Posts Tagged ‘wheels’

My favorite wheelbuilding tool

February 21st, 2015 [print] No comments

I just thought I’d pass this on for anyone who may be frustrated while trying to get spoke nipples into double-walled rims.

Instead of spending an hour trying to shake lost nipples out of the void, just use a Klein Tools Vaco K34 screw-holding driver to set them in place.  You just slide the sleeve toward the handle, hold the nipple on the tip of the driver, then slide it forward again to lock it in place.  Then insert into the rim, get a spoke on it, and release.

You can find one pretty much anywhere for less than $10.

Klein Tools Vaco K34

Klein Tools Vaco K34

Building some road wheels

May 1st, 2011 [print] 2 comments

I had fun learning how to build wheels for my singlespeed last year, so I decided that’d be the way to go for the road bike, too.  The SS wheelset has held up extremely well, so I had no reservations about building another set.  The only new challenge was, I’d be building an asymmetrical rear wheel this time, as opposed to a symmetrical one, like the SS uses.

For hubs, I picked a red anodized pair from, 24-hole front, and 28-hole rear.  I’d considered going 20/24, but ultimately, I’d prefer endurance over weight, and the weight penalty wasn’t too great anyway.

(pretty, huh?)
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I didn’t bother with a photo on the scale, since BHS has one on their site, and the weight of these hubs was accurate to what they list: front 77g, rear 211g.

The rims are Stan’s ZTR Aplha 340, which can be run tubeless or with innertubes (I’ll be using tubes).  The name "340" is supposed to refer to their weight, but it doesn’t, unfortunately; the front weighs 347g, rear 355g.

Spokes are a mix of DT Swiss Revolution and Competition.  I’ve ridden Revolution spokes on my Rolf MTB wheels for a decade or more now, and have always been impressed with them.  They’re also what I built my SS wheelset with.  The front wheel will get all Revolutions, and the rear non-drive-side will, as well.  The drive-side is what will be getting the Competitions.

Nipples are a mix of alloy and brass; alloys up front and non-drive-side rear; brass on the drive-side.

The front wheel was pretty straight forward, although it did require a call to my buddy to ask about the spoke pattern.  I went with a 1-cross pattern, as opposed to 3-cross, so I was lost about how to do it.  After he explained, it went pretty smoothly.  It also helped that I had a Park spoke tension tool on hand this time around.  No more trips across town to the bike shop to bother those guys for theirs.

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For the front, all spokes will have their heads on the outside.  No reason other than I like the way it looks, and since my Rolfs are just the same, I figured it’d be strong enough for a road wheel.

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….And done.  This is prior to tensioning them properly, but that’s the boring part.

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(ready to ride)
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With the front wheel done, I got started on the rear.  I was too busy working to get any photos taken, but I promise it was a pain in the ass, and took much longer than what I’d hoped for.

When it comes to getting the correct tension for the rear, the best advise I found was this:  get the drive-side spokes tensioned properly first, then do whatever it takes to the non-drive-side to get the dish perfect.  Tension seems low on the NDS, but part of that may be the thinner Revolution spokes.  The same seems to hold true for my Rolfs, so I’ll just leave them as-is and see how it goes.

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Weight:  545g front, 742g rear, w/o rim strip or skewers.

If you’ve never built your own wheels, keep this in mind:  you’ll wind up paying less for lighter wheels if you do it yourself, and you get to pick exactly the parts you want.  Sure, it’s difficult if you’re still new to it (or only do it once a year, as I seem to), but it’s a great feeling to know you’re rolling on wheels you built yourself.

Now all I need to do is get my bike built, let the rain end, and get out for a ride.

Continental Vertical Pro Review

September 15th, 2010 [print] No comments

There’s no reason to make this review any longer than it needs to be, so I’ll keep it short and to the point:

These are, by far, the worst mountain bike tires I’ve ever ridden and I hate them more than I’ve ever hated any bicycle component.  Honestly, I wish my vocabulary was better so I could go on a long diatribe about just how horrible these tires are but, like I said, let’s keep this short.

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Continental Vertical Pro 2.3"

I got these as a replacement for my favorite Kenda Kinetics Stick-E 2.35" tires a couple years back, since the Contis were supposedly intended for those days when the ground is harder and dryer (saving the Kendas for sloppy conditions).  One benefit was a weight savings of over 100 grams over the Kendas.  And when I say one benefit, I mean, literally, there was only one benefit, and that was it.  There Vertical Pros weigh in at right about 675g, each.

So, what makes them so horrible?

Read more…

Categories: Reviews Tags: , , ,

Spoke Length Calculator

August 22nd, 2010 [print] No comments

I just thought I’d pass this along to anyone looking for a spoke calc.  It came in quite handy when I was building my wheelset.


Categories: Links, Tools Tags: , ,

650B Tire Diameter

July 10th, 2010 [print] No comments

I posted the other day a link to 650B Palace’s list of 650B-compatible 26" mountain bike frames, but that doesn’t help much if your frame isn’t on the list.

Assuming you already have a frame that isn’t listed, and all you want to know is actual measurements for various 650B tires on the market to see if you have clearance, you can check out the shared Google Doc below.  The list originally showed up on, but I honestly can’t remember who shared it.


Also, if you’re looking for a 650B-compatible fork, here’s a thread on that will hopefully make it easier for you:


26" 650B 29er Comparison

Categories: Internet Goodies, MTB, Tools Tags: , , ,

650B Compatibility

July 5th, 2010 [print] No comments

There’s a growing number of mountain bike riders out there who have chosen to keep their 26" bikes, while converting them to the new-to-MTB 650B (or 27.5") wheel size.

The advantage of 650B is that they’re larger and smoother rolling than a 26" wheel, but lighter and more agile than a 29".  This disadvantage is, it’s hard to know what current 26" bikes on the market have room inside their chainstays for the larger wheels.

Fortunately, Cracked Headtube (if that is his real name) over at 650B Palace has put together one hell of a list of 650B-compatible frames, so if you’re looking to upgrade, take a look at his list.

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Categories: Miscellaneous, MTB Tags: , , , ,

How to Improve Rim Brakes

July 9th, 2008 [print] No comments

Yeah, I know, disc brakes are pretty much the thing to have nowadays for mountain bikes, but they’re still not the standard.  Even today, the majority of bikes are sold with rim brakes, although discs do seem to be closing the gap as prices drop.  Still, that doesn’t mean you have to put up with crappy braking, and with a few simple steps, good quality v-brakes can easily brake as well as discs under most circumstances.

The first thing you need to do is clean your rims, since this is half of the overall braking system (the other half being the pads).  Take a close look at your rims, and you’ll likely see a lot of residue from your brake pads and whatever else you’ve ridden through lately.

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Read more…

Categories: How To Tags: , ,