Handbuilt wheels... the big thread

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  • Hi,

    I'm looking to build up a pair of budget singlespeed wheels for my commuter bike; I already have rims, hubs and nipples that I've scraped together from various places, just need 64x (preferably black) 288 mm spokes. It seems like a lot of UK-based retailers have just stopped stocking spokes in reasonable quantities/prices so where would you guys recommend I look for these and what would you recommend for a budget build?

    I only use this bike to roll to the train station every day so not too fussed about weight/performance etc just looking for a decent value option that I can actually get hold of in the UK. Thanks!

    Justriding along for Sapim

    Cyclebasket for Alpina

    don't buy Halo spokes
  • justriding along dont sell silver sapim race though.
    Budget build should use silver spokes. they are cheaper.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • JE James have sapim d-lights for 49p a go in silver including a brass nipple.
  • Thanks for the input guys!
  • JE James have sapim d-lights for 49p a go in silver including a brass nipple.

    bargain!
  • bobonesbobones Posts: 1,007
    I am going to build a set of lightweight wheels with aluminium nipples. Up to now I have always used brass nipples and just lubricated spoke threads and nipple beds with oil. Is there anything in particular recommended for use with aluminium nipples? Would normal grease or Shimano Anti-Seize paste suffice, or do you have any other recommendations?
  • bobones wrote:
    I am going to build a set of lightweight wheels with aluminium nipples. Up to now I have always used brass nipples and just lubricated spoke threads and nipple beds with oil. Is there anything in particular recommended for use with aluminium nipples? Would normal grease or Shimano Anti-Seize paste suffice, or do you have any other recommendations?

    Use copper slip
  • bobones wrote:
    I am going to build a set of lightweight wheels with aluminium nipples. Up to now I have always used brass nipples and just lubricated spoke threads and nipple beds with oil. Is there anything in particular recommended for use with aluminium nipples? Would normal grease or Shimano Anti-Seize paste suffice, or do you have any other recommendations?

    Use copper slip
    A tube of copper slip lasts forever. I still have the same tube I bought in the mid eighties and only half gone. At that rate it'll last until well into my eighties.
  • bobonesbobones Posts: 1,007
    Thanks, copper slip it is then. Any tips for application?
  • I use sapim nipple freeze on alloy nipples. coppa slip is grease and not ideal as it makes it easier for nipples to unwind.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • I use sapim nipple freeze on alloy nipples. coppa slip is grease and not ideal as it makes it easier for nipples to unwind.

    No, it doesn't
  • timothywtimothyw Posts: 2,482
    Off set rim help but I have stopped using them with 32h builds. Take the Kinlin 31t in 24h drilling. The offset rim works well with the spoke entering the rim proper. With the 32h rim the ds spokes enter at a steeper angle leaving a bend which has led to a couple of failures. Not sure why as the bracing angle for this build is lower but there it is anyway.

    Offset rims help if doing a tubeless build as tubeless tyres drop tension alot but there is nothing wrong with symmetric rims.
    Hi Malcolm

    I've just had my XR31t 32 spoke rear offset rim pop a second spoke at the nipple end - sheared off just below the thread.

    Have you come up with any kind of cheap solution to this issue or is it a question of rebuilding with a symmetric rim?

    Have you seen this issue at all with the offset xr22t rim at 32 spokes? I've got another wheelbuild with similar mileage on one of those and no popped spokes yet, so if it's a question of replacing the rim my inclination would be to get one of those instead.

    Am I correct in saying that you haven't seen the problem with 28 spoke xr31t offset builds? Do you build those up 2 cross or 3 cross?

    Just to perhaps preempt a couple of questions, wheel is built up with sapim nipples and washers, which ought give good freedom for the nipple to sit in a straight line with the spoke, although I can see by eye that the drive side spokes have a more pronounced difference between the angle the spoke sits at and the angle the nipple sits at.
  • Rebuild with a symmetric rim. You can try a rebuild with the current rim but no interlacing. I will try it as well to see if that reduces the bend at the nipple. No I have not seem it with the XR22T. There is less bend at the nipple with the shallower rim.

