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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When you're building a rear wheel, does the build typically go like this: lace spokes to hub and nipples, dish rear wheel and tension drive side spokes, then tension non-drive side? Or, do you apply tension evenly?

I'm asking this because I have a problem. I recently got my wheelset that has CK hubs with A23's, and DT comp spokes. The non-drive side spokes worked loose very fast - I went for a ride through Bastrop park, and some of the spokes were so loose that I could turn the nipple by hand.

I feel I can tighten them up fairly easily with a spoke wrench, and even bring it fairly true too (used to do that with bikes when I was younger), but wondering if I should just trust it to a lbs. Yes, I have contacted the builder and am awaiting a response. I'm thinking that the builder just forgot to finish the rear wheel.
 

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It sounds to me like the person who built your A23/CKs screwed up. Either there is no prep on the spoke threads, or the build had too low of NDS tension to begin with. Probably both I would guess.
Regarding your question, it is entirely dependent on the wheel. For front wheels (non disc of course) you will tension both sides even. On the rear wheel, I get it so all of the threads are covered. From there you will add X revolutions to DS, and Y revolutions to NDS. How many turns is totally build dependent though. But to give you an idea it would be 3 turns on the DS and 2 on the NDS.
 

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I can't imagine any reason for doing this - "dish rear wheel and tension drive side spokes, then tension non-drive side". Take 'em all down evenly - acknowledging the existence of dish (meaning, more turns on DS than NDS but finalize the dish later when lots of tensioning & truing has been done). There is no one exact way to tension/true/dish a rear wheel but tensioning just one side before working on the other isn't one of them.

As for the NDS spokes working loose I'll answer it with this anecdote. Many years ago I went mountain bike riding with a friend who had replaced his rear rim the day before. After one lap of the race circuit we were training on, his rear wheel was unreadable. All the spokes (or most of them anyway) had loosened off. He was perplexed. I asked him if he had stress relieved the wheel (a catch-all term for removing spoke windup, removing stresses, bedding nipples & spoke elbows in etc etc) and his reply was simply "Huh?"

We saved the ride with my spoke wrench.

I would add "probably insufficient tension" to your wheel's woes.

Your question of "wondering if I should just trust it to a lbs" must assume that whoever works on your wheel, hopefully, has a clue about all the above. Hindsight will tell all.

Edit. Ergotts' "Shitty build" sums up my whole answer.
 

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Theres a lot of different ways to build a rear, and they all work as long as the end result is proper dish, proper tension, and trued up (and stress relieved along the way, and when done of course).

Going THAT loose in one ride definitely qualifies as shitty! Factory low end bike really crappy builds last longer than that. A poor build might need to be trued up after a few rides, but going completely slack first time out is exceptionally bad.
 

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Peanya look at the bright side. Even a situation like yours has the potential of a bright end if its the cause for you to start building your own wheels. A situation similar to yours started me in getting involved in studying and understanding the principles behind wheel building and ended up building my own wheels and showing friends how to build theirs.

If you want to dive deeper into wheelbuilding and get more detail than what is available at sites like Sheldon Brown's or Mike's, Roger Musson has a very detailed step by step approach on his ebook for around $14. Guaranteed you will build a better wheel than the flunky who screwed up with your wheels.
 

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re: "... then tension non-drive side? "
....

I've seen that method by a very experienced wheel guy ... The NDS was ~ 2 threads down until the DS was about done. The builder said that's his usual method. As long as the NDS ends up with proper tension, and doesn't loosen, after stress relief, tensioning, truing, dishing etc...

His reason was that the DS carried virtually all the stress' and he got that side right before finishing the NDS. ... he doesn't use spoke prep, just wheel grease I think.

Like others said, find a different builder or build your own. You'll end up really enjoying the latter approach.
 

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Peanya look at the bright side. Even a situation like yours has the potential of a bright end if its the cause for you to start building your own wheels. A situation similar to yours started me in getting involved in studying and understanding the principles behind wheel building and ended up building my own wheels and showing friends how to build theirs.
If you want to dive deeper into wheelbuilding and get more detail than what is available at sites like Sheldon Brown's or Mike's, Roger Musson has a very detailed step by step approach on his ebook for around $14. Guaranteed you will build a better wheel than the flunky who screwed up with your wheels.
Oh so true. I wish everyone here would take your advise Griz. They could read all three resources in a day (two them for absolute free; the other one for a pittance for its incredible content) and armed with a $7 spoke wrench and something that was slippery (a blob of grease, an eggcup of oil) they could be a wheelbuilder. And they would build a wheel that will last for years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I asked him if he had stress relieved the wheel (a catch-all term for removing spoke windup, removing stresses, bedding nipples & spoke elbows in etc etc)
By this, I'm guessing that's done by squeezing the spokes together? I've followed wheelbuilding a little bit, and I used to get the Neuvation newsletter (where he talks about building wheels a lot for some odd reason...) and have learned a few basics along the way.
 

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By this, I'm guessing that's done by squeezing the spokes together? I've followed wheelbuilding a little bit, and I used to get the Neuvation newsletter (where he talks about building wheels a lot for some odd reason...) and have learned a few basics along the way.
That's one method and it may or may not, on its own, be sufficient. I list, and use, all the methods I know on my site.
 

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FWIW:

"""When you build a wheel, always do all of the real truing under very low tension. The goal is to have every spoke under some tension - but only just. At a low tension, it’s easy to manipulate the rim, at a high tension you are only doing damage to both the rim and nipples. Once the wheel is very true, it’s a simple matter of tightening the spokes up equally.

