The Professional Guide to Wheel Building, by Roger Musson. A complete guide to building and repairing wheels with over 90 color photos and CAD drawings. When I tried to build my first wheels, I found no books on wheels, and magazine articles offered little help. There was no information about why I should use a. I own most of them and have read all of them. Roger Musson's e-book is the best - Wheelbuilding book for wheel building. download it online.

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Wheel Building Book

Roger Musson Wheel Building Book user reviews: out of 5 - reviews. Read it's strength, weaknesses, find deals and pricing - Thank you for downloading this book. The book represents a factual account of how I build wheels and is provided in the hope that it is useful. I am obliged to write. download Art of Wheelbuilding Spi by Gerd Schraner (ISBN: ) from site's Book Store. Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders.

Apr 19, Jcphene rated it it was amazing This is a fantastic book on how to build and repair bicycle wheels. I used it to teach myself to build, rebuild and repair a few sets in our ancient family fleet of town, road and mountain bikes. Bicycles need wheels, roads and asphalt [made of oil, not natural gas, not wind energy] to roll on, for the most part. There are wonderful new off road bikes with fat tires that can go anywhere but still need a road and a vehicle to take its owner to the nearest spectacular trail head. Lots of week-end This is a fantastic book on how to build and repair bicycle wheels. Lots of week-end trails to choose from in my part of the world, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. A Dutch walking guide told me last summer there are 17 million abandoned bikes in storage in Netherlands, accumulated during annual canal clean-ups. A few basic skills will get that abandoned clunker in the back alley rolling again.

Hi, I'm Roger Musson , I mastered my craft through building and maintaining precision wheels for myself, and then as a highly respected professional wheel builder at Wheelpro. As a sponsor of professional bike teams, I've spent years at the sharp end of competitive cycling - out in the field. Rain or shine, I've watched as my wheels were pounded hard by professional racers, studied how they've performed against other people's wheels; gained an unrivalled reputation for building and repairing crash damage and providing total support.

Why build wheels?

I've run wheel-building courses and been invited to deliver wheel-building demonstrations at cycle shows by component manufacturers. I've built so many wheels and evaluated so many wheel components and building techniques that I've stopped counting. But over the years I've come to know what I like and dislike, what works and what doesn't.

There's no guesswork in anything I do. I deal only with the facts. This is all the information you'll ever need. If you are paying me for something, then I make sure that what I tell you is absolutely correct. And if I discover something else, then I want to share it with you, and that's why I give a free upgrade to those of you who download a book. I also listen to the feedback I get from downloadrs of the book over the last 15 years, so I know your areas of difficulty and answered them.

I've also got a Degree in Engineering, from the University of Aston in Birmingham, and worked in mechanical engineering at the Goss Printing Press company. Search the web, or go to your favourite cycling forum and ask for a recommendation for a wheelbuilding book.

With any cross number, only the outermost crossing is "laced" so the spokes go behind one another. Initial spoke adjustment Once the wheel is laced, adjust all of the nipples so that each is screwed equally far onto its spoke. You should be able to do this with a screwdriver, preferably electric. A good starting point is to set them all so that the threads just disappear into the nipples.

If the spokes are a bit on the short side, you may have to leave a few threads showing. The important thing at this stage is to get all 36 spokes to be as close as possible to the same setting, all pretty loose.

Some may be a bit tighter or looser, but they should all be adjusted the same to provide a baseline. If you find some are much tighter than others, double check the spoking pattern. With some rims, the rim seam is thicker than other parts of the rim, so you may need to loosen up the two spokes closest to the seam usually opposite from the valve hole a couple of turns.

At this stage, the spokes will not be running straight, but will be noticeably curved where they leave the hub. The leading spokes, in particular, will be swooping outward as they leave the hub, then gradually curving back toward the rim.

Before you start applying tension to the spokes, you should bend them by hand so that they fit snugly against the sides of the hub flanges.

This can be done easily by pressing on each spoke in turn with your thumb about an inch out from the hub. If you don't do this, the spokes will still be slightly curved when the wheel is finished. These curves will gradually straighten themselves out over the first few hundred miles on the road, and the wheel will lose tension and go out of true.

Use a claw hammer, which has a nearly flat face. Hold the hammer so its face is parallel to the spoke. The advantage of this method is that the hammer face will not bend the spoke outside the flange.

The spoke should bend over the edge of the flange, then run straight as shown. If you are lucky, it will already be fairly true, but don't be surprised if it is way off.

