Even to experienced cyclists used to doing their own bicycle maintenance, the idea of building a bicycle wheel from scratch out of the component parts of hub, rim, and spokes may seem intimidating. But given the right tools and practical advice, it's something the average rider can do on his own. These tips can be helpful in making sure you're properly prepared and ready to do the job right.
Use the Right Tools
The tools required for wheel building are not generally elaborate or expensive, with the exception of a truing stand--a special mount that lets you "true" or balance the wheel more easily. Otherwise the basic tools, including the essential spoke wrench, are inexpensive and can be picked up at almost any bike shop. Get the tools you need before you start the job.
The wheel builder must rely on "feel" to a large extent when starting the process of tightening the spokes of the wheel. Lubricating the threads of the spokes properly will prevent sticking and binding of the spoke as it's tightened, so that you don't misinterpret the stickiness of the spoke as tension.
Advice from Wheel Builder
Don't be afraid to ask the advice of an experienced wheel builder, especially in the opening stages of your build. In particular, an experienced builder or shop can guide you in the right direction when you're purchasing the individual components that will go into your wheel. Spokes, for example, come in different sizes and gauges (thickness). Purchasing the wrong size spokes can stop your job almost before you get started--a little sage advice when you're starting the job can really pay off later.
Article Written By Nichole Liandi
Based in Virginia, Nichole Liandi has been a freelance writer since 2005. Her articles have appeared on various print and online publications. Liandi has traveled extensively in Europe and East Asia and incorporates her experiences into her articles. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from West Virginia University.