Why are machine built wheels inferior?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Brucey
Posts: 39498
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Why are machine built wheels inferior?

Postby Brucey » 1 Jul 2013, 2:26pm

pete75 wrote:
Brucey wrote:
I have noticed that it tends to be people who don't fully understand what it takes to build really good wheels who believe that machines could do as good a job.

cheers


Is that the ghost of a Luddite hand loom weaver I hear speaking?


There are still people working hand looms today.... so what does that tell you?

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Brucey
Posts: 39498
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Why are machine built wheels inferior?

Postby Brucey » 1 Jul 2013, 2:33pm

meic wrote:Arent the "best" tyres still hand made?


all tyres are hand made, kind of; AFAIK the assembly of tyre parts in the vulcanising mould is still done by hand (bicycle, motorcycle, car tyres, the lot).

I have seen a fair number of defective tyres where the parts were simply not assembled correctly in the mould. Obviously on the other hand you can't say how many substandard parts are rejected in production by an alert and skilled operator.

If assembly automation were better, I daresay the human element could be designed out of these processes, for both good and ill.

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ukdodger
Posts: 2992
Joined: 18 Aug 2007, 5:32pm
Location: Sunny Surrey

Re: Why are machine built wheels inferior?

Postby ukdodger » 1 Jul 2013, 4:17pm

Brucey wrote:and yet even mass-produced 'machine-built' wheels are (AFAIK, happy to be proven wrong BTW) still assembled by hand....

if so, 'QED' I'd say.

But seriously, with a rim that isn't perfect (which is most of them), is a machine going to strike the right compromise between the exact wheel straightness and the spoke tension every time? I doubt it.

cheers


The right machine should be able to take all that in it's stride. Chances are nobody has attempted to make a decent wheel building machine. Only one that's cheap enough. If I were a mechanical engineer I'd be looking to design a machine that adjusts every spoke simultaneously while measuring the straightness and spoke tension at the same time. It could be done.

User avatar
Mick F
Spambuster
Posts: 49228
Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 11:24am
Location: Tamar Valley, Cornwall

Re: Why are machine built wheels inferior?

Postby Mick F » 1 Jul 2013, 4:24pm

Back in the old days, you could tell a machine-built wheel because the spokes weren't laced in and out.
Dunno when the change occurred.

Anyone know?
Mick F. Cornwall

pete75
Posts: 13054
Joined: 24 Jul 2007, 2:37pm

Re: Why are machine built wheels inferior?

Postby pete75 » 1 Jul 2013, 5:10pm

Brucey wrote:
pete75 wrote:
Brucey wrote:
I have noticed that it tends to be people who don't fully understand what it takes to build really good wheels who believe that machines could do as good a job.

cheers


Is that the ghost of a Luddite hand loom weaver I hear speaking?


There are still people working hand looms today.... so what does that tell you?

cheers


That some people are weaving cloth in an extremely inefficient way....

User avatar
foxyrider
Posts: 4968
Joined: 29 Aug 2011, 10:25am
Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Re: Why are machine built wheels inferior?

Postby foxyrider » 1 Jul 2013, 6:07pm

Brucey wrote: [ a) speak as I find, and
b) actually have some qualifications and experience that make my views re. materials selection and design founded on something other than ignorance and prejudice.


Don't assume that no one else has any experience or qualifications or valid points of view.

If you've had issues with stuff fine but please don't make out that your personal issues mean there is a problem in design or usage just because you don't like it.

nuff said, if you reply to this i have one suggestion - get out and ride for a change! :D
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

Brucey
Posts: 39498
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Why are machine built wheels inferior?

Postby Brucey » 1 Jul 2013, 9:46pm

-I forgot to mention; back when I ran campag hubs and I broke lots of axles, so did everyone else who rode as many miles as hard as that.

And right now I'm not exactly the only one who thinks that campag hubs force you into using too much dish, either.

I've said what I think and why I think it in a dispassionate way; all I get in return is cheap shots (which I only just read 'cause I was already out on my bike....) about how it 'must be my personal issues'. Yeah, right.

I'd love to find good reasons for buying Campag stuff, but -with one or two exceptions- I can't, not any more.

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

RRSODL
Posts: 168
Joined: 17 Apr 2012, 7:22am

Re: Why are machine built wheels inferior?

Postby RRSODL » 1 Jul 2013, 9:57pm

531colin wrote:To be clear, I'm specifically talking about Campag. and compatible rear cassette hubs, and the differential tension they impose on the R. vs. L. spokes.
This is much worse than Shimano road, maybe even worse than Shimano 130mm road cut down to 126mm (taking 4mm off the left axle spacers.)
The effect is that you cannot get a sensible tension on the spokes both sides of the wheel : either the left are too slack, or the right are too tight. The wheels are already laterally unstable in one direction (the driveside spokes are almost "flat", there is not much of a bracing angle) with slack left spokes they are laterally unstable in both directions.
Even if I say so myself, I used to be a pretty damn fine wheelbuilder, and the wheels I built generally stayed built, and didn't come screaming back to the shop.....even though they didn't come back, I used to hate sending out Campag. wheels......it seems to me to be what they call an "unforced error" in tennis etc.
Having said all that, some people break stuff, and some people don't. Mick can obviously ride his wheels with no problems, apart from man-eating potholes. I don't break stuff, I could ride them, I expect. On the other hand, a regular contributor has just been telling us about his second broken BB axle, and I can't recall how many broken touring frames.
I have never broken a BB axle....or even worn out a unit BB, or cracked a dropout, or broken a frame....but these things happen, and wheels do let folk down....I can't remember his exact signature, there was a bloke on here calling himself pizza_man or something like that....if you want a dreadful story of poor wheels letting somebody down, look him up. OK, he (is/was?) a big lad, but I've built lightweight wheels for big blokes, and had no complaints. Its just that Campag. spacing makes a difficult job into a worse one.



