Wheel building

Wheel building is an art (allegedly), but not really. It's just a mechanical process, that needs a little care to get a good result. It's a bit like cooking, if you have good quality ingredients, you'll get a good result (as long as you are careful along the way).

Personally, I find wheel building to be one of the most rewarding tasks in bicycle maintenance. It takes some time to do, and it all comes together at the end. It's a great feeling to watch a nice true rim spinning perfectly in the truing stand. It's quite amazing how good it can be, especially compared to truing an old rim that's been up and down some kerbs :)

Recycled wheels

A thing called spoke cancer afflicts certain wheels, basically the spokes were not good enough quality, and the spokes rust on the inside, and then simply pop. They look a bit like they have been cut, but they haven't. The wheels were not necessarily bad/cheap wheels, so the hub and rim are most likely ok. So what we do is use good quality stainless steel spokes to rebuild them. For most bike shops it is hardly economic to rebuild these wheels, as it ties up the mechanics, and you can supply new wheels for only a little more than the cost of the rebuild. For us the economics are different, and we want to recycle rather than throwing things away like this.

We get given old wheels by bike shops, and regularly rebuild them. Let us know if you want to buy a wheel or wheels.

Truing wheels

Spokes tend to work lose over time, and wheels go out of true. The spokes can be tightened and the wheel trued again.

But there are some considerations to this. Galvanised spokes tend not to be as strong, so they can't be tightened as much as a good quality stainless steel spoke.

Replacing spokes ?

If one or two spokes are broken, you can usually replace them, re-true the wheel and all is good. Sometimes other spokes start breaking as well, which means that they have lost their tensile strength, and should probably be replaced. Adding new spokes to a wheel tends to put more stress on the older spokes, and riding stresses will do the rest.

If your rim and hub is in good condition, it may be worth rebuilding the wheel.

New wheels

New wheels are always tempting, wheel technology is always improving, so they tend to be lighter and stronger than before, as well as nice and shiny. malleable. Companies like Mavic make some great wheels, so there is plenty of choice in off the shelf wheels, and we can supply some good value wheels if your needs are more modest.

Custom wheel builds

If you want to put together a Chris King hub with a you-beaut rim and some schmancy spokes, we can do the job for you, and set them up to a tension that will suit the use you are planning for it. We'll tweak them (at no extra charge) once you have given them a bit of a workout too!


You can email me at back2bikez (at) gmail.com