Custom Wheels

July 2018

posted Aug 3, 2018, 5:51 AM by Scott Bixby

I've not been doing a ton of wheel building this summer but I have "turned" out a few. Jacob had a hub failure in his 27.5 fatbike summer rear wheel so I hooked him up with this Duroc 50 laced to a Bitex 197 x 12 hub. I really enjoy building dishless rear wheels!

May 31, 2018

posted Jun 3, 2018, 4:37 AM by Scott Bixby

When I've not been swamped with bikes to fix, I have built some custom wheels this spring. These two wheels offer a look at rear wheels at opposite ends of the bicycle spectrum!

I've not built a wheel with such a deep profile as the one above. If I built more of these, I would definitely need to invest in a couple new tools. Not that more tools is a bad thing!

April 11, 2018

posted Apr 11, 2018, 2:35 PM by Scott Bixby

I built these wheels back in February for a local customer restoring a Raleigh 3 speed. He had the rims re-chromed and I added some new spokes and nipples to the Sturmey-Archer hubs.

I was in his shop today on other business and he had the bike finished so I took a few pictures. The bike is really nice but the chrome wheels really make it pop!

March 29, 2018

posted Mar 29, 2018, 1:39 PM by Scott Bixby

I've been busy this spring building an array of different wheels. The top picture is wide 27.5+ rim laced to an internally geared 3 speed Shimano hub. The owner has a home brew bike he's working on and I'm curious to see the final product.

The bottom picture shows a Bitex 24 hole disc hub that I laced to a 27.5 Mavic rim. The Mavic hub didn't fit in the customers frame but he wanted to keep the rim. Twenty-four spoke wheels sure do build up fast and with much less spoke wrench turning :)

January 14, 2018

posted Jan 15, 2018, 7:32 PM by Scott Bixby

I'm building a 29er single speed this winter and I'm very happy with how the wheels came out. Rims are by Nextie and they are 37 mm external by 30 mm internal. I chose this SRAM 900 hub because the price was right but also because I'm using a Rockshox Pike fork and the hub came with torque caps and regular caps.
Spokes are Sapim Force triple butted in black paired with Sapim "bright green" 14 mm aluminum nipples. I've owned a SS previously but it had a regular freehub body. The Paul Components Disk Word hub has equally spaced flanges which yield a stiff, dish free wheel. For those that care, 1735 grams for the pair.

November 2017

posted Nov 20, 2017, 2:17 PM by Scott Bixby

Fatbike wheels for sale. Hubs are by Bitex as sold at the The driver has six pawls and I can switch the XD driver for Shimano if that's what you need. Hub spacing is 150x15 front and 197x12 rear. The rear is easily converted to 190QR if that's how you roll.

The rims are Nextie Wild Dragon II. Carbon fiber of course, 90mm wide and a fantastic tubeless interface. These will open your 4.5" and bigger tires and give you that little bit of extra flotation in the snow. Spokes are Sapim D-LIght silver and the nipples are Sapim black brass securelock. I'm asking $799 but I'll consider offers.

October 2017

posted Oct 11, 2017, 5:28 PM by Scott Bixby   [ updated Oct 11, 2017, 5:28 PM ]

One of my suppliers had a sale on IRD Sawtooth hubs so I bought two pair and built some wheels for sale. These have 27.5 WTB Scraper rims and went to a customer in Massachusetts.

This pair got laced to Surly My Other Brother Darryl tubeless ready rims. With the Surly tubeless kit, they're ready for sealant and tires. These went to a customer in New Mexico.

H Plus Son and White Industries

posted Sep 19, 2015, 5:30 PM by Scott Bixby

My friend Jeff in Texas needed new road wheels and I was happy to build these for him. H Plus Son Archetype rims are laced to White Industries T11 hubs with black Sapim CX Ray spokes and gold aluminum Sapim nipples. 

Jeff was looking for some bling bling and I think he knocked it out of the park! The H Plus Son Archetype rims were very round and the profile is very attractive. Initial ride feedback from Jeff was very good.

