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Need Wheel Building/Component Advise(8 posts)

Need Wheel Building/Component AdviseJBF
May 15, 2002 8:25 AM
I am about to build my first set of wheels and am seeking advise on just about everything. I am a 155 lb. recreational rider that rides about 50-100 miles a week. I am trying to keep costs down since this is my first attempt to build from scratch. Light weight is good, but I ride new england roads from early spring thru late fall so I do not want fragile wheels.


1. rims - thinking about velocity aeroheads or ? (anybody had experiance with Alex R390's at Nashbar?)
2. spoke counts front & rear - 28fr & 28rr OR 28/32 ?
3. spoke gauge - straight vs. DB vs. revolutions, vs. ? - anybody ever mix gauges?
3. lacing patterns - radial versus 2X versus 2X - can I mix lacing patterns on the rear?
4. nipples - brass or alloy ?
5. hubs - will depend on spoke count I pick and what's on sale

All input, personal opinions, and tips are welcome. Thanks
Read "the book"grzy
May 15, 2002 8:43 AM
I'd start with The Bicycle Wheel by Jobst Brandt, but then read the others as well. The questions you're asking are fundamental and Brandt lays it all out. The short answer is not to do anything radical: Aeorheads or Open Pros, 32 spoke, 3 cross pattern, brass nipples, double butted spokes, and decent servicable hubs. if you want to know why then you're going to have to read the book.
cheaper to buy'em built....C-40
May 15, 2002 8:50 AM
Unless you just want some entertainment and the experience (and likely frustration), the simple answer is to let Colorado Cyclist or Excel sports build the wheels. Either place sells excellent hand-built wheels for less than the cost of the individual parts.

I'd stick with the old reliable Mavic open-pros, 28H hole front with revolution spokes. 32H rear with 14/15's on the right side and revolutions on the left. Stick with standard 3X lacing. There's not enough difference to make the other patterns worthwhile. Brass nipples are fine.

If you insist on building yourself, I'd skip the revolution spokes on the first attempt. They wind-up pretty easily, which makes the trueing process tougher.
C-40 I've been riding that setup (almost) exceptsnuggleman308
Jul 3, 2002 6:46 PM
mine are all 28, all revolution. No problems yet but I like your rear setup suggestion much better.
re: Need Wheel Building/Component AdviseCAAD5 Kid
May 15, 2002 9:15 AM
Here's a word of advice. If you wanna build wheels for yourself..don't start off building a nice wheel that is gonna be your sole wheels to ride on. Instead, build a cheapo wheel.....go to your local shop and see what they got laying around like an old take off hub, etc (shops always have stuff laying around that they teach their guys on, etc)....get some new 14 gauge spokes and brass nipples..and an ok, rim, like a ritchey, etc...than build it. Practice lacing it, when you've done it once, undo it and do it again..when you got lacing it down...practice getting tensionsing the wheel. Do you have a good truing stand and a dish tool? Cause you're gonna need em.
Spoke length.Spoke Wrench
May 16, 2002 5:59 AM
Believe it or not, I think there are two parts to the process that cause most of the frustration.

The first is spoke length. You only have a leeway of about plus or minus 1mm. If you use a computer database that has hubs and rims listed, determining the correct spoke length is a piece of cake. Measuring hubs and rims as accurately as is necessary for dimension based data bases is iffy.

The second is tensioning. I think the guys who have trouble try to do too much at once. If you take your time and build the tension into the wheel half a turn or so at a time all the way around the rim, you'll be surprised at how easy it is to true up the wheel.

Good rims are much easier to build than cheap rims. If you are methodical and take your time, you can be confident that your first attempt will worthy of the price of decent components.
Some resourcesczardonic
May 15, 2002 9:39 AM
For free information, here is the obligatory Sheldon Brown link: This may help you decide whether or not it is worth building wheels yourself(IMO, it is) and what materials and patterns to use.

I did it myself a few months ago, and it was a very satisfying experience (Mavic MA3, DT 14/15, 3X all the way around). It is not overly difficult or complicated. I have heard nothing but good things about Jobst Brandt's book, but I am not patient enough to read an entire book about a process that only takes a couple hours. If you really want to understand the science behind the wheel, knock yourself out. I followed the step by step instructions in Zinn's book (of which there are only a handful of steps) and my wheels have held up fine so far (despite being trued on the frame and tensioned by ear).

You won't save much money (if any) but I think the experience is worth it.
Lots of funStampertje
May 17, 2002 12:37 PM
I built my first wheel, using an old rim and the cheapest hub my LBS could find, about three months ago. This was probably the closest to Zen I have ever experienced (well, maybe). The key word is PATIENCE. I went by Sheldon Brown's instructions, spread the build over two days and then set and retrued again after a good night's sleep. At 155# you may not need as many spokes as I do, but naively I'd think 36 spokes would be easier to true - each individual spoke has less impact on the lateral true.

I just built my second, CPX33 on 105 using Sapim 14-15-14 spokes, and they required more re-trueing after setting the spokes (and I needed to repeat that process more often). Still, I am now quite confident I can take on the rear wheel, too. And I have had a lot of fun learing.