Worth paying more for a hand built wheel?

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  • Worth paying more for a hand built wheel?
  • GiantJaunt
    Member

    I have a dilemma. I have the option of getting a wheel hand built at my lbs by a renowned wheel builder or getting one for about £30 cheaper (£70 vs £100) online (probably CRC).

    Are the CRC ones well built too or can they be a bit hit and miss? Obviously I’d like to make a saving but am feeling a bit guilty about not going to the lbs which has been very helpful and have a great reputation.

    Premier Icon martymac
    Subscriber

    all other things being equal, (same rim/hub/spokes)
    definately worth it imo.

    all other things being equal, (same rim/hub/spokes)
    definately worth it imo.

    Agreed. My wheelbuilder also has an amazing ‘tache.

    Handbuilt wheels are awesome.

    Premier Icon firestarter
    Subscriber

    Depends who builds it tbh but as a rule yes

    fasthaggis
    Member

    Giant

    Just picked up a new hand built set from big Al at Wheelcraft (legend).
    I got a free cup of coffee,the offer of some cake and told to bring them back for a free tune up once I have bashed them round the trails.

    There is little if nothing he doesn’t know about wheels and it was well worth the money on fuel to get there and back (twice).
    Oh, and as I had sourced out the hubs and rims online they still came in cheaper than buying the same set ready built.

    If the builder is good you won’t regret it

    Premier Icon firestarter
    Subscriber

    Big al is tops 😉

    Premier Icon steveh
    Subscriber

    CRC wheels are hand built as well you realise? At the prices you mention I’d go crc or merlin or whoever every time.

    CRC wheels are hand built as well you realise?

    Does that wheelbuilder know me and the way I ride? I very much doubt it. Does that wheelbuilder offer a free tweak after a bedding in period (as mentioned above)? I very much doubt it. Does that wheelbuilder offer banter, coffee, cake and support (again as mentioned above)? I very much doubt it.

    Premier Icon Onzadog
    Subscriber

    Personally, I’d buy cheap and finish them myself but it all comes down to the builder. Can you be certain that the guy in the local shop is £30 better than the guy at CRC?

    Can you be certain that the guy in the local shop is £30 better than the guy at CRC?

    Yes. I’ve known him for years. I know his name. I know who he is. I know how he works and I know a lot about his craft.

    The builder at CRC, do you know who he/she is? Do you have any idea of their experience as a builder?

    Premier Icon steveh
    Subscriber

    Captain flash you may know all those things about your wheel builder but I don’t think most people would do. How does how you ride effect how they build the wheel? The components used therein maybe but I’d be selecting those anyway based on my knowledge/previous experiences.

    cynic-al
    Member

    CaptainFlashheart – Member
    CRC wheels are hand built as well you realise?
    Does that wheelbuilder know me and the way I ride? I very much doubt it. Does that wheelbuilder offer a free tweak after a bedding in period (as mentioned above)? I very much doubt it. Does that wheelbuilder offer banter, coffee, cake and support (again as mentioned above)? I very much doubt it.

    How you ride matters not a jot to how your wheel should be be built.

    Otherwise unless CRC builds are gash VFM lies with them. It’s down to the usual web vs. lbs’ arguments as Flash says.

    Every shop should produce good wheels. The notion that there are wheel builders with mythical abilities is a nonsense…but no more so than most marketing tripe.

    How does how you ride effect how they build the wheel?

    Weight, bike, riding style. These can all affect how someone builds a wheel.

    matthew_h
    Member

    Bollocks. It can effect component choice but has nothing to do with the build process.

    I would always go with a hand built wheel now but then I’d build my own

    cynic-al
    Member

    CaptainFlashTart sucked in by “niche marketing” shocker!

    And I was about to buy a Rab jacket too…

    fasthaggis
    Member

    Yup, you could just buy the set you want (maybe cheaper) then get a builder to tune/check them.
    Me,I like to go for the whole shopping experience and (for me )the bigger satisfaction.

    It’s all down to what you want in the end.

    Build a bike from scratch or roll the same one out the door of an LBS (where they know what they are doing),you still end up with the bike you want,but I will always love my shed built projects more.

    Premier Icon R.lepecha
    Subscriber

    better idea, avoid the argument, buy a truing stand and do the bloody thing yourself.

    coffeeking
    Member

    Weight, bike, riding style. These can all affect how someone builds a wheel.

    Lobbocks. All it affects is the choice of spoke/hub/rim. If you’re specifying that in the first place, the only important fact is the quality of the build process, and then it’s either done properly or not.

    stoney
    Member
    clubber
    Member

    Sorry cfh, got to agree with the people who’ve called you above. Unless your wheelbuilder is suggesting the components then good wheelbuilding is good wheelbuild.ing I’ll bet that some will dispute that based on the silly ‘black art’ bs that’s surrounds many wheelbuilders but my own wheelbuilding background disagrees. People like to think they’re getting something special and many wheelbuilders play up to that ime.

    cynic-al
    Member

    Gravy made a career out of it!

    Sad to see flashie pwned. I feel for him I do. At least Fred wasn’t involved.