If the spokes are still very loose, so that you can wiggle the rim back and forth easily, tighten each spoke one full turn.

Start at the valve hole and work your way around until you get back to it, so that you won't lose count. Make sure you are turning the nipples the right way. When you work with a screwdriver, it is easy to figure out which way tightens the screws, clockwise.

It gets confusing when you start using the spoke wrench, because now you are working from the back side of the clock! Continue bringing up the tension one full turn at a time until the wheel begins to firm up. Once there begins to be a little bit of tension on the wheel, you should start bringing it into shape. There are 4 different things that you need to bring under control to complete the job: lateral truing, vertical truing, dishing, and tensioning.

As you proceed, keep checking all 4 of these factors, and keep working on whichever is worse at the moment. You can see the irregularities in the rim as you start to true the wheel, but as it comes more nearly into shape, you can listen to the scraping of the truing stand's feelers against the rim for a more sensitive adjustment.

High-end truing stands have dial indicators, though these are not really necessary. Try to make your truing adjustments independent of each other. For lateral truing, spin the wheel in the stand and find the place on the rim that is farthest away from where most of the rim is. If the rim is off to the left, tighten spokes that go to the right flange and loosen those that go to the left flange.

If you do the same amount of tightening and loosening, you can move the rim to the side without affecting the roundness of the wheel. After adjusting the worst bend to the left, find the worst bend to the right, and adjust it. Keep alternating sides. Don't try to make each bent area perfect, just make it better, then go on to the next. The wheel will gradually get truer and truer as you go. For vertical truing, find the highest high spot on the rim. It takes a larger adjustment to affect the vertical truing than the horizontal truing.

Vertical truing should usually be done by tightening spokes, gradually building up the tension in the wheel as you go along. As soon as the lateral truing gets reasonably good within a couple of millimeters start checking the dishing. Put the adjustable feeler of the dish stick over the axle on one side of the wheel and adjust it so that both ends of the dish stick touch the rim while the middle feeler rests against the outer locknut on the axle.

Then move the stick to the other side of the wheel without re-adjusting the feeler. If the dish stick rocks back and forth while in contact with the outer locknut, the spokes on that side of the wheel have to be tightened to pull the rim over. If the ends of the dish stick sit on the rim but the feeler won't reach the locknut, the spokes on the other side of the wheel need to be tightened. When the dish is starting to get within 1 or 2 millimeters of being correct, go back to working on the lateral truing, except now you will not be alternating sides.

If the rim needs to move to the right to improve the dish, find the worst bend to the left, adjust it, then find the new worst bend to the left, and so on.

All the time you are doing this, you need to keep checking the vertical truing, and whenever the vertical error is greater than the lateral error, work on the vertical. A rim may be a bit irregular at the seam -- usually directly opposite the valve hole -- see Machined Rim Sidewalls. If the rim is welded, grinding away excess metal may have left a slight hollow. If the rim is pinned, the ends may not line up perfectly.

You may need to relax your truing standards slightly at the seam, average the vertical truing for the two sides, or guide by eye on the underside of the rim. You also need to keep monitoring the tension on the freewheel-side spokes. There are three ways to check tension. One is by how hard it is to turn the spoke wrench. If it starts to get hard enough that you have to start worrying about rounding off the nipple with the spoke wrench, you are approaching the maximum.

Fifteen years ago, this would be the limiting factor, and you would just try to get the wheel as tight as you could without stripping nipples. Modern, high quality spokes and nipples have more precisely-machined threads, however, and now there is actually a possibility of getting them too tight, causing rim failure. The second way of judging spoke tension is by plucking the spokes where they cross and judging the musical pitch they make.

If your shop doesn't have a piano, and you don't have perfect pitch, you can compare it with a known good wheel that uses the same length of spokes. This will get you into the ballpark. Before I started using a spoke tensiometer, I used to keep a cassette in my toolbox on which I had recorded my piano playing an F , a good average reference tone for stainless spokes of usual length.

The third, and best way is with a spoke tensiometer. Every well-equipped shop should have one. Average freewheel-side tension should be up to shop standards for the type of spokes and rim being used. More important is that it be even. Don't worry about the left-side tension on rear wheels. If the freewheel side is correctly tensioned, and the wheel is correctly dished, the left side will be quite a bit looser.

You should still check the left side for uniformity of tension. Using thinner spokes on the left side avoids most of the problems which the looseness causes -- also see John Allen's article. Spoke Torsion As the wheel begins to come into tension, you start to have to deal with spoke torsion. When you turn your spoke wrench, the spoke will first twist a bit from the friction of the threads.