    Fortunately I have not done many builds with the 32 spoke rears with xr31t. I have also stopped selling rim in 32h offset.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • pgmableypgmabley Posts: 107
    Offset rims help if doing a tubeless build as tubeless tyres drop tension alot but there is nothing wrong with symmetric rims.

    Malcolm, I'm interested in this statement not disputing it just for my own mind. Do you set up tubeless to a lower spoke tension then? I can't understand how tubeless or tubed has a measurable effect on the tension required in the spokes?
  • pgmabley wrote:
    Offset rims help if doing a tubeless build as tubeless tyres drop tension alot but there is nothing wrong with symmetric rims.

    Malcolm, I'm interested in this statement not disputing it just for my own mind. Do you set up tubeless to a lower spoke tension then? I can't understand how tubeless or tubed has a measurable effect on the tension required in the spokes?

    It's the way compressed air pushes on the rim. With an inner tube it pushes all over the surface, with a tubeless it pushes at the edges, hence slightly deforming the rim... as a result the tension drops a bit... not all rims are the same, some will defomr a lot less than others
  • pgmableypgmabley Posts: 107
    pgmabley wrote:
    Offset rims help if doing a tubeless build as tubeless tyres drop tension alot but there is nothing wrong with symmetric rims.

    Malcolm, I'm interested in this statement not disputing it just for my own mind. Do you set up tubeless to a lower spoke tension then? I can't understand how tubeless or tubed has a measurable effect on the tension required in the spokes?

    It's the way compressed air pushes on the rim. With an inner tube it pushes all over the surface, with a tubeless it pushes at the edges, hence slightly deforming the rim... as a result the tension drops a bit... not all rims are the same, some will defomr a lot less than others

    That's interesting, thank you.

    If pressure acts equally in all directions, is there effectively a point loading at the edges of the rim when this area is in contact with the road? Or is it that the edge of the rim is a different distance than the centre and is just therefore higher and uniformly distributed around the rim?
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,863
    Actually the tension drop on rims that are genuinely tubeless compatible i.e inflation happens with two layers of tape without without compressed air and tyre remain seated without air the ds rear tension drop is at least 200N. With loose fitting tyres that some how inflate but don't remain seated without air the tension drop can be lower.

    Rim depth does not seem to be contributing factor and alloy and carbon rims show similar drops.

    Yes I build wheels with symmetric rims and fit tubeless tyres. There's not alot of nds rear tension but if the wheel is stiff enough it does not matter much.

    My borg50c have miche swr hubs in them. 33% tension balance given the 16/49mm flange spacing on a 12:12 spoked hub. It quite stiff laterally and with tubeless tyres there very low nds tension but that does not matter with me on them. They don't flex enough to loose tension and break spokes. I don't build this combination normally but it works well.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • bobonesbobones Posts: 1,007
    A tube of copper slip lasts forever. I still have the same tube I bought in the mid eighties and only half gone. At that rate it'll last until well into my eighties.
    So I bought a 500g tub of copper slip, which should last aeons, and it turns out what I thought were black aluminium nipples are actually brass! I then ordered some silver aluminium nipples online, but being the impatient type, I went ahead and built the wheels with the brass nipples. The wheels turned out to be pretty light at 1386g bare so I'll doubt I'll bother rebuilding them with aluminium nips. (I suspect the rims are underweight @ ~410g instead of 430g because the wheels should be around 1429g with brass nipples).

    Here are the build details:

    Rims - Mavic Open Pro UST 24F/28R purchased from theCycleclinic.co.uk at £40 a pop including delivery. Best price on the 'net and delivered within 2 days. Great service!

