Building great wheels takes skill and quality tooling.

Carefully balanced spoke tension is the critical ingredient in building a long lasting wheel. Some builders don’t use a tension meter, or compromise on the costs. Without an accurate, calibrated tension meter a builder has no way to be sure of the tension they are building to – and it’s vital to get this right. Be sure that your builder has accurate tension meters and a means to calibrate them.

Pre build


  • Lace wheel

    • Different ways / standards of measuring ERD mean that at this point spoke length should be re-confirmed to be correct
  • Cold set spokes at J-bend
  • Lubricate nipples / spoke threads / spoke eyelets
  • Spin wheel to lubricate spoke threads throughly, allow time for oil to penetrate
  • Start to bring up to tension

    • Check relative tensions by “note” of the spoke
    • Aim for consistent tensions before starting to look at truing
  • Check calibration of tension meter
  • Measure initial tensions after spoke threads just gone out of sight – initial sense check to get some idea of parameters

Truing / tensioning

  • Truing starts after initial consistent tension reached – constant checking and adjustment of trueness in the following dimensions:

    • Radial
    • Lateral
    • Dish
  • Regular destressing after any adjustments
  • Keep checking / adjusting relative tensions
  • Aiming for accuracy of 0.1mm lateral / 0.2mm radial / perfect dish

    • Radial is often affected by the rim join, in both carbon and aluminum rims. This may not possible to correct to more than 0.2 mm accuracy
  • Bring rims up to final tension according to manufacturer recommendations
  • Destress and check trueness
  • Check relative tensions
  • Measure final tension

Post build

  • Record build parameters
  • Final trueness checks – radial / lateral / dish
  • Final tension checks – all spokes measured with tension meter
  • Clean and polish
  • Fit rim tape if required