Wheel Build

I recently rebuilt my wheels on my road bike. I went with an updated Mavic Open Pro CD rim, which hasn't changed much in design, meaning that these are a tried and true product. They're relatively light and very durable compared to what's out there today. I rode on my last set for 10 years and put thousands of miles on them. I used the same DT Swiss Competition spokes and alloy nipples, making this a really easy rim swap.

I own a Park Tool home mechanic wheel truing stand, which gets the job done, but in retrospect I should have bought their professional stand for more accuracy.

I tape the rims together and make sure the eyelets match up because they are slightly offset for right and left spokes.

One by one I gradually loosen each spoke nipple till I see the majority of the threads. From there I transfer each pair (spoke and nipple) to the new rim, but clean and lube the threads before each swap. Besides having a spoke wrench it's helpful to have a flathead screwdriver on hand.

Once I've re-threaded all the spokes and nipples to the new rim I start tightening everything down. I start off by tightening each spoke nipple a whole revolution till it's relatively taught. This is where real skill comes into play. Not only do you have to center the wheel horizontally you have to make sure it remains round vertically. Tension is crucial as you don't want too much or too little. This is where I'm gambling a bit since I don't own a tension meter. Having built wheels in the past I have a fairly good idea of how tight they should be.

The whole process took me around four hours. I remounted the old Velox rim strip and installed my new tires and tubes. After a few rides everything seems to be perfect. Along with the new rims I installed new brake pads. With new wheels there's always a break-in period where everything will need a slight adjustment.

I'm just happy and proud of myself that I didn't forget how to build wheels, even from scratch, where you'll need a spoke calculator and an understanding of lacing patterns. I have a feeling I'll be testing those skills soon enough.