How to Build a Lightweight Mountain Bike Wheel

How to Build a Lightweight Mountain Bike Wheel
Mountain biking is a lifetime sport that all ages can enjoy. Because of the nature of the sport, wheels often are damaged or destroyed. One solution is to buy new wheels, but this can be expensive and time-consuming. An alternative is to build your own lightweight mountain bike wheels. Parts often are less expensive than pre-built wheels, and with a little bit of practice you can easily build your own wheels.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Flat blade spokes
  • Aluminum rims
  • Spoke wrench
  • Nipples
  • Truing stand
  • Lightweight hubs
  • Slick tires
  • Lightweight tubes
Step 1
Purchase the materials after consulting a bicycle mechanic to make sure you are purchasing compatible components. Buy the lightest components possible, as at the end of the building process this will leave you with an extremely light and strong wheel setup. Begin by pulling the flat blade spokes through every other hole along the rim of the hub body.
Step 2
Slide each of the spokes through a corresponding hole in the aluminum rim and thread a nipple onto it. Use the spoke wrench to apply even tension to all of the spokes as you thread them. By skipping every other hole, you keep the strength of the wheel virtually the same, but reduce the spoke weight by half.
Step 3
Mount the wheel in the truing stand and spin the wheel to see where the truing arm on the stand touches the side of the rim. Use the spoke wrench to loosen or tighten spokes to straighten out the rim and pull it closer to center.
Step 4
Slide the inner tube and then the tire onto the rim, then pump the tire to pressure.

Tips & Warnings

To pull the rim to center, tighten spokes opposite the bend in the rim by quarter turns until the bend disappears.

Article Written By Nathaniel Miller

Nathaniel Miller is a technical writer for an environmental division of Microbac Laboratories, Inc. He has a Master of Science from Ohio University. With over eight years of technical writing experience, Miller has a diverse skill-set and enjoys a wide-ranging client base. He is widely published on numerous writing websites and runs a small writing business out of his home in Marietta, Ohio.

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