First wheel build – rebuilding a front wheel

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  • First wheel build – rebuilding a front wheel
  • theflatboy
    Member

    I’m about to rebuild the front wheel on my winter bike, a few of the spokes on it have broken recently including one yesterday and now I am thinking I’d rather rebuild than have more go / not be able to trust it.

    So, I’ve ordered the 28 new spokes ready to go. At the moment it’s a 28 spoke 2 cross build which I was going to replicate. It has occurred to me that it would be easier to just do it radially which is a little appealing for a first attempt, but on the other hand feels like cheating as I’d rather learn to do it properly. In a mechanical sense, I know roughly the arguments for crossed / radial builds, any particular argument for doing one or the other. I’m happy for it to be marginally heavier if it’s tougher as it’s just a training bike, so I’m still leaning towards 2 cross.

    Any thoughts?

    Premier Icon tthew
    Subscriber

    If you’ve already ordered the spokes for a 2 cross pattern, they’ll be too long for radial. Problem solved. 😀

    Lacing up a 2 cross is more difficult than a radial, I don’t do enough to get properly proficient at it and always seem to end up with the valve not between 2 parallel spokes, but at that point in the build it’s only a question of it being a bit time consuming to un-lace it to correct.

    Stupid question but it is a rim brake? You’ll have to cross it if it’s a disk brake winter bike to transmit the torque.

    noahhowes
    Member

    http://www.wheelpro.co.uk/wheelbuilding/book.php

    That’s a really helpful guide for wheel building. There’s a few free ones around the internet too.

    You’re committed to building the pattern you bought the spokes for. If you’ve got the same length as is already on the wheel in a 2-cross pattern you need to still use a 2-cross pattern. To change to radial would require a shorter spoke. Don’t be worried by it, lacing is easy, just follow some instructions and watch some youtube videos. Read plenty about tension and try and understand how you will effect the wheel both up and down and side to side. It’s really not hard to build a perfectly good wheel, it’s pretty tricky to build a great one.

    It may be that you are breaking spokes because it’s a 2-cross build anyway. I’m much more a fan of the conventional 3-cross on a training bike, it’s considerably stronger.

    Are you using a wheel stand or are you having a go in your frame?

    edit: too slow!

    theflatboy
    Member

    both – yes noted about spoke length, I was thinking I could get in quick enough pre-despatch and change them!

    And yes, front rim brake so I figure while it will be trickier than radial, there aren’t too many complications e.g. dishing, braking forces etc.

    And that’s an interesting point about reason for breaking spokes – I’m not heavy and I don’t ride that bike any different to my other bikes, I’ve never broken a spoke on any other bike before but that’s the third one that’s gone in not many rides, I don’t know why…

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

    There’s a free guide on the sheldonbrown site hat I’ve taught myself from.

    Are you using a new rim? It makes life a lot easier using new parts, and something cheap like an open-sport will cost less than the spokes.

    Also, consider a tension gauge. Yes you can build a good enough wheel in the forks of the bike using a zip tie as the guide, but a truing stand and a tension gauge means it’s right every time.

    Premier Icon tthew
    Subscriber

    Once the first one goes, it causes tension issues in others. If they are all old and a bit fatigued, this can be enough to start breaking them.

    Rebuilding seems like a good plan, but have a damn good look at the rim condition around the spoke holes/eyelets and brake track wear before you use the same rim.

    edit – Sheldon Brown’s web page is great, especially for the lacing guide. I’ve found that reading a number of different wheel building instructions gives a lot more tips and pointers than just relying on one source.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

    edit – Sheldon Brown’s web page is great, especially for the lacing guide. I’ve found that reading a number of different wheel building instructions gives a lot more tips and pointers than just relying on one source.

    +1

    And actually read them, not just skip to the good bits, you could condense the whole lacing process down to three steps, 1) DS pulling, 2) NDS pulling, 3) DS pushing and repeat for NDS pulling, which are obvious if you know the logic behind the order and where the should go, but if you just learn the steps rather than why you’ll come unstuck.

    And don’t worry too much about the method, different builders put the pushing/pulling spokes inside/outside, and that affects the order you build in, but for non disk front wheels it makes sod all difference.

    mike_p
    Member

    Unless the Sheldon Brown guide has been re-written I thought it got you only so far and then got all vague on the important details that get you from something that looks like a wheel to something that lasts.

    Roger Musson’s Wheelpro book linked above is the one you want.

    In both cases you get what you pay for.

    theflatboy
    Member

    ok ta, all useful pointers. I think I’ll stick with 2 cross. I’ve looked at a few online guides, this seems particularly detailed and comprehensive (though he suggests using grease to prep the spokes which others say is an absolute no-no…): http://troubleshooters.com/bicycles/wheelbuilding/index.htm

    kerley
    Member

    If you are anything like me (and I hope not for your sake) you will read the guide, following it without thinking and get a wheel at the end of it.

    Second time you will do it from memory, make a slight mistake but then suddenly work out why the spokes go where they do and it all seems so obvious it is almost embarrassing.

    The only tool I should probably have is a tension gauge as happy with the truing/round process using wheel in frame, zip ties etc,. but when it come to equal tension I am guessing on equality and amount.

    It is a very satisfying thing to do though so expect to see yourself finding excuses to build a new wheel…

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