Forum home Road cycling forum Workshop

Wheel Building Beginner

davidj525davidj525 Posts: 17
edited December 2009 in Workshop
I am thinking of building a wheel but have never done this before or even trued a wheel and so would welcome any advice.

I would start with something cheap for my older commuter (Speci Sirrus) as it is needing new wheels but may then attempt better quality ones for my good bike (Tricross comp).

I once read somewhere that a hand built wheel is stronger than a bought wheel, is this correct?
Am I likely to do a half decent job of it on a first attempt?
How would I work out what length spoke to get?
Does the spoke length need to be exactly right – is there a margin for error?
What is the likely cost saving for a self built wheel over a ready made one?
Can anyone recommend any books?

Thanks

Posts

  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    No - handbuilts aren't necessarily any stronger - there's no general rule as it's all down to the quality of the build and components - but you can also build a bad wheel from poorly selected or inappropriate parts. The stiffest/strongest wheels I have are factory-built.
    For a beginner, you can make a good job provided you follow good instuctions and are methodical.
    Spoke length is dependant upon your hub & rim choice, plus spoke pattern - best to use an online calculator like DT Swiss.
    Spoke length needs to be accurate to within a couple of mm
    Cost saving - it depends
    Jobst Brandt - The Bicycle Wheel
    A good, basic online guide in on SheldonBrown's website
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • SicknoteSicknote Posts: 901
    I am building my first wheel at the moment and got Wheelbuilder book and it tells you all you need to know plus shows you how to build some of the bits you will need.

    Have finsihed my wheel truing jig from the book from bits in my workshop so it cost £0 :D
  • redveeredvee Posts: 11,932
    Lacing the wheel correctly with the right length spokes makes finishing the wheel much easier. I laced, but didn't true, a wheel just by using an online guide. I didn't have a jig at hand to finish the wheel myself but the LBS charged £8 to finish so not too bad.
    I've added a signature to prove it is still possible.
  • For spoke lengths DT or:
    http://www.hopegb.com/page_mep_force_4.html

    For books on wheel building :
    Jobst Brandt The Bicycle Wheel

    Youtube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTb3x5VO69Y

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOI3uBztvHc
  • SicknoteSicknote Posts: 901
    The book I gave the link too is just £9 and will give you all you need to do it.
    That is if you are going to get a book plus if you learn how to true your wheels, you also have learned a new skill that will save you money.

    It also shows you how it workout you spoke length from your hubs and rims.
  • I also have the Wheelpro book (downloaded for £9, with free updates)

    I have built the excellent truing stand and have used it many times.

    I have not built a wheel yet, however the book notes are great and have helped me to true wheels far more successfully than any other instructions i have ever found. I hesetate to say it but they were better than Sheldon Brown, and he is a cycling maintainance god.
  • Get the Wheelpro book and read it a few times. Build the stand (cost peanuts, I built it from MDF hanging around my garage). Try truing a wheel and then take the plunge and buy the bits you need for a build. I find building from scratch easier as everything is well oiled and turning the nipples is dead easy then. Take your time (fractions of a turn at a time) and don't try to build it all in one go, it's not a race to see how fast you can build one, just savour the experience !!!
  • NuggsNuggs Posts: 1,804
    I use Schraener's book, which is also excellent and pretty easy to follow (if I can do it, anyone can).
  • JameyJamey Posts: 2,152
    Another vote for the Wheelpro (aka Roger Musson) book here. It's a brilliant, brilliant text and if you do everything he says you'll build an excellent wheel.
  • Thanks for all the advice. I will get the Wheelpro book. I'm just still not clear on if it will be cheaper or not, what does it depend on? Although I'll probably build one anyway just for the satisfaction. Also is there a way of calculating a wheels' strength/ wieght it can supprt and the suitability of components for the expected wieght?
  • NervexProfNervexProf Posts: 4,202
    My advice is that you take things slowly.
    As you haven't built any wheels previously then read the books recommended, and then, get a rim, spokes, and hub and practice.

    Be prepared to fail first time around.

    MontyDog is very experienced in these matters - heed what he says.

    I have always built my own wheels. Factory wheels for me are like buying disposable razors!

    What you should do is to keep us advised on your first attempts, and seek further advice if things don't work out.
    Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom
  • balthazarbalthazar Posts: 1,567
    davidj525 wrote:
    Thanks for all the advice. I will get the Wheelpro book. I'm just still not clear on if it will be cheaper or not, what does it depend on? Although I'll probably build one anyway just for the satisfaction. Also is there a way of calculating a wheels' strength/ wieght it can supprt and the suitability of components for the expected wieght?

    I don't think you can expect to save much money by building your own wheels (conversely, it is difficult to make much money building them). However, you can have the satisfaction not only that you made something complicated and beautiful yourself, but also the confidence that your wheels are well-made and will be reliable.

    It isn't strength that is so important with wheel components, but durability. Nearly any kind of bike wheel you've ever seen is strong enough to bear the load of a normal rider, for a while. Plenty of those are inappropriate or impractical in use, however. I suggest that you build a set of quite conventional wheels, with ordinary hubs, 32 or 36 double-butted spokes each, and light box-section rims. I don't have Musson's book but I bet that's the sort of thing he recommends. These wheels might seem ordinary to others but they'll become your most treasured part of your bike, I assure you.
Sign In or Register to comment.