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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
UPDATE: It has been over a month so I figured I would give an update. I've got 732 miles on the wheelset according to my Garmin.

4 miles into the first ride I realized quickly that I didn't put enough tension into the rear wheel as spoke began to quickly loosen and the wheel was wobbling pretty bad. :mad2:

I felt like a total tool. I got the wheel ridable and limped it home. I ended up completely redoing the tension and true on both wheels and making sure I took the spokes the the bottom of the nipple.

Since then, I have been absolutely loving my new wheels and have had no problems since. The braking is superb, the handling better and the ride is butta.

...................


So after nearly a year of internal debate, I finally put on my big boy pants and decided to build up a set of wheels. I am very hands on as an automotive master tech and felt I should at least give it a try.

My wheel sets where the old Ritchey DS comp wheel that came on my bike and a set of custom built Alexis Crostini 3.1/3/2 rims, DT Swiss 240s hubs and 24/28 CXRay spokes that I purchased off craigslist last year.

The Alexis wheel set is was very light at 1421 grams but shortly after getting them I knew I would have to replace the rims eventually. They rode extremely smooth but that was because they were noodles and flexed when the wind blew. Then I hit a rather large crack and bent the front rim enough that it was hard to get it to stay true for more than a ride or two.

I spent weeks reading forums and sites (thanks MikeT and the late Sheldon Brown) about wheel building before making any decisions. I really wanted a do-everything wheel that would last and not cost a small fortune. I decided to go with the Archetype H Plus Son rims and Sapim Laser spokes front and NDS and Race on the DS. I decided to reuse the DT Swiss hubs since they were still in great shape. Brandon at BikeHubStore helped answer a few of my additional questions and verified my calculated spoke lengths before my order was made. The order was shipped fast and came nicely packaged. I will absolutely be purchasing from Brandon again.



So first thing to do was get everything set up in my man cave (basement) and start tearing down the old wheel set. That went pretty fast and I took the opportunity to weigh the Alexis wheels. The front was 385 grams and the rear was 412 grams. They are now retired to hanging on the walls of my man cave...probably a better place for them. During the tear down I noticed a lot of spokes were bottomed out on the front wheel and also a lot of corrosion in the nipples which is odd for the dry Colorado climate. Also the front DT Swiss hub paint on the flanges was flaking off so I ended up cleaning it off and polishing just the flanges.

Here is a comparison of the width of the H Plus on the right.



H Plus Son front 24 h wheel weighed in at 474 grams



and the rear 28 h at 482 grams



The difference in spoke weight for the laser's was only 2 grams but the race spokes were 22 grams more for 14 spokes...meh.

I started with the front since I was lacing it radially and figured it would be easier. It took me a few spokes before I got everything in the place I wanted to smoothly install each spoke and nipple. I took my time and got the first side done in probably 20 min.



I am feeling pretty good at this point, I refill my sweet tea and start on the other side. Then my problems begin. About half way through and going pretty smoothly I decided to put the wheel down and take a drink of my tea, that action caused one of the nipples on the first side to back off the spoke and fell inside the rim. It was well greased up and stuck to the sides. I had only been doing a few turns on each one to keep them slack and the movement and such of putting other spokes in must have caused to turn back little and fall off. Ok, don't panic. So I am working at getting the greased nipple out when 3 more back off and naturally fall into the rim. At this point I realize I'm lacking a paddle and just remove the rest so I can tap on the rim and get the nipples out. I get three out pretty quick but the last one really fights me and costs me a good 30 min total.

So I take a breather and start over. This time it goes together much easier and I also give the nipples a few extra turns. I slowly work around the rim and get a nice bit of tension in them when I realize that my hub is one spoke off from the writing lining up with the valve hole. I debate for a good 30 min on what to do...leave it or fix it? As a bit of a perfectionist I have to fix it...so I tear it down again. It's late now so I call it quit's and am frustrated that I am back where I started almost 4 hours prior.

The next morning I am fresh and ready to get started. The front wheel goes together much quicker as I've got my system down now. The hub is lined up and I begin tensioning. I don't have a truing stand so I just use my bike. I struggle for a long while to get the wheel round but after loosening and starting over a few times I manage to finally get the wheel nearly perfect.



Time for the rear. Brandon recommended a 2x for both sides of the rear with the 28 hole so I went with it. I had my old Ritchey wheels for reference and made sure I got the hub lined up perfectly. The rear wheel went together very easy so I was sure I was messing something up. I followed MikeT's instructions very closely as well. Before long I had the DS completed.