    TheDoctor
    Member

    Does that wheelbuilder offer a free tweak after a bedding in period

    If the wheels are built properly in the first place this isn’t needed!

    matthew_h
    Member

    I also agree with The Doctor. Re-tensioning check ups are a myth perpetuated by poor builders

    RealMan
    Member

    Also think about how good a mechanic you have to be to get a job at a place like CRC or Wiggle. They have quite a set of requirements.

    GiantJaunt
    Member

    I’d imagine that someone you meet and ask to build something is going to be more dedicated than someone sitting in a factory somewhere who might only do the bare minimum they need to do to keep their job. I think I’m willing to pay the extra for that.

    GiantJaunt
    Member

    Sorry for double post…connection prob.

    cynic-al
    Member

    CRC would never get away with poor wheels IMO.

    scottyjohn
    Member

    If wheel building is so easy then why do they write numerous books on the subject, most of them being over 100 pages or more.

    I agree about riding being irrelevant given a certain component choice, but building a wheel has so many variables that there does have to be some craft in doing it well. Also, a wheel picked up from the shelf can seem perfectly fine, but uneven tension can lead to a rapid taco on the trail, when not much lateral force is applied.

    partyboy
    Member

    Wheelbuilding is not rocket science, for an average rider there will not be much in the longevity of a machine built wheel versus one built by a so called master craftsman; especially when using cheap components.

    Premier Icon Mugboo
    Subscriber

    My experience so far

    Machine built (i presume), came on my 06 Marin Wolf Ridge.

    Deore hubs/ Mavic 317 rims/ black spokes – still true

    Hand built (by big local shop)

    Hope hubs/ Mavic 317 rims/ black spokes – out of true

    jamesb
    Member

    Retensioning IMO is not a myth; if you`ve got a new (aluminium) hub and rim and new (steel) spokes there will be some bed in at the hub & rim spoke holes and possibly stretch in the spokes themselves. Although probably very slight this will change the tension in the spokes >>>need to retension as a best option 🙂

    Premier Icon Onzadog
    Subscriber

    The last shop built wheel I had, which came from a shop that brags about the skill of their wheel builder didn’t do a very good job. I check my wheels for even tension using the park tool as my ear isn’t very musical. When I build a wheel, I get a tension tolerance of plus or minus half a unit. When I checked the shop built one, it was under tensioned and a tolerance of plus or minus three. The last set of hope hoops I had were plus or minus one. They’re effectively machine built wheels. Really does come down to the builder and the machine. Too many people big up their wheel builders in shops with no real measure of what they’re doing.

    matthew_h
    Member

    James, I agree that there will be bedding in of components but all of that shoud be taken care of by the builder before the wheel leaves the shop. There should be sufficient stretching, squeezing and detensioning done that once out of the shop the wheel should not need any retensioning. I have the callouses and carpel tunnel to show for it

    hora
    Member

    +300 for wheelcraft. Hope hoops are great imo

    cynic-al
    Member

    The last set of hope hoops I had were plus or minus one. They’re effectively machine built wheels.

    Really? I understood only the very cheapest wheels were machine built.

    Premier Icon Onzadog
    Subscriber

    I could be wrong but I’m sure I heard they were machine built and hand tweaked. Also, that machines can build very good wheels, it just boils down to how many units you want to push through the machine. If you give them longer, they can build better.

    Happy to be corrected if I’m wrong.

    clubber
    Member

    scottyjohn – Member
    If wheel building is so easy then why do they write numerous books on the subject, most of them being over 100 pages or more.
    I agree about riding being irrelevant given a certain component choice, but building a wheel has so many variables that there does have to be some craft in doing it well. Also, a wheel picked up from the shelf can seem perfectly fine, but uneven tension can lead to a rapid taco on the trail, when not much lateral force is applied.

    Long books on a subject prooves only that there are some very boring people around 😉

    There is craft in wheelbuilding which is why I said specifically ‘good wheelbuilding’ however it’s not a black art no matter how much many try to claim it is.

    Premier Icon rickmeister
    Subscriber

    Interesting.. set of machine built wheels kept breaking spokes.. took some advice and had them completely rebuilt by hand… problem solved. Hand built over machine built for me.

    Premier Icon Onzadog
    Subscriber

    rickmeister, you may find that’s due to cheap spokes rather than machine building. Either that or under tensioned spokes which is a process problem rather than the machine. That will build to whatever tension you tell it.

    jamesb
    Member

    [quote]James, I agree that there will be bedding in of components but all of that shoud be taken care of by the builder before the wheel leaves the shop. There should be sufficient stretching, squeezing and detensioning done that once out of the shop the wheel should not need any retensioning. I have the callouses and carpel tunnel to show for it

    True, on the occasions that I have built (just my own) wheels I did spend a lot of time squeezing, leaning sideways on teh rim etc (I even heard of a builder who walked on the wheeels!) but won`t there still be some longer term bedding in , after all no matter how much building squeezing etc that is a small proportion of the total tiem a wheel has being ridden and stressed at every rotation?

    Re Hope Hoops, great wheels I agree having got both raod and MTB set; I believe that they are hand finished off at Hope, but even so my road wheels still required some retensioning after 1000 miles use, spokes had gone a bit soft

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