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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hello, it's been a very long time since i've visited this forum, let alone threw my leg over a bike... business ventures, illness and a few other personal issues have prevented me from dedicating time to riding, yet i'm changing that starting now!

so i dusted off my frame and now looking for wheels (I sold my wheels when i stopped riding a few years ago)... i walk into a LBS and ask about a pair of training wheels... "oh, we don't build wheels here. but i'll sell you this pair of cheap Mavic!"

so what's happened to the art of wheel building?!?! and what's happened to the friendly LBS?!?!
 

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wheelbuilding

Iwannapodiumgirl said:
hello, it's been a very long time since i've visited this forum, let alone threw my leg over a bike... business ventures, illness and a few other personal issues have prevented me from dedicating time to riding, yet i'm changing that starting now!

so i dusted off my frame and now looking for wheels (I sold my wheels when i stopped riding a few years ago)... i walk into a LBS and ask about a pair of training wheels... "oh, we don't build wheels here. but i'll sell you this pair of cheap Mavic!"

so what's happened to the art of wheel building?!?! and what's happened to the friendly LBS?!?!
Pre-built low-spoke count wheels are what dominate the market now. They are more profitable for shops and avoid tying up a good mechanic. I had this expereince a couple of years back where a shop that had built for me before wanted to sell me a new wheel rather than fix a spoke! My answer was the learn to build them myself. Being a retro-grouch I will stick with "standard" wheels until they go the way of the dinosaur
 

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Ditto

DaveG said:
Pre-built low-spoke count wheels are what dominate the market now. They are more profitable for shops and avoid tying up a good mechanic. I had this expereince a couple of years back where a shop that had built for me before wanted to sell me a new wheel rather than fix a spoke! My answer was the learn to build them myself. Being a retro-grouch I will stick with "standard" wheels until they go the way of the dinosaur
Yeah, Ditto. After a few less-than-satisfactory experiences with factory wheels and growing tired of the ham-fisted vandals at my LBS, I too learned to build and maintain my own conventional wheels. Nothin' fancy, but I call them "Stewyums". There's somethin' extra nice about riding your own wheels (like catching a trout on a fly you've tied yourself - but that's for another forum). Blowing my own horn for a minute here- I've loaned wheels to a couple of buddies lately and now they want "Stewyiums" too.

I'm guessing you're in the USA? Give Mike Garcia at Oddsandendos.com for conventional handbuilts. Lots of people here have good things to say about him. Otherwise, buy yourself a copy of Gerd Schraner's "The Art of Wheelbuilding", read it, and get stuck in. While it's on your mind, buy yourself a copy of Jobst Brandt's "The Bicycle Wheel" for good measure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
and here i was thinking i was turning into a cranky old man...

i'm in sydney australia yet willing to try my hand at wheel building. yet, there's something in the back of my mind that questions "will they fall apart at an inopportune moment?!?!"

any suggestions for source of campagnolo 10 speed hubs? something silver would be nice!
 

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source

Iwannapodiumgirl said:
and here i was thinking i was turning into a cranky old man...

i'm in sydney australia yet willing to try my hand at wheel building. yet, there's something in the back of my mind that questions "will they fall apart at an inopportune moment?!?!"

any suggestions for source of campagnolo 10 speed hubs? something silver would be nice!

Does ProBikeKit.com ship to Australia? They always have good prices. It also seems to me that hub availability has become an issue also. Campy has reduced their hub lineup. Afterall, Campy and Shimano both sell pre-built wheelsets. Ebay may be a source to get some NOS hubs
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
yes - as FTR mentioned PBK ships to Australia. I've purchased some items from them before.

i'm finding it difficult to find hubs... i'm surprised the LBS guy didn't turn to me and ask "you can buy hubs separately?!?!"

i may download the book and read it tonight AFTER the Tour to inspire me... i've built ikea product, it can't be that hard!
 

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Iwannapodiumgirl said:
yes - as FTR mentioned PBK ships to Australia. I've purchased some items from them before.

i'm finding it difficult to find hubs... i'm surprised the LBS guy didn't turn to me and ask "you can buy hubs separately?!?!"

i may download the book and read it tonight AFTER the Tour to inspire me... i've built ikea product, it can't be that hard!
You're right, it can even be easier than IKEA products after a couple of tries. As for your concerns about them falling apart, just check them after every ride. It won't take long before you notice they are stronger than most factory builds.
 

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"i walk into a LBS and ask about a pair of training wheels... "oh, we don't build wheels here. but i'll sell you this pair of cheap Mavic!"


