Why artisanal wheels mounting?

The wheels are the best improvement that can be made to a bike. They are the ones who most influence his behavior and his speed. They play on vertical and lateral stiffness, on inertia and aerodynamics. The wheels are the soul of the bike.
However, how to assemble a wheel is as important as the components that make it up. Your wheels are hand-assembled with the components we choose together.

We are using a spoke tension meter to get an uniform spokes tension, the tensions variation remain under 5% on all assembled wheels.

After tensioning, we have to remove all the residual constraint in the spokes. For that we use the “destress” techinque (also called spokes breaking) who allows to increase their fatigue resistance and their durability. The tension distribution on the wheel and the elimination of residual constraint will directly influence the wheel reliability and its ability to remain round troughout its life

The disadvantage of machine-assembled wheels is to have tension deviation up to 25 to 45%. This is due to processes that promot profitability over quality and production variations. As a result, the life of the machine wheel is much more limited.

The manual tensioning of a wheel, the '' destress '' of the spokes and the standardization of the tensions can take up to two hours of work.

Every rider has different needs according to his morphology, his practice, the external conditions, his objective weight and his budget. We take into consideration all these elements to propose you the assembly which corresponds to you the best. Because of their extreme lightness, some wheels are trickier to make than others and require more attention. We estimate the time to go by wheel to more than one hour to be perfect. It is very important to have a homogeneous distribution of tensions. Our objective is to have no more than 5% of variation between the most taut radius and the least taut radius, which means that the tension must be measured and adjusted constantly during assembly. This is particularly the case with the lightest rims that require special attention and require a little more time than usual.

All the JpracingBIKE1 are mounted in our premises in Vendée, France.

Here are presented below the different stages of the assembly of our wheels.


In this example, an MTB wheel will be radiated with 32 spokes crossed by 3. The wheel is placed face to face so that the direction of travel of the wheel is clockwise , so face to the opposite side of the disc.

The logo of the hub is aligned with the rim one.

The first spokes is called the « main spokes » is posed : it is a tractor spoke (also called "tail"). A tractor spoke is a spoke whose rim end is always late compared to its hub-side head. The tractor spoke has its head visible on the outside of the flange, here on the left flange because in this case the rim is pierced on the left (the first hole after the valve is oriented on the left) (and inversely on the right flange if the rim was pierced on the right).
The other seven tractor spokes are then placed, clockwise, every two holes in the flange and all four holes in the rim. A nipple is screwed on each spoke.

In the same way, the eight tractor spokes of the other patch are positioned. The first of this series being placed to the right of the master spoke.

The pushing rays are then placed. The pushing spokes (also called "head") are those whose end rim side is always ahead of the hub side head. The pushing rays are those introduced from the inside of the flange. They must cross three tractor spokes (above, above and below) before being introduced into the rim.


Before screwing the nipples completely, linen oil is applied to all the threads of the spokes. This oil will allow to lubricate to mount more easily in tension. It will then '' siccativer '', that is to say, oxidize and dry. Once solidified, it is very resistant, while remaining flexible. It adheres to all metals and therefore serves as glue after serving as a lubricant.

Then nipples are evenly screwed.


The wheel is then placed on the mounting bracket. The nipples are continued using a spoke wrench one turn at a time until the spokes are taut. Then come the delicate operations of lateral, vertical and centering unveiling. The most difficult is to reveal and center without each of these operations interfere too much between them. This skill is acquired with experience and time.

The tensioning is performed using a Spoke Tension Meter. To ensure a reliable, robust, responsive and nerve wheel, the tension must be high and consistent. The maximum tension indicated by the rim or spoke manufacturer (see a few more in some cases) is applied on the freewheel side at the rear, on both sides for a front wheel with side braking and disc side for a front wheel with disk. The tension on the opposite side freewheel and the opposite side disk for a front wheel will result from the geometry of the hub (and the voltage of the opposite side) so as to obtain a wheel centered.


View of the foot that will be used to break the wheel.

After tensioning, the residual "stresses" must be eliminated so that the spoke heads take their place in the flanges and the nipples are seated in the rim. We must also allow the rays that would have remained twisted on themselves to find their neutral position. The technique consists in placing the wheel on the support above and pressing very strongly on the rim with both hands. The efforts are applied successively over the entire periphery of the rim, one side and then the other. We can then hear high sounds meaning the placement of the rays. This technique also increases the life of the spokes.

With the spokes moving, the wheel is repositioned on the mounting bracket to re-float and control the tensions. A new breaking operation is then performed and so on until the tensions and the sail are stabilized.

Thanks to this technique, the wheel will remain round and straight much longer than a wheel mounted in a machine.

Threadlocker can then be added to the request, especially on the least stretched patch


To increase the life of the wheel through a better distribution of stresses*, the spokes can be ligated. The immobility of the spokes between them also generates a gain in terms of torque transfer and nervousness. The ligatures also make it possible to hold the spoke in the event of breakage and thus avoid coming to rub or get stuck in the frame or the derailleur*. This avoids damaging the bike and also allows to continue the competition without having to stop.

The ligature consists of a wire wound 7 times at the intersection of the rays. It is then welded and then cleaned with water using an scrub sponge (Scotch-Brite) to complete the finish.

The ligatures can also be made with carbon thread and resin. The holding of the ligature is even stronger and its appearance remains stable over time.

Photos : Michel VY / E-METIS PRESS

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