Monday, January 5, 2009


Built a wheel this evening. It's been at least 8 years since I've laced one up myself, but it's damn true and almost perfectly round. I probably don't need a new wheelset, there's technically nothing wrong with the wheelset that came on my bike (except that it's made of cheap components and was probably laced by a machine) but I'm working on them anyway. I just got to thinking the other day how nice the handbuilt wheels I used to ride were. I traded an original set of Mavic Crossmax for a handlaced set of XTR hubs laced to Mavic 517's with double butted DT spokes when I went to college. The XTR's were worth a lot less, but they rode so much better. When I tacoed the rear wheel, I laced it to a ceramic 217 and that was without a doubt the best wheel I have ever ridden.

Back to my story. So I was riding these crappy stock wheels the other day and they were creaking and the rear axle was warped and I decided it was time I re-acquainted myself with the art of wheel building. Surly track hubs, Mavic Open Sport rims (I'll use the Pros next time) Double butted black DT Spokes and stainless nipples. Linseed oil instead of spoke prep (we'll see how that works out) and about two hours of work (would have been less but I made a big mistake, which is why I started with the front instead of the rear) and I've got a hand-built wheel. I'll do the rear on Wednesday night, give them a ride Thursday morning and find out if they're worthy to race on. The old wheels will be pit wheels until I build some tubular wheels next fall, then I'll put them on a fixie conversion.

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