I don’t knit, but if I did I think it would feel like building wheels. It’s methodical and repetitive. The end product looks good and is really useful. It’s a great thing to do planted in front of the TV– you have a shiny new wheel to show for your otherwise wasted evening. Building your own wheels opens up infinite possibilities in rims, hubs, spokes, spoke patterns, and colors, and the end product is stronger and stays truer than any machine-built wheel.
Shimano does an impressive job documenting all of the Alfine Di2 components and making it readily available through the internet. Even so, I had a hard time finding answers to a variety of questions before I took the plunge and just purchased the stuff. To be fair, many of these questions come from the fringes of trying to adapt to a recumbent trike a system that is designed for upright bikes. Now I know the answers to most of my burning questions, and so do you.
I’ve begun acquiring the Di2 parts necessary to get the system running on the bench. I have a rim and Alfine-11 hub in hand and am waiting on a spoke order before I begin building the wheel. I was surprised how difficult it was to find the Alfine-11 in 36 hole silver here in the states. Jim (aka Bike Hermit) at Bike Touring News had no trouble and I had my hub within just a few days of placing the order.
Before I can complete the initial Di2 order I need to figure out the wire I’ll need. Continue reading