Wheelbuilding for beginners

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Milfred Cubicle
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Wheelbuilding for beginners

Postby Milfred Cubicle » 9 Oct 2014, 8:33pm

About to have a go at building a new wheel. Can anyone direct me to a free SIMPLE guide to wheelbuilding?. So far,Sheldon's site looks the best, but any suggestions would be welcome.
Also, I'm looking for suggestions for materials, particularly spoke lubrication. Using brass nipples on stainless spokes. Copper grease? Linseed oil? Basically a cheaper alternative to that spokeloc stuff.

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Re: Wheelbuilding for beginners

Postby AM7 » 9 Oct 2014, 9:48pm

Roger Musson's ebook (www.wheelpro.co.uk), while not free, is a simple but comprehensive guide to wheelbuilding. It made sense to me whereas I found Sheldon's guide less clear.

I just use 3in1 or SAE30 law mower oil for lubricating spoke threads and nipple seats. There may be better options but I've had no problems with any of the wheels I've built.

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Re: Wheelbuilding for beginners

Postby 531colin » 9 Oct 2014, 10:37pm

look for "Jobst Brandt" on Amazon.
I got £4.65 plus post.
There is a very straightforward chapter taking you through building a wheel step by step.....if that's the only bit you read, you can still build good wheels......but it would be a shame to miss all the rest....

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Re: Wheelbuilding for beginners

Postby JamesGreig » 9 Oct 2014, 11:36pm

I started building my own wheels when my local bike shop took far too long to do it for me, and I've never looked back.

I have both Jobst Brandt's "The bicycle wheel" and Roger Musson's 1996 printed version "A practical guide to wheel building" and mainly rely on Musson and re-read it when I am going to build another wheel. I like plain SAPIM spokes from Spa, and use their spoke length calculator and the DT Swiss one, although it is a bit of guesswork for a particular hub and rim combination, so I try several calculators. I also use a thread rolling tool so I can cut spokes of particular lengths, good for replacements. I hope this is helpful.

Good luck!

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Re: Wheelbuilding for beginners

Postby bikes4two » 10 Oct 2014, 6:53am

AM7 wrote:Roger Musson's ebook (http://www.wheelpro.co.uk), while not free, is a simple but comprehensive guide to wheelbuilding. It made sense to me ....

+1 for this book - clear and concise instructions - I built the wheel stand and other tools described in this book too. I've done 4 wheel builds now (ha ha) without any problems at all.

Personally I didn't find the Jobst Brandt book easy (by comparison) at all.
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Re: Wheelbuilding for beginners

Postby Suffolker » 10 Oct 2014, 7:25am

I'm another Musson fan. The downloadable book is excellent, easy to follow and comprehensive. I have printed out bits I refer to frequently, and also have it on my iPad to refer to.

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Re: Wheelbuilding for beginners

Postby pete75 » 10 Oct 2014, 7:31am

The Roger Musson book is excellent. Whilst the latest version must be paid for earlier editions are available for free on the web for example here [ Removal of pirate link requested by Roger Musson himself : Graham ].

Someone pointed me to this last year , I downloaded it, read it and thought the man deserved paying for his work so bought the latest edition on his website. Purchase does include any subsequent editions and also email access to ask Roger questions. It's well worth the 9 quid or so he charges.

[ Yeah, just buy the book : http://www.wheelpro.co.uk/wheelbuilding/book.php : Graham ]

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Re: Wheelbuilding for beginners

Postby gerrymcm » 10 Oct 2014, 8:13am

another vote for Roger Musson's. I've not read any other books on the wheelbuilding so can't compare but I've managed two builds since reading Musson's book. It's written in non technical way no science etc. As others have also said it's well worth the money.

My first build was a replacement hub and I reused the existing spokes and rim etc so was really simple. This helped get familiar with the process before I build a wheel from scratch,using spoke calcs and my vernier. My next build is half way house between one side using PG spokes (new) and the other side DB spokes (existing) and reusing hub and rim.


