Part 1: How to Build a Wheel, Basics of Wheelbuilding (36 Spoke Wheel)

In this series we give you the basics of building a 36 spoke wheel. We begin with lacing the wheel, then show you the process of truing the wheel. So get everything together and make some time learn how to build a wheel, a very rewarding experience.  Check out this video on calculating spoke length if you need spokes!  We used the UBI Spoke Calculator.

What you need: First you need a bike rim.  A bike rim is what links the spoke to the hubs.  Next you need hubs.  We used really old school hubs in this video.  Last you need spokes of the correct length.  Make sure the number of holes on your hub and the number of holes in your rim are the same.  In order to connect the spokes to the rim you will need brass nipples as well.  The reason they are brass is so they are harder than the spoke material and brass will not fuse with the spoke.  The only two tools you really need to build this wheel are a spoke wrench and a screw driver.  Although it might no be absolutely perfect with out using some others, like a truing stand, spoke tensiometer and dishing tool.  Although it will be close, especially if you have mad skills.

Wheel Building Checklist
Parts: Spokes Rim Nipples Hub Tools: Spoke Wrench, Regular Screw Driver Helpful, but not Mandatory: Dish Tool, Spoke Tension Meter, Truing Stand (Can use fork instead)

The first task to start with is getting spokes that are the correct length. If you take on this task yourself you usually will have to know the details of the hub and rim you are using or make a few measurements of the hub flange and rim. Or just take the spoke and rim to most LBS (Local Bike Shop) and they measure and cut spokes for you for a price. There are a few online resources to that help you calculate what length spokes you need, here are a few of them:

By DT Swiss, maker of spokes

By Damon Rinard, Excel Based Spocalc, Requires Macros in Excel

By Dan Halem, uses Database of hubs and rims

By Roger Musson, Wheel Pro spoke caculator

Watch the spoke lacing video after you have gathered everything you need!