Lace the hub first: Fast wheel building

on a uni wheel I would always build them with the pulling spokes on the outside of the flange since the heaviest stress is slowing the wheel.

In theory the rim will self dish, but in practice it’s never quite there. You can get it very close though by eye.

If you don’t have a dishing tool you can make do with a caliper, or even a piece of string. You just measure from the rim to the inside of whatever you are using to true it (stand, fork, uni frame…). The rim should measure the same on both sides.

As long as your uni doesn’t use a rim brake you can usually get by with it being close enough, and unless it’s really off you shouldn’t notice any difference when riding. It’s not the same as when a frame is bent, or misaligned. In that case the wheel will look off center, but it will sit at an angle (not vertical).

I hadn’t thought of that, but it makes some sense because of the lower bracing angle. On the other hand the inside spokes have a straighter run to the rim from the hub. These kind of decisions are where the art of wheel building happens :wink:

Jtrops, here’s a question I’d like to get your opinion on.

I’ve heard that if you dish a rim using just the frame (so, centering the wheel in the rear triangle) your dish can still be off, and the rear wheel can track differently from the front. I.E. if you were to ride through snow in a straight line, the rear wheel wouldn’t follow the front.

I get this could happen if your frame was out of alignment, but wouldn’t you notice something that significant?

In your experience, is it better to try and dish the wheel prior to putting it into the frame?

If the frame is straight, then the dishing would be as good as it could be in a truing stand. What is a truing stand except for a different kind Of frame? I wouldn’t use the brake calipers as a reference, since they can be off even on a good frame. If a wheel is centered in the frame, and yet the dish is off that would be an indication of a misaligned frame. In that frame a well dished wheel will not sit in the center. Either way the bike won’t track correctly because it has a bent frame.

I always dish my wheels as I’m building, and by the time they get into a frame the wheel is done. If it gets mounted, and it’s off center, ai know the frame needs work.

I built that wheel today, and used a caliper to gauge off of the truing stand arms. Amazingly, I got it within a mm just by eye!, and the dishing tool was spot on with the measurement off of the calipers. So, I think it is a sound way to dish a wheel, although not as quick.

I’m about to build a wheel for a new uni and would like to use that method. English isn’t my first language, and I find that paragraph a bit unclear. Opposite side to what?

On the opposite flange. When you run a spoke through a hole straight across until it hits the opposite flange you will see that it lands in between two spoke holes. For a RH rim the lacing pattern will start in the hole to the right of that spoke. I may be able to take some pictures tomorrow if it would help.

Before UNICON I made a video of that, which in 3 seconds shows the logic. Later today I will put it on Vimeo for you (and anyone else).

It begins to make more sense! :slight_smile:
And I’m sure the video will make it even simpler!

I read the method again, with a wheel in front of me so I could understand the pattern. I think I got most of it. One thing still 100% clear: you lace both sides of the hub simultaneously or you do one then the other?

One and then the other.

Simultaneously for me!

Looking at another wheel that was fully assembled (and also had a Nimbus hub), I tried to duplicate it exactly. On the left flange of the hub, for example, there was a spoke butt facing toward the bottom of the “N” in “Nimbus,” and on the right flange, there was a spoke butt facing the end of the word “Unicycles.” From there, I went around the hub, putting the butts of new spokes alternately inward and outward.

Once I had all that finished, my hub looked a bit like one of those Chinese porcupines with the very long quills. On the wheel I was using as a model, I found which two spokes were next to the valve stem, then carefully followed them back to their spots on the hub. Then I was ready to start attaching spokes to rim.

I started with these two spokes next to the valve stem hole, then worked my way outward from there. As a convention, the “Nimbus” (or whatever) logo should be readable from left to right when you look at the hub through the valve stem hole. Obviously this detail is not important, but as a beginner, I felt that being so meticulous would help me avoid mistakes. Once or twice I did have to unscrew a spoke so that I could connect another without any bending.

