I've been wondering about buying my own bits and doing this myself for a long time – but haven't plucked up the courage yet. How did you find the process and how long did it take you?
Get Roger Musson's wheel building book - it's superb! http://www.wheelpro.co.uk
I just built my very first wheel today using new parts (Hope hub, DTSwiss Comp spokes, Mavic 317rim). Did a couple of test assemblies to practice and make sure spokes were correct length etc and because i was expecting it to be very difficult. To my surprise i found it quite straight forward and not particularly difficult so the 'final' build went smoothly. Got to follow the correct assembly sequence though or you're in trouble and follow all Roger Musson's build tips. I thought i'd need a tension meter but Roger (a solid expert) advised using sound (pluck the spoke) to even up the tensions and use a factory made reference wheel to compare and judge the overall tension by 'feeling' the tension in the spokes by gentle bending. Aparently there is a reasonable range of what constitutes 'correct tension' so getting an exact tension of a certain value is not as important as the evenness of the tensions. Tighter spokes make stronger wheels though, according to Roger. I thought that seemed a bit unprofessional and was nervous about not having a tension meter but it really works and is not difficult. Like most things, there are plenty of different opinions out there, but i can recommend Roger's book as it has very comprehensive content. I realize now that wheel building is not a 'black art' to be afraid of - it's quite easy so give it a try! Becoming a genuinely GOOD wheelbuilder however might take more practice
Also, while a wheel building stand is more professional, i was planning to just use my bike frame, then just by chance i came across a two year old magazine which decribed doing exactly that, so that gave me the confidence to just go for it. It worked fine..
Thanks RadNomad. Love the photo!
I've looked at Wheelpro a few times now, amongst many many other sites, – I may well actually get round to buying the book come pay day. I’ve spent the last 6 months at least, reading, viewing and considering a lot of information, guidance and opinions that are out there.
With more people like yourself posting about self-built wheels, I’m coming to the conclusion that although it can be taken to a high fine art for ‘anal’ well-honed skills, wheel building is actually more straight forward and a lot simpler than some make it out be. I do feel that there are some who try to perpetuate the idea that it’s a complex frightening “black art”, not to be attempted by mere mortals.
I’ll probably start with the front first by copying the original. I’ll use the forks as a jig. I guess calculating correct spoke length is tricky. I guess attention to detail and keeping track is about as complicated as it gets. Did you apply anything to the spoke threads before fixing the nips?
Clockwork A309 A0163
Wanted: 26.8mm Orange or Zoom seatpost and Onza RCR 160 Bar Ends in either black or polished silver. Oh, and an end to The Struggle.