    Hubs: black Bitex RAF10/RAR9 purchased from DCR (bitexhubs.co.uk)- £123 the pair including £7 delivery. Front is 66g and rear 192g. The hubs have no logos or markings, and the rear has an anti-bite insert in the freehub splines, which was an unexpected bonus. These are very light hubs, and it remains to be seen how long the bearings last in the wet, but they feel well made and solid.

    Spokes: Sapim Laser front, Sapim D-Light rear in silver. Purchased from JE James. 80p for Lasers and 49p for D-lights. All came with silver brass nipples, which I didn't use.

    Nipples: Sapim Polyax Black Brass 12mm, 12p each from JE James. I had my doubts, but the black nipples look quite smart with silver spokes. I thought I was buying aluminium nipples, but perhaps it's a blessing that they're brass.

    The build was straightforward and I didn't notice any problems with wind up with the lasers. I've gone radial front and 2 cross rear. The finished wheels seem plenty stiff as there was no movement de-stressing with the wheel axle on the floor and my weight on the edge of the rim.

    I used 2 rounds of Planet X Jobsworth 22mm tubeless rim tape on each wheel (£6 for 50m), and managed to mount my tyres without levers and inflated them first time with just a track pump. I sprayed some soapy water around the rims to help mount the tyres and spot leaks, but they were airtight and stayed fully pressurised. I used some Hutchinson sealant I had lying around in a small bottle, but my preference is for Orange Seal. Tyres are Maxxis Padrone Tubeless Ready.

    I had my first ride on the wheels this morning and I am very happy with them. They look great, feel smooth and light, and I like the stealthily quiet freehub of the Bitex, which is unusual among the other cheap Taiwanese hubs I have tried.

    Excluding tyres, rim tape, valves, skewers, and unused copper slip, the build cost me £242.16, which seems reasonable for a light wheel built with quality rims and spokes. It will be interesting to see how well the hubs hold up over the winter, but I'm not expecting much to be honest. I had thought about pushing the boat out for Dura Ace hubs, but the freehubs are unserviceable and extremely expensive to replace, so I had doubts about true longevity with winter use.
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,863
    The 32h offset kinlin rim is best built up without interlacing. Interlace the spokes and every other spoke on the ds enters the rim a bit too steep hense the nipple failure or spoke failure at the nipple experienced above. Building non interlaced and the problem is corrected. That should address the issue. Just tried it out.

    I am not sure what interlacing dies even though I have always done it.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,863
    BoBones don't get to excited about the price I am selling the open pro at. I am clearing stock. Once they are gone that's it no more. Wiggle etc Al have destroyed the price so there is no profit only a loss in selling them. I.e it is the most useless rim a retailer can buy. I am tempted to bin the lot of them. That's how offended I am selling at a loss. Mavic are not happy about it either. This is the problem with prefadory pricing. It may seem like a deal but it isn't. It undermines businesses and that is not good for the industry long term. The problem is for me I am faced with binning the stock or selling at a loss. It's a Hobson's choice and not a happy one.

    So it not a deal you got at all.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 10,050
    The problem is for me I am faced with binning the stock or selling at a loss. It's a Hobson's choice and not a happy one.

    So it not a deal you got at all.
    Back of the cupboard till Wiggle move on to another loss leader?
    Will still hurt, but maybe not as much.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,863
    I need the space, I have the nice to clear for over a year. It's not sour grapes either, it just the way it is .

    I don't hold it against anyone buying them I am of course choosing to sell, it just I want to make it clear it not a deal. It necessity.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • timothywtimothyw Posts: 2,482
    Thanks for the work with the XR31rt rim, I'll get some spokes on order and give it a go with mine (rebuilding without the crossover on drive side).

  • I am not sure what interlacing dies even though I have always done it.

    I had to rebuild a front wheel that someone built without interlacing because the user could not lean safely in a bend.

    Just saying...
  • TCC,

    it's always been clear to me that the way to go in professional wheelbuilding is to brand your own rims, which you did. Not sure why you want to sell Open PRO anyway... they might be UST, but where is the USP?
  • timothywtimothyw Posts: 2,482

    I am not sure what interlacing dies even though I have always done it.

