Building one's own, was Re: [Classicrendezvous] Tubular Tires


From: "Russ Fitzgerald" <rfitzger@emeraldis.com>
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Subject: Building one's own, was Re: [Classicrendezvous] Tubular Tires
Date: Sat, 30 Sep 2000 13:08:42 -0400


>Jon Cowden
>Ithaca, New York, wrote:
>ps Had an interesting interaction with a lbs yesterday. I brought in a
>pair of high-flange Superbe Pro hubs, intending to have them built into
>some tubulars. The guy took one look at them and said to me that "I
>suppose that I could build a completely out of date wheel with those
>'things.'"

This is one of those really BOB-ish things, I think.

I got really pitying looks last year from an area shop when I had them build up a set of wheels for my PX-10E. They essentially acted like they were doing me a favor, and the build quality was not all that good - despite the fact that the shop has been around forever, and the wheel builder (a former racer) is roughly a contemporary of mine.

This spring, I decided it was time to learn to build wheels. I borrowed a copy of Jobst Brandt's book, and the in-town LBS worked out what length spokes I needed. I kept the book open in front of me as I laced them up - amazing what happens when one can read, isn't it? I will freely confess I took the built wheels to the LBS for final truing and tensioning ... but they turned out great, at least by my standards.

I built a second set of wheels this summer for a friend's bike. This time, the LBS manager let me use the truing stand to adjust, tension and final true the wheels. They've held up beautifully so far, and I've got the bug.

I won't deny that the numerous wheelbuilders on this list can no doubt do a better job than I can, in probably a quarter of the time. But there is something distinctly satisfying about building one's own wheels. For those of us who will probably never build a frame, it's something of a milestone. I rank building one's own wheels up there with assembling one's own bike from the bare frame out as one of life's little delights - but then, I do it for fun.

Russ Fitzgerald
Greenwood SC
rfitzger@emeraldis.com