Wheel building class..How much would you pay?

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Mark Johnston

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Apr 16, 2017
512
Phoenix
When I was around 12 I laced & trued my first pair of wheels by looking at a completed wheel for reference when lacing them & trial & error to true them. I’ve always eyeballed the dish, even on motorcycle wheels. Had to offset a couple of motorcycle wheels when converting from drum to disc brakes also.
 
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blackhawknj

Look Ma, No Hands!
Nov 29, 2016
43
70
Plainsboro, United States
I built my first wheel-a rear wheel for a 10-speed-in 1983 with a basic wheel truing stand, dishing tool, and Jobst Brandt's The Bicycle Wheel.
 
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Andrew Gorman

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jun 15, 2008
3,021
Pasadena (Hastings Ranch), United States
"The Bicycle Wheel" is great on theory, but there are better shop manuals out there.
 
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Barto

I live for the CABE
Mar 13, 2015
1,876
Somers, United States
I have been building wheels in bicycle shops since 1975. There are several key elements which make a big difference in overcoming potential building problems, especially in dishing.

Dishing rear wheels is a PITA but can be reduced to a minor irritation if approached in the right fashion. :sunglasses:

Assuming that you are dealing with a decent rim and the correct length of spokes, then the concept of centering the rear rim between the lock nuts (and not hub flanges) is the one thing to keep in mind throughout. Have I ever lost my concentration and moved the dish the wrong way...yes...it happens. Always put the wheel in the truing stand facing in same direction (I prefer the freewheel threads on the right when looking at it in the stand).

Here are some things you may find helpful.

The spoke threads, base of nipple heads, and rim spoke holes must all be properly lubricated before lacing.

Begin by tightening the nipples gradually and consistently by using the visible threads remaining as markers. When they disappear, count the number of nipple turns. Later, you may see the spoke end thought the end of the nipple slot and use that as a reference. The object is for all spokes nipples to be threaded the same distance - initially.

Detecting when the spokes begin to lose their initial slackness and start to move the rim is the point that makes all the difference in easier, accurate dishing, and removing/preventing rim "hop" (rim being out of round).

Spin the wheel and gun sight the rim in relation to the lock nuts and estimate where the rim will be properly dished. Using that reference, roughly true the wheel to that point using the least amount of tensioning as possible and then check the dish - the trueness does not need to be fine at this point as you are checking to see how close the dish is. It will be easy to make rim corrections at this point because of low spoke tension.

Once the wheel is close to being properly dished, then next adjust the hop without grossly affecting trueness. Then it is back and forth, keeping in mind that spokes on the right will be a lot tighter than the left side and the right side nipples will be harder to turn towards the end. As you are approaching optimum spoke tension, slightly over shooting the dish to the right (freewheel side) is a lot easier to correct than having it dished to far to the left.

Hope this helps!
Oh you should so do a video
 
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bikemonkey

I live for the CABE
Jun 25, 2016
1,361
67
North Carolina , Albemarle, NC, United States
A good wheel builder can throw one together in a matter of minutes. Just like getting to Carnegie Hall-"practice, practice practice!"
I think my average build takes 30/45 minutes including spoke prep time. I have had many take a "good" hour due to rim issues... :cool:

The toughest build in recent memory was a replacing a trashed rim w/Dyno hub for this black Raleigh Sport. Note the slotted spoke holes in the left hub flange. If you have done one of these you know the problem...lacing it is like playing Pick Up Stix until the spokes lose slack...

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Sven

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Dec 24, 2017
3,484
56
Mechanicsville, MD, United States
I am a very novice newbie trying to acquire this skill.
Lessons I have learned from my mistakes I have made and great advice from @bikemonkey and the others here an Youtube.

Rule # 1...Distractions and interruptions - find time when 100% of your time and attention can be on the wheel, not having to do something else halfway through your progress.

Rule #2...Know when to stop - When someone and you have started drinking...stop, call it a day.

Rule #3...Check and Recheck - On old hubs constantly check for axle out of roundness. Taking the wheel in and out of truing stand to check dish or spoke stress releasing. I have found that at times the cone nut sometimes loosens . This causes a sloppy center for the wheel, which will definitely throw you off.

Rule #4..Face Reality - I have old bikes, the hubs and rims are old. I'm not going to have a smooth as silk rolling hub , like the modern high dollar race one and a my old rim is not with some defects.

