The Chainlink

Can anybody help me find a place where I can buy wheel goods in bulk and on the cheap? Or any shop in town that has bulk discounts? I'm teaching myself to build track wheels and I want to get good at it fast, so I need lots of practice.

Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated.

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For practicing, you'll want to start out by disassembling and rebuilding existing wheels. So you can use what you have, and if you have trusting friends -- rebuild their wheels. Ask around for older wheels. Many cyclists have a closet full of old wheels that are no longer used.

The community shops like West Town, Working Bikes, and Blackstone will also have free/cheap wheels and components that you can use to hone your skills. Plus they're generally staffed with very experienced and knowledgeable folks. Take a class if you can -- learning by trial and error is fine, but you'll be amazed at what you're missing after getting some hands on instruction.

The margin on wheel goods tends to be very low, so it's unlikely that you'll find new components at a deep discount. One thing that really surprises folks is how prebuilt wheels are usually much cheaper than buying the individual parts. And don't forget to pick up the important tools: a good spoke wrench, nipple driver, trueing stand, dishing tool, spoke prep, and nipple lube. So by all means learn this important skill, but understand that even if you don't account for the cost of your labor -- it's generally more expensive to build vs buy track wheels when using new components.


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