I understand where you are coming from.

The wider cassette on Campag makes the space between the DS flange and the point on the hub directly opposite the rim about 16 to 17mm (18 to 19 on Shimano hubs) this result in an even smaller bracing angle and as you know, bracing angle affects tension balance, hence what you say "The effect is that you cannot get a sensible tension on the spokes both sides of the wheel" is to be expected.

User avatar
531colin
Posts: 12973
Joined: 4 Dec 2009, 6:56pm
Location: North Yorkshire

Re: Why are machine built wheels inferior?

Postby 531colin » 2 Jul 2013, 7:07am

If I ruled the world, it would be the law that all rear dropouts were 5mm to the right of where they are now.
Bombproof wheels and a better chainline.
And before all the "experts" start telling me wheels are strong enough already.......I'll believe that, just as soon as you introduce me to a wheelbuilder who gets to repair as many front wheels as back.

User avatar
philg
Posts: 509
Joined: 7 May 2009, 12:13pm
Location: Porlock, Somerset

Re: Why are machine built wheels inferior?

Postby philg » 2 Jul 2013, 8:53am

Wheel Building Machine
Today, the computer controlled, number crunching machines have come a long way, and Van Doornik says they now set the quality standard for high-end wheel building too.

He told BikeRadar that the trend in high-end carbon wheels is leaning inexorably to automation. The precision and processing power of robots and the mechanical and software engineers that create them outstrip what can be achieved at the hands of even a master hand builder.

Brucey
Posts: 39498
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Why are machine built wheels inferior?

Postby Brucey » 2 Jul 2013, 9:24am

Peugeot were using external nipple drives and automated truing back in the 1980's. The wheels were well tensioned and ran true. If that were all that was required to make a good wheel, then it would be relatively easy.

Unfortunately that is not all that is required in a good, durable wheel. It is far from clear if the guy from bikeradar who wrote the article realised this, and I am quite sure that most folk reading it have no idea....

I have heard of machines that stress wheels in a similar way to those built by hand, but I don't think they are very common and I don't know how good they really are. I doubt they will make a silk purse out of a sow's ear though, so if the spokes don't fit the hub right (a common fault with mass-produced wheels) then don't get your hopes up.

Any machine that simply fiddles with the nipples might build straight wheels, but won't, indeed can't build wheels properly. Don't believe the hype....

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

mig
Posts: 2228
Joined: 19 Oct 2011, 9:39pm

Re: Why are machine built wheels inferior?

Postby mig » 2 Jul 2013, 9:30am

i just wonder what happens when even the best machine built wheel gets knocked out of true.....send it back to the factory for straightening?

ukdodger
Posts: 2992
Joined: 18 Aug 2007, 5:32pm
Location: Sunny Surrey

Re: Why are machine built wheels inferior?

Postby ukdodger » 2 Jul 2013, 9:47am

531colin wrote:If I ruled the world, it would be the law that all rear dropouts were 5mm to the right of where they are now.
Bombproof wheels and a better chainline.
And before all the "experts" start telling me wheels are strong enough already.......I'll believe that, just as soon as you introduce me to a wheelbuilder who gets to repair as many front wheels as back.


Please expand. If my dropouts were 5mm to the right my frame would be out of line?

pete75
Posts: 13054
Joined: 24 Jul 2007, 2:37pm

Re: Why are machine built wheels inferior?

Postby pete75 » 2 Jul 2013, 10:22am

Brucey wrote:-I forgot to mention; back when I ran campag hubs and I broke lots of axles, so did everyone else who rode as many miles as hard as that.



Merckx road Campag throughout his career. I suspect he may even have ridden even harder than you and possibly for more miles - over 15,000 km a year racing never mind training which was probably double that. If what you say is true he'd always have been breaking axles all the time - any evidence that he did?

User avatar
531colin
Posts: 12973
Joined: 4 Dec 2009, 6:56pm
Location: North Yorkshire

Re: Why are machine built wheels inferior?

Postby 531colin » 2 Jul 2013, 10:25am

ukdodger wrote:
531colin wrote:If I ruled the world, it would be the law that all rear dropouts were 5mm to the right of where they are now.
Bombproof wheels and a better chainline.
And before all the "experts" start telling me wheels are strong enough already.......I'll believe that, just as soon as you introduce me to a wheelbuilder who gets to repair as many front wheels as back.


Please expand. If my dropouts were 5mm to the right my frame would be out of line?



the "frame" doesn't need to be "in line".
look here..http://forum.ctc.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=59332&hilit=+string scroll down to find me showing how to use a bit of string to check the frame is "in track"....
The front wheel needs to line up precisely with a straight line through the headset.
The front wheel needs to line up with the downtube
The rear TYRE needs to line up with the front wheel and the downtube.
It makes no difference to the tyre alignment if the dropouts are to the right, provided you build the wheel accordingly
....the wheel is stronger because its less dished. The frame is just as strong if you build it asymmetrical as if you build it symmetrical....the wheel is much stronger with less dish, and just as easy to build, with a dishing stick and a spacer......a 10mm spacer, if you offset both dropouts by 5mm.

3 of my 4 bikes have offset rear end, all steer perfectly no-hands.