Wheel Building--quick question

First: yes, I searched (using google’s site-searching feature) but didn’t find an answer to my question, which is:

In Sheldon Brown’s great resource on wheel building, he assumes that the wheelbuilder will have a truing stand with a dishing tool. I’m planning to build a couple wheels for my bike (single speed, so little dish involved in either front or back wheel), and wondered if I can do it without those fancy things. I thought I could get by just by using my frame and some clamps to measure true and roundness. Am I making a big mistake? Is it well worth the $40 or so for a truing stand?


Unicycle wheels often work better in the unicycle frame than they do in a truing stand; there’s no real need for a stand. You can check the dish by reversing the wheel in the frame; dish errors usually don’t crop up much in symmetrical wheels anyway (as opposed to bike rear wheels).

Just to point out ‘pkittle’ is asking about bike wheels, not unicycle wheels.

Having built a few wheels myself I’d say for bike wheels a good truing stand and dishing are extremely useful. It’s not impossible to build a good wheel without them, but if you are inexperienced I would high recommend getting yourself a truing stand and dish tool. Alternatively you could do what I have done in the past and just borrow your L.B.S’s tools or work in their shop (if they’ll let you).

I personally don’t lace my wheels in quite the same way Sheldon Brown does but his site is very informative.

I wish you good luck with your wheel builds and if you have any more questions then post away.

I have built three bike wheels, two rears and one front. I do not havie a proper truing stand so I did my dishing and final truing in the frame. I used two zip ties which i cut off to be 1 mm from the rim when the rim is true, takes a bit of math and a bit more time but you can do it on the frame.

Thinking back I should have asked my friends dad if I could do it in his shop with a proper truing stand and save some hassle. (he owns a bike store).

in other words, Definately possible but not ideal.

I just tightened the spokes as even as i could when i did my DX wheel and it came out perfect.

Thanks, y’all. I’ll see if any of my friends have a truing stand I can borrow, but otherwise may give the other, in-the-frame method a try. The front will be pretty easy–I have an old fork I can use as a stand. The rear may be a little trickier, but should be a fun challenge. And I can always take it into my LBS if I get in over my head.