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Building a Wheel for My Surly Long Haul Trucker

Building a wheel is easy if you know what you’re doing. I don’t, so I turned to Wayne at Bicycle in West Palm Beach when I wanted my SON generator hub built into the front wheel of my new Surly Long Haul Trucker. (Wayne and his shop, Bicycle, are one-name entities, like Cher or Paris.)

I promised back in January that I’d post a video of the process when I learned the rudiments of how to do it.

Wayne builds a 26″ wheel around my SON generator

Wayne took the hub off the front wheel of my old Trek 1220, where it had been whirring away without a problem for four or five years. He ordered a 32-count Alex Adventurer 26-inch rim similar to the one supplied on the Surly Long Haul Trucker Complete. The original wheel is a 36-spoke-count rim, but the SON hub is a 32, so I had to send the first wheel back. I also needed spokes, nipples and Wayne.

Total cost for the new wheel (excluding taxes and shipping)

    Wayne trues wheel with SON hub for Surly Long Haul Trucker

  • Alex Adventurer Rim – $34.98
  • Spokes – $35.20
  • Nipples – 3.84
  • Labor – $30.00
  • GRAND TOTAL – $104.02

It’s running straight and true

I’ve been riding it for almost eight months now and it’s still running straight and true, despite potholes and railroad crossings.

I’m not surprised. This is the third wheel Wayne has built for me.

13 comments to Building a Wheel for My Surly Long Haul Trucker

  • Mark S

    Excellent video!!!

    I have never seen this process before and I was intrigued to see what it takes to go from start to finish.

    Seeing Wayne feeding all the loose spokes into the wheel hub just made me feel very inadequate as I seem to always be the one who gets tangled up with wire coat hangers in the closet. Hats off to Wayne and pats on the back to him for making a very complicated matter looks so easy. You are lucky to have him there in town to service your bike for you.

    Just curious, what did the SON generator hub cost you?

    And while I am conscious about not hitting holes, railroad tracks and other jarring things in the street when I am riding my bike so as to protect my wheels, this video makes me appreciate how the spokes and the rim are magically keeping the wheel spinning around.

  • If I remember right, I paid about $150 for the SON hub. If I’m reading the web site correctly with pre-coffee eyes, they’ve almost doubled in price.

    I gave Son Matt a Shimano version that only cost about $50.

    I just ordered a new, improved, headlight that will put out more light and let me remove my secondary light. When it comes in, I’ll do some side-by-side comparisons.

    I’ve never regretted going to the SON. The Niterider Pro-12E that we both had was a great light, but I hated to replace the batteries about every two years (they’re dead again) and I hated to watch the battery meter go down to red when I still had 10 miles to go.

    Yes, wheels are magic things. I know that you are so protective of yours that your bike spends half its time hoisted up in the air.

  • [...] This post was Twitted by Aushiker [...]

  • Thanks for posting that I have to say I found it very interesting. The first time I have seen a wheel build. Looks difficult to get the thing true

  • Craig,

    It would be difficult for ME to get it true. Some guys have either the knack or the experience to do it quickly. Wayne is one of those.

  • gary sherck

    Ken,

    Thanks for sharing, and thank Wayne for allowing you to share this wonderful video, which I will share with friends. If we ever need a new wheel, or one with the SON, we will call on Wayne.
    gary

  • Frank

    Interesting method of lacing. Whatever works.
    Did you shoot video of him tensioning the wheel and measuring the tension to achieve near-equal tension of the spokes? What about stress relief?
    Obviously, without high tension or stress relief the wheel will neither stay true or last long, so one can assume he did both. Was there a limit on Youtube?

  • Frank, YouTube does have limits, but I was nowhere near them. What you see is pretty much what he did. I cut out some repetitive steps, but the basics are all there.

    I’m going to swing by to show him the video and I’ll ask your questions. All I can say is that he’s built three wheels for me over the past six or eight years and I’ve never had a problem with any of them.

    The one in the video was built in January and it’s still straight and true.

  • Ken, I see you on the Surly LHT site and when someone sent me this I immediately thought of you…. http://abcnews.go.com/Business/slideshow?id=6874404
    spike on a bike – jim

  • Jim,

    Thanks for the thought and the link.

    That Ken, he was way too good for Barbie.

  • A great video. Very interesting rebuild. Very interesting getting the even tention on the spokes

  • Thanks Wayne for the video.I have to say that it very interesting and informative.First time in my life I have seen a wheel build.It is very difficult to get the thing true great job

  • [...] The next big step was to get a wheel built around my SON generator hub. I'm fairly pleased with the video and I'm REALLY pleased with the hub and wheel. [...]

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