And a short while later the wheel was together and ready to start tensioning it.



Having learned my lesson on the front, I took went much slower and more evenly with the tensioning before putting it on my bike to set the dish and true it. After spending a little extra time I got the rim true and round and felt a real sense of pride.



I mounted up a brand new set of Conti 4000s's then rechecked all my clearances before giving it a short test ride. Perfection!! They rode great, not a single ping or pop. I did some hard accelerations and braking and swerved around a bit. After about 5 miles I was back home and checked to see if they were still true and only the rear wheel needed a very slight adjustment.

Here is a pic of the final product:



Total weight with rim tape was 1565 grams vs the 1421 grams but the weight weenie in me purchased Ti skewers from Brandon also. They weigh 43 grams vs my old ones at 106 grams so the net gain is only 81 grams for a far better, 23 mm wheel set built by yours truly.

I hope the post wasn't to long and boring but I really enjoyed building these wheels, even with the problems. Thanks to MikeT for his free and fun to read site, Brandon (BHS) for his help and great service and all the other people whose posts over the last year aided me in making my decisions along the way.

Robert
 
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Great post. :yesnod:
 

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Thanks for the write up. I am having the same internal debate now about trying this myself. Was going to do the archetypes as well. Question... What was the reasoning for those spokes? I am planning on using the cxrays. Just wondering what your thoughts were on those?

Awesome job!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the write up. I am having the same internal debate now about trying this myself. Was going to do the archetypes as well. Question... What was the reasoning for those spokes? I am planning on using the cxrays. Just wondering what your thoughts were on those?

Awesome job!
Honestly it was cost related and having had the cxrays on the previous build I didn't really see any benefits of spending three times the amount for spokes. The laser spoke is basically a cxray that hasn't been flattened out and I really wanted a stronger spoke on the drive side as well. The race spokes are much stronger and stiffer. No doubt the cxrays are great spokes but I really couldn't justify the cost.
 

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Honestly it was cost related and having had the cxrays on the previous build I didn't really see any benefits of spending three times the amount for spokes. The laser spoke is basically a cxray that hasn't been flattened out and I really wanted a stronger spoke on the drive side as well. The race spokes are much stronger and stiffer. No doubt the cxrays are great spokes but I really couldn't justify the cost.
Makes total sense. thank you.

Also, you did all this without a truing stand and dishing guage, and obviously turned out great. But did you ever regret not having them? Would it have made it easier/faster?
 

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Nice write up, great job on the wheels, and it's a great looking ride. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Makes total sense. thank you.

Also, you did all this without a truing stand and dishing guage, and obviously turned out great. But did you ever regret not having them? Would it have made it easier/faster?
Oh yeah, as a mechanic and guy with over $30,000 in tools I knew I could do without but I'm sure it would have made things a little easier. More importantly it would have saved me a lot of time when I look back on it. I spent probably a third of my time figuring out how to make attachments to my bike that would provide very accurate ways to measure dish and roundness. I ended up making a jig off both brake calipers with a piece of thin flashing on the end that I cut a square notch in to fit down over the rim very tightly, this made it very easy to see where adjustments were needed along with a nice audible tone.
 

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... I ended up making a jig off both brake calipers with a piece of thin flashing on the end that I cut a square notch in to fit down over the rim very tightly, this made it very easy to see where adjustments were needed along with a nice audible tone.
well done ... you can keep an eye on ebay. there will always be someone who thought they wanted to build their own wheels and finally ended up not having the time etc and decide to sell them ... :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks Mike, your site was a the best tool I had. As you requested on your site, I bought a 50 lb bag of dog food this morning with my kids and delivered it to a local prison that trains shelter dogs for adoption.

They looked at me like I was crazy when I tried to explain why I was doing it so I decided it was better left alone and said my goodbyes.

I'll also note my wife thought it was a pretty cool gesture when my kids told her and I know I scored some good hubby points. So the rewards keep coming (sorry no pics for this part).

:thumbsup:
 
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Thanks Mike, your site was a the best tool I had. As you requested on your site, I bought a 50 lb bag of dog food this morning with my kids and delivered it to a local prison that trains shelter dogs for adoption. They looked at me like I was crazy when I tried to explain why I was doing it so I decided it was better left alone and said my goodbyes.
That's awesome Shoe - other than I wish the animal place had accepted your gift more graciously. I've taken a few gifts to our local animal shelter (now closed & gone) and they were overwhelmed with the generosity. My son's g/f asked me what I wanted for xmas one year and I didn't need anything so I told her to make a donation to her local animal shelter (7 hrs from us) in my name. This she did and it felt soooo good - I didn't need a gift but the kitties sure did.

