wheelbuilding with arup

version 4.2

After you leave your rims and hubs with me what happens next?

from inquiry to new wheel

So you're about to build that shiny new bike or conversion that you've been wanting to do for ages and you need some hand built wheels and you find your way to Wheelbuilding with Arup. What happens after that? Here is an outline of the typical process.

You send me an inquiry by phone or e-mail to which I reply by trying to answer some of your questions. You have already got the parts or you take some time deciding which parts to get. Then you contact me again to let me know that you are ready for me to build your wheels. We arrange a time for you to drop off your parts at my flat. Usually just hubs and rims but sometimes you'll have the spokes too.

Spoke length calculation

Unless you do have the spokes I will then measure the rim to find the ERD or Effective Rim Diameter. Then measure the hubs to get the Flange Diameter and Centre to Flange sizes. Sometimes I have the sizes already. With these measurements I can calculate the spoke lengths for a particular spoke pattern. It's usually 3-cross but quite often you'll ask for radial or 2-cross for the front wheel. Once I have the required lengths I place an order for spokes along with rim tape.

Your new wheels are ready

When the parts arrive I build the wheel and contact you to tell you that it's ready. If I have other orders to process then I'll work on those first before I get to yours. It usually takes about a week and two weeks is about the maximum. You then reply by arranging a time for collection. I also inform you of the total cost including parts purchased on your behalf.

You collect your wheels and pay cash on collection. You go home with a shiny new pair of wheels to put on your new bike. Sometimes you'll send me a picture of your finished steed.

sourcing parts

You may need help sourcing parts such as hubs and rims. Either to get a good price or to find something that will fit your frame. I'm always happy to help as best I can but my knowledge is limited to the parts and suppliers that I have used before.

re-using old rims

Part of the process of converting an old bike to fixed gear is a new real wheel. One way to do that is to re-use the old rim that came with the old bike. The quality of the rim is very important and there are a few checks that you can do to decide if it is fit for use. The rim is the part of the wheel that takes the most stress so it vital that you test it before building it into a new wheel.

Check for general wear. Check the braking surfaces and around the spoke holes. Sometimes the braking surface can be so worn out that it won't hold the tyre pressure. If there are any cracks even hairline ones near the spoke holes then it's not a rim worth saving. The wheel should also be true or near true. If the wheel has been used for long time out of true then it will gradually set like that.

If it passes these checks then I would suggest one more and that would be to lay the rim on a flat surface having removed all the spokes. Is there full contact with the ground? Is there a gap of more than a few millimetres? An old rim won't be as malleable as a new one so it needs to be in the best possible condition. If you are in the slightest doubt hang the expense and get a new rim. After all you're spending money on a new hub and spokes.