36er as my first wheel build?

Last thursday, I tried a 36er at my local uni club - and I’m hooked. The problem is, though, that 36ers are either cheap and square taper (dealbreaker for me) or nice and ISIS, but very costly.

It’s still early days as to whether I’m going to get one, but is it a dumb idea trying to build a 36er as my first wheel build?


The only difference between building a 36" wheel
And a regular one is the length of the spokes. I would suggest getting a spoke tensometer like a park tool t1 to help you know what kind of tension you are putting into the spokes since it feels different compared to a smaller wheel.

Good luck!

Not a dumb idea at all. My first scratch wheel build was a 36er with a Schlumpf and it was not all that difficult. Like Eric I suggest using a tension meter, I have a Park TM-1 and it is very easy to use and definitely gave me more confidence in building the wheel up. Good luck!

“cheap and square taper”??? From all us Coker owners…ouch.

May be I understand you wrong but QuAx 36" unit costs 276,47 € and ISIS. Or what is your problem?



You’ll find all you need to know there. It’s an AWESOME site.

On a 36er wheelbuild I took a seatpost and screwed the 4 bolt holes into a plywood platform and put the frame sticking up in the air for the stand. It worked very well.

Be sure to get the proper length spokes, or be prepared to cut them to length. The stock spokes are too long for 3 cross with a 100mm Nimbus or KH ISIS hub. They need cut to 366mm if you go that route. If you build a 125mm hub, the standard 36er spokes work fine.

If you do use a Park TM-1 and 14 gauge spokes, 20-23 is a reasonable measurement for a Stealth or Stealth 2 rim. 20 is a bit low, but still works- although it’s not ideal.

Even tension is key.

Good luck and keep us posted on the results!

Square taper isn’t all that bad, Its just past its best by a long way. There’s no point (in my eyes) buying into what is now old tech.

That and I want my new uni to have interchangable parts with my other unis (if I decide to get one).

I’ve never really liked Qu-Ax that much and I think it would be wise to go for 125 spacing. I do have a slight preference towards custom cokers too.

I know - I bookmarked it ages ago for future reference.

Well, if I can get the money that is.

As for the Park tm-1, is it really needed. I don’t really want to splash out loads of money on something that I probably won’t use in the future (I’m fine with stock unis).

Yes; without it you will eventually break spokes due to improper tension. I’ve seen this happen on many coker wheel builds done without one (including my own).


I have built 5 wheels now (19", 24", 26", 29", 36") with two being dished disc wheels but am by no means and expert

For me the 36" wasn’t really any harder you get more wind up in the spoke earlier on due to the longer spoke so I was over turning and backing off each spoke when doing the truing and final tensioning. Also the sheer size of the wheel made for a bit more of an effort when lacing and truing (I do it in the frame with a ruler held across the legs with elastic bands and the uni seat between my legs with the frame pointing up)

take your time and follow Sheldon’s guide (how I learned) and make sure you buy the correct nipple length as well as they have different lengths of thread in them so effectively increase/decrease your spoke length by up to 2mm!

If you are buying parts all from UDC their wheel building fee is very reasonable and even I would just get them to do it (tend to want an odd rim or spoke/nipple type that they don’t stoke hence building it myself)

This way, though, I can save a bi o money and learn to wheel build. However, I’ve just added up all the prices and it turns out that it would probably be cheaper just swapping the hub on a stock uni.

You’re right though, USC wheel building fee is pretty good - my LBS charges nearly twice as much.

Definitely learn to build your own wheel. It’s a really useful skill to have, especially as you are likely to think about changing some parts again somewhere down the line. If you can rebuild your own wheel then you’ll be free to consider changing rims or hubs without feeling that it is a cost and delay to get a shop to build it for you.

I think I have only ever built 36" wheels, as this was why I learned how to do it too. As others have said - do make sure you have the correct length spokes and nipples; it can cause a lot of frustration when the last part of your build almost works but just won’t.

Good luck!


P.S. I have never had or used a tensometer. I don’t doubt they can be helpful, but I have build my wheels dozens of times without and can’t remember ever having broken a spoke (maybe I have a bad memory!).

where did you find that price ?
thank you

I’ll probably get my parts from UDC (if I end up getting a 36er. Either that or a 29er) because they’re just down the road from me so If they give me the wrong parts I can easily return them.

Hopefully I’ll get the money to buy a 36er so I can finaly have built my first wheel - If I can make up my mind that is. :o


I have added up the price of assembling 36ers from UDC, and all of them are about the same as the preassembled ones. Obviously the price would vary depending on what customizations you put on it but it is much easier to just buy one already assembled.

Really? When I added up all the parts it came to more.

Some of the wheels are complete wheelsets to have tyre, tape and tubes which may be the confusing factor?

I am not sure if you are in the UK or US but it may be worth checking other UDC shops as although I mainly shop with the UK store through loyalty to Roger and wanting to suport a UK company the gerrman site Municycle.de is a fair bit cheaper on most of the parts (and also run by a top bloke) I got a nightrider rim from them significantly cheaper than the UK sight

Thanks for the tip Feisty - although it will be odd to break my usual tradition of buying from UDCUK. I’m going to JUST (local uni club) tonight so hopefully I can have a talk to some of the guys there about the whole 29er vs 36er predicament I’m in. As long as my next uni doesn’t have disc brakes I think I’ll give wheel building a bash, it is a good skill to learn regardless of money saved.

I had a similar conundrum but about a Guni or 36er and everyone here quite rightly told me to get a 36er and I am glad I did, my 29er hasn’t been touched since :stuck_out_tongue:

I hate to ressusitate a dying thread but whata is the current opinion on square taper cranks for 36ers. The club uni I was riding is square taper and it creaks a bit whilst hopping/mounting, is this a sign that cotterless cranks aren’t worth the hassle?