Advice on Rims and spokes for a wheel build

PedaloPete

Retro Newbie
Hi All,
Im working on a project at home to lace my own wheel and have recently bought a pair of Continental Baron 2.3 tires for my Cannondale SM500.
Ive also bought a Rear Hub, a Shimano FH-M732 Deore XT rear hub - 7 speed.
I just wanted to know if any of you fine people could recommend a decent pair of rims to be on the look out for.
Also what length of spokes would I need.
Any advice would be most welcome.
Thanks All
 

2manyoranges

Senior Retro Guru
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Hmmm clearances will be tight with 2.3. I have switched to wider rims (35 internal) on my modern tubeless - the orthodoxy is that it provides better support and grip. but read this


If retro-oriented, try MAVIC M7CD - and contact Anthony at TrueWheels in Brighton - they are turning into one of the UKs key suppliers of spokes - they have spoke cutting machinery which is very unusual in the UK - they can do things of any and unusual lengths. And the machines do rolled threads, which is a Very Good Thing.

 

marc two tone

Retrobike Rider
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You will need the rims first, to determine spoke length needs. I tend to swap out like for like against an established wheel, but the likes of drystonepaul on here can advise spoke length when you are ready.
Sapim, wheelsmith are good choices, plain gauge a bit stronger than butted, Stainless or brass nipples are typically safer. Alloy powder up and fail, if unchecked.
 

hookooekoo

Retro Guru
I used an Excel spreadsheet called Spocalc to calculate spoke length. For most hubs, a three-cross lacing pattern will probably be best. It's also the pattern you're most likely to find on wheels you already own.

To measure the ERD (Effective Rim Diameter), make two measurement spokes
1. Buy two plain gauge spokes and two nipples.
2. Cut the nipples off each spoke so that each spoke is precisely 100mm long (don't touch the threaded end).
3. Screw a nipple onto the threaded end of each spoke (don't thread it all the way, or you will have no thread left for tensioning the spoke when you actually build the wheel).
4. Secure the nipples with tape (to prevent it rotating, and changing the length of the measurement spokes).
5. Insert the two measurement spokes into the rim at opposing holes.
6. Carefully measure the distance between the cut ends of the spokes using a steel ruler.
7. Add 200mm to the measurement to get the ERD.
8. Repeat for each opposing pair of spoke holes.
9. Take the average of all the measurements (e.g. 16 measurements for a 32 hole rim), this allows for the fact that rims as supplied are not always perfectly round.

Pay careful attention to spoke lacing on an existing wheel, so that you get the valve hole in a location that doesn't have a spoke crossing directly below the valve hole.

I did the above for my wheel build, and the spoke lengths were absolutely perfect. I used Sapim double butted spokes, and I bought a few different nipple lengths before deciding which length of nipple I wanted to use. I also bought a Sapim spoke key, because I knew it would be guaranteed to be a perfect fit on the Sapim spoke nipples, and minimise the risk of rounding. Don't forget to lubricate the spoke nipples/spoke threads to make any future adjustments easy.
 

hookooekoo

Retro Guru
The wheelbuilding method I used is pretty much the same as can be found on the Sheldon Brown website.

Measuring rims and hubs, and using Spocalc

Lacing the wheels

If you own a digital vernier, the process of measuring the hubs will be easier. I didn't use a truing stand. I don't build many wheels, so I don't want the expense of buying it and to have it taking up space when I'm not using it. I laced up the wheels, then mounted the rear wheel in the frame for truing. For the front wheel, I happened to have a spare pair of forks that I mounted upside down in a vice. No doubt a proper truing stand makes it easier, but I've never used one. If you can hold a piece of plastic against the fork or frame tubing, and note when the rim touches, then you already have a wheel truing stand. The shaft from a cotton bud, an old toothbrush shaft, or a plastic drinks stirrer is good enough to see where the rim deviates and the spokes need adjusting.
 

Tootyred

Retro Guru
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Make yourself a wheel jig and a dishing tool. It will take 2 hours tops, out scrap wood and save you hours and stress for the rest of your life. I drilled 2 holes in mine and hang it on the wall. Once you have one, you will wonder why you ever fought to build wheels any other way.

Heres mine. (Yes it mahogany, but its what i had spare) its far nicer to look at and use than my old budget alloy one. ....i built it following the templates in roger mussons wheel building book book......downloading that is probably one the best £9.00 you can spend too. Ideal for beginners and old hands. Ive built wheels for 30 years and still got something from it.
 

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focomat 1c

Retro Guru
You will need the rims first, to determine spoke length needs. I tend to swap out like for like against an established wheel, but the likes of drystonepaul on here can advise spoke length when you are ready.
Sapim, wheelsmith are good choices, plain gauge a bit stronger than butted, Stainless or brass nipples are typically safer. Alloy powder up and fail, if unchecked.
These generalized statements can't go unchallenged !

1 If you are going to build a wheel you will need some basic measuring equipment to determine both rim and hub dimensions which will be
needed to make an accurate spoke length calculation . See Sheldon Brown on wheelbuilding for sensible advice
2 ' plain gauge a bit stronger ' this being strictly true , you would have to ask why the majority of wheels built today have butted spokes
ie spokes that are thickest at the ends ( the spoke head/elbow and threaded portion ) and of reduced diameter in the middle .
See Sheldon on spoke elasticity
3 Stainless steel nipples don't even exist ! it has been suggested that this is because the nipple would seize on the spoke ( known as galling )
brass nipples are indeed safe and widely used , brass has a very good surface finish when machined/threaded
4 ' alloy powder up and fail ' this being the case ? you would again have to ask why the majority of spokes you will need for your wheel build
come with anodized alloy nipples as standard ?


Good luck with your wheel build , its not as complicated as it first appears . Once you have sorted your spoke lengths , you can play around
with your various components ( again Sheldon Brown has an illustrated guide ) until you have a complete accurately constructed wheel .
The wheel trueing/dishing/spoke tension is another matter , but which you should be able to manage with patience . In a worst case
scenario take the wheel to your LBS for them to complete
 

hamster

Retro Wizard
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4 ' alloy powder up and fail ' this being the case ? you would again have to ask why the majority of spokes you will need for your wheel build
come with anodized alloy nipples as standard ?


They come with alloy nipples because they are cheaper and lighter.
Certainly in my bitter experience, they don't last in the wet and salty conditions in the UK. If you live somewhere warm and dry or only ride the bike in the summer, you may well be fine.

Remember that durability seems to be bottom of the heap with many bike components these days. (1x12 anyone?)
 

marc two tone

Retrobike Rider
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My goodness. The 'generalised' guide is exactly that. Not a comprehensive 'how to'. The man wanted advice, not an instruction manual.
Why dont you (focomat 1c) provide this instead of quoting and criticising?
 

2manyoranges

Senior Retro Guru
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All this talk of nipples has got me going (!) … TrueWheels use alloy on my wheels these days, always brass in the past, since the new generation of alloy nipples are nice to work with, come in amusing colours, are harder than they were, and resist corrosion (which was a genuine problem in the past) see:

 

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