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Thread: Wheel building

  1. #1
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    Wheel building

    In my attempt to emulate Carlos, I got a wheel truing stand for Christmas. I've since trued, re-tensioned and re-dished every wheel in my house and I'm now ready to tackle building up a set from scratch. I want to build something light, but inexpensive. The wheels will most likely be used on my wife's bike - but I've been know to steal things off her bike if I like them better.

    I was thinking of something like LX hubs laced to 517's with 14/17/14 spokes for everything except DS rear, where I'd use 14/15/14, and alloy nipples. I'd go radial (heads out) on the front, 3X DS rear and radial (heads out) NDS rear. In my head, this should result in a pretty light wheelset that's relatively durable and looks pretty cool (I'd use black spokes and rims, and probably gold nipples to pimp it out a bit), and costs around $175.

    A few questions - I've heard that it's hard to build wheels with the 14/17 spokes. I have plenty of time, so I don't mind having to re-work things, but I don't want to jump into something over my head. So, should I use the light spokes, or just stick with 14/15s?

    Any other hub recommendations in the LX price range?

    What lacing pattern results in a laterally stiffer wheel - radial or 3x?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    TeckniKal, that's a cool deal! i find wheelbuilding to be relaxing and the finished product always seems to glow with some magical phosphorescence.......like afterglow! anyway.......

    LX on 517s is a sweet wheel. light, strong, serviceable, and inexpensive.

    a note on the 14/17 gauge spokes. thinner spokes tend to bind up on the nipple (they generally end up with a slightly higher tension than thicker spokes) causing what's known as wind up. the twisted spoke can make pinging noises, as it's ridden, if the wheel isn't detensioned between each trueing. the noise is the spoke un-twisting. use some really slick grease. the slickest i've found for lubing the spoke threads is Finish Line's Teflon Fortified Bicycle Grease, Phil Wood Waterproof Grease, Wrench Force Synthetic Grease, or Tri Flow.

    skip the use of products like Wheelsmith's Spoke Prep and DT's Spoke Freeze. these are basically weak thread lockers. the problem with these two products, is that after they dry out, they tend to become a powdery residue that ends up making it impossible to turn a nipple. the nipple rounds out and is now useless.

    also, don't use blue or red lock tite. way too strong.

    the lacing pattern you mention is a good one. heads out on radial wheels is a good idea as well. fork clearance and less stress on the hub flange.

    as always, there is a debatable issue. on the DS of the rear hub, there is a debate as to whether the heads of the pulling spokes should face in or out.

    if the heads face in (photo 1), many claim a gentler angle for the spoke to accept the pulling forces from the driveshell and no chance of the spokes sucking the chain further down between the spokes and cassette in the event of derailment.
    if the heads face out, they claim a gentler angle for the spokes as they accept the pulling forces from the driveshell. those who build the DS with the heads out claim that building a DS rear wheel with the heads in, will cause the heads in spoke to bow out during hard braking and hook on the deraileur cage. i've heard of this but have never seen it first hand. hmmmmm..... but who knows? anything is always possible.

    the main problem with the thinner 14/17g spokes is the wind up problem. but detensioning will solve that problem.

    before i get into the detensioning, i wanna mention seating of the spokes. when the wheel is laced up and tensioned some, you'll notice that the spokes don't lie is a perfectly straight path from the hub flange to the rim. they gently bend around a neighbooring spokes. it would be pratically impossible to get the spoke to conform so well with out seating it first. this should only be done after the spokes are at about 40% of total tension. there are several ways to do this. here's the method i've found that's easiest on the spokes.

    take something made of hard plastic or wood (small screwdriver handle or small hammer), sit it between the first cross of a pair of spokes from the rim, gently press the "seating tool" toward the hub, and repeat for any side with a cross pattern. this step also means you'll have to re-true fewer times.

    the detensioning can be done one of two ways. one, take a pair of parallel spokes from the NDS and DS in head hand while the wheel is in the trueing stand and squeeze OR set the wheel on the floor, set your hands at 9 and 3 o'clock on the rim and press down firmly. rotate the wheel each time you squeeze spokes or press on the wheel neither is better, just different. do what works best.

    the idea is to simulate some stresses cause by hard cornering. after that, set the calipers of the stand and see if the wheel was kicked out of true. if i was, usually does, true it up again. reapeat until you can detension the wheel without having it go out of true. average for me is about 15 detensions and retrues. this all depends on the wheels components and the tension of the spokes.

    i can't really think of any hubs that are as good a buy as the LXs. WTB, but not many shops carry the brand....Ritchey, again, who carries it?

    go with the lighter spokes and see how you like them. i would proabably use a 15/16g spoke for radials OR go 2X or 3X and go with the 14/17g.

    3X is stiffer that radial. in fact, in the case of Shimano hubs, they don't warranty radially laced wheels if the flange cracks. then again, how many times does someone see a cracked flange on a Shimano hub?

    finally, yes, the end is finally here, you can sometimes compensate or substitute one spoke gauge for another. for instance, 32, 15/16g spokes, laced 2 or 3x are lighter than 32, straight 14g spokes, laced radailly. stiff wheel with less weight or heavier wheel that's just about as stiff. of course you always have to take into consideration all variables and how those relate to the wheel and it's components and their intended use.


    also, do you have a lacing method? if you get stumped, let me know.
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  3. #3
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    Thanks, Carlos!

    I'm going to order the parts today and will probably have lots of questions for you next week or so when the parts come in.

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    excellent.

  5. #5
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    Ok - parts have been ordered. I changed a couple of things, though. I went with Velocity Synergy rims because the guy I ordered them from had a special going on them. They are a little heavier than the 517's - but were also about 1/2 the cost. Since the Synergies are asym, he aslo recommend that I stick with 3x on the NDS rear since I wouldn't need to go radial to improve the dish. I also went with blue nipples - I figure it's cold outside, so blue nipples are appropriate I also went with 14/16/14 spokes all around - seemed like a good comprimise between the 14/15 and 14/17's.

    Total cost for everything is going to be $130. I figure the wheelset should weigh in somewhere around 1750 - 1850 grams w/o skewers - not bad for the price.

  6. #6
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    velocitys are really stout so it'll be nice to find out how they work with City Park. if you decide to take them out there.

    blue nips? hehehhehe

    14/16g are a good choice. DT or WS?

    130 is a really good price for a wheelset. you'll have to post up after you get some miles on them.

  7. #7
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    The spokes are wheelsmiths. I'll post a followup once I get everything built and put a few rides in. If they fail, it will be because of the builder, though. I've been running 517s laced to Hugi 240's with 15/16/15 spokes at CP and everywhere else I ride for the last couple of months and they've held up remarkably well. I've trued them once - they didn't really need it but I had the truing stand - so I had to do it... They are a little flexy, though. When I eventually trash the rims, I'll relace them with thicker spokes. They are -light- though - about 1500g for the pair...

  8. #8
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    hehehehe

    i felt kinda weird riding on a set of wheels i built the first time.

  9. #9
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    Originally posted by carlos
    hehehehe

    i felt kinda weird riding on a set of wheels i built the first time.

    Sounds like you need a Kuinea Pig.
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