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What would you tell'em?(8 posts)

What would you tell'em?nee Spoke Wrench
Dec 16, 2001 6:07 AM
I'm going to teach a basic class on wheelbuilding next month. I have to assume the people who pay to take this class are going to encompass pretty much the whole range of bike maintenance experience. If you were me, what would you tell'em?
if you don't know
Dec 16, 2001 6:31 AM
are you sure you're qualified to teach???
Tell them!Bernie
Dec 16, 2001 7:45 AM
That wheel building is not such a God Dam! art! (I hate it when I hear non doers-non believers describe it that way) and that any moron who's got any commonsense can build a wheel as long as they start out with good parts, rims (the right spoke length always helps). Tell them that the flimsier / cheaper the rim, the more time they're going to have to put into building it. And finally, tell them that with mavic rims, more speciffically 517 and open pro, that wheels practically build them themselves.
PS. put a lot of emphasis on the importance of placing that first spoke, and tell them why it is so important.
re: What would you tell'em?DINOSAUR
Dec 16, 2001 9:05 AM
I'd just teach them how to build wheels and answer questions as they pop up. If you have a wide spectrum of folks taking the class you will get all types of questions. A good teacher is a good listener. Start with the basics and go from there. Be aware some people won't know beans and on the other hand a few might know as much as you do. Being a good teacher is an art also, just like buidling a good set of wheels..
re: What would you tell'em?Bernie
Dec 16, 2001 2:46 PM
Why do people call wheel building an "Art"? Isn't it more of a science? Lacing patterns are patterns, and the principles of a wheel are principles governed by physics. Maybe if you don't know these principles, you're not the one to be teaching wheel building. But if you do, it should be pretty black and white.
re: What would you tell'em?DINOSAUR
Dec 16, 2001 4:00 PM
More less a figure of speech I refer to a lot of things as "an art", riding a bike, driving a car (as I am teaching my 15 year old daughter to do now) and the art of not pissing off people on cycling forums...
Hmmm, that's a tough calljw25
Dec 17, 2001 6:58 AM
First off, I'd have to assume that people taking a wheelbuilding class are comfortable doing basic bike maintenance - newbies seem to see wheels as "magic", and fear spoke wrenches, at least in my experience (the ones who don't either ride square wheels, or make great mechs).
I'd start with some theory, explain a few lacing patterns, how spokes really hold the bike up, etc, and then head into a 3 cross wheel build. If the class includes actually building a wheel or set, there will undoubtedly be students who want radial (dead-easy), 2 cross, radial/3 cross, and probably some guy who wants a snowflake pattern. I'd push the 3 cross, and explain why - the more tangential the spoke, the better torque is transmitted, and the longer the wheel should last.
That will take you into tensioning and truing, which is where I'd spend the most time. It's all well and good to have the valve in the right place, and get the rim label pointing the right way, and even to read the hub logo through the valve hole, but all that's pointless if the wheel isn't tensioned properly and evenly, and well stress-relieved.
If you have a tensiometer, I'd use it for demonstration, but I've used the tone method on all the wheels I've built (which isn't that many - 14), but some have been ridden and raced on for 5 years with only minor truing, so it seems to work.
That's about it, apart from having them get some experience - beater wheels are always nice to have, and if you scour the net, or a friendly LBS, it need not be expensive.
Thanks, guysnee Spoke Wrench
Dec 18, 2001 7:32 AM
The responses were all pretty much what I expected.

1. Anyone with average mechanical ability can build a perfectly good wheelset.
2. Your result won't be any better than your materials. Have enough confidence in yourself to start with good quality new components.
3. Boreing is good. Save the exotic stuff for later.
4. You probably won't save any money by building your own, but it's still worth it.