Ah, yes. The perfect way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon. This is a project that’s been on my mind for over 15 years, since seeing my college roommate, build his own wheel, then crash & burn on it. He never did get that tooth fixed.

This is a key step in my singlespeed project (yes, it’s been a year, don’t tell me…)!


The Bible of WheelBuilding!


A handful of spokes (33 to be exact)


A flip flop Surley hub. Note how there are equal threads on each side of the hub. This is for a rear wheel. I’ll thread a different sized cog on each side of this wheel. To change gears, I simply flip the wheel around.


End of Step R2. It’s looking like a wheel!


Looking even better. Hey, are the spokes supposed to bend like that???


Closeup of hub, inside of the lacing.


Same stage, from the outside.


Painfully close to the end of “spoking”. This step was the hardest part, the 3rd of 4 sets of 8 spokes.


Finished wheel being “trued”.

Time from starting to read the book until posting these photos is less than 4 hours. Wow. I waited 15 years and it only took me 4 hours start to finish for my first wheel build. How cool is that? OK, technically, I’m not done. I don’t have a truing stand, dishing tool, spoke setting tool. I’m going to take it to the shop, have them (or use their tools) check the dishing first, then the tension to see if I’m even in the right ballpark, then I’ll finish up the truing on their stand.

But it feels pretty darn good right now, laterally stiff, no hops, and pretty true. In a pinch I’d ride it now if I had to! But I want to keep all of my teeth as they are, so I’ll just wait until the pros look at it.

I learned 2 lessons from this. The first has to do with having had a number of “bike shop boys” tell me I couldn’t do this for a variety of reasons, basically boiling down to being a girl in a bike shop and building a wheel would be 2 hard. Fortunately I have a few COOL friends in the bike world (if you are reading this you know who you are!) who helped push me in the right direction. The second lesson refers to the fact that it took me 15 years to do this…

Lesson One: Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something
Lesson Two: Never get in your own way of doing what you want to do!

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