How To Build Mountain Bike Wheels

Last Updated on July 29, 2020

This guide has been written by cycling review expert Alex Bristol

Last Updated on July 29, 2020

How to build mountain Bike Wheels

Owning a mountain bike is a great thing but familiarizing yourself with basic maintenance skills is the most important. Since accidents are likely to occur, you need to know how to fix various parts of your bike. Today we have prepared a systematic guide for you which will take you through the process of building wheels for a mountain bike.


However, before you start the process, you will need to determine whether you want to build a 24, 28, 35 or 36 holes wheel. You will also need the following tools.

  • Spoke prep
  • Truing stand
  • Vernier caliper or any measuring tool
  • Length spokes
  • Calculator to determine the length of the spokes

When building the wheel, it is important to determine the lengths of the spokes on both ends of the wheels. Since most mountain bikes today normally use disc brakes, the wheels normally have 4 different lengths of spokes. To determine the number of spokes on each flange, you will need to consider the number of spokes then divide by four.


Step 1- Position the Rim and the Hub

Place the hub in such a way that the disk mount side is facing up. Drop the first set of spokes depending on the number of the holes that will be on the wheel. Now attach the rim in such a way that its sticker is facing up.


Step 2 – Laying the spokes

Take the spokes and try to fit them in the holes on the rim towards the left of the valve hole. Thread each nipple and continue with the process on every spoke hole. Rotate the rime and install the remaining spokes. When adding the next spokes, you should skip three holes.


Step 3 – Setting the second layer of spokes

Flip the wheel and place the rim in a position that the vale hole is facing your opposite direction. You will have the spokes on the right of the valve hole. Drop the remaining spokes in every hole. Once you have placed on the spokes on the holes, now it is time to connect them to the wheel. Ensure that there is only one spoke on the right of the valve hole. At this point, you should install the spokes loosely.


Step 4 – Attaching the third layer of spokes

All you need to ensure at this point is that each set of spokes should move to the opposite direction where the other two sets were going. This means that you will attach the spokes on the other side of the valve hole. After you are done, you will see a familiar pattern forming.  Once you have attached the third set of spokes, place the remaining ones on the opposite flange. You will attach the fourth set on the opposite side of the flange.


Step 5 – Drop the Fourth set of spokes

Now you can attach the last set of spokes and once you are done, place the wheel on the truing stand. Start tightening the spokes until all the threads disappear. Without getting the correct spoke length, this might not be possible. At this point, you can add a spoke tension. Remember to pre-bend the spokes to ensure that they are very straight. Using spoke prep will make your work easier when assembling.


Step 6 – True the Wheel

You should start from the valve hole when truing. Keep adding the spoke tension until the wheel becomes firm. You will start to feel some resistance and this is the point where you should try to bring the when into shape.


1. How to Replace a Bicycle Spoke – Post by How Stuff Works

Related Post: Best Mountain Bike Wheels [Review]

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