First Wheel Building Experience

For discussions about bikes and equipment.
User avatar
robwa10
Posts: 311
Joined: 2 Apr 2008, 9:04pm
Location: North Derbyshire/South Yorkshire

First Wheel Building Experience

Postby robwa10 » 15 Dec 2008, 10:12pm

I'm building my first set of wheels so I thought I'd document the experience. I'll add the pictures and explain what I've done as I go along. I'm using Sheldon Brown's instructions on wheel building.

Please add any comments you have on what I've done or how you do it. Hopefully this will become a good resource for anyone undertaking the same. (Maybe even good enough for the 'to good to lose' :D )

Parts used are:
Rigida Chrina 36h rims in silver
Shimano HB-M530 36H hubs front and rear
ACI 14/16g double butted spokes all front
ACI 14/16g double butted non drive side rear
ACI 14g spokes drive side rear

note: SB means Sheldon Brown and refers to his instructions for wheel building, linked above, for which I owe all my knowledge.

The pictures are of the front wheel build.

ImageImage
All the parts for both wheels. The key spoke installed.

Image
Looking down through the valve hole to see if the label will align. Remember that the hub will be rotated clockwise once all the trailing spokes are installed.
My rim is drilled opposite of the one Sheldon uses as his example. The eyelet for the key spoke is not next to the valve hole, but two away.

Image
Originally I had the key spoke further along one hole. In order to get the label to line up with the valve hole I actually needed to move the spoke one hole back towards the label to where it currently is. If your key spoke goes in next to the valve hole then I would insert it so that it's level or nearly level with the top of the label on the hub.

Image
All the trailing spokes on the right hand side installed.

ImageImage
The first trailing spoke installed on the left side. Notice that it enters both the rim and the hub on the left side (as viewed from the right) of the key spoke.
Then all the trailing spokes installed.

ImageImage
Some of the leading spokes installed on the right side. (I forgot to take a pic with just one installed.) This part caused some confusion when reading SB's instructions. I'm using a 3 cross pattern and wasn't sure I was crossing over two spokes.
If you look at the close up you'll notice the first cross is actually happening over the flange. Then it crosses over the top of the next just a little farther from the flange and finally goes under the third. Keep in mind that you're only counting the spokes from the same side of the hub you are working from.
You'll then have two options of which rim eyelet to use. Use the one that is angled towards the side of the hub you are working from. This means the trailing spoke next to leading spoke just installed should be going to the opposite flange of the hub.

ImageImage
Finally all the spokes installed on both sides and a close up of the hub with all the spokes laced.
I then did as SB suggested and tightened all the nipples until just a small amount of thread was showing on all the spokes. That's the easy part done! Time for a cup of tea! :wink:

ImageImageImage
So here are some pictures of my truing stand. Yep, a surplus set of forks. I've blue tacked a ruler on the bottom for vertical truing and a pencil on the side for lateral truing. In the third picture you'll see that I taped a piece of copper wire onto the end of another pencil. This actually worked better and it was easier to see if the rim moved from side to side.
For dishing I just flipped the wheel around to see how close or far it was from the pencil when set against the other side.

I don't want to restate SB's article so I'll just give some highlight some things I think may be helpful. These are just some things I figured out as I went along that made the rear wheel easier to do.

ImageImage
If you've never trued a wheel before then it's important to keep in mind that small adjustments do make large changes. In the second picture I've tightened the spokes on the left about a quarter turn and you can see how much it's moved.

ImageImage
Some times when I was turning the spoke nipples I would forget how far I turned it. Then I realized it was better to watch the spoke key.
From picture one to picture two the spoke has been moved a quarter turn. If I wanted a half turn I would be looking at the other side of the spoke key. This is really handy when you're over tightening and then backing off to relieve torsion.

The only other 'problem' of sorts that I had was with the rim seam. I found that when adjusting vertical trueness. It seemed to dip slightly more than the rest of the rim. I don't know if anyone else has had a similar experience. It could just be bad quality control on that rim.

I just based my spoke tension on feel. I used another front wheel to gauge the tension and how hard it was to squeeze the spokes.

Good luck and just take it slow and have plenty of tea! It took me about 3 evenings to do the front wheel. I just took it slow and left it when I started to get frustrated.

Happy Building!!
Last edited by robwa10 on 21 Dec 2008, 9:28pm, edited 4 times in total.

User avatar
Mick F
Spambuster
Posts: 46836
Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 11:24am
Location: Tamar Valley, Cornwall

Postby Mick F » 16 Dec 2008, 8:28am

Excellent!
Well done!

I wish I'd documented my forays into wheelbuilding. I practiced on an old set by dismantling and rebuilding two or three times before letting myself go on Barbarella's new Nexus equipment. I did research into spoke calculators too, and sought advice on here - of all places!!

I used SB too. I read it and read it and read it.

Since Barbarella's wheels, I've rebuilt an old pair of sprints with new SS spokes rather than the rusty chrome ones that were in, then a new set for my Mercian (Rigida Chrina/Campag Chorus) which were scrapped rather spectacularly by a pothole, then rebuilt with new rims and spokes.

I'm no expert, but I would love an excuse for doing another set. I may replace the spokes on my newly acquired 1971 Raleigh Chopper.........
Mick F. Cornwall

Edwards
Posts: 5978
Joined: 16 Mar 2007, 10:09pm
Location: Birmingham

Postby Edwards » 16 Dec 2008, 8:45am

I am definatly going to keep watch for more.
Thanks and well done for posting
Keith Edwards
I do not care about spelling and grammar

PW
Posts: 4519
Joined: 23 Jan 2007, 10:50am
Location: N. Derbys.

