Wheel Self Build by n00b

All I needed to rebuild my destroyed wheel featured here was a new rim, which I chose the Kris Holm, and a spoke wrench. I chose the park wrench because it was easy to find, but I would recommend trying to find one that slides over and engages all four sides of the nipple, since I managed to round one out. Although, the spoke was mega-ultra tight. But more to the point, I’m posting because I was able to completely build up the wheel on my own with no fancy nipple driver, no truing stand, no tensionmeter, no mechanic’s stethoscope or anything. By using my uni frame, eyeballs, using my fingernails to find the high spots… and plucking the spokes to listen for tension, I was able to build my first wheel very nicely and almost perfectly true, with no fancy equipment.

I got great advice on wheelbuilding and a bunch of other stuff from
Sheldon Brown and this FAQ . Hope that helps to inspire you all, this once seemingly impossible task is now done for me, without any help but the internet.

Back in business, honey :slight_smile: Rock.

Congratulations recycled.

There is a real knack to building a well tensioned and true wheel and especially one that stays that way :wink:

Sheldon Brown’s website is indeed a great resource for all things cycling - he has muchos muchos experience in those matters.

Happy muning,


A good trick for changing a rim only is to tape the new rim to the damaged one lining up the tube stem holes. You must make sure the spoke eyelets also look in the same direction because some aim in and some out. Loosen all of the spokes slightly and transfer them over.There is no dishing involved as on a road bike that has a drive side,this makes a new rim fairly easy to change.

Congratulations! Building a wheel is a rewarding experience, and usually gets you a better product than you’d get from a bike shop anyway; patience, and willingness to put time into it, is as important as skill, and bike shops tend to rush the job.

I always find the experience rather Zen-like; you are continuously moving towards perfection, but if you try too hard you’ll throw it all out of whack.

Have fun on your new wheel!

I just built my first wheel a 48 spoke trials wheel and I found this sites instructions easier to follow than Sheldon Browns. It has photos instead of the computer graphics so its easier to see what is going on. I did a four cross with the spokes going under the third cross and over the fourth, it gives the wheel a more woven look. It went well except the spokes I ordered were too long and so I was unable to get them tight and I am waiting for new shorter spokes to arive.http://www.gsportbmx.co.uk/custom/wheel_build/wheels.html

Excellent job. Good to hear that you had great results also. Now any time that you have wheel problems on any cycle, the wheel mechanic is close by.

I built a Coker wheel with the help of the book “Art of Wheelbuilding” by Gerd Schraner available from Amazon. Super book.

I was a bit disappointed by Schraners book. Too much of “Hey, I’m a cool wheelbuilder” and “DT Swiss is cool”.

Sheldon Browns wheel building article has most, if not all, of the information about the actual process of wheel building contained in the book.


I didn’t get that impression from the book. I would recommend it, highly, to anyone that was interested in wheel building.

The book is great, IMHO. Not only is it practical, but it also has historical significance, which the other sources completely lack.

Also, forgot to say, nice job recycled!

Hey, cool! I know how you feel. I just built my first wheel ever. I’m building a 29 and started with a Kris Holm rim and a UDC wide hub. It took me a couple of tries to get the lacing to come out right but I ended up with a really good looking and (so far) true wheel. No special tools either. Just a spoke wrench. I used the book, “The Bicycle Wheel” by Jobst Brandt.