This tells you to quickly leave before they try to sell you some 16 spoke "training wheels".

If you find a shop that builds good wheels, give them all your money.
 

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Iwannapodiumgirl said:
i'm in sydney australia yet willing to try my hand at wheel building. yet, there's something in the back of my mind that questions "will they fall apart at an inopportune moment?!?!"
That's a good question. Still, in my 5th decade of home wheelbuilding, I marvel at every set of wheels I build. None have ever fallen apart but I still wonder whether the latest set will be the ones to self-destruct ¼ of the way through their maiden voyage.

Years ago there was no available wheelbuilding info so I'd just lace 'em up, true 'em and ride. Occasionally a spoke or two would come loose and the first few metres of every new wheel was accompanied by spokes pinging. But even those wheels would not fall apart.

The info is now there for anyone to access and it's the info that will make anyone's first wheel a ping-free, no-touch-up professional quality wheel.
 

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I HAD to learn how to true and build wheels when I started mtn biking way back when. I'd either hafta do one or the other on a semi-frequent basis and couldn't afford to pay the LBS to do it.

If I can do it, you can too!

M
 

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My LBS (CBO) is pretty knowledgeable about building wheels. They've got the prebuilts hanging out to entice you, but once you start talking to the guys behind the counter, they really start opening up and talking about wheels. I'm building up my set of wheels through them (purchasing parts, lacing the rims and hubs, and then taking them so the mechanic can true them).
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
i see the art of wheelbuilding is far from lost!

i was thinking of building up a set then finding a reputable LBS to check them.

"back in the day" my LBS was owned by a french guy who knew everything about bicycles, would build amazing wheels and was reasonably priced. where his store use to be is now a laundromat... hopefully he's still turning cranks somewhere...
 

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I bought built built wheels for the first time in my life two years ago. They were hand built from good components (Mavic rims, Ultegra hubs, DT spokes), but they were cheaper than the components would have cost me separately. Of course, they were poorly done and I had to re-tension and re-dish them... But yes, building wheels is a lot of fun and not that difficult.
 

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I build my own wheels too. The first set of wheels I built were back when I was in high school, a set of tubulars with Fiamme red labels and some use campy NR hubs and double butted spokes. I had a job at a bike shop where the owner paid me in parts and taught me a lot about working on bikes, he gave me the rims, hubs, spokes and a bag with about 25 or 30 flatted tubular tires. I’m pretty sure I was the only guy in town with tubulars and a mix of early 70’s racing components on a department store 10 speed frame. I spent 2 weeks learning to repair tubulars with 2 or 3 very spectacular failures, 160 psi makes a very loud bang when stitching fails. Since then I have built almost all of the wheels I have owned and a set or two for friends. I enjoy doing it very much.
 

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I've built up at least 6 pairs of wheels and they have all been bomb-proof, including set number one. I'm a devotee of Lennard Zinn's book: "Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance". I use his easy-to-follow instructions on lacing and truing wheels and they haven't let me down yet. Nothing super-duper fancy; just your standard 3X build generally using Campy hubs and Mavic Open Pro rims.

Sure, lower spoked radial wheels are a bit lighter, but I feel pretty confident rolling down twisting mountain roads on my 3x wheelset. I recommend you give it a try; I think you'll enjoy the experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
ok - i'm inspired to build a wheelset... i'll hunt for a pair of 32 hole campagnolo hubs, 64 spokes and 2 pair of mavic open-pro type rims.

i'll download Roger Musson's ebook and read it cover to cover.

what equipment/hardware do i need? wheel stand? spoke cutters?
 

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1. Truing Stand - If you don't mind spending the money, the Park TS-2 is a great truing stand, you would never need to buy another, you can find them on ebay in the $160-$200 range. Park also has some cheaper stands as well. Others could argue differently, but a truing stand make the job a lot easier, you could do it on the frame for example.

2. Wheel dishing tool, fairly cheap $20-$40 range

3. Spoke wrenches.

4. Spoke tension gauge (Optional, but very helpful if you want your wheels to stay true for long periods of time). If you have perfect pitch you might be able to get way with just tapping the spokes :)
5. Spoke prep (helps keep the nipples from loosening/tightening after you are done. Also optional)

The one free tool you will definitely need is patience… lots and lots of patience. Do not try to rush the job.

The late Sheldon Brown has a good web page on building wheels as well (http://sheldonbrown.com/wheelbuild.html). I would also submit that Zinn’s book is good for more than just the wheel building section, there is a lot of very good info on bike maintenance in it.
 
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