrench). Or use an old wheel for practice. Aluminum nipples may not survive that much fiddling around.
    I'm gonna be "that guy" and say just don't do aluminum nipples at all. The weight savings isn't worth any of the hassles or cost difference.

    Here's a tip on truing stands. If you don't want to build your own, you can get this stand for about $55 when performance is having one of their frequent sales. You'll have to buy qr adapter plugs to fasten any through axle hubs to the arms, but it's gotten me though many builds and is way better than Park's $100 budget stand with one arm.

    https://www.performancebike.com/bike...SA_Catch%20All

  56. #56
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    Also, the problem solvers nipple driver is my #1 must have tool. Keeps you from getting all bug eyed while trying to tighten each loose nipple to the same level before you start tensioning, and makes that step go a hell of a lot faster.

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by 92gli View Post
    I'm gonna be "that guy" and say just don't do aluminum nipples at all. The weight savings isn't worth any of the hassles or cost difference.
    If this is someones first wheel build? I fully agree. Once youre comfortable building, and have a 4 sided spoke wrench, and use high quality alloy nipples (I prefer Sapim Polyax) theres no reason not to use alloy. You can get alloy for 14 bucks for 72. Thats pretty cheap to save rotating weight.

    As for corrosion, that is indeed an issue on crappy alloy nipples, for both carbon and alloy rims. Personally, I ride the trails and bluffs at the beach at least weekly (salt water), and have not had any corrosion issues with carbon hoops in almost 2 years.

    But if you want to play it safe, go brass, its far more tolerant and forgiving.

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by 92gli View Post
    I'm gonna be "that guy" and say just don't do aluminum nipples at all. The weight savings isn't worth any of the hassles or cost difference.
    I'm going to be "that other guy" and say it's no big deal either way. True, the weight savings isn't much (~20g's per wheel?) but I've used them on every wheel I've built for myself and have not had one single problem with them, so I consider it weight savings without any penalty. I have a pair of road wheels over 20 years old that have been trued dozens of times and the alloy nipples are still in good shape. I use a plain old 3 sided park truing wrench.

    As for the cost, many spokes come with them free of charge. I say use whichever you want without fear, at least on aluminum rims.
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  59. #59
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    I've found most LBS's don't properly tension their wheel builds. I've never seen a bike shop mechanic use a tension gauge for a wheel build. Yes you can get tension even by listening to the sound it makes when plucked but you don't know the amount of tension.
    As far as truing stands I started with the Feedback Sports truing stand which is one sided. It's a fine stand for starting out the only downside is the constant flipping of the wheel to get it centered. I bought a used Park TS-2 much faster to build with but you need to make sure everything is centered properly with the stand. I'll be finishing a set of Nextie wheels for my FS this weekend. Then on to building a set of 29er wheels for my hard tail.
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    And if you're doing your first build and want to make it very easy use Chinese carbon rims. The stiffness makes truing almost unnecessary. The wheel isn't harsh riding like some very expensive carbon wheels either.

  61. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by 92gli View Post
    Also, the problem solvers nipple driver is my #1 must have tool. Keeps you from getting all bug eyed while trying to tighten each loose nipple to the same level before you start tensioning, and makes that step go a hell of a lot faster.
    Would that be the "Holy Driver"? lol

    Looks like you stick a piece of spoke in there and set the depth with the set screw on the handle?

    I made my own driver with an old flat head screwdriver bit and a bench grinder. I didn't go to the trouble of making a Musson style rotating driver, maybe I would if I was building lots of wheels.
    Cool heads prevail

  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by 92gli View Post
    I'm gonna be "that guy" and say just don't do aluminum nipples at all. The weight savings isn't worth any of the hassles or cost difference.

    Here's a tip on truing stands. If you don't want to build your own, you can get this stand for about $55 when performance is having one of their frequent sales. You'll have to buy qr adapter plugs to fasten any through axle hubs to the arms, but it's gotten me though many builds and is way better than Park's $100 budget stand with one arm.

    https://www.performancebike.com/bike...SA_Catch%20All
    I've used marbles to adapt through axels to an older truing stand.

  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElwoodT View Post
    I've used marbles to adapt through axels to an older truing stand.
    did you ever lose any marbles?

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by 92gli View Post
    Here's a tip on truing stands. If you don't want to build your own, you can get this stand for about $55 when performance is having one of their frequent sales. You'll have to buy qr adapter plugs to fasten any through axle hubs to the arms, but it's gotten me though many builds and is way better than Park's $100 budget stand with one arm.

    https://www.performancebike.com/bike...SA_Catch%20All
    Yep it works great. And I don't even have any thru axle adapters. They would be nice but still works fine without.

