Wheel Un-building...

Had a go at unbuilding my broken rim from the hub and spokes, but it seems that any attempt to twist the brass flat-headed part while the spoke is engaged by a wrench results in the brass shearing off before enough torque can be applied to loosen it at all. Is this because the wheel was built by a machine? Still, I can hardly believe how weak these brass peices are. How am I supposed to be able to re-use the spokes if they seem to be cemented into the nipples???
The way things are going it seems like i’ll have to cut them in half to get them off the hub… :frowning: Anyone ever done this before?

Re: Wheel Un-building…

Often the nipples on low- to medium-quality wheels will distort like that. Often they are installed with a liquid locker which makes it easy to put them on, but difficult to adjust them later on.

In general, you shouldn’t expect to re-use spokes except when replacing a rim with the identical rim, which happens to be your case. However, without high-quality components to start with, you do best to just cut them off and buy a new set. Be sure to unwind them as best as possible beforehand to avoid injury, and wear hand and eye protection.

Post-build maintenance is one place that high-quality wheels really shine, and demonstrate the owner’s investment wisdom.

try adding a screw driver to the slot in the back of the nipple and then twisting with a spoke wrench. maybe a squirt of wd-40 a few minutes before would help too.

Remove the tire,tube ,and rim strip and apply a drop of reg. or penetrating oil on each nipple.Sometimes tightening slightly first will break the seal and allow you untighten something, ask any plumber!

What do you mean, engaging the spokes with a wrench? You can’t physically hold the spokes, a spoke wrench engages with the nipples, same as a nipple screwdriver. All you need to do is take off the rim tape, and unscrew the nipples from the rim side. You shouldn’t need to hold the spokes in any way. Also WD40 might help, but if you want to re use the spokes make sure its all cleared off, or the spokes will loosen as you use them.


Well yeah, that’s what I meant by the ‘spoke’ not 100% on the terminology :slight_smile: The problem is in that the brass part on the tire side and the squarish ‘nipple’ or whatever you call it on the spoke side all seem to have become as one, and that they can’t be undone, almost like they were loctited or something :frowning: I guess since this is the case, I can rebuild with really cool black colored spokes this time…

a derrr. it seems like it’s one peice because it IS. HAHA.

i’m such a deuschebag.

The spokes are actually quite free to move… :smiley:

Re: Re: Wheel Un-building…

Since when does one have to “invest” to get a high-quality wheel? All it takes is a little research, some patience and a bit of elbow grease and one has the capability to make their own wheel that’ll stand up to the rigors of heavy usage while still being fully maintainable. I get the impression that you’re trying to mislead novice riders into believing they need to spend money in order to have decent equipment. Bad U-Spurn, bad!!!

well there’s something to be said for being able to build/maintain your own wheels. my wheel buliding friend can build/tension a wheel in about an hour if there are no snags. every single spoke ends with the exact same tension and “pings” the same note when plucked. doing that one your first wheel build without a tension meter, particularly on a larger wheel, would be very hard. not that it isn’t a useful skill to learn, but it’s also one the hardest mechanical skills to learn. i still don’t feel 100% comfortable building a wheel from scratch. i can replace spokes and true things up on an size wheel and do a good job with it, but the building from parts is still a little hard/time consuming/i need to learn it/maddening at this point. maybe my next wheel.

Re: Re: Re: Wheel Un-building…

I’m sorry that you have that impression, maestro8, but that is not the case. I’ve reworked a number of brand-new brand-name “off-road” unicycle wheels that have come way out of true after just two weeks of riding.

Recycled stated that he could not “believe how weak” his wheel parts were, and I can confirm that from experience. By describing the difference that a high-quality wheel makes, I am attempting to place Recycled’s experience in perspective and answer his question.

Often for a wheel like that, even attempting to true it will result in several stripped nipples and the need to replace them. The customer has to pay for that extra time and hardware. In most cases, as well, there are low limits on the wheel strength and trueness that spring from the low quality of the wheel’s components.

Perhaps my standards are higher, but yes, it is necessary to spend money to have decent equipment. Each rider/owner has economic and performance tradeoffs to make, including me. I have a low-to-medium-quality Trek mountain bike, and that is plenty for me.

