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Video: How hard is it to build a carbon disc-brake road wheelset?

Oh, how I wish I’d never tried to find out.

I have built a wheelset and I have come to the conclusion that building a wheel is easy, but building a one well is really hard.

This has been a challenge that I have been wanting to take on for some time, and I felt that it was the last thing that I should be able to do as a keen home mechanic.

The first thing that you’ll need when building a wheel are some wheel components. For rims, I went to Prime. Their Black Edition 60 DB carbon hoops fit my intentions to build a deep set of race wheels for my road bike. They’ve got a 19mm internal rim width, are tubeless-ready and don’t cost too much.

Hubs came from Tune. I wanted shiny silver so they sent their Kong and King Kong hubs in 24-hole drilling, complete with 12mm axle end caps and centre-lock disc brake mounts.

Spokes are where I ran into a little bit of a problem. Thanks to supply issues caused by the global pandemic, the rather short spokes that I needed were hard to come by. Thankfully, Sapim are able to cut their spokes to the length you require and they also sent over a pack of brass nipples. Naturally, both spokes and nipples matched the hubs.

There are also some pretty specific tools involved. You'll definitely be needing a spoke key that fits your nipples. The rest, you can apparently get away without. For me, a truing stand and spoke tension meter made the job much easier and helped to ensure that my wheels were safe to ride. A dishing tool would have been nice as the one I made wasn't great.

As you’ll see in the video, the building of the wheels was quite a process, with numerous pitfalls, most of which I fell into. But after quite a few hours, which some might call therapeutic, the wheels were built.

In the next video, I’ll give my (heavily biased) first ride review and Rob, our friendly professional wheel builder will be providing his feedback on my efforts. There was a lot to say.

Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. After joining the road.cc staff in 2016 as a reviewer, Liam quickly started writing feature articles and news pieces. After a little time living in Canada, where he spent most of his time eating poutine, Liam returned with the launch of DealClincher, taking over the Editor role at the start of 2018. At the weekend, Liam can be found racing on the road both in the UK and abroad, though he prefers the muddy fields of cyclocross. To date, his biggest race win is to the front of the cafe queue.

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