[Project Complete!] I want to build a carbon wheel... I have a few questions

Click here for the conclusion note.

Just a brief primer on where I’m at in this process: I’ve read a book on wheel building. I’ve read a lot of Sheldon Brown’s articles. I’ve trued unicycle wheels and even dished/undished. I have the equipment, and want to go to the next step. I’m not afraid of making mistakes, and I know they are coming :smiley:

I’ve also done a good bit of searching and reading on the forums here, and while I dislike creating a new post when there are already many related topics - I have questions that I cannot find answers to. Thanks in advance for your patience.

I’ll try to keep the questions brief:

  • From the searching, Nextie (NEXTIE - Mountain) seems to be a good place to purchase the rim. Is this accurate? Trying to find the matching number of spoke holes seems tricky.
  • Because I want to build the disc inboard (I would have thought it was onboard, hehe), so I should be shopping for asymmetrical rims, right? I ask because obviously the sites are written and geared towards an MTB audience.
  • Double-walled obviously (which seems the only choice for the most part).
  • Regarding hubs, it seems there aren’t that many choices in ISIS. It sounds like 36H from Nimbus, and I think I read a 48 from Qu-Ax. Any thoughts?

I’m looking to build a 27.5" rim for trails ranging from technical to flowing. Does carbon inherently sound like a bad idea? Honestly, if there is anyone around that wouldn’t mind a regular conversation/direct messaging questions, let me know. This process begets infinite questions and searching.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts.


Firstly I think this is a good new post and angle on the topic.

Yes it’s been discussed elsewhere - but not from a step 101 kind of starting block place.

I think you’re perfectly valid to look at Nextie. In spite of the debacle over their 36” rim - I’d say they’re likely a good brand for standard wheel sizes.

I’ve gone with LightBicycle for my 29er carbon rim for the up and coming Schlumpf build. I can’t remember the full reason for going with them over Nextie - I think I liked the package that I was looking at:

  • Asymmetrical
  • 36h (not the more common 32h)
  • A few builds already doing the rounds on these forums from respected top of their game riders
  • and probably the general look / design of the rim.

AM935 is the model I went with - but I think you should think long and hard about what riding you want to do and what tyres you like and plan to run and you may find a narrower rim is actually more suitable.

Re hubs - there’s in fact Mad4One, QUAX and Kris Holm - all that offer 36h and I believe QUAX offer their own standard (Q-axle, not ISIS) light weight 32h option if you find a rim you like that is only in 32h.

Me personally I’d rather find a rim that conforms to the more common 36h unicycles go for - as I don’t care much for the extra 4 spoke weight and feel it is basically tried and tested. But I bet we’re talking small differences if the wheel is well built.

I’d highly recommend looking at double butted spokes when it comes to the overall build plan and factor in that cost. It’s an equally important choice to make and think about, probably more so with a nice carbon rim.

I am by no means an expert and only build one non-carbon wheel - but I did enjoy it and would love to try my hand one day at something more special.

But for the build I have parts purchased I’m not risking it and will have it built professionally so I can rest easy (but I sneakily hope I can watch a bit of the process :nerd_face:)

On this point - I should say my choice to go with carbon was down to: curiosity.

I have likely no real need for it, and I suspect it’ll only marginally change my experience for the G29”… however it is apparently a more nimble and responsive ride (from being a stiffer wheel), I don’t believe it is in any way weaker - again when using good spokes and nipple options, and you get the option most likely to run your set up tubeless.

Possible with the KH rims and one or two Nimbus offerings - but I will be going tubeless again to see how it all feels when riding a carbon G29er.

I should probably draw my low experience sharing views to a close for now as I know there are more experience forum frequenters - I’m sure I’ve seen Spank, and other brands of rims used with good success.

I think I have recently needed to confess to myself a self evident aspect of unicycling - I like thinking about, spec’ing and planing and building unicycles, almost as much as I do riding them :sweat_smile::see_no_evil::gear:

Heck, if the option allows in my career/work outside of this forum I hope/plan to reduce hours and train up / set up as a wheel builder.

Keep us posted with your decisions and progress :eyes:


I am so grateful for your offer to chat and detailed post. I am digging in now and will certainly be in touch as well as report here! So grateful!

Was having trouble finding 36H rims but Nextie said they can drill any MTB carbon rim to 36H for no additional cost.

Does anyone have any advice on width? I was thinking about 40 mm.

