My Rides

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Wheel Building


Built my 2nd wheel a couple of weeks ago.  Cycling, for me, is as much about the adventure and exercise as it is about the "tech hobby" part of it.  There are things to tune, tweak, adjust and "improve."  Components to upgrade & put on lists.  There's modeling and simulation (I hope to put together simple sims of power required for a given pace based on elevation profile).

Wheel building is something I was close to doing back in college (14 years ago).  I got Jobst Brandt's book "The Bicycle Wheel", and then it just sat on a shelf.  A box fell off a shelf in the garage and put me in the position to need a new wheel.

I stressed about not having a truing stand, but couldn't bring myself to:
  1. Spend $200 for the Park TS-2
  2. Spend 1/2 that for the others that didn't seem as well engineered (from the limited glimpse online)
I set out to follow the book's instructions to get to the stage of truing by tone, and then take it into a shop for final truing.  The whole process of lacing and tensioning was pretty simple and logical.  The only mistake I made was not lacing the outbound under the last spoke (30 minutes to correct).

When I got to that stage, I dropped it in my frame, and noticed that the frame is symmetrical, so I ran to the garage and got a small combination square.  I centered/trued it up using that, and still thought there was enough slop that I wouldn't be happy (and I'd either need a shop, or a stand).  I got out my biggest tire - a Schwalbe Big Apple 29x2.35.  It rubbed the frame on the sprocket side, so I had to re-center the wheel 1-2mm, but after that I'm pretty happy - I have the same 2-3mm either side of that fat tire...  I've ridden that wheel for a season with only minor truing (1/2 turn or less).  I don't know that I've got it up to the tension/strength the rim will support.

BOM for wheels built so far:

Off-Road Monster

  • Salsa Gordo 36H
  • Shimano M756 (XT) 36H
  • Wheelsmith DB (288mm) Spokes
  • Wheelsmith Brass Nipples
  • Velox Rim Tape (22mm)
  • Shimano 11-34 cassette (will change to 12-36)
Trainer-Road Wheel

  • WTB Dual-Duty FR 32H
  • Shimano M475 32H
  • Wheelsmith DB (288 & 290 mm) Spokes
  • Wheelsmith Brass Nipples
  • Velox rim tape (16mm)
  • Shimano 12-36 cassette (love these ratios)

I love the look of the black rim & hub, and the silver/stainless spokes & nipples.  I'll post some pictures and some recordings of the "plucks."