    I had to rebuild a front wheel that someone built without interlacing because the user could not lean safely in a bend.

    Just saying...

    Then how do radial spoked front wheels work? They seem common enough. (edit - or for that matter, Mavic and other rear wheels that use radial spoking on one side)

    I'm with Malcolm in that I can't quite see the structural importance, I'm interested to be proved wrong though.
  • timothywtimothyw Posts: 2,482
    Some discussion on the subject here - https://bicycles.stackexchange.com/ques ... raditional

    This person seems to have some decent input:
    Almost all the factory-built fancy wheels I see on group rides are now laced 'passing' rather than 'crossing'. Seems to be standard practice across Campagnolo, Fulcrum, Shimano, Zipp, Mavic, etc. This may be because they like to use bladed spokes and perhaps there is an incompatibility there. But it may also be that it is as strong and removes a warranty-claimable failure mode.

    I did a google image search for 'broken spoke' which finds a lot of spokes broken at the elbow (as you would expect) and very few broken elsewhere. However the few which have broken elsewhere (and not as the result of a crash) look to have broken at the 'crossing' point. This makes sense because it should be the most-fatigued point in a double-butted spoke laced 'crossing'.

    I tried building a set of wheels 'passing' not 'crossing' and here are my observations:

    It was easier to lace the spokes.

    Tensioning and truing was more difficult because the tension of the inside spokes needs to be significantly less than the tension of the outside spokes to exert the same lateral pull.
    This seems like the most likely reason that it is standard practice to overlap the spokes!
    I had to cross the spokes on the rear drive-side: a short test revealed the rear mech was clipping the outside spoke otherwise. That was on an 11-speed hub with 10-speed drivetrain and the 1.8mm spacer behind the cassette, so on a true 11-speed system or with a 10-speed hub it might be possible to rip the mech off entirely.
    I'm hoping that the use of an asymmetric rim will mitigate this at least somewhat, by moving the spoke position away from the cassette.
    With disc brakes you might need to cross the spokes on the caliper-side to clear the caliper.

    With normal hubs and J-bend spokes I recommend that you interlace all sides of both wheels because the benefits of even spoke tension for all spokes on the same side of the same wheel far exceeds the minor benefits of not interlacing the sides you don't need to interlace.
    The other reason to interlace seems to be that it (by sitting the nipple at a more offset angle to the rim) makes the nipples that little bit less likely to unscrew themselves.

    Either way I can't see the harm in building up the wheel without the interlacing on the drive side for the sake of not binning a £50 rim!
  • timothyw wrote:

    I am not sure what interlacing dies even though I have always done it.

    I had to rebuild a front wheel that someone built without interlacing because the user could not lean safely in a bend.

    Just saying...

    Then how do radial spoked front wheels work? They seem common enough. (edit - or for that matter, Mavic and other rear wheels that use radial spoking on one side)

    I'm with Malcolm in that I can't quite see the structural importance, I'm interested to be proved wrong though.

    They survive by being radial... radial is inherently a better load support than tangential.

    Anyway, I'm not here to tell you don't do it... do as you wish... my experience is limited to one case of one rider who complained about one problem and the problem disappeared once I relaced the wheel using the same 2 cross pattern but interlaced.
  • Isn't it to prevent cracking between spoke holes in the hub?
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,863
    Well the wheel I built not interlaced was very stiff and there was no issue with tensions. The tensions of the spokes on the DS was the same. I still cant see why I need to interlace. Structurally there is no reason. The hub should not care if the spokes are interlaced or not.

    Ugo rebuild might have worked because the wheel was orginally under tensioned so side loads caused the spokes to slacken off.

    It is possible interlacing is done because that is the way it has always been done without anyone questioning why. So all sorts of psuedo reason appear to justify why. I just cant think of a structural reason why that is grounded in physics.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
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