It really depends on the tire you’d like to put on it. If I were you, I’d probably go for a smaller inner width - between 32 to 35mm. Most of the tires we ride on unicycles should get on these width whereas a 40mm rim would probably be too large for some tires. For example, LightBicycle doesn’t recommend using a tire narrower than 2.8" on a 40mm rim:

Are you sure you want to go for ISIS? I’m not saying it is a bad standard, but I’ve heard it may become less and less popular for high-end unicycles. It is said that KH will slightly move to Qaxle… I have not got any due date or specs, but it may be great to think about that :slight_smile:
I’ll try to grab more info tonight :smirk:

It is not a bad idea at all. If the wheel is well built, you won’t have any issue and you’ll enjoy a light and reactive wheel. If it is a not well built… Well, you won’t ride it a lot of times before it breaks :sweat_smile:
So, be sure you use correct spokes - double butted spokes would be great - and check the spokes tension.
I’ve seen some 2m-high drop jumped on a carbon wheel so they are well-suited for our sport :slight_smile:

If you have any more questions, you’re welcome to ask them here. It’d be better to have them in a public thread than in a private chat as other people can read, learn and debate there.


I can totally second this point. And wish I’d thought a bit more about my choice when buying the AM935… perhaps going to the EN932 which is ID 32mm not 35mm
It does show on the spec page that that rim - can take 2.4”-3.1” tyres:

And at the time of ordering I was on the fence between running a 3” or 2.8” so felt it was a safe bet. But I think in hindsight I could have gone narrower as I’ll never need the 3.1” sizing capability.

In short, I feel you need to aim for your favourite tyre now, but with the awareness that as you develop skill you’re likely going to want to go narrower, not wider. So give yourself bottom end “growing space” for narrower tyres… and don’t worry too much about being able to install fatter tyres (unless you just love fat tyres)

It’s the one area that needs careful consideration so you don’t trap yourself into a too-wide-a-tyre, as with unicycles changing tyres is a pretty easy and common way to change the ride and feel of your wheel.


Our experiences are similar. I first went for a RM29C15 rim (45mm inner width!). I laced it myself (and broke it on my second muni day :laughing: ). Now, I’m waiting for my new EN932 & EN732 rims. A friend of mine uses the EN732 and is completely satisfied - he is the guy who did a 2m drop on his carbon rim!


@jaco_flans is needed in this discussion


I like the prospect of that :slight_smile:

Anyhow, I recently got a Pipifax hub from UDC here in the UK (it is a thing of beauty) for my freewheeling aspirations, I haven’t bought a rim for it yet but there was a LightBicycle one ‘in my basket,’ I just didn’t pull the trigger due to currently having far too many other things to spend money on… However, I was going to go for either a LightBicycle Recon Pro AM730 or AM735 (both 650B), most probably the AM730:

I have built a few wheels with LightBicycle rims but this is the first asymmetric one. I built my hatchet on a 36 hole FAT680 rim with Sapim Race (double butted) spokes. The 26" FAT rim with a 125mm disc hub didn’t really have a big difference in spoke length with the symmetric drilling as far as I remember. I did my gravel bike wheels with 700c Falcon Pro rims (28 hole) with Sapim D-Light spokes (also double butted, but thinner than the Race), they are on disc hubs too but I don’t think the symmetric rim is a big deal. These wheels have been solid since I built them and haven’t needed any truing.

I was going to go with the D-Light spokes again for the Pipifax wheel – you just have to be more careful with windup of the spokes since, as they are thinner, they can twist up a bit more easily and is quite noticeable when you are tensioning up the wheel. If this is your first wheel build it might be easier to go with something like the Race spokes. You probably can’t go wrong with either Sapim or DT-Swiss though (something stainless and double butted). I’m kind of sold on Sapim Double Square nipples too.

I had a thought to do this wheel without a drilling on the inside – you need to insert the nipples through the valve hole an pull them into place with a magnet (steel insert threaded into the nipple to get it round). This means that the inside of the rim is perfectly air tight (the only hole is the valve hole) so you don’t need to bother with tubeless tape. I don’t see this as a build option with the AM730 rims though. There is probably no point in using Double Square nipples if you went this route since you can’t get the tool onto them since there is no hole… (they do have more thread engagement though).


It was thanks to your mentioning of these in another thread that I’ve got them booked for the wheel build. Along with CX Rays (overkill, but I fancied it!).

Side topic but while talking of nipples - this video is useful and this is who (Ryan) will be building my wheels come February/ March!

