Advice on building a wheel needed….

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    • #81712

      Hello, and thanks for taking the time to read my post.

      I am in the process of upgrading my Marin Hardtail XC, the rear hub has died and I am going to upgrade the lot

      Is it possible to build a wheel yourself, or is it a disaster waiting to happen that should be left to the pros? The plan is to upgrade to some Hope Pro ll hubs, ACI spokes, and some rims.

      I am fairly practical, and so far have done basic repairs and fitted any upgrades myself. If I explain what I think is the right way of doing things, could you tell me where I am going wrong? Threading the spokes and getting the right tension is the key? tightening all the spokes so they ring to the same note? As for how to know when the spokes are tight enough I would welcome advice. I assume that all of the spokes should be threaded onto the hub and rim and then tension added when everything is in place? Is a spoke key the only tool I need to build the wheel? other than the kit required to fit the cassette to the new wheels?



    • #81713

      to be truthful I personally wouldn’t try to build my first wheel set on those parts…If any thing try on a cheap set first..

      If you intend on doing it pickup a wheel building guide first (DT makes one as well as a few others) get the idea of what they are stating…

      To build a wheel properly your going to need a truing stand that can maintain dish for you as well…The park one works great but is almost $300.00..

      Building wheels also requires a sense of feel when it comes to tensioning the wheel to the rider and riding style..Something a Pro will know…

    • #81714

      Cheers for getting back to me!

      Is it a no go without a truing stand then? Also when you mentioned about tension depending on weight and riding style, how is this quantified? I weight about 190 pounds, is there a recomended spoke tension for a bike like that? or do you have to factor in the rim type and make of spoke on top of that?

      Been back to the mother ship and had a look at a stand, what do you reckon? … 286.c0.m14

      Thanks again,


    • #81715

      Is it a single sided truing stand that can do dish or is it one that hold the wheel in the middle?.

      Tension is based on a few things yes weight is one…But how you want the wheel to behave is another. If the tension is higher the wheel tends to be more lively..In other words you feel everything more, it turns faster. Lower tension wheels have a tendency of feeling softer, they absorb a bit of road shock.

      Depending on lacing (how many times a spoke crosses over another) tension is a factor.. Typically the less crosses the more tension.

      Stick with 3 cross for wheel running disks.

    • #81716

      Most people will also tell you to buy a tensiometer, especially if you are new to building wheels. You’ll get the feel of the tension by sound after a while but the tensionmeter will verify that you are in the right ranges. Most can be pretty expensive but Park Tools makes a cheap one that seems to work reasonably well. Other than what Element mentioned, your rim will have a suggested tension range as well.

      There are cheap ways to make a truing stand by flipping a bike fork upside down if you can’t find one in your range. I’ve also seen a homemade dishing gauge made out of cardboard in Roger Musson’s E-book.

      If you are looking for books or manuals, check out Gerd Schraner’s book "Art of Wheelbuilding" and Roger Musson has an online book that was nice too, "The Professional Guide to Wheelbuilding". Leonard Zinn also has a section in his repair book "Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance" that is decent and of course Sheldon Brown’s website has a write up as well as a ton of other great bits of information.

      As Element said, you probably will want to learn on cheap parts. If you have an old set of wheels that you aren’t using, take them apart and put them back together.

      Read up on the matter first and then decide if it’s still something you are up for because it is time consuming and can get expensive and frustrating.

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