Saturday, August 23, 2014

Bike Shop Tales: Building Up Wheels- Part 2

Through the valve hole....
Four to five years ago now I did a bit of a series called "Bike Shop Tales". It was mostly about my early days at Advantage Cyclery. That was my first shop gig and I worked there from 1993 till early 1997.

I was reminded of the old series when I wrote about Brian's going away party held on Thursday evening. I figured I would resurrect the series as an on again-off again subject to write about here. Heck, it's been almost twelve years now that I've been at Europa Cycle & Ski. I figure I've got a few more tales about bike shop days to share!

So, here's a link to part 1 on building up wheels. Now I want to share more about building up wheels these days. It's a bit different now with regard to what we do.

Back in the Advantage days, we had everything anybody would likely want or need for a wheel build. Ordering stuff was rare. Now days it is exactly the opposite. We can call in an order and have everything we need the next day and build up a wheel. That's exactly what we did with the one I built up Friday. Otherwise, not a whole lot has changed.

I still use almost all Wheelsmith spokes and nipples. I've built with DT Swiss with good success, but again, I just don't really care one way or the other, since both work great and I am accustomed to Wheelsmith more than I am DT Swiss. So, I am a creature of habit in that regard! The tools have changed a bit too. Wheelsmith doesn't calibrate the old tensionometers anymore, so I have been using a Park Tools one. It's okay. I am not enamored of their chart that goes with the tool, but it isn't a tool and system that is the equivalent of a small country's national budget to buy, like some others are.

Finally, I have to admit I still am fascinated and satisfied with wheel building. I am glad that's the case, because I get to build four more wheels real soon here! Stay tuned for what those are......

1 comment:

Steve Fuller said...

I've built a couple of wheels so far, and I can say that I do find it a zen task. Focus on the cross pattern (since I'm still a newb), and then carefully bring everything evenly into tension.

I usually bring mine into Rasmussen's and have someone with real skill double check my work, but it has definitely made me less afraid of doing small adjustments to my wheels to correct wobbles or replace broken spokes.