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Just what is bad build?(9 posts)

Just what is bad build?Woof the dog
Dec 9, 2003 4:23 AM
Its about time I asked this question: is it even possible to built a bad wheel?

If you got the right spoke length, true and round rim, a normal hub (say durace hub), the only thing that you really have to do is figure out how to overlap spokes the right way to the right hole, and then it is just bringing the wheel to tension on a friggin wheel stand. Whats the big deal? Make the wheel true and round, check for dish, check for proper tension, which many can pretty much tell without a tensionmeter. Bam bam bam, all set to go ride.

When people say "poorly built wheels" it makes me think that it were the wheels built by some dumbass in his basement for the first time that are severely under or overtensioned.

Whats the deal yo?

alsoWoof the dog
Dec 9, 2003 4:27 AM
I mean of course there are little things like stress relieving, spoke prep if you want, truing it up after the first ride, etc.

but you guys make it sound like only Colorado cyclist builds good wheels. Using standard components and not some trick sh!t carbon spokes and low hole count rims, any, I repeat, any bike shop will have someone who can do an extremely nice job building wheels.

Just don't trust those kids

I've owned both bad and good...OffTheBack
Dec 9, 2003 4:40 AM
Bad: 36 spokes, heavy aero clincher rim, built by LBS mechanic. Several rear spokes came completely loose in the first 100 miles. Had to borrow a spoke wrench from a passing rider to stratighten the f'in thing enough to ride home, and the rim never did get perfectly round even after relacing the wheel.

Good: 32 double butted spokes, lightweight rim, built by expert full time wheelbuilder. Over 10,000 miles with no problems whatsoever, maybe had them trued once. Finally retired them when I hit a nail and it went clear through the rim (!)

Limited experience to be sure, but I must conclude that build quality does exist and is not trivial.
I've owned both bad and good...Woof the dog
Dec 9, 2003 5:18 AM
well, if it never got perfectly round, then maybe its the rim that was the beginning of your problems in the first place. Either that or your LBS was a dumbass who couldn't put an even tension on spokes.

Woof, the skeptical dog.
Let's seePaulCL
Dec 9, 2003 6:45 AM
I've had bad and good also...

Bad: Wheel came to me appearing perfect. It was round, it was true. Within 100 miles, I had popped two spokes. From that point on, the wheel never stayed true until I had it rebuilt by someone else. The bad wheel was built by a LBS. I bet they let the 'rookie' kid give it a go. Was it tensioning?? stress relief?? I don't know - that's why I have someone else build them.

Good: Lot's of them. My favorite is my current rear wheel. I gave up on a Speeddream wheel (long story). My LBS (a different one) built up a rear wheel for me that has been perfect and true for 3000 miles.

what about parts matching?Steve Young
Dec 9, 2003 11:36 AM
My only qualification for comment is that I spent 20 minutes reading 15 pages about wheelbuilding in a manual last night.

Unfortunately I can't remember all the information (I'm someone who needs to read things several times). However, one of the things that was raised for consideration was the choice of spokes relative to rims.

i.e. heavy gauge spokes might not make for a happy partnership with a lighter weight rim.

There was a lot of additional stuff in there - all pretty interesting and by and large probably common sense - I can reread tonight and fill in the gaps tomorrow if anyone is particularly interested.

re: Just what is bad build?MShaw
Dec 9, 2003 9:49 AM
I've built good wheels and bad wheels. It isn't something that you know till you get everything all put together and the parts just won't work.

Sometimes things just fall together and last and last.

Sometimes you have to fight to get a wheel anywhere close to round and true. And then it don't stay that way once you ride it...

Wheelbuilding is still more art than science. Sometimes you just "get the wrong color yellow."

My $.02

Bad wheel = poor parts or wrong/uneven tensionKerry Irons
Dec 9, 2003 5:35 PM
If we assume that you get good parts, then it is "easy" to build a wheel with uneven or too much/too little tension. Uneven or to little tension = broken spokes. Too much tension = spokes pulling through the rim. All of these wheels could be round and true when first put on the bike.
Dec 9, 2003 5:53 PM
Wheelbuilding is a lot more science than it is art. As Kerry so aptly pointed out it's fairly easy to build a wheel with either too little or too much tension, and you'll get different failures from either.

The biggest problem is that "good wheel" is somewhat subjective. To one a great wheel is going to be incredibly light and they don't mind getting it retrued after every big race, as long as it was good enough that he/she could trust it for the entire race! To another a wheel isn't going to be "good" unless it lasts at least a couple of 5,000 mile seasons with no retruing.

The "art" part of it is mostly myth. There is a very small range of spoke tension under which a wheel is perfect. The rim, the spokes, the hub all play into this. Books like The Bicycle Wheel by Jobst Brandt describe the science behind this interrelationship as well as practical build methods to determine the proper tension.