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UBI Day 2: Wheels

After learning all about, and overhauling, some hubs yesterday, today we built a complete mountain bike disc wheelset.  There wasn’t much time to delve into wheel theory and why one might choose one lacing pattern versus another, or one spoke gauge versus another.  We focused instead on the actual building process and left most of the theory out of it. (UBI offers an advanced wheelbuilding seminar where they get into the theory as well as the building.)  We built one on the most common types of wheels in existence, a symmetrically laced, 3 cross wheel.  We did, however, use asymmetrical rims, which complicates things a bit.  UBI’s process involves loading all the spokes into the hub first, then lacing the wheel in a very specific pattern.  While there are many ways to lace a wheel, the “UBI way” is easy to learn and allows the spoke pattern to present itself very readily.  Once the wheels were laced they are gradually brought to low working tension, or the point at which the truing process can begin.  Truing involves lateral truing, radial truing, dishing, and tensioning the wheel.  This process is done repeatedly until the wheel runs true, is evenly dished, and the spokes are at optimum tension.  Lastly a final stress reliving is done and all the truing measurements are checked again and adjusted as necessary.  If you weren’t already impressed with the strength and simplicity of the bicycle wheel, you will be after this process.  When the instructors have checked that your wheels are well built and within the specified tolerances you then disassemble the wheels and UBI will reuse the hubs and rims for the next class.  So don’t get to attached to them if they are your first wheelbuild!