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I've seen those on Amazon, but it seems like they just sell the hub and brake disc. Are you supposed to DIY the rest of the wheel or is the average bike shop able to build it for you?

In short: yes.

Slightly longer version: Find a good bike shop to do it for you. The wheels on a bicycle are about the only truly challenging thing to work on (short of suspension components or the headset bearings that are pressed into the frame), and about the only things that you can irretrievably screw up. A shop that builds more than a couple wheels a year will probably do a better job than the average bike shop.

If you're curious about what building a wheel involves, a good resource is The Bicycle Wheel, by Jobst Brandt [0]. Mind you he still that the bottom spokes of a wheel are in compression (which is demonstrably false; see Mavic's linear pull spokes, which literally cannot be in compression or the wheel would fall apart). Sheldon Brown's website is useful too.


> Mind you he still that the bottom spokes of a wheel are in compression

I think you might want to read pages 7–8 again: "Wires must be tensioned to prevent their buckling under load. With tension, wires can support compression loads up to the point where they become slack. The same loads that increase compression in wooden spokes, reduce tension in wires. As in algebra, where negative and positive numbers are combined to give algebraic sums, in spokes tension and compression are the negative and positive forces whose sums depends on built-in spoke tension and the carried load."

So the bottom spokes can support a compressive load because this is smaller than their unloaded tension.

Yeah, I should have anticipated stirring up a debate with somebody who has read the book more recently than 10 years ago. I should have avoided mentioning it; the book as a whole contains a great deal of practical information.

Anyhow, I think we are fundamentally in agreement that all of the spokes in the wheel are in tension at all times. I am not an engineer, but I did run this bit by an engineer. He was in agreement that the fact that the bottom spokes are under less tension does not mean they are supporting the load via compression.

At best, the passage is a bit misleading; none of the spokes on a bicycle wheel are ever in compression (or as Brandt rightly claims, they would buckle). Claiming that the reduced tension (again, correct) supports a "compression load" is misleading.

Sorry I can't stick around for further discussion; I'll check back later.

Mind you he still that the bottom spokes of a wheel are in compression

In Brandt's defense, the last edition came out 25 years ago, and as I recall the tension/compression debate wasn't settled yet.

Any average bike shop should be able to build a wheel from a hub, but you'll certainly also need the controller bits that allow you to actually switch the gear. Some OEM kits don't have those parts. You should probably also ask your favorite bike shop if they feel comfortable doing maintenance work on this piece (or ask yourself if you do).

I'd keep in mind that the rohloff speed hub is an amazing piece of technology, so it comes with a hefty price sticker. I'd question it's really worth it for the average bicycle person when a shimano alfine 11 gear hub costs barely a quarter.

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