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Old 2017-10-03, 09:19 AM   #1
UniMyra
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Wheelbuilding - experience of a novice who didn't want to read a book

(You don't have to read this post either - you can go directly to the video links below)

For my build I used:

-Nimbus Drift Trike disc hub
-Nimbus Dominator2 24" rim
-36 spokes (3 cross pattern)

I've spent quite a bit of money at the local bike shop on wheel building and wheel adjustment over the years. I've been wanting to learn this myself, but never really found the time or energy to get on with it. On an impulse I bought a Nimbus Drift Trike disc hub for my Oracle 24" frame, so now was the time to learn. After I did this build, the wheel is no longer a big mystery to me, and I will now be able to maintain my 15 wheels myself.

Ordering spokes (the hard part):

I remembered reading something about dished wheels (explained in video below), and differerent spoke lengths on the disc side and none disc side of the hub. To find the spokes needed, I tried to use a spoke calculator (https://www.unicycle.uk.com/calculator/), but I didn't really understand it. The hub I ordered was not in the list, so I had to try to meassure it myself. This is where I got confused because with a disc hub you have to calculate spoke length twice: disk side and none disc side. I tried with some of the preset disc hubs in the spokes calculator list and discovered that the value "Flange Width" varied depending on disc/none disk side. From the illustration this didn't make any sense to me, and I didn't understand the explanation either. I finally discovered that the meassurements I needed was stated i the product descripton, but it was called "Hub Width" instead of "Flange Width" (Hub Width disc side: 31mm, Hub Width non disc: 66mm). The spoke calculator gave the values 227.03mm (none disc side) and 225.17mm (disc side). According to Sheldon Brown I should round up to the nearest millimeter. Roger says you should go short rather than long, so I guess it depends on what spoke lengths are available. I ordered 226mm and 228mm. I later discovered that the double bottom of the Dominator2 rim made the spoke length less critical than I first thought.

The next question was which "gauge" I should order. Gauge is the diameter of the spoke. 12 gauge is 2.6mm , 13 gauge was out of stock and 14 gauge is 2.0mm. The 12 gauge spokes was not available in shorter lengths than 375mm, so 14 gauge was my only (and correct I think) choice.

Finally the nipples. Nipples has to be ordered separately even though they are in the same photo as the spokes. Because I rounded the spoke length up, I decided to go whith the shortest nipples which is 14 gauge / 12mm. This was also a correct choice.

Preparation:

I don't have a truing stand so I bought a cheap vice that you can attach to a table with an 90° angle to hold the frame (see picture below).

A zip tie on the frame to correct sideways run outs

A piece of duct tape beneath the wheel to correct circular run outs

Linseed oil in the nipples after advice from bungeejoe i another post (to provide some lubrication when lacing and truing the wheel and then to act as a bit of a thread-lock to keep spokes from easily loosening)

What I didn't have:

Dishing tool - I just meassured the distance between the frame and rim to get the wheel approximately in the center of the frame. I noticed that my original Oracle wheel was quite a bit off center, so I figured It didn't have to be that accurate.

Spoke tension meter - I just tried to feel with my hands how tight the spokes on my original Oracle wheel is, and tried to make the new wheel the same. I might buy a spoke tension meter for my 36" wheel later.

The instructional videos:

I watched both these excellent videos once beforehand, and also parallel to the building process.

How to lace a wheel with 36 spokes (17 minutes): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6Sd3bMeDck

How to tighten and truing the wheel (39 minutes): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmQRRNyeCes
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Old 2017-10-03, 11:54 AM   #2
OneTrackMind
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Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Murwillumbah, NSW, Australia
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Building a wheel can be a really rewarding experience and not as difficult as it might seem. It just requires patience, attention to detail and a methodical approach.

I replaced the corroded spokes in my Qu-Ax Luxus wheel with bright stainless ones. That made the length selection simple and only cost $23 online for the set of spokes and nipples, delivered. I figured it was good place to start learning and if I stuffed it up then I could always take the wheel to the local bike shop.

My internet is very slow so I didn't use videos. I read a bit but couldn't really relate to it without being hands on at the same time. So I just laced by following the pattern on another wheel. It took me two attempts from the start to get it laced as I discovered more than one way to get it wrong along the way.

