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Wheel Building

OGRipper

back alley ripper
Feb 3, 2004
9,919
340
NORCAL is the hizzle
I've always had the best luck with spoke prep/light thread lock on the spoke threads, coupled with a drop of lube on the outside of the nipple, after lacing but before tensioning. That's the best way to get the wheel up to proper tension and help it stay that way long-term. Spoke prep acts like thread lube during the build, then dries to hold the tension. A drop of lube outside the nipple helps prevent damage to the rim and makes it easier to bring up the tension. Disclaimer: I've never had an issue, but I suppose you'd want to check for any chemical issues with using a small amount of lube on the outside of a nipple with a carbon rim.

Spoke tension gauges are like torque wrenches and tire pressure gauges IMO. Sure, it's best to use them all, all the time, but in reality they're not necessary every time, so long as you use them a few times and know you're in the ballpark. But a dishing gauge is absolutely necessary.
 

Jm_

Turbo Monkey
Jan 14, 2002
10,818
2,952
AK
I've always had the best luck with spoke prep/light thread lock on the spoke threads, coupled with a drop of lube on the outside of the nipple, after lacing but before tensioning. That's the best way to get the wheel up to proper tension and help it stay that way long-term. Spoke prep acts like thread lube during the build, then dries to hold the tension. A drop of lube outside the nipple helps prevent damage to the rim and makes it easier to bring up the tension. Disclaimer: I've never had an issue, but I suppose you'd want to check for any chemical issues with using a small amount of lube on the outside of a nipple with a carbon rim.

Spoke tension gauges are like torque wrenches and tire pressure gauges IMO. Sure, it's best to use them all, all the time, but in reality they're not necessary every time, so long as you use them a few times and know you're in the ballpark. But a dishing gauge is absolutely necessary.
I always had problem with the spoke prep drying too much before I was done tensioning/truing the wheel and then again, down the road, it'd lock the nipples with such force that the nipple would not turn independently of the spoke, so as you tried to true the wheel, it'd just twist the spoke. I'm not sure what the solution is for that.
 

Westy

the teste
Nov 22, 2002
38,986
5,696
Sleazattle
I always had problem with the spoke prep drying too much before I was done tensioning/truing the wheel and then again, down the road, it'd lock the nipples with such force that the nipple would not turn independently of the spoke, so as you tried to true the wheel, it'd just twist the spoke. I'm not sure what the solution is for that.
The directions that came with my spoke prep said to let the stuff dry before using. But like you, I found it doesn't work well once dried.


spoke.JPG



There are so many methods for wheelbuilding and all of them work well in different scenarios. It is one of those things where "it depends" is usually the answer. I like to build my wheels with as high a spoke tension as I can. In that application Anti-sieze on the threads and spoke heads has worked well.

For lower tension builds some type of locking agent is a good idea. My last build was 'medium' tension for reasons I will not get into, and just using a lubricant didn't work well. After re-truing I used penetrating loctite and haven't had to touch them since. As the threads have lubricant residue on them I didn't get the full loctite effect, which is nice as I can re-true when necessary.
 
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OGRipper

back alley ripper
Feb 3, 2004
9,919
340
NORCAL is the hizzle
Weird. Never had the issue of it locking before final tensioning, or locking so tightly that it resulted in wind-up later. My only guess is maybe too much prep on the threads, you really only need a light coating. (See the last paragraph of the directions above.)

Aluminum nipples can bind regardless, which is just one of the reasons I always prefer brass.
 

Jm_

Turbo Monkey
Jan 14, 2002
10,818
2,952
AK
The directions that came with my spoke prep said to let the stuff dry before using. But like you, I found it doesn't work well once dried.


View attachment 148014


There are so many methods for wheelbuilding and all of them work well in different scenarios. It is one of those things where "it depends" is usually the answer. I like to build my wheels with as high a spoke tension as I can. In that application Anti-sieze on the threads and spoke heads has worked well.

For lower tension builds some type of locking agent is a good idea. My last build was 'medium' tension for reasons I will not get into, and just using a lubricant didn't work well. After re-truing I used penetrating loctite and haven't had to touch them since. As the threads have lubricant residue on them I didn't get the full loctite effect, which is nice as I can re-true when necessary.
Yeah, that's what I remember now, drying it out first. Been a while since I worked with that tan spoke prep stuff.
 

velocipedist

Monkey
Jul 11, 2006
385
514
Cloudland Georgia
I definitely experienced this on a first gen light bicycle wheelset with Al nipples, nearly all of them failed at the spoke head within 6 months and sounded like sand in the wheel, fine white powder corrosion covering thr rim tape.

Moved to brass and no issues. I doubt it is as much of a worry with modern carbon post processing treatments as it used to be.

I didn't know about the carbon/galvanic corrosion link...
 

