Ideas for building a 29" wheel

I don’t think I’d go wrong by lacing a KH 29 rim to a KH spirit hub but those parts are expensive, all told the wheel will be over $200 even building it myself! Any ideas for putting something together close in quality, durability, etc. but a little more affordable? Bicyclists can buy pre-built wheels for cheap but no such items seem available to unicyclists. I’ll go KH if it’s really the best investment. Just wondering if anyone has ideas for viable alternatives?

Also advice for an affordable wheel building/truing stand and spoke tensionometer would also be appreciated.


KH is good, but in my experience overrated. KH hubs used to have a creaking problem that would eventually lead to hub failure. The problem was recently fixed, I have heard, but only after several years. The KH hubs currently available on Unicycle Dot Com should be OK, as far as I know.

KH rims are very strong, but the drill-outs. which make them lighter, mean that you can only inflate your tire up to a certain pressure before your innertube bursts through one of these holes. One member of this forum said that his KH20FL had such a blowout at 80 psi. A KH29 might be different, but in any case I use 75 psi for such rides on a 29.

Oh- and I also find the engraved autograph on every KH part to be a bit pretentious, but that’s more of a personal issue.

I would just use Nimbus parts for your wheel build. Here is a recent wheel building tutorial that, with all the comments and links added to it, ends up being a pretty comprehensive guide.

What will you be using it for? Will you be using a brake? Rim or disc brake?

Nimbus hubs are excellent, and a good place to save some money. They also have a 32h version which makes any mountain bike rim an option. If you’re planning a road wheel the Sun Rhynolite is very good with tires up to 2" (50mm). It also does okay on smooth XC and fire roads.

If you’re either running a disc brake, or no brake at all, there are a lot of nice “disc only” rims that are wide enough to do well on a MUni. To keep prices down I would just look for sales, or blemished rims. I picked up a blemished Velocity Dually for $50 lower than regular price. It just had a few small scratches on it.

I would just use your frame as the stand for building it. I made a feeler that clamps to the frame, and allows very fine adjustment. It’s just a small plastic “A” clamp with a threaded coupler attached, and a bolt threaded through. A valve cap on the end of the bolt keeps it from scratching the rim. I’ve posted a photo of it before, but I’ll see if I can put one on this thread.

A tension meter isn’t strictly necessary. Even tension is the most important thing. As long as you’re wheel has enough tension to keep the spokes from becoming slack while riding (due to cyclic loading) then you’ll be fine.

If you’re not planning to build a lot of wheels it may be more cost effective to lace the wheel, and bring it to a mechanic for final tensioning/truing. I charge $20 for that, and a cheap tension meter is $60-70.

Thanks Song and Jtrops for the advice and ideas. I didn’t realize that the KH hubs had been problematic for so long. Those Asian supply lines can be hard to troubleshoot! Do you think the UDC hub is any good? Is it actually a nimbus hub? The price is right on that one… I’ll prolly go w/ the KH rim b/c I’m running the 29x3 dirt wizard and need w-i-d-e but maybe I can find something 29+ mt bike that wide… I never go above 35psi so no worries on the drillout holes. I’ve got maggies right now but getting tired of brake rub on hard efforts, don’t need that… so might get a disk as well. I’m also in the process of completing a 29 roadish uni from leftover parts and such (including the current wheel on the Muni which is kind of jacked from falling hard on it, spokes are very unevenly tensioned to pull the rim back and it’s gotten somewhat out of round as well). So I’ll have both Muni and Runi(?) but the wheel I’ll build will be for the monster Muni. That Dirt Wizard doesn’t like asphalt so much…

I checked out the jtrops tutorial–good stuff. I definitely don’t mind winging it. Having instructions should make it very doable. And there’s youtube as well… Won’t be like the disaster I laced up way back when that broke spokes on almost every ride, PING! -hehe.

jtrops–you could put a pic of your homemade whisker in the tutorial. I’d like to make something like that too.

Thanks again guys!

The M-Muni


The Nimbus hubs are ISIS splined (except the drift trike hub). The UDC hubs are square taper. I assumed from the OP that you are looking for ISIS, so Nimbus is the option. For a ST hub the UDC hubs are very good, excellent even. I forgot that I replaced the valve cap with a thread cap that was in some packaging a while back. Still works the same way though.

to make:
small “A” clamp
1/4x20 threaded coupler
1" hose clamp
6" 1/4x20 carriage bolt
valve cap

lol, this is crazy. I haven’t heard of this at all, but drilled rims are perfectly safe. You can’t overinflate the tire. I run around 20 psi on my 29 for off-road. I wouldn’t go over 65 on a 2.5 inch tire. If you wanted to run at those pressures and had a tire that could handle it you should reinforce the rim strip. The advantage of the Kh rims are the extra width which give you a more rigid wheel and more float. The nimbus and Kh hubs are similar now but the Kh ones are forged.

Awesome, thx!

And… the bigger the tire the greater the force at the bead trying to rip the rim apart: isn’t it directly proportional to the surface area of the tire? So a 2" tire will put double the stress on a rim that a one inch tire will at any given/identical pressure because there is twice the amount of sail capturing the wind, as it were… Pump a 2.5" tire up to 100 psi and you are risking that it might split the rim or at least jump the bead. Kah-Pow! Gives you an appreciation for how strong the wheels are for over the road 18 wheelers. Those giant tires are pumped up to 120psi.

This is sure to start an argument :astonished:

I wanted to find an alternative bike rim for the KH rim 'cause I don’t like the silver machined sidewalls. I discovered, that if you want to find a decent bike rim of the KH’s width and durability, you pay nearly double the price. There are even bike riders using KH rims for their DH or FAT setups because they’re great value for money.

Yeah, there was a discussion a while back about how to do that using various fabrics, or even bits of Venetian blinds, but the OP says his tire never goes above 35 psi, so it’s not an issue here.

You Tube is OK, but what Jtrops suggests -putting all spokes on the hub as a first step- is not on any of the You Tube videos I saw, even though it is what allowed me to build such a good wheel on my second attempt, using a full set of brand-new spokes.

My first attempt was just like what you describe. Every few weeks, PING! For more than a year, I diligently replaced each spoke as needed, thinking my wheel would mellow out over time, but it never did! Since I rebuilt it again following Jerry’s tutorial, though, and got its spokes nice and tight, my wheel has never uttered another peep.

If price is a bigger issue than timescale and brand name, just keep searching for the bargains.
I built a 26" fattie wheel for £128 ($175) using half price or sale items.

Cranks, pedals, frame, clamp, seatpost, saddle & Shimano brakes were added-on to the final cost of the complete uni.
I used the frame as a truing stand. The wheel build took me about 2-3 hours first time, so a trip to the bike shop might be useful if you don’t have the time to do it yourself.
Just remember to cross the spokes over at the second crossing point - Dohhhh.

Great, I’ll do the same. Thx for the heads up!

I think I’ve been away from the bike scene for too long. Been checking out bikes lately, $10k seems to be the new $2k! Motorcycle prices! “Sonny, back in my day you could get a loaf of bread for 3 cents…”

I’ll just go KH for the rim and hub

Nice wheel. A fattie is on the bucket list; unicycle that is… Maybe I’ll build it up over winter when inventory collects dust and can be had for cheap(er).