I had zero special equipment. I just used the uni in my lap as a truing stand and gauged the rim with a small screwdriver held against the frame by hand. I have a very good eye and steady hand for such things. Others might prefer to set up a simple rig like UniMyra's especially for larger wheels.

Truing is mostly a matter of understanding how the spokes pull on the rim and tightening or loosing to move the rim in the right directions towards centrality, circularity and straight running. Maintain even but light tension during the initial truing. Whatever you do to spokes in one area you typically do the same but a little less to the adjacent spokes and the complementary action to the opposing group of spokes.

How you distribute the adjustment to the adjacent spokes depends on how far the error is distributed.

What constitutes the opposing spokes depends on the error. If the whole rim is not centered on the hub then tighten the spokes on the high side and loosen those on the opposite side. If the rim is oval then tighten the spokes on the high points and loosen them on the low points. If rim warps one way then tighten the spokes on the other side to pull it into line and loosen the opposing spokes.

Be systematic and repeatedly check all aspects, keeping the tension even. The errors are often a combination of all three aspects, especially at first. Slowly and patiently bring up the tension. Keep checking for even tension across the whole wheel. If the wheel is true but some spokes are lower tension then bring up the tension in all the appropriate complementary spokes together while monitoring eccentricity, ovality and warp.

BTW When I got to the end and went to inflate the tyre, I discovered yet another way I hadn't noticed to get the lacing wrong. The valve was between spokes that came towards each other making it impossible to fit the pump hose. So I got to do the truing all over again the next night. However I avoided re-lacing by tying the crossing points of all the spokes with string, removing the nipples and rotating the hub and spoke assembly to the right holes in the rim.

I would really encourage everyone to have a go at it. Do read up on the instructions, especially about setting the spokes at the end. It is important.

Despite how long it took and the mistakes along the way I thoroughly enjoyed both the process and the results. Obviously an experienced person would do it much faster but there really is no reason anyone with modest mechanical ability couldn't manage it.
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Old 2017-10-06, 01:09 AM   #3
Smo
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I love building wheels. Just built one for my new 29er yesterday. I'm fortunate enough to have a bike shop with a community work stand near me, and they let me borrow their tension meter. Definitely nice to have for balancing tension.

This is my 5th wheel build and I've used the Sheldon Brown guide every time. This is the smoothest one has ever come together for me. No dishing and the tension came out super even, with all the spokes within about 10% of each other.

My biggest piece of advice for anyone new to truing or building wheels is to pay attention to spoke twisting. Any time you tighten or loosen a spoke, have one hand on the spoke wrench and the other on the spoke, gauging how much it is twisting. Make an adjustment by moving the spoke wrench until the spoke stops twisting, then turning your desired amount, then reversing the initial movement to leave the spoke un-twisted. This way you make a wheel that stays true rather than falling out of true as the spokes untwist on their own.
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Old 2017-10-06, 05:25 AM   #4
UniMyra
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smo View Post
My biggest piece of advice for anyone new to truing or building wheels is to pay attention to spoke twisting. Any time you tighten or loosen a spoke, have one hand on the spoke wrench and the other on the spoke, gauging how much it is twisting. Make an adjustment by moving the spoke wrench until the spoke stops twisting, then turning your desired amount, then reversing the initial movement to leave the spoke un-twisted. This way you make a wheel that stays true rather than falling out of true as the spokes untwist on their own.
I will keep this i mind. Good advice.
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Old 2017-10-08, 11:58 PM   #5
jtrops
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I'd say maybe even more important than spoke twisting is to lube the nipple threads, and the place where the nipple seats on the rim. If you use spoke prep or boiled linseed oil on the threads, and lithium grease on the rim holes you won't really have any problems with spoke wind up. At this point the only time I really have to have my spoke pliers out is when I'm building Sapim Lasers, or CX-Rays. Those are light spokes that are prone to twisting before you get up to working tension. Also when I'm working on CF rims due to the extra tension they take.
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Old 2017-10-10, 05:15 AM   #6
finnspin
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So far, I have never used a spoke calculator when ordering spokes. I have very good experience with just telling municycle.com (UDC Germany) what wheelset I have/I'm planning to build.
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