Re: [CR]Phrasing about wheel building

Example: Framebuilding:Restoration

Date: Sun, 21 Aug 2005 14:19:15 EDT
Subject: Re: [CR]Phrasing about wheel building

Tom Hayes asked,

<< In reading auction descriptions on Ebay and elsewhere phrasing such as "hand

built" or "custom-built" wheels is used repeatedly.>>

>>Are there such things as machine built wheels? On the one hand, I cannot

imagine companies such as those that sell complete bikes to K-Mart or

Wal-Mart hand building wheels. The cost to pay someone to lace the wheels

alone would preclude selling the bike for eighty dollars or whatever they

charge. On the other hand, however, I try to imagine the machine that would

lace, tighten, and true a wheel, and it escapes my imagination.>>

<<If such machines exist, are they capable of building a decent wheels? How

long have such machines been around? And are they used for "decent" wheels?

Yes, there are such machines, and they have been around for several years. Anytime you find a bicycle with traditional wheels from one of the large manufacturers, those wheels were 'machine built'! They <the machines> are very interesting to watch (they can lace a wheel fast!!) but their big limitation seems to be an inability to adequately stress relieve the wheel during the building process.

Decent depends upon your definition as well as your exposure to truly 'well built' wheels. I would call them "decent" in many cases, but they have always (from my experience) needed "hands on finishing" to be worthy of serious use. Of course, I have found many of the boutique, and fairly expensive wheels, to be less than satisfactory as well!

As Mr. H. Sachs puts it; YMMV........


Chuck Brooks
Malta, NY