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    Just try it. Some people are natural wheel builders, some are not. The tools arenít the key, your mindset is. Use the bike as a work stand, tension to a nice high pitch, use cut q-tips for nipple loading. Buy a good spoke wrench, thatís all you need. Iíve done several sets of wheels, all have proven reliable. I went old school for the last set and used boiled linseed oil for the threads instead of green loctite like Iíve done in the past, end result is the same..

    For me, building a wheel is enjoyable. If it wasnít, Iíd pay someone in a heartbeat.

  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graveldad View Post
    tension to a nice high pitch
    Pitch is a very inaccurate way of tensioning spokes, good for comparison only. Get a Park TM-1 to keep on hand for both building and truing.

  67. #67
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    Park TM-1: $70

    Piece of mind knowing all of your wheels are accurately tensioned: Priceless!
    Cool heads prevail

  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cornfield View Post
    Park TM-1: $70

    Piece of mind knowing all of your wheels are accurately tensioned: Priceless!
    ^+1!
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  69. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cornfield View Post
    Park TM-1: $70

    Piece of mind knowing all of your wheels are accurately tensioned: Priceless!
    I also find it really helpful during tensioning to keep relative tensions close. True, then recheck, adjust relative tension, true and then increase tension. Keep repeating until full tension is reached.


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  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graveldad View Post
    I went old school for the last set and used boiled linseed oil for the threads instead of green loctite like Iíve done in the past, end result is the same.
    I've never glued a nipple on in my life and my end results are the same - no nipples come unscrewed. Try it - but you need sufficient tension.
    Mike T's home wheelbuilding site - dedicated to providing Newby wheelbuilders with information and motivation.

  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cary View Post
    I also find it really helpful during tensioning to keep relative tensions close.
    Yes, the first thing I do after installing the nipples, before even beginning to true, is to adjust the relative tensions. It makes truing much easier and more accurate.

  72. #72
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    I had a buddy bring his wheel over to get trued, and it had pretty blue aluminum nipples... every other one was seized and stripped the second you got a spoke wrench anywhere near it. Sure, they looked nice and matched his color scheme, but when it came time to maintain they were a nightmare. Personally I don't go near aluminum. The Sapim spokes I generally run come with brass nipples and they have never failed me, seized, or stripped out.

  73. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by DualRollers View Post
    I had a buddy bring his wheel over to get trued, and it had pretty blue aluminum nipples... every other one was seized and stripped the second you got a spoke wrench anywhere near it. Sure, they looked nice and matched his color scheme, but when it came time to maintain they were a nightmare.
    At some point that wheel has been mistreated, I have some 20 y/o well used wheels with pristine aluminum nipples that I can still adjust just fine if needed. Have built almost every wheel I've ever used with alloy and no problems.

    Salt can cause corrosion issues and they're not recommended for carbon but otherwise problems are user error, I've seen plenty of ruined brass nipples too.
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  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    At some point that wheel has been mistreated, I have some 20 y/o well used wheels with pristine aluminum nipples that I can still adjust just fine if needed. Have built almost every wheel I've ever used with alloy and no problems.

    Salt can cause corrosion issues and they're not recommended for carbon but otherwise problems are user error, I've seen plenty of ruined brass nipples too.
    I don't disagree. Aluminum seemed to be more prone to seizing though from what I saw. I could be wrong, but I feel like if that wheel had brass nipples on it there would have been far less issues... from the research I have done, it seems like brass has it's own lubricating property which helps with seized nipples.

  75. #75
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    It's easy! Thebiketube on youtube has some easy to understand videos that cover the basics.

    I'm a lightweight and build my wheels without a truing stand (i put the wheels in the frame and use a couple zipties as guides) nor do I have a tension wrench, but rather go off sound and how it feels when you pull the spokes. Squeeze/pull the spokes on a known good build to see what it should feel like. My wheels have survived many park runs and rockgardens. If I was a clydesdale I'd invest in a spoke tension meter. I get spokes and nipples from Yojimbo's garage on ebay. Boesheild T9 is good for protecting alloy nipples.

    Edit: I'm not saying that you should build wheels the ghetto way like me, just that it's not the rocket science some make it out to be.

  76. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitsBoy View Post
    Yes, I always use the extra spoke, or a q-tip with the bud cut off on every single wheel build. The problem is that I dont start until AFTER I lose a nipple or two in the rim! I'm lazy, so when doing he initial two trailing spoke sides, I just spin the nipples on by hand. Invariably, a few get hung up, and not enough spoke is protruding through the hole. Instead of doing the smart thing and putting everything back down, back threading a nipple onto a free spoke, I decide its better to drop the nipple into the rim and spend the next hour violently shaking the rim while screaming a long string of obscenities at full volume.

