Re: [CR]Conversations on wheel building...are there great wheelbuilders and why are they better than others?

Example: Production Builders:Peugeot:PX-10LE
Date: Tue, 1 Jul 2003 21:16:40 -0700 (PDT)
From: "David Feldman" <>
Subject: Re: [CR]Conversations on wheel building...are there great wheelbuilders and why are they better than others?
To: Bill Bryant <>,
In-Reply-To: <>

One thing I remember from Schwinn school's wheelbuilding lesson was that the wheels were deliberately undertensioned so as to absorb shock and protect the bikes during shipping in the long-pack Chicago Schwinn boxes. David Feldman Vancouver, WA Schwinn Sales West graduate, autumn 1975

--- Bill Bryant wrote:

> Some years after developing a pretty good regional

\r?\n> customer base from my

\r?\n> wheelbuilding skills, my bike shop employer sent me

\r?\n> to the Schwinn mechanics

\r?\n> school to show our customers we were all 'Schwinn

\r?\n> Certified'. Didn't learn a

\r?\n> whole lot there that was previously unknown to me,

\r?\n> but it was certainly good

\r?\n> training for the new mechanics.


\r?\n> The school's whole aim with wheelbuilding was for

\r?\n> speed because TIME =

\r?\n> MONEY. And we never saw anything but heavy steel

\r?\n> rims; nothing lightweight

\r?\n> was discussed as I recall. Thus, building "good"

\r?\n> wheels was not the goal,

\r?\n> minimizing labor costs was. Period. I dunno about

\r?\n> that exact 7 minute wheel

\r?\n> claim but certainly heard similar stories at the

\r?\n> Schwinn school which were

\r?\n> supposed to inspire us to become "good wheelbuilders

\r?\n> who can crank them

\r?\n> out". We subsequently learned speed-specific lacing

\r?\n> and truing techniques

\r?\n> that got them out in about 15 minutes... but they

\r?\n> were not wheels I would

\r?\n> sell to a customer back home doing his first

\r?\n> century. Ick! :-(

\r?\n> Replacing *crappy factory wheels* is exactly why I

\r?\n> sold a good many wheels

\r?\n> to cycling enthusiasts during the 1970s and '80s.

\r?\n> But you get what you pay

\r?\n> for, too-- and those heavy steel wheels didn't sell

\r?\n> for all that much

\r?\n> either. Indeed, that was the whole point. OTOH, I

\r?\n> would be very surprised if

\r?\n> the wheels on Schwinn Paramounts of the same era

\r?\n> were built in 7 minutes,

\r?\n> but they weren't all that well-built either.


\r?\n> As to the short, wide woman at the Schwinn factory

\r?\n> cranking them out in 7

\r?\n> minutes (probably for piece-rate wages because time

\r?\n> = money), I'd really

\r?\n> like to know what would make anyone think her wheels

\r?\n> were "great"? Did they

\r?\n> go ride them for thousands of miles? Hell no, they

\r?\n> were very likely heavy

\r?\n> steel-rimmed dogs bound for lowly Varsities,

\r?\n> Suburbans, Continentals, etc.

\r?\n> And for around town usage they probably held up

\r?\n> fine-- braking in the rain

\r?\n> aside. So, by that definition, maybe they were great

\r?\n> in their own way.

\r?\n> Funny, though, one sure doesn't see many of those

\r?\n> "great" wheels out on club

\r?\n> centuries, doubles, races, or being ridden

\r?\n> cross-country.

\r?\n> Apples vs. Oranges, IMHO.



\r?\n> Bill Bryant

\r?\n> Santa Cruz, CA





\r?\n> on 7/1/03 5:31 PM, at

\r?\n> wrote:


\r?\n> >

\r?\n> > In a message dated 7/1/03 5:00:25 PM,

\r?\n> writes:

\r?\n> >

\r?\n> > << He again said that good wheels are good wheels

\r?\n> and that if we wanted to

\r?\n> > talk great wheel builders that he had seen a very

\r?\n> short woman years ago at

\r?\n> > the

\r?\n> > Schwinn factory who was as wide as tall, but could

\r?\n> build a great wheel in

\r?\n> > seven minutes. He felt that was the greatest

\r?\n> wheel builder he had ever seen

\r?\n> > and

\r?\n> > that was unlikely to be topped. >>

\r?\n> >

\r?\n> > Evening Gang,

\r?\n> >

\r?\n> > Seven minutes, eh? Sure would like to have seen

\r?\n> it in action, because my

\r?\n> > experience gives me much cause for doubt.

\r?\n> Especially, the "great wheel"

\r?\n> > claim???

\r?\n> >

\r?\n> > I don't think wheel building should be rushed

\r?\n> (IMO)!!!

\r?\n> >

\r?\n> > Cheers,

\r?\n> >

\r?\n> > Chuck Brooks

\r?\n> > Malta, NY