Westy

the teste
Nov 22, 2002
38,986
5,696
Sleazattle
I definitely experienced this on a first gen light bicycle wheelset with Al nipples, nearly all of them failed at the spoke head within 6 months and sounded like sand in the wheel, fine white powder corrosion covering thr rim tape.

Moved to brass and no issues. I doubt it is as much of a worry with modern carbon post processing treatments as it used to be.
I had the same problem with a set of Reynolds carbon wheels, but only on the front wheel. Coincidentally I tend to sweat all over the front of my bike, but not the back.
 

Pesqueeb

bicycle in airplane hangar
Feb 2, 2007
30,598
5,859
Riding the baggage carousel.
This is all anybody needs...
@jonKranked recommended that to me earlier as well.

Not to dismiss any info that might be contained within, especially given the fine gentlemen who have referenced it, but yikes, Netscape called and wants it's early 90s website back. :rofl:
 

jstuhlman

We noticed.
Dec 3, 2009
10,893
5,529
Cackalacka du Nord
concur. and once you get the lacing pattern down it's kinda zen.

one thing to be careful of. if your spoke holes are directional (my ex471s are), make sure the spokes are coming from the correct side of the hub, or else your tensioning will be fucked.
 

Westy

the teste
Nov 22, 2002
38,986
5,696
Sleazattle
Concentricity is a lot harder to fix than side to side adjustments. Focus on that as you tension things up, wobble is easy to fix later.
 

valve bouncer

Master Dildoist
Feb 11, 2002
7,796
42
Japan
I liked this video Squeeb. I tried making my own wheels recently too, I think it's one of those things where the more you know the more you realise you don't know. I vacillated between thinking I've got this to you know nothing Jon Snow pretty quick. Bike isn't finished yet so I can't tell you how the wheels have worked out but I think they'll be ok. Then Westy says concentricity is hard to fix and I think about chucking them in the rubbish again. You're not a seven thumbed spanner masher so you'll be ok.
 

Pesqueeb

bicycle in airplane hangar
Feb 2, 2007
30,598
5,859
Riding the baggage carousel.
I liked this video Squeeb. I tried making my own wheels recently too, I think it's one of those things where the more you know the more you realise you don't know. I vacillated between thinking I've got this to you know nothing Jon Snow pretty quick. Bike isn't finished yet so I can't tell you how the wheels have worked out but I think they'll be ok. Then Westy says concentricity is hard to fix and I think about chucking them in the rubbish again. You're not a seven thumbed spanner masher so you'll be ok.
Holy shit, ValveBouncer drive by!

Also, thanks for the video. Will update.
 

Jm_

Turbo Monkey
Jan 14, 2002
10,818
2,952
AK
I liked this video Squeeb. I tried making my own wheels recently too, I think it's one of those things where the more you know the more you realise you don't know. I vacillated between thinking I've got this to you know nothing Jon Snow pretty quick. Bike isn't finished yet so I can't tell you how the wheels have worked out but I think they'll be ok. Then Westy says concentricity is hard to fix and I think about chucking them in the rubbish again. You're not a seven thumbed spanner masher so you'll be ok.
His bit about aluminum nipples and reaching higher tension with them :confused:

I guess the rest of it is ok, just as good to read sheldon brown though IMO.
 

OGRipper

back alley ripper
Feb 3, 2004
9,919
340
NORCAL is the hizzle
Concentricity is a lot harder to fix than side to side adjustments. Focus on that as you tension things up, wobble is easy to fix later.
Agreed. Check for roundness early and often. (Same with dish - get it at least in the ballpark early, and keep checking.) It helps to go slow and deliberate when bringing up the tension. An egg shape means you don't have even tension all around, and even tension is really important for a strong wheel. A lot of newbs are surprised to feel how much things tighten up as you move around the wheel, so take it easy. An extra pass or two of quarter turns is better than ham-fisting it and needing to go back and de-tension half the wheel to get it round.
 

Brian HCM#1

MMMMMMMMM BEER!!!!!!!!!!
Sep 7, 2001
31,712
122
Bay Area, California
I just finished building my first set of 29” carbon wheels. In the past, just used tri flow on the nipple seats & spoke threads and checked tension by feel. Never had a wheel fail. This time I used spoke prepaid a tension gauge. Seem to build up quite easily and its free. Park tool has a cool tension app allows you to calculate the total spoke tension on the wheel. DT has a little video on assembling a rear wheel. Paying attention to spoke direction is important.

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Jm_

Turbo Monkey
Jan 14, 2002
10,818
2,952
AK
I just finished building my first set of 29” carbon wheels. In the past, just used tri flow on the nipple seats & spoke threads and checked tension by feel. Never had a wheel fail. This time I used spoke prepaid a tension gauge. Seem to build up quite easily and its free. Park tool has a cool tension app allows you to calculate the total spoke tension on the wheel. DT has a little video on assembling a rear wheel. Paying attention to spoke direction is important.