Once you get all spokes attached and screwed in uniformly, you are ready to bring your wheel up to tension. The 3X method that I linked to above is, in my little world, one of Jtrops’ great contributions to wheelbuilding. (Yes, I’m sure many people did it before him, but I don’t know who they were, and it’s not mentioned in any of the other wheelbuilding tutorials I’ve seen, not even Jobst Brandt’s famous book or Sheldon Brown’s famous website, and if you don’t use the 3X method, you may end up damaging your rim, as I once did!)

Contrary to Jtrops’ claim, however, his tutorial does not offer a particularly fast way to build a wheel (at least not for a beginner like me), but if you follow it correctly, it will give you a very good wheel. Since I built mine, it’s seen almost three months of many drops and no truing, yet my spokes still seem to be pretty close to uniform tension, and not a single one has broken.

I’m glad your wheel is still going strong. I guess to make any wheel build fast it has to become second nature, so I understand why it might not have been any faster for you. Still, I think once you understand the basic concept it reduces the amount you have to think about it while doing the actual lacing so it should be faster (at least a little).

I moved my Schlumpf into a 29" rim (narrower than the KH since it’s for a road uni). So I did that following closely the instructions in this thread.
And it was a great way to do it! Loved the fact that I didn’t have to bend spokes to bring them to their destination. That, combined with the “skip 3” method for tightening them made for an easy built, quick and pretty true/tensioned wheel right away. Balancing the tension with the Parktool didn’t take long as most spoke were within the same range.

On the truing stand:

What helped a lot was a visual representation. I found one on Sheldon’s website. But since my rim was a “Left” (as described in this thread), I ended up making a guide instead of trying to mentally mirror the image I had found. Here they are, if it can help someone here:

Lacing pattern for Right Rim :

Lacing pattern for Left Rim :

hi pierrox.
I’m not 100% sure the “Left” version of this lacing pattern must be a mirrored version of the “Right” version, since the key spoke is, if I’m not wrong, supposed to be a pulling spoke, in the Forward way of the wheel.
That’s why on a Right handed rim the key spoke will be just near the valve hole, and on a Left handed rim the key spoke will be at one hole from the valve hole.
In your mirrored version the key spoke (red) is still just near the valve hole, so the only thing that is mirrored is the way the wheel is supposed to turn.
But I don’t know if that really makes a difference in real situation.

Speaking about wheel building and parktool, few days ago I randomly discovered that few of the spokes of the geared 36" wheel I built in Mars were totally loose.
I checked tension on the other spokes and put everything around “20-22” on the parktool scale and somehow trued the wheel (right / left, not the roundness) but without removing the tire and without being precise like I did in the first place, didn’t have the motivation and time to do all the proper work again.

that’s a pity that eventually all the wheel building/tensionning/ truing that takes so long time turns into a mess a couple of months later.

I read that push/pull spokes are more a question of choice with not a lot of literature proving that one way is better than the other - especially with disc-brakes (on bikes not just unis) which are applying a force at hub level in the opposite direction of the pedaling force.

I agree with you on the tension. I actually built that 29" wheel before the summer, probably rode a hundred KM on it, and I could hear one brake pad rubbing. A couple of spokes had become loose (not that much, down from 19 on the Parktool to 15), despite the fact that I installed them with linseed oil as advised. A bit disappointing as I checked all the tension/truing twice right after the first couple of rides and was thinking that the “seizing” effect of the linseed oil would have kicked in after months of drying.

Did you use boiled linseed oil? It sets up within a week or so, and gets almost like lacquer after a while.

It doesn’t say “boiled” on the bottle, but it’s says “purified, washed” and other adjectives. I got it from a (artistic) paint supply shop, it’s meant to be used for oil painting as it “dries slowly”.
It did help with building the wheel though, by reducing friction and avoiding spoke twisting. There still might have been some spoke twisting, which I think is the main problem us beginner-builders face.

Boiled is important because it is sets faster.

Still, it’s good to hear that the tutorial was helpful.