    Use a vacuum cleaner with empty bag and just suck it out
    Works great on DtSwiss rims.

  77. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cary View Post
    Regardless of brass or aluminum, one of these is well worth the $7.00. I keep one in my travel kit also.

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  78. #78
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    I just built my first wheelset and they came out great. The only specialty tool I used was a relatively inexpensive X-Tools tension meter. To dish the wheels, I cut a template out of cardboard and stuck a post it note to it to mark where the nut is. To true, I spun the wheels in the fork/frame with a post it note stuck to one side to see and hear high points. I have access to a truing stand but donít think I missed out on much doing it like I did at home.

  79. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by spaaarky21 View Post
    I just built my first wheelset and they came out great. The only specialty tool I used was a relatively inexpensive X-Tools tension meter. To dish the wheels, I cut a template out of cardboard and stuck a post it note to it to mark where the nut is. To true, I spun the wheels in the fork/frame with a post it note stuck to one side to see and hear high points. I have access to a truing stand but donít think I missed out on much doing it like I did at home.
    A truing stand makes it faster and a bit easier.


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  80. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cary View Post
    A truing stand makes it faster and a bit easier.


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    True, but only 2 tools are really needed to get started.
    A spoke wrench and patience.

  81. #81
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    I have a truing stand and still never use it.

    Most of my wheels are plus bike wheels stuffed in regular non-boost frames and forks. Dishing to the frame is mandatory with such tight clearances, especially with asymmetrical stays. Doing it in the bike allows me to handle both dish and true at the same time.

    My wife and son are quite accommodating (and accustomed) when it comes to having an upside-down bike in front of the couch, while we all watch TV. I suppose not everyone has this luxury.

  82. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cary View Post
    A truing stand makes it faster and a bit easier.
    I can imagine. Iím just saying that I didnít find one necessary, especially for how infrequently I would use it.

    Honestly, Iím a bit surprised to hear how often some people break spokes or need their wheels trued. The only time Iíve broken a spoke was when I tacoed a wheel after a bad landing. And Iíve only had a wheel significantly out of true maybe a handful of times in the past couple decades. What are people doing to their wheels? Or are they just obsessing over fine-tuning?

  83. #83
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    ^^^ The only time I have ever broken a spoke is when a foreign object like a stick has found it way into my wheel.
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  84. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by spaaarky21 View Post
    I can imagine. Iím just saying that I didnít find one necessary, especially for how infrequently I would use it.

    Honestly, Iím a bit surprised to hear how often some people break spokes or need their wheels trued. The only time Iíve broken a spoke was when I tacoed a wheel after a bad landing. And Iíve only had a wheel significantly out of true maybe a handful of times in the past couple decades. What are people doing to their wheels? Or are they just obsessing over fine-tuning?
    Absolutely not necessary. I can get a wheel just as true on the bike as on a stand, but it does take me longer. Also, having hit middle age, I find the stand more comfortable and it is easier to see.


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  85. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitsBoy View Post
    I have a truing stand and still never use it.

    Most of my wheels are plus bike wheels stuffed in regular non-boost frames and forks. Dishing to the frame is mandatory with such tight clearances, especially with asymmetrical stays. Doing it in the bike allows me to handle both dish and true at the same time.
    Why is dishing to the frame mandatory? Seems like you'd want the wheel centered unless the frame was bent. A truing stand allows you to accurately check dish and trueness at the same time, and in my experience it's far easier to do on a stand than on a bike.

    That's me though, to each their own.
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  86. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Why is dishing to the frame mandatory? Seems like you'd want the wheel centered unless the frame was bent. A truing stand allows you to accurately check dish and trueness at the same time, and in my experience it's far easier to do on a stand than on a bike.

    That's me though, to each their own.
    My parkwood is a perfect example of when this might be necessary. The frame is a 29er, however I am shoehorning 27.5+ wheels and tires in there. The chainstays are asymmetric, one side is standard tubing, and the other side is bent flat stock, to make a quick jog around the chainring. So where a 29" wheel with its slightly larger diameter might be perfect, a 27.5+ tire might not have equal clearance on either side. We're only talking a mm or two, but when clearance is as tight as 4 or 5mm, I really want even clearance on both sides.

    Here's a picture (apologies for not crediting the owner)
    At What Point Do You Start Your Own Wheelwork?-903710d1403739126-parkwood-20140625_092817.jpg

  87. #87
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    Step 2. Build your own truing stand according to the plans in Musson's book. I did just that and it works great. Cost me exactly$0 in materials

  88. #88
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    I have decided to learn how to build my own wheels after reading this thread. Thanks guys for the info and links. Read Mike T's site and ordered the RM ebook.

