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Wheel Building 101

Posted by Raleigh Twenty on July 21, 2010 at 12:01 AM

I build my first wheel today. I started with a hub, rim and a packet of spokes and nipples, and after two attempts produced my first wheel:

The rim is made by Araya (the VP-20 model) and was a street find. I salvaged a pair of wheels of a cast-off kid's BMX-style bicycle. The rims are used, but in reasonable condition. No cracks, splits or anything else to cause concern. The are slightly concave, however, I believe that this is not due to wear, but a feature of the manufacture. I have encountered several brand new rims which are slightly concave. I have no idea why manufacturers would do so, but it is the case.

I had to un-lace this wheel because I made an error:

As you can see by the markings, it is intended for a 20" x 1.75" tyre. I have gotten around the issue of fitting a rear brake with a long enough reach by simply using a 3-speed coaster-brake (back-pedal) hub. SRC-3 (II) by Sunrace Sturmey-Archer.

I corrected this error by starting all over again. This time I remembered to grease the threads of the spokes during assembly, so not all was lost. There is a matching front wheel already waiting in my workshop, which only needs to have the hub re-packed with fresh grease (I don't own cone spanners, so I'll have to take it down to my bicycle club this week to have it done).

Poor Radar (My blue Raleigh Twenty) has been in pieces in the garage for some months now, and will finally get a new lease of life as my travel bicycle. I hope to be able to make it fold up so that it will fit into the 130cm x 70cm x 25cm bicycle boxes supplies by Countrylink, instead of having to partially disassemble it every time I travel.

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