On a rear wheel, first tighten the only drive side spokes to the target tension (after the wheel is initially true - under low tension). With the drive side spokes tight, pull the rim to center with the non drive side spokes and do ALL of the final truing with the non drive side spokes.

Thanks for reading – John Neugent"""
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Getting n $80 credit to get it trued from the retailer. Wondering if I should try tackling this myself, or just takig it to a lbs.
 

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On a rear wheel, first tighten the only drive side spokes to the target tension (after the wheel is initially true - under low tension). With the drive side spokes tight, pull the rim to center with the non drive side spokes and do ALL of the final truing with the non drive side spokes.

Thanks for reading – John Neugent"""
That'd give you a pretty wacky, many times crappy build.

You should always true by the side that needs it. If its off to the right and your DS spoke is too tight, tightening the NDS would just result in a WAY too tight DS spoke. Loosening the DS makes much more sense and builds stronger wheels. Or opposite, if its off to the left and the DS is too loose, loosening the NDS even more to get it straight will probably give you slack or broken spokes.

You'll always get some spokes a little looser or tighter than others when bringing up tension. Spoke twist, thread quality etc all play a role. You have to make minor adjustments to both sides to get even tension.
 

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I feel ya Peanya. Back in the day I fancied myself as a wheel builder of some repute. I don't build fancy or light weight stuff. After many trails and tribulations I only build solid and durable wheels (32h 3x on a good rim like Mavic Open Pros. Do they still make them?). Most of my wheelsets are over 10 years old and still running strong.

I say give it a go and work on your wheels yourself. Just go slow at first. Others on here have given good advice to follow. You, too, can become a wheel builder.

BTW, I don't use a spoke tensioner. I do it old school and pluck my spokes.
 

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28, DT comps, 3x
Simple enough to attempt it yourself. Buy a spoke wrench (I like the Park tools the best), unscrew the nipples until the first spoke thread is just showing and start tensioning each and every spoke with the exact same nipple turn or portion of a turn. When the spokes get tight follow each tension session with stress relief. Later on in the process check the dish then tension, stress relief and repeat. Musson's book has a step by step process with graphics that makes the process easy to follow.
Considering the poor quality job you got from your wheel builder, I would suggest dismantling the wheel to check the spokes for proper length. Before putting it together, apply a bit of grease on the nipple shoulders and the inside of the rim drilling. This will make it easier to turn the nipples in the future if any tension adjustments are needed.
You got top shelf hub and spokes, they deserve some respect.

Edit to add: if you have the light DT comps, use a tape to flag any twisting of the spoke after sufficient tension has been applied. The 15/16 tend to twist easily. If you have the light comps, I need to also ask what rim you have and how much you weigh.
 

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Simple enough to attempt it yourself. Buy a spoke wrench (I like the Park tools the best), unscrew the nipples until the first spoke thread is just showing and start tensioning each and every spoke with the exact same nipple turn or portion of a turn. When the spokes get tight follow each tension session with stress relief. Later on in the process check the dish then tension, stress relief and repeat. Musson's book has a step by step process with graphics that makes the process easy to follow.
Considering the poor quality job you got from your wheel builder, I would suggest dismantling the wheel to check the spokes for proper length. Before putting it together, apply a bit of grease on the nipple shoulders and the inside of the rim drilling. This will make it easier to turn the nipples in the future if any tension adjustments are needed.
You got top shelf hub and spokes, they deserve some respect.

Edit to add: if you have the light DT comps, use a tape to flag any twisting of the spoke after sufficient tension has been applied. The 15/16 tend to twist easily. If you have the light comps, I need to also ask what rim you have and how much you weigh.
Solid advice here.

Assuming you have the correct length spokes, and are using some type of thread compound, it's very, very easy to get right. Just center your brake pads, begin with one thread showing on each spoke, and start going to town, a half turn at a time, then quarter, then touch up, until Bob's your uncle.

If you have a properly built wheel with similar spokes laying around, you can use that as a reference for final tension. If you have a good ear, pinging the spokes can help identify a spoke that is at an odd ball tension, but going by feel is more reliable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
if you have the light DT comps, use a tape to flag any twisting of the spoke after sufficient tension has been applied. The 15/16 tend to twist easily. If you have the light comps, I need to also ask what rim you have and how much you weigh.
I didn't get the super skinny ones - I weigh 190ish pounds typically, so was going for a little more strength over weight savings. I think I just might get the truing stand from performance to true it.
I like the suggestion to add low tension and then true, then evenly turn all the spokes for equal tension as suggested on MikeT's site. I did already tension the NDS side without adjusting the DS. It's probably true to just under 1mm, and hopefully it'll get me through this weekend's MS150 ride. I did do stress relief on the spokes, of course.
 

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I didn't get the super skinny ones - I weigh 190ish pounds typically, so was going for a little more strength over weight savings. I think I just might get the truing stand from performance to true it.
I like the suggestion to add low tension and then true, then evenly turn all the spokes for equal tension as suggested on MikeT's site. I did already tension the NDS side without adjusting the DS. It's probably true to just under 1mm, and hopefully it'll get me through this weekend's MS150 ride. I did do stress relief on the spokes, of course.
Becarefull of the dish and keep in mind that adequate and equal tension on the DS is paramount. When you finish, put the wheel on the bike and ride it. If you hear pings you have not finished as non-stress relieved spokes are unwinding. Retension and stress relief until you dont hear any pings the first time you ride it.
If your MS150 is 150km you want better than 1mm play on the wheel.
 
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