  89. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skooks View Post
    Step 2. Build your own truing stand according to the plans in Musson's book. I did just that and it works great. Cost me exactly$0 in materials
    That depends on your woodworking skills. I swear, no matter how careful I am, my cuts look like a drunk blind person was let loose with a saw. The only straight cuts I can make are with a table saw and a fence. Donít even get me going on trying to follow a curved line with a scroll saw.


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  90. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shark View Post
    I have decided to learn how to build my own wheels after reading this thread. Thanks guys for the info and links. Read Mike T's site and ordered the RM ebook.
    Excellent. Roger and I succeeded. Lets us know how you make out. Best (repeated) advise - go slow. No, really slow. Aim for perfection, then speed. After 5 decades I haven't got past the first one.
    Mike T's home wheelbuilding site - dedicated to providing Newby wheelbuilders with information and motivation.

  91. #91
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    ^^^ Measure twice and cut once.

    No matter how many times I cut this board, it's still too short.
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  92. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T. View Post
    Excellent. Roger and I succeeded. Lets us know how you make out. Best (repeated) advise - go slow. No, really slow. Aim for perfection, then speed. After 5 decades I haven't got past the first one.

    Not discounting that advice at all but it reminded me of my learning experience almost 40 years ago at the Schwinn factory school. Back then rim changes were more cost effective and therefore more common than replacing bent wheels so bike wrenches had to build a lot of them. Our instructor (Foos) had us lace and true about a dozen wheels a day focusing only on speed and not quality, and once were proficient at that we moved onto a little more detail in the truing process.

    I remember arguing with him about the need for more time to do a quality job but he was adamant about his methods. I learned the finer details later on my own but that week of building a ton of wheels still is still useful now even though I only build my own these days.
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  93. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Our instructor (Foos) had us lace and true about a dozen wheels a day focusing only on speed and not quality, and once were proficient at that we moved onto a little more detail in the truing process.
    That tells me all I need to know about Mr. Foos.
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  94. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Why is dishing to the frame mandatory? Seems like you'd want the wheel centered unless the frame was bent. A truing stand allows you to accurately check dish and trueness at the same time, and in my experience it's far easier to do on a stand than on a bike.
    More & more plus bike frames these days have an asymmetric rear end, if you dish the wheel such that the rim is centred on the hub it won't be centred on the frame and there's a good chance the tire will rub on the stays. Cannondale does the same thing on their FSI and Scalpel SI 29er race bikes to even out the tension balance between the two sides on the rear wheel.

    You can either true the wheel on the frame or figure out what the frame offset is and compensate for it on the truing stand.

  95. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T. View Post
    That tells me all I need to know about Mr. Foos.

    That he was good at his job? He taught me and I build a damn fine wheel if I do say so myself.
    I brake for stinkbugs

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    Quote Originally Posted by aerius View Post
    More & more plus bike frames these days have an asymmetric rear end, if you dish the wheel such that the rim is centred on the hub it won't be centred on the frame and there's a good chance the tire will rub on the stays. Cannondale does the same thing on their FSI and Scalpel SI 29er race bikes to even out the tension balance between the two sides on the rear wheel.

    You can either true the wheel on the frame or figure out what the frame offset is and compensate for it on the truing stand.

    I would hope the company(s) provides the offset specs.
    I brake for stinkbugs

  97. #97
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    You can very accurately measure your offset with a dish stick if you are using a truing stand... Sure, you can build wheels inside your dropout but it would be very hard to account for things like radial trueness. I have purchased rims that came out of the box looking like an egg before. By locking the wheel into your dropouts it's going to be really hard to check something like that.

    It's just like anything else mechanical. You can ghetto rig things and hamfist it enough where you get an end result that works. With something as important as your wheels though, why not put a little money into some quality tools that help you do a really good job?

  98. #98
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    When I was gathering info and parts for my first build, I found this video to be quite informative. It gives a good look at a Musson style stand and how it and the various tools and gauges are used.

    Cool heads prevail

  99. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    That he was good at his job? He taught me and I build a damn fine wheel if I do say so myself.
    No, that he encouraged newbs to put quantity above quality. If you don't have the time to do it right the first time then you sure as hell don't have time to do it a 2nd & 3rd time.
    Mike T's home wheelbuilding site - dedicated to providing Newby wheelbuilders with information and motivation.

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    I watched a ton of "how to video's" but these did the trick above all :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYl4...DQMoyv3YWMF8vQ

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NJw...DQMoyv3YWMF8vQ

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