Rule #5...A Skill Earned Not Born With...it takes a lot of time and practice

Rule #6...Don't Over Think It and relax - Its not the end of the world if you mess up . Don't rack your brain trying to think how are you going to fix it. There are people here that have the experience are probably more than happy get you through it. And when you have built your wheel .....you have saved about $100 doing it yourself
 

TheWindrider

Look Ma, No Hands!
Dec 25, 2019
92
62
Michigan
No, heck no. He sounds like an infomercial on a biking channel.

Youtube is your friend. Be patient. You don’t have to be the village expert. But it helps.
 
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Sven

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Dec 24, 2017
3,484
56
Mechanicsville, MD, United States
This is the school I was referring to.
I'm sure its grand, but I don't have 1/2 grand to spend on it. They offer a bike maintenance course as well...but it is geared toward new bikes not Classic and Antique
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Barto

I live for the CABE
Mar 13, 2015
1,876
Somers, United States
Sure, I wouldn’t mind learning how to lace hubs, honestly I would rather pay someone to do it for me!
What’s the average cost To have a hub installed!!!
 

mueller22031

On Training Wheels
Jan 2, 2016
7
As a kid I learned to build wheels simply by looking at other wheels and figuring it out as I went. Now with all the tutorials on youtube you can learn anything. Save your money and get a good truing stand as a tension gage. Best of luck on your new wheels.
 

Sven

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Dec 24, 2017
3,484
56
Mechanicsville, MD, United States
Sure, I wouldn’t mind learning how to lace hubs, honestly I would rather pay someone to do it for me!
What’s the average cost To have a hub installed!!!
Bike Doctor in Waldorf Maryland
Wheel build - $80 labor , shop supplies and parts additional
True, Tension , Dish - $35 + $5 shop supplies
 

tech549

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Feb 9, 2014
2,366
63
attleboro falls, United States
never laced a wheel until I jumped into this hobby,first time I did tried to copy from an original ,was frustrating,then googled it and watched a few videos,not that difficult after you do a few,who wants to pay $80.00 to lace a wheel?not me.made a wheel tuner out of a old girls frame, works great.figured if I am in this hobby need to learn wheel building!
 

TheWindrider

Look Ma, No Hands!
Dec 25, 2019
92
62
Michigan
never laced a wheel until I jumped into this hobby,first time I did tried to copy from an original ,was frustrating,then googled it and watched a few videos,not that difficult after you do a few,who wants to pay $80.00 to lace a wheel?not me.made a wheel tuner out of a old girls frame, works great.figured if I am in this hobby need to learn wheel building!
Similar to your path, lacing wheels wasn’t something I saw myself doing but then came the journey this wood rimmed bike took me. A few vids and away I went. I agree, do it a few times (even if on the same wheel () and it gets easier.
 

RustySprockets

Look Ma, No Hands!
Aug 15, 2013
64
Glen Burnie, United States
Sven...come to Velocipede Bike Project in Baltimore and we'll teach you all the ins & outs of building for a measly $10 shop fee. Shop nights can get pretty busy, but arrange something in advance and I'm sure one of the staff can accommodate you. My colleagues and I run their education program and, if need be, I'll come in on a Sunday afternoon to work with you one-on-one. I may not be as slick as this other guy, but I can build a wheel and I work cheap.


100 West 22nd Street
in Baltimore, MD
 

MarkKBike

I live for the CABE
Apr 17, 2017
1,042
Chicago Suburbs
Everyones experiance may be different, but about 20-25 years ago I saved up and ordered a custom wheelset out of a online order shop in California. (I wont bash the shop by name as there prices were great, but there service was absoultely terrible. They are lucky I'm so easy going as I often find it easier to fix problems myself than have to deal with other people, and they managed to get several orders from me). I picked the hubs, the spokes, and rims all individually.

When the package arrived at my door, I did get a complete wheelset with all the parts I ordered, but was very disapointed in the way the parts were put together. I ended up needeing to readjusting everything myself. That was my first and last experiance ordering custom wheels. (At the time it did not bother me too much, because after some home brewed tinkering I was able to fix the problems, and got alot of joy out of those wheels).

I honestly think they just slapped the components ordered together. and payed no attention to providing a servisable wheel even though they claimed to be experianced. There main goal was to just sell, and get it out the door.

I feel anyone with a basic knowledge of tools could build a set of wheels. Maybe not from scratch, but could improve upon the product I recieved all those years ago.

For the cost of the class, you can get yourself a nice set of production wheels, and watching youtube videos might be equally informative and also free.
 
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hcdsign

Finally riding a big boys bike
Jul 20, 2011
258
Sheboygan, United States
If you can apprentice at a LBS, that is the best! Hands on training, access to nice tools, free used parts to practice on. You gain knowledge for FREE, and the LBS gets free labor to improve their bottom line.
 
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