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Yeah, whoever said that should try to make one without being able to go the the hardware store

Assembling a bike from parts would be a challenge for many people here.

Assembling a wheel from parts is beyond most people, including many bike mechanics. In fact most wheels are assembled by machines, else labor costs would be too high.

Used to be it was mostly serious amateurs and professionals that had them hand built. They’re more reliable, but I think it’s more to do with the combinatorial explosion of parts. Machines are for making 5000 of something, not one.

And even the reliability will fall at some point (maybe already, I’ve been out of the loop so long) The human picks up on things that don’t seem right. But if you built enough telemetry into the robot, you could measure all the elastic and inelastic deformations and probably reject/reassemble the wheel based on information a human couldn’t or wouldn’t track.

> Assembling a wheel from parts is beyond most people,

Just how shitty wheel would be admissible here? A wooden octagon?

Speaking as someone who has laced motorcycle wheels (same construction as bycicle wheels, just with larger parts) it is very much a non-trivial task. Even given a premanufactured hub, rim, and a bag of spokes assembling a wheel is time consuming and easy to get wrong. Spokes have to be laced following the correct pattern, and it may not be obvious there is a mistake until ~80% of the spokes are installed. There are (at least on motorcycles with a drop-center rim) 4 different types of spokes that aren't that dissimilar from each other & are easily confused.

Having rewound electric motors w/ no repair manuals avaliable & laced rims w/ repair manuals & directions from the spoke manufacturer, rewinding an electric motor is far easier to successfully accomplish.

I've built bicycle wheels from parts. It's a bit tricky and time-consuming, but perfectly doable. The real tricky part IMO is getting all of the nipple adjustments just right so that roundness, tension, and track are all acceptable at the same time.

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