Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Building Wheels is Like Riding a Bike
This post is another nod to Greg Reiche as well as a nod to JJ. It's these two, and JJ in particular, that taught me how to build wheels. Greg is a purist and taught me several little things that I hold onto. These little details include lacing the wheel so that the sticker is read from the drive side, positioning the hub such that looking through the hole you can read the writing on the hub (if any), and that the stickers on the hub can be read from the behind. Little things, sure, but they've stuck with me. JJ taught me how a well built wheel should feel. The beauty of inside pulling spokes. How to seat the spokes. Drop, lace, and tension. That's all there is to it, right? But there's something fulfilling about taking a pile of spokes, an empty hoop, and a hub and building a (hopefully) strong wheel. I don't build wheels that often these days, but I can still knock one out in about an hour. Last night I laced up my new King SS Hubs - mmmm, shiny - to some Bontrager Mustang 29er rims. 32H, 3X, inside pulling. They're sure going to look good on that Sabrosa. After all, a hand-built bike deserves nothing less than hand-built wheels.