I'll also note my wife thought it was a pretty cool gesture when my kids told her and I know I scored some good hubby points. So the rewards keep coming (sorry no pics for this part).
We need pics or it didn't happen!!

Shoe, thanks for this great post and message. You just brightened my day that wasn't going too well until now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I should have been a little more clear about the reception we got. With it being a maximum protection women's correctional facility, I was really just dropping the food off to a couple armed guards at the reception area. It was a first for them and trying to explain my motivation for the kindness probably had them saying, "So you built some wheels for your bicycle and it motivated you to donate food to our dog training program...call for backup Phil."

One of the directors of the program happened to be standing near and overheard me, she was very thankful and gave my kids a couple DVD's about the program and how it operates, where the dogs go and the impact on the inmates it has had. They are upstairs watching them as I type.
 

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I should have been a little more clear about the reception we got. With it being a maximum protection women's correctional facility, I was really just dropping the food off to a couple armed guards at the reception area. It was a first for them and trying to explain my motivation for the kindness probably had them saying, "So you built some wheels for your bicycle and it motivated you to donate food to our dog training program...call for backup Phil."

One of the directors of the program happened to be standing near and overheard me, she was very thankful and gave my kids a couple DVD's about the program and how it operates, where the dogs go and the impact on the inmates it has had. They are upstairs watching them as I type.
What a great story and a great lesson for your kids. It could only have been topped if the guards had tazered and handcuffed you. Then the kids really would have had something to remember :D

Thanks for the story and the food donation!
 

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I was believing the write up until you said you scored some good hubby points. Since all us husbands know that is impossible, it put your credibility into doubt! But seriously, nice write up. I wish I had the nerve and time to try.
 

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Oh yeah, as a mechanic and guy with over $30,000 in tools I knew I could do without but I'm sure it would have made things a little easier. More importantly it would have saved me a lot of time when I look back on it. I spent probably a third of my time figuring out how to make attachments to my bike that would provide very accurate ways to measure dish and roundness. I ended up making a jig off both brake calipers with a piece of thin flashing on the end that I cut a square notch in to fit down over the rim very tightly, this made it very easy to see where adjustments were needed along with a nice audible tone.
I'm a mechanic too (licensed auto) and even though I enjoy my bikes with custom frames and custom parts-picks I truly enjoy doing jobs that are supposed to need specialized tool without said tools. I guess it comes from years in an auto garage. The management simply don't run out and buy every special tool for every job as they'd go broke. So we learn to improvise. As it probably says on my site - I was building wheels for close to 50 years without dedicated wheelbuilding tools (I did use a spoke wrench though).

My dish gauge was inside calipers. My "feeler" was a screwdriver clamped to a stay or fork leg with finger & thumb. My roundness gauge was the same screwdriver, clamped to a different place (with same finger & thumb.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I was believing the write up until you said you scored some good hubby points. Since all us husbands know that is impossible, it put your credibility into doubt! But seriously, nice write up. I wish I had the nerve and time to try.
LOL, truth be told she is a very supportive wife. I also take the points where I can get them these days, having 3 kid's (6, 4 and 1) have put them at a premium.
 

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That's awesome Shoe - other than I wish the animal place had accepted your gift more graciously. I've taken a few gifts to our local animal shelter (now closed & gone) and they were overwhelmed with the generosity. My son's g/f asked me what I wanted for xmas one year and I didn't need anything so I told her to make a donation to her local animal shelter (7 hrs from us) in my name. This she did and it felt soooo good - I didn't need a gift but the kitties sure did.
Oh MikeT & r.s.78 what wonderful people you are! The shelters are constantly struggling trying to balance their budget and every bit helps.
 

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Oh MikeT & r.s.78 what wonderful people you are! The shelters are constantly struggling trying to balance their budget and every bit helps.
I'll add this - if anyone ever donates to their local SPCA I have a suggestion. Go ask them what they need, whether it be food, kitty litter, cleaning supplies etc. Then go buy it for them or buy them a gift card. If you give a money donation, they have to send it to head office and they only get a portion of it back - depending on the ratio of their funding. The rest stays at head office (maybe to pay for someone's BMW). Donations of goods preserves their funding cash.
 
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