Tutorial on wheelbuilding, 31 July 2011

This month’s tutorial will be about wheelbuilding. Traditional bicycle wheels consist of three things: Hub, Spokes (and Nipples) and Rim. Together they form the wheel of the bicycle. The hub turns the wheel, the spokes transfer the ‘torque’ (or turning power) from the hub to the rim, and the rim being the edge of the wheel that contacts with the road and moves the bike forward.

The most important part of the wheel is the spokes. Increasingly designers are trying to build spokeless bicycles, but personally I’m not sure how durable such designs are – given the nature of riding in sand, gravel and dirt. 







But I digress. To start, we’ll learn how to measure the spoke lengths that you will need for the hub and rim combination that you’ve got. To do this, you will need a spoke calculator, that can be easily downloaded from here. Alternatively, if you are using DT Swiss spokes – they have the same calculator on their website.

The next part of the tutorial will teach you how lace the spokes to the hubs and rims, using the traditional 3-cross lacing pattern (the most handy, in my opinion), and the radial lacing pattern (the easiest type) depending on how much time we have.

Then after that, if we still have time, I will go into some tensioning techniques and we can all wrap up with a spot of wheel truing.

Please bring your projects – i.e. hubs, spokes, rims, and check out this handy site on wheelbuilding before you come!

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