Earlier this month I took the opportunity to get a new skill by taking a wheel building class through Sugar Wheel Works. Building wheels has been the holy grail of skills for me in the cycling world - I just love wheels and find the entire process fascinating.
These are replacements for the single wall stock rims on the B1 (stocks will serve as back up set) and I decided to go with:
Aeroheat 406 rims
SRAM X7 hubs
Black straight gauge spokes
Blue anodized nipples
Instructing the class was wheel builder extraordinaire Jude Kirstein. What a great class! They are small and it is like having a personal 1 on 1 expert session. It cannot get better than that. I have now had some time to roll around on the wheels and have to say - riding around on wheels that you have built yourself is an interesting feeling. I am not sure any other cycling "cycling mechanic" activity has been as satisfying. It's one thing to make a repair - or even build up a bike from a frame, but riding on personally built wheels is really cool. The SRAM X7 rear hub is near silent, which is a very very nice thing to have on a recumbent and when you would rather enjoy the sounds of nature versus the clacking of the hub while coasting. In fact, I am thinking strongly about riding this rear wheel on the QNT for Cycle Oregon as it is soooooo quiet!
The build process was not near as scary as I thought - quite methodical and step by step really. Follow the process. Tweak it down to the fine detail at the end. Don't skip steps or cut corners. Excellent. It was a lot of fun and the tedious portions at the end of the truing process are the best - you can feel the wheel getting dialed to perfection!
Here are some shots of the process and the finished wheels. Anyone looking to gain a new skill should check out the classes offered at Sugar Wheel Works!