Postby PW » 16 Dec 2008, 11:43am

A long time ago we were getting fed up with expensive shop builds being unreliable - the last straw was a wheel on the wife's bike which failed in France. So I was bought a copy of Brandt's "The Bicycle Wheel" which I read, very carefully, at least three times non stop. Then I bought the parts for a new pair of wheels and got stuck in. They lasted over 60,000 miles so the principles were correct. I've been building all our wheels ever since.
If at first you don't succeed - cheat!!

bikepacker
Posts: 1980
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 7:08pm
Location: Worcestershire
Contact:

Postby bikepacker » 16 Dec 2008, 12:04pm

Like PW I got fed up of having broken spokes and poorly built wheels so I did similar. I spent a day having tuition with Roger Musson at Wheelpro. Since then I have built all my own wheels and many for other cyclists.

Although I have and like Jobst Brandts's book, I prefer Wheel Building by Roger Musson as a step by step guide.
There is your way. There is my way. But there is no "the way".

User avatar
robwa10
Posts: 311
Joined: 2 Apr 2008, 9:04pm
Location: North Derbyshire/South Yorkshire

Postby robwa10 » 16 Dec 2008, 12:51pm

Well the thing that drew me towards building my own wheels was cost and boyish behavior.

It would have cost £40 over the price of parts to have the wheels built and that was more than I was willing to pay. So the cheaper option was to build them myself.

And boyish behavior because I just enjoy making things. :D

User avatar
Si
Moderator
Posts: 15031
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 7:37pm

Postby Si » 16 Dec 2008, 1:10pm

Nice one robwa10, I've made a copy of it in "too good to lose" in the hope that it will inspire others to give it a try!

Edwards
Posts: 5978
Joined: 16 Mar 2007, 10:09pm
Location: Birmingham

Postby Edwards » 16 Dec 2008, 2:54pm

Robwa10 congrats you did it. "To good to lose" :)
Keith Edwards
I do not care about spelling and grammar

tad
Posts: 74
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 11:53am

Postby tad » 17 Dec 2008, 9:51pm

Mick F wrote: I may replace the spokes on my newly acquired 1971 Raleigh Chopper.........


You'll have to when you fit that Rohloff hub :wink: . Go on, do it!

User avatar
Mick F
Spambuster
Posts: 46836
Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 11:24am
Location: Tamar Valley, Cornwall

Postby Mick F » 18 Dec 2008, 7:54am

I've written to father Christmas ..........

(and the bank manager!)
Mick F. Cornwall

rogerzilla
Posts: 1315
Joined: 9 Jun 2008, 8:06pm

Postby rogerzilla » 18 Dec 2008, 11:13pm

Am I the only person who builds them one side at a time? Oh well.

User avatar
meic
Posts: 19355
Joined: 1 Feb 2007, 9:37pm
Location: Caerfyrddin (Carmarthen)

Postby meic » 19 Dec 2008, 12:17am

I build them one side at a time too.

But, I am self taught!
Yma o Hyd

User avatar
Mick F
Spambuster
Posts: 46836
Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 11:24am
Location: Tamar Valley, Cornwall

Postby Mick F » 19 Dec 2008, 7:55am

Me too.

I read loads of stuff, and typical of me, made my own mind up.

This personality trait of mine used to get me into trouble stripping and rebuilding firearms. The "right" way is the ONLY way. You can't use your own methods or routines, coz you get shouted at!!!

Nobody shouts at you when you build wheels.
Mick F. Cornwall

User avatar
robwa10
Posts: 311
Joined: 2 Apr 2008, 9:04pm
Location: North Derbyshire/South Yorkshire

Postby robwa10 » 19 Dec 2008, 9:41am

Just curious as to what tolerance most people work to with the vertical and lateral truing? I can tend to be a perfectionists when starting from scratch and I'm going to buy a dial gauge today to help the final adjustments.

Also any good tips on tensioning without a meter? Of course I've read SB and also read some things on using pitch to help out. Have compared to another front wheel but as I said I can be a perfectionist.

And I tend to worry that I've cocked up somewhere and that at 30mph my wheel will disintegrate and I'll be sledging down the road.

User avatar
Mick F
Spambuster
Posts: 46836
Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 11:24am
Location: Tamar Valley, Cornwall

Postby Mick F » 19 Dec 2008, 10:55am

"Don't worry" is a good maxim!

I didn't use a dial gauge, a tension meter or anything more technical than an up-turned frame and a Spokey Pro. It was only later, that I picked up a jig on these very pages.

Also, I use the Mk1 eyeball and the Mk1 thumbnail.

If you've got the spoke lengths right, all you need to do is to lace it up properly with all the nipples screwed to the same positions on the spokes - say with one or two threads showing. The main thing is to get them all the same.

Then check for true-ness.
Then check the dishing. I turn the wheel round in the frame/jig.

If all's well, and the rim was true to start with, it should be true and dished properly. If it isn't, loosen all the spokes a little, and try again.
Until it's right to start with, you'll be chasing your tail all the way round and round and round, and the spokes won't be evenly tensioned.

Tighten them all a quarter of a turn. Start at the valve hole, and do every one. Check again, and if all's well, do another quarter turn.

Repeat until the spokes "ping" and hurt your hands a little when you compress them together in pairs.

If, at any time, you get lost, or the wheel goes out of true, undo them all and start again! The worst thing to do is to carry on regardless.

Remember, the rim was true straight out of the box, all you'll be doing is tensioning spokes evenly around it. It should be still true when you've finished.

So sorry if this sounds like a lecture.

And good luck!
(I envy you, I'll have to buy some bits and make some new wheels just for the hell of it!!)
Mick F. Cornwall