For some riders, spending $500 on a wheel is a wise decision. For others, spending $500 on a unicycle is a wise decision. In all cases, people have to spend money for equipment. The actual price/performance tradeoffs are different for each rider. An active rider who is spending lots of travel money to go to uni events is wise to invest in good equipment, because it results in less downtime and better use of that travel money. A novice rider who is unsure of his or her commitment to the sport might do better with less expensive “exploratory” gear, however often the best approach in that case is to attend a club and borrow unis as much as possible until that person’s choices narrow. A rapidly advancing rider who is riding hard and breaking gear might do well to look ahead and put a little more into better gear.

As far as “trying to mislead”, that is patently not true. Many of my customers will attest to my tendency to try to talk them down, rather than up in price, and my forthrightness about the “bang for buck” that each decision they make gives.

Anyhow, Recycled, good luck with your rebuild, and good riding!

Re: Wheel Un-building…

On Mon, 27 Jun 2005, recycled <> wrote:
> The problem is in that the brass part on the tire side
> and the squarish ‘nipple’ or whatever you call it on the spoke side all
> seem to have become as one,

Not sure what you’re describing here, but they ARE one - it’s a
single piece. It screws off teh spoke. You can either turn teh
square part or put a flat balded screwdriver on teh part inside the
rim (with the tyre off).

regards., Ian SMith

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Re: Re: Re: Re: Wheel Un-building…

I see no mention of “active” or “advancing” riders spending time as opposed to money into bettering their setup. If someone is really “into the sport,” I believe they should also be into maintaining their own gear, including spending some time learning / practicing wheel builds. Especially if they’ll be subjecting their gear to long, hard rides, or travelling far from home, or buying pre-assembled gear from a questionable source.

Granted, throwing money at a problem can, in some cases, ensure it’s done well, but it leaves one right where they started… clueless as to the actual process. The best way, IMHO, to be prepared for trail-side emergencies is to know your ride inside-out, to have built it (or parts of it) yourself. You can’t just “throw money” at the problem when your on the trail! And no matter how well something is built, you can’t guarantee it won’t break.

Look at unicycling’s top rider… Kris Holm… he doesn’t just push the sport forward through his riding, he’s also working to design and manufacture better equipment! Another good example is Gerblefranklin… a superb trials and muni rider who is currently prototyping his own trials frames… this sport needs more people who aren’t afraid to work on their own equipment, because we can’t depend on a handful of manufacturers / technicians to put together all the gear we’ll need as this sport progresses!

Instead of using your clout to encourage people to spend money, why not encourage people to build their own rig? Why not put some energy into a guide for aspiring wheelbuilders, a’la Sheldon Brown?

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wheel Un-building…

Hmm… I don’t see anywhere that I have “encouraged people to spend money”. I have simply said that price/performance tradeoffs are individual decisions. And I certainly have not said that people should throw money at problems.

I agree with you that many people that want to become serious riders would do well to learn how to service their own gear. This will save them time and money. By doing this, too, they will come to know and appreciate the difference between good gear and bad gear.

I also agree with several riders who recently have said that the main thing is the rider, not the gear. Look at Lars Clausen, who recently did something like 9000 miles on a stock Coker wheel. No matter what gear you have, it will eventually all come down to your desire to succeed, your willingness to suffer pain, and your willingness to put in the preparation time and training. The same goes for the 24/26 or 29/36 debates, crank length and such.

Many good riders who service their own gear, and even do their own research into new unicycle technology, buy from me. I’m very glad for their business and the opportunity to share, in some way, in their adventures. As far as Sheldon Brown goes, I highly encourage people to visit his extensive webpages and learn all they can from them… I certainly do! And John Childs does an amazing job here with advice on lots of technical issues. I really admire his clear writing style.

I try to offer the highest quality product available, and I charge less than I should for it. I also try hard not to step on other manufacturers’ toes. It’s not much more complicated than that.

I’m wondering what your contribution will be to unicycling, maestro8. I look forward to seeing what it will be! However, I do know that you won’t be able to make that contribution while you are focused on me, or Tyler, or anyone else. Dig deep in yourself and find it; it’ll be something great.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wheel Un-building…

After a period of deep self-introspection, I farted. I found gas.