Shimano Zee and Surly Marge Lite offset for Pugsley fat bike frame

posted Nov 28, 2013, 11:16 PM by Scott Bixby   [ updated Sep 19, 2015, 5:18 PM ]

If you're not familiar with the Pugsley, it has track style dropouts AND a derailleur hanger. As I wanted to experiment with a single speed fat bike, the ability to easily switch between gears and SS pushed me to the Pugsley.
Continuing with the convertible drivetrain theme, I selected the Shimano Zee hub for it's steel freehub body and 10mm thru bolt capabilty. 
I selected Wheelsmith DB14 spokes and Wheelsmith brass nipples for this wheel. The corrosion resistance offered by the brass nipples should help minimize the harmful affects of road salt that this bike is sure to encounter during winter riding. My friends at Wheel Fanatyk offer Wheelsmith products at great prices.
The Surley Marge Lite rim has two rows of thirty-two spoke holes to accommodate offset lacing. As seen above, lacing the wheel with all the spokes in line offsets the rim and tire to the non-drive side and creates chain clearance around the fat tire. Surly has detailed lacing instructions on their website. For a symmetrical wheel, you would lace side-to-side using alternating spoke holes. Click here to see my symmetrically laced front wheel.
I really like these DT Swiss 10mm thru bolts for the stiffness they add to the rear triangle and the extra bit of clamping pressure they offer that you can't get from a standard quick release.
The DT Swiss thru bolt also has the added benefit of fitting nicely through the Surly Tuggnut I will be using on the drive side drop out.
So how do I use the Surly offset wheelbuilding tool with my 10mm thru bolt hub? I'm a big fan of Roger Musson's excellent wheelbuilding book and it includes instructions on page 18. Just as Roger describes, the Surly spacer is 35mm long, or two times the Pugsley offset of 17.5mm.
Proof that I was over thinking this offset build, Roger provided this elegantly simple solution for checking dish. Hold the spacer in place on the axle face and measure as normal. There's no need to have the tool in the truing stand during tensioning.
I built a truing stand from the plans in Roger's book. As he demonstrates on page 45, you can use a standard quick release to hold the wheel as you are tensioning the wheel.

Maybe you've read this far and you're wondering if there are allowances for offset when calculating spoke lengths? The answer is yes. I tried to simplify the method I used in this short tutorial. For you engineering types, please forgive me for not including the mathematical explanation. 

Once you've got the spoke lengths and offset lacing figured out, Roger's standard wheelbuilding procedure applies.

Regarding spoke tension, these rims are thick and over built in my opinion. As the spokes approach final tension, there is different feedback through the spoke wrench than with a standard mountain bike wheel. Based on this feel, I ended up with a final tension slightly less than I would use with a standard mountain bike wheel. Sorry, I can't offer a scientific explanation regarding this "feel". It's something I've developed from experience. Here is the (mostly) finished complete bike, now for some snow!!

Calculating spoke lengths for an offset Pugsley Fat bike wheel

posted Nov 27, 2013, 7:55 PM by Scott Bixby   [ updated Sep 19, 2015, 5:18 PM ]

This table of correction factors for calculating fat bike wheel spoke lengths is published by Quality Bicycle Products. The complete table covers many of the QBP house brand frames but I only included the Pugsley numbers. As a practical example, here is how I calculated the spoke lengths for my offset Pugsley rear wheel with Shimano Zee hub and Surly Marge Lite rim.

Shimano Zee 10mm x135mm

[A] Left flange diameter 44.5mm

[B] Right flange diameter 45.5mm

[C] Left center-to-flange 33.5mm. Corrected per chart 28.5mm (33.5mm-5mm=28.5mm)

[D] Right center-to-flange 20.5mm. Corrected per chart 25.5mm (20.5mm+5mm=25.5mm)

Surly Marge Lite

Effective rim diameter 544mm. As always, measure your ERD. It’s especially important with these fat bike rims as I have found them to be "less round" than typical mountain bike rims.

I very carefully transferred these numbers into the spoke calculator at

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