View attachment 148245View attachment 148246View attachment 148247View attachment 148248View attachment 148249View attachment 148250View attachment 148251View attachment 148252View attachment 148253
Building and truing carbon is a dream compared to alloy IME. I get so OCD over little imperfections that I'd never be able to address on noodle aluminum wheels. The building process is one of the places where you see the dramatic difference, where carbon, once true, can't really go out of true unless there is a massive event, like a spoke failure.
 

6thElement

Schrodinger's Immigrant
Jul 29, 2008
6,118
3,477
Swapped the hub from above, wheel is sitting in the stand waiting to be tensioned. Swapping a rim is a lot less hassle...

edit: Tensioned, trued, de-stressed, tubeless taped, tire mounted with tube to squash the tape into place overnight.

I'll check the tension again once I have the tire mounted tubeless and then it should be good to go.
 
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Brian HCM#1

MMMMMMMMM BEER!!!!!!!!!!
Sep 7, 2001
31,712
122
Bay Area, California
Building and truing carbon is a dream compared to alloy IME. I get so OCD over little imperfections that I'd never be able to address on noodle aluminum wheels. The building process is one of the places where you see the dramatic difference, where carbon, once true, can't really go out of true unless there is a massive event, like a spoke failure.
Agreed, I just finished up changing a few spokes and truing wheels on the DH bike, damn spoke windup. That's even after hitting each nipple & insert with Tri Flow. Still rocking Mavic EX823's with CK hubs, a few N* rock dents and got it as true and balanced as possible (still pretty F'ed up, oh well, it a DH bike). Funny after pulling the wheels on the DH bike and after working on my 29er, I never realized how friggen heavy those wheels really are. Crazy how the industry has changed since we all joined RM. The carbon wheels were a breeze to build & true, you are 100% correct!
 

jonKranked

Press Button, Receive Stupid
Nov 10, 2005
61,773
8,311
media blackout
Agreed, I just finished up changing a few spokes and truing wheels on the DH bike, damn spoke windup. That's even after hitting each nipple & insert with Tri Flow. Still rocking Mavic EX823's with CK hubs, a few N* rock dents and got it as true and balanced as possible (still pretty F'ed up, oh well, it a DH bike). Funny after pulling the wheels on the DH bike and after working on my 29er, I never realized how friggen heavy those wheels really are. Crazy how the industry has changed since we all joined RM. The carbon wheels were a breeze to build & true, you are 100% correct!
that's one thing that sold me on carbon wheels (not even counting performance aspects) is never having to true the damn things.
 

jonKranked

Press Button, Receive Stupid
Nov 10, 2005
61,773
8,311
media blackout
I understand how it could be read in that context. It was intended as a slap at style over function, irrespective of the context of sexuality.
it certainly can be, i said my piece. i moved on.

there is certainly a functional aspect of bladed spokes when it comes to wheel building that it's a great visual indicator for when you're getting spoke wind up.
 

Jm_

Turbo Monkey
Jan 14, 2002
10,818
2,952
AK
it certainly can be, i said my piece. i moved on.

there is certainly a functional aspect of bladed spokes when it comes to wheel building that it's a great visual indicator for when you're getting spoke wind up.
It's more like they are letting you build shitty wheels though, because you can hold them in place easier and you shouldn't be getting the wind-up in the first place if you are using a proper lubricant/prep. The only "windup" issues I've seen in years the ones I described before, where the nipples seize due to poor prep.

I just de-nippled (ooh!) and re-nippled a wheel I've been having tape trouble with (due to paint overspray on the rim bed, I'm hoping). But some sealant got in there and had been sloshing around for a while and I figured, what the hell, I'll just re-do this with some of the few hundred brass nipples I have on hand. Turned on to be real easy, the prep I had used made taking them off a dream, even years later, and corrosion, which I was mainly concerned about, wasn't nearly as bad as I thought.
 

englertracing

you owe me a sandwich
Mar 5, 2012
532
260
La Verne
It's more like they are letting you build shitty wheels though, because you can hold them in place easier and you shouldn't be getting the wind-up in the first place if you are using a proper lubricant/prep. The only "windup" issues I've seen in years the ones I described before, where the nipples seize due to poor prep.

I just de-nippled (ooh!) and re-nippled a wheel I've been having tape trouble with (due to paint overspray on the rim bed, I'm hoping). But some sealant got in there and had been sloshing around for a while and I figured, what the hell, I'll just re-do this with some of the few hundred brass nipples I have on hand. Turned on to be real easy, the prep I had used made taking them off a dream, even years later, and corrosion, which I was mainly concerned about, wasn't nearly as bad as I thought.
You really wanna put tape in revolutions or lasers? Or do you just not wanna know they are wound up?