Build a Bicycle Wheel: How to Spoke Prep

A vital step in bicycle wheel building is prepping the spokes with some kind of spoke prep.

There are two reasons to prep spokes:

  1. Provides lubrication while you are lacing and truing the wheel
  2. It becomes like a thread-lock after it the wheel is laced.

You can use prep that is manufactured specifically for wheel building or Linseed Oil. They both work well.

When building a rear wheel where spoke lengths differ, it's important not to mix the spokes.  For this reason, Wheelsmith Spokeprep comes as two colors spoke prep.  You use one color for the drive side spokes and the other for the non-drive, which helsp keep them separate when you lace the wheel.  

Linseed Oil can be found at a local hardware store or Art shop (its used to thin oil paints). The point of spoke prep is to provide some lubrication when lacing and truing the wheel and then to act as a bit of a thread-lock to keep spokes from easily loosening.

Whith spokeprep it's important to not use too much.  Dip it just to the threads and then roll the excess off.