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I was thinking of your CX Rays when I wrote that about the spokes and nipples… not overkill in the slightest if that is what you want, and you wouldn’t be building what you are building if you didn’t really want it… (and the difference is a drop in the ocean compared to the Schlumpf and other bits) It is the same with me putting a carbon rim on a freewheel I don’t know if I can even ride… I’m not doing it for practicality, but as an indulgence which gives me some enjoyment (and that is scarce enough at times…).

I’ll be sure to watch the video.


Thank you everyone for the discussion and thoughtful comments!!

As has been mentioned, and I find it interesting in my own life - the more skill I develop the less immediate need I have for a super fat tire. I spent a lot of time on the Duro Crux, and recently went back to the Hookworm (and then back again).

Double-butted spokes have come up several times now, and it’ll be the way I go as far as spokes. As far as other things, I will stick with ISIS at this point only because I have several ISIS cranks, the tools, and the know-how to troubleshoot. It doesn’t mean I’ll not deviate in the future. Might just be one too many variables to muck with on the first build if that makes sense.

I’m going to make some decisions this week and likely buy parts within two weeks. I’m excited about this and I think it will be a fun project.

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Nextie and LightBicycle both have good reputations for rims. I bought an LB rim because they were having an anniversary sale, not because of any technical reason. Nextie has caught a lot of flak here because they didn’t really do their due diligence when they developed their 36" rim, but you won’t be buying that one.

I love asymmetrical rims. I have them on a unicycle, my mountain bikes, and several road bikes.

UDC sells a 32 hole ISIS disc hub, but the US site isn’t showing it. They list it on the UK site. And my first mountain uni, a 29" from a decade ago, was a 32 hole wheel with KH rim and UDC hub. It’s an unpopular size for some reason, but I think it’s plenty strong enough, and 32 holes makes it a lot easier to use MTB rims. 32 spokes has worked well for me; I still use my 32 spoke 29", and I built my 26" carbon wheel with 32 spokes.

Anyway all your choices sound fine!


Thank youuu! Seeing that Nextie told me they can drill any of them with 36H for no additional fee (just can’t return the rim), I’ll just go that route. Everything you state makes sense, though, and thanks for the thoughts!

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That was a wonderful video! Thanks for sharing! As I also have an upcoming wheel build (kind of on the other end of the spectrum from Ryan’s build, though) (heavy, wide, non-carbon) for which I need to buy spokes and nipples, I’ll definitely be watching this thread.

Thanks for starting the conversation, Ryan!


But there’s so much to read! :sweat_smile:

So I diagonaly read the thread, here’s my thoughts on what I read!

I’ve been riding a Derby AM Carbon rim on my muni since 2014, I used to be soft with it so I dont break it, and I ended up just using it for all my riding, from light XC to technical and rough DH. And I still haven’t broken it. The only reason I’d like to replace it is to get a 35mm instead of a 30mm. I tend to like smaller (ish) tires. I’m currently on a 2.6, but will move back down to 2.4 in the new year.

I went with a Nimbus ISIS 32h hub with KH Spirit cranks in order to have a symmetrical wheel. I wanted 32 so I could get rims in local bikeshops if anything happened during a trip.

Nextie has a good reputation, they seem solid! I can’t say more though, I’ve only seen a couple.

Go carbon, go tubeless, if you can, go 32h!


I’m not sure to understand what you’re looking for. Why would you get a wider rim with a smaller tire? :thinking:


That begs another question I have. Lets say you find a tire you like. Lets say its a 2.4" tire. How do you know the range of widths it will fit on?

I always assumed it was reasonable guesswork. Like, a range will work, and as you get to the edges of that range - stuff gets wonky.

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When choosing the rim width / tire size there are several factors / rules that come into play:

  • On a unicycle, we generally put higher pressures than on a bike. This is an important issue when you want to ride on the road (blowouts :scream:), but for off-road, it is often negligible.
  • On the other hand, a wider rim is considered to have a better lateral stability. This may explain why some people consider that a 35 mm rim is optimal with a 2.4" MTB tire.

Otherwise, with @Maxence and others we ordered 7 carbon rims from LB. The rims are supposed to arrive before Christmas (they are in transit since 2 weeks). We made this choice because there is a lot of choice: 2 ranges of rims (high quality and first price) and the shipping costs are decreasing with the quantity.
And we also ordered of dt swiss competition spokes (double butted), which are already at my place.


You could have a look at some charts. Like the one I shared earlier:

These values are not absolute - i.e. a 2.8" tire may work on a 28mm rim, depending on the tire and the rim - but you’d want to avoid such a wonky setup.

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