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Re: Wheelbuilding for beginners

Postby gaz » 10 Oct 2014, 8:31am

There's the forum wheel building thread and link to videos in too good to lose.

Use a Spokey.
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Re: Wheelbuilding for beginners

Postby stewartpratt » 10 Oct 2014, 8:38am

I started with Sheldon's guide - mainly to get the lacing correct; I ignored a lot of the rest.

The processes that IME do need to be followed (other than basic lacing, tensioning and truing - and note it's good to start tensioning from a fixed point; I start with the nipples flush with the ends of the thread) are pressing the outer elbows hard against the flanges, and - the absolutely vital one - always backing off spokes after adding any tension, to remove any residual torsion. If you've done this right, your wheel won't ping when you first ride it; the pinging is the sound of spokes unwinding, which means it wasn't done in the build.

Other than that: have patience; never wind on too much tension at once (when starting out I'd suggest not adding more than a turn at a time even during tensioning; don't forget that tightening one spoke actually tightens the opposing ones as well); and if you find it's not working out or you're getting frustrated, walk away and come back to it rather than digging a bigger hole. Worst case, you can always unwind everything and start again. Better to do that than end up with a duff build.

As for lube, when I've lubed I've used normal dry (generally Teflon based) drivetrain lube. But I've also built (brass-nippled) wheels without lube and they're absolutely fine and dandy too; it's also less fiddly as it's easier to hold things.

+1 for the Spokey.

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Re: Wheelbuilding for beginners

Postby robc02 » 10 Oct 2014, 9:38am

I was originally self taught and built many wheels, but Roger's book together with some hints and tips picked up on this forum have definitely improved my skills.

Another +1 for Spokey. I also recommend the wheel jig and other tools for which Roger's book has plans.

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Re: Wheelbuilding for beginners

Postby squeaker » 10 Oct 2014, 9:53am

Not convinced about Spokeys; last time I tried using one it would occasionally lock on to the nipple and require a lot of force to remove :evil: Maybe something wrong with my technique? Nice to use when it worked though...

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Re: Wheelbuilding for beginners

Postby pete75 » 10 Oct 2014, 9:57am

For anyone interested in the Jobst Brandt book on the bicycle wheel it's available . . . .
. . . . [ That website is apparently infringing copyright : Graham ]
Last edited by Graham on 10 Oct 2014, 3:29pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Remove link to copyright infringement.

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Re: Wheelbuilding for beginners

Postby interestedcp » 10 Oct 2014, 10:57am

Roger Musson's book on wheelbuilding is the best investment a beginner can do; excellent illustrations, and free future updates, no annoying DRM, good instructions for making DIY wheel rigs and other tools.

Jobst Brandt's book is much more technical about _how_ a wheel works; it is the standard work on wheelbuilding, but Musson's book is easier for the beginner.

Regarding lubrication; I use Finish Linie Teflon grease, simply because I didn't have access to a heavy oil when I started building my own wheels. Since I use high dish Campagnolo hubs for loaded touring, I need to use a very high spoke tension. So lubrication of threads and eyelets is important. I can easily achieve +145 kgf when using a liberal amount of Teflon grease.

I have tried using Finish Line Ceramic grease, but for some reason, everything started to creak at even moderate tension.

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Re: Wheelbuilding for beginners

Postby Brucey » 10 Oct 2014, 11:43am

if you wish to build heavily dished wheels using tensions that respect the rim manufacturer's tension recommendations, you will probably need to think about using a locking compound on the NDS spokes.

If they are lubricated with grease then they tend to come undone unless the DS tension is so high it risks rim cracking in many types of lightweight rim.

You can buy anaerobic curing compounds that give several hours working time and that take ~24hrs to cure fully; they also have similar lubricant properties to oil when uncured. This means that you can build with 'lubricated' nipples and still have them retained nicely. When time comes to adjust the nipples, they are not so tightly bonded that they cannot be moved again.