Once the nipple has turned far enough, the twist in the spoke will give enough resistance that the threads will start to move, but the spoke will remain twisted. What a good wheelbuilder can do that a robot machine can't do is feel this twist.

If you "finish" your wheel up, and it is perfectly true in your stand, but the spokes are twisted, the wheel will not stay true on the road. The twist in the spokes will eventually work itself out, and the wheel will go out of true.

The Professional Guide to Wheel Building

This problem can be prevented by sensitive use of your spoke wrench. What you need to do is overshoot and backlash. This is much easier to do on straight-gauge spokes, because they are stiffer torsionally, and it is easier to feel the twist than it is with butted spokes. Seating and Stress-Relieving the Spokes Before a wheel is ready for the road, it must be stress-relieved, because the bend in the spoke has to accommodate itself to the shape of the hub flange and vice versa, and a similar process may go on where the nipple sits in the rim.

Some wheelbuilders do this by flexing the whole wheel, others by grabbing the spokes in groups of 4 and squeezing them together.

My preferred technique is to use a lever to bend the spokes around each other where they cross. My favorite lever for this is an old left crank: This particular technique has the added advantage of bending the spokes neatly around each other at the crossing, so they run straight from the crossing in both directions.

As you go around the wheel this way you will probably hear creaks and pinging sounds as the parts come into more intimate terms with each other. After you do this, you will probably have to do some touch-up truing, then repeat the stressing process until it stops making noise and the wheel stops going out of true. After cold forming, steel always springs back a certain amount spokes are entirely cold formed from wire. Spring-back occurs because part of the material exceeded its elastic limit and part did not.

The disparate parts fight each other in tension and compression, so that when the spoke is tensioned, it adds to the tensile stress that can be, and often is, at yield. When spokes are bent into place, they yield locally and addition of tension guarantees that these places remain at yield. Because metal at or near the yield stress has a short fatigue life, these stresses must be relieved to make spokes durable.

These peak stresses can be relieved by momentarily increasing spoke tension and stress , so that the high stress points of the spoke yield and plastically deform with a permanent set. When the stress-relief force is relaxed, these areas cannot spring back, having, in effect, lost their memory, and drop to the average stress of the spoke.

In addition, you will have learned a lot about truing wheels, and you will feel more like a real professional mechanic. Definitions: This article uses 3 non-standard terms, because standard terms have not been agreed upon in the industry: "Key" spoke. This is the first spoke to be installed in building the wheel. Its position determines the position of all the other spokes with respect to the valve hole.

In a rear wheel, the trailing spokes are those which become tighter when the rider applies pressure to the pedals. They are called "trailing" because they point backward from the direction the hub is turned in. In the illustrations for this article, the trailing spokes are shown in red and yellow. These are the spokes that exit the hub in the direction of rotation.

They are illustrated in two shades of blue. The "trailing" spokes pull harder under drive torque to make the rim turn, and the "leading" spokes contribute by pulling less hard under driving torque. Each group of spokes contributes equally in its own way to turning the rim to keep up with the hub.

Trailing Spokes Some writers have referred to the trailing spokes as "driving" or "pulling" spokes, and have referred to the leading spokes as "tension" or "static" spokes. These terms may be confusing, because all of the spokes contribute to driving, they are all under tension and they all pull. Depending on how you look at it, either all of them or none of them are "static".

Thanks to John Forester for suggesting "leading" and "trailing". Which Side of the Flange? Derailer rear wheels should be laced with the trailing spokes running up along the inside of the flange. There are three reasons for this: The spokes are bent around each other at the outermost crossing. Under drive torque, especially in low gear, the trailing spokes straighten out and the leading spokes bend even more.

If the wheel is laced with the trailing spokes on the outside of the flange, the crossing gets pulled outward toward the derailer cage, and in some cases will actually hit against the derailer under load. If the chain should overshoot the inner sprocket due to the derailer being mis-adjusted or bent, it is likely to get more seriously jammed between the spokes and the freewheel if the spokes slant so as to wedge the chain inward under load.

Since the trailing spokes are more highly stressed than the leading spokes, it is better to protect them from this type of damage by keeping them inboard. It really doesn't matter which way you go on the left side, but if you have all the trailing spokes face inward it makes lacing the wheel a bit easier. Note: This is not an important issue!


There is a sizable minority of good wheelbuilders who prefer to go the other way around, and good wheels can be built either way.

