i think an essential skill in bike mechanics is building wheels so I decided its time for me to learn. frankly, I am intimidated. while simple, its complicated, and after all, there are mechanics that are known for the integrity of their wheel builds. Who am I? I am a first timer, and just want to build some decent wheels and be dependent on no one. I watched this video series and decided I could build a wheel.
To get started, I went down to Box Dog Bikes, the shop closest to my house, to pick up some parts. I had a set of record hubs, so I just needed rims and spokes. While I bought a set of rannondeur rims from BDB, I decided to not get spokes from them. Besides the fact that Dan, who helped me, seemed completely unimpressed and unengaged when I talked to him about the wheel build, he quoted me $140 for spokes, uninstalled. They cut their spokes to size, which means I would have had to wait a day to get the spokes, and the price was ridiculous. I decided to find a shop where I could walk out with spokes, and hopefully where the person seemed half interested in my project. Thanks for the nice rims, BDB.
I called Pedal Revolution, they also cut spokes to size and their machine was broken. No dice.
I called Valencia Cyclery and they carry different sized spokes and will measure the length for you if you bring in your rims and hubs, so I dropped in. Michael helped me and was all I could ask for in a bike shop mechanic. He was full of questions, to make sure I was legit; tips to make sure I was successful; and warnings to make sure I was realistic. I was pretty scared after talking to him about taking on the project, but he sensed this and offered up encouragement. He calculated the spoke lengths for me, got me the right sizes, gave me some build tips and I was out the door for $65 with my bike coalition discount.
I'll spare the boring details, but each wheel was laced two times, each for a different reason. Lacing was easy and gratifying in an ocd kind of way.