Spoke Patterns: Semi-tangent Conventional "semi-tangent" spoke patterns are indicated as "cross 3", "cross 4", etc. For example, cross 3 means that each spoke crosses 3 other spokes that run from the same flange of the hub. Most wheels are built cross 3. Higher cross numbers cause the spokes to leave the hub flange more nearly at a tangent. This makes them better able to withstand the twisting forces of hard pedaling in low gears, and also braking forces from hub brakes.

Lower cross numbers make the spokes more nearly perpendicular to the hub flange, and to the rim. In the case of the " radial " cross 0 pattern, the spokes go straight out from the hub without crossing at all. Lower cross patterns use shorter spokes, so they are slightly lighter, and they can also be slightly stronger side-to-side.

The more spokes a wheel has, the higher the cross number for a similar spoke angle. In the case of unusually large hubs, particularly large hubs in small rims, fewer crosses are often indicated, to avoid bending the spokes where they exit the nipples. For example, the Rohloff Speedhub has 32 spoke holes, but is usually laced cross 2. For extremely large hubs such as electric-bicycle hub motors, you may need to use a special spoking pattern. We have an article describing how to do this.

Radial Spoking Radial spoked cross 0 wheels have the spokes going straight out from the hub. This pattern is suitable only for front wheels that don't use hub brakes.

There are two things to watch out for with radial wheels. Because the nipples point straight inward from the rim, they can turn more easily in most rims than when they are bent to a slight angle by a semi-tangent spoke pattern. This ease of turning increases the risk of their unscrewing themselves on the road.

Or, if a rim does not have recessed spoke holes, the rim tape and air pressure in the inner tube will keep the spokes from turning -- at least with a high-pressure tire. The other potential problem with radial wheels is that the spokes, trailing straight outward on the hub flange, can possibly rip the outer edge of the flange right off along the line of the spoke holes. This is most likely to happen with small-flange, 36 hole hubs, because there is less metal between the spoke holes.

If a used hub is re-laced radially, the notches left by the old spokes can act as stress risers, further weakening the flange. Many hub manufacturers specifically recommend against radial spoking for this reason, and will not honor warranties on hubs that have been spoked radially.

Some folks will say that no bicycle wheels should be radially spoked for this reason, so do this at your own risk. In my experience, it's generally OK with good-quality hubs that have forged shells. Back in , unaware of these issues, I built a front wheel for my tandem with 40 radial spokes on a medium-flange, "boutique" hub with machined flanges.

After a few months of use, the wheel mysteriously went slightly out of true, and I trued it. I might better have taken the loss of true as a red-flag warning. One day, I just happened to be sitting on the floor next to my tandem, glanced at the front hub and noticed a crack extending along the line between several spoke holes.

I had been foolish, and I was very lucky.

I rebuilt the wheel on a large-flange hub, using the same spokes in a semi-tangent pattern, and I have ridden that wheel for 30 years since without any problem. If you ever notice a radially-spoked front wheel -- or, actually, any front wheel -- mysteriously going slightly out of true, stop, get off the bicycle and call for a ride home or to a bike shop. Since front wheels are generally pretty trouble-free compared with rears, you don't need super-high tension on a front wheel that uses a reasonable number of spokes.

If you use the thin spokes, you can raise them to their optimum tension without their putting undue stress on the hub.

Roger Musson's "Professional Guide to Wheel Building"

This is hooey! Drive wheels and wheels with hub brakes should never be radially spoked. Due to the near-perpendicular angle of the spoke to the hub's tangent, any torque applied at the hub of a radial-spoked wheel will result in a very great increase in spoke tension, almost certainly causing hub or spoke failure. To protect the guilty, I will not say who built it. No, it wasn't Sheldon. A friend and I inspected the bike. He held the front brake and pushed down on a pedal with his foot.

The spokes of the rear wheel changed angle noticeably, pinging as they rotated in the spoke holes of the hub, and ringing with rising musical pitch like an electric guitar when the player pulls up on the tremolo bar. Radial front wheels offer mainly esthetic benefits, but half-radial rear wheels can be substantially more durable than conventional ones, if the wheel is highly dished. The high amount of dishing withr more and more sprockets has caused an increase in spoke breakage on the left side of rear wheels.

This is caused by metal fatigue. Just as you can break a paperclip by bending it back and forth a few times, you can break spokes by flexing them back and forth by a much smaller amount, millions of times -- even if they don't flex enough to take a permanent set. A bicycle wheel turns several hundred times per mile.

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