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  1. #1
    the actual el guapo atomship47's Avatar
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    diy wheel truing

    i've been reading thru previous posts on this subject. up 'til now, i've basically done the "coarse" truing using my brakes as a guide. i true the wheels when they are significantly out of true and get them to a "that's good enough" status. i take them to a shop when i'm looking to get them done "right."

    apparently, i just don't have the patience to get them just right using the brakes as a guide. how much easier (or should i say more precise) is it to fully true wheels yourself using a truing stand as opposed to just eyeballing the rim using your brakes?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member FlatFender's Avatar
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    I dont know why, but I think its a lot easier with a stand, and a good spoke wrench.

  3. #3
    Fun in the tub, no ring! mrbubl's Avatar
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    How particular are u? If you want .001 accuracy, then get yourself a stand and dial indicators and expect to spend a long time on the learning curve. If you want don't rub and looks good then you are fine with the brakes, finger, stick, rubber band or whatever you use.

    I find wheel building therapeutic and do my own for the most part.

  4. #4
    the actual el guapo atomship47's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbubl
    How particular are u? If you want .001 accuracy, then get yourself a stand and dial indicators and expect to spend a long time on the learning curve. If you want don't rub and looks good then you are fine with the brakes, finger, stick, rubber band or whatever you use.

    I find wheel building therapeutic and do my own for the most part.
    i would like "true to the naked eye" accuracy. i don't have the patience to get there using my brake pads.
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  5. #5
    * vpiuva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlatFender
    I dont know why, but I think its a lot easier with a stand, and a good spoke wrench.
    +1

  6. #6
    Senior Member Sir Lunch-a-lot's Avatar
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    I needed to tension and true my back wheel a while back. The trouble I found with using brake pads as an indicator is that they tend to vary back and fourth a bit. So, What I did was I stuck a piece of tape on the frame (the part of the frame that runs beside the wheel towards the rear dropouts) on one side of the wheel and make an arbitrary mark on it with a pen. Then, using a measuring tape, I would rotate the wheel a bit, and measure the distance between the mark and the rim (making sure I got the measuring tape flush with the rim in the same way every time) to get it reasonably true. Once I got one side of the wheel reasonably good, I flipped the wheel around (making sure it's axles were properly flush with the dropouts just as it was before (I don't know if this would be a problem on cheaper, Walmart frames or not) and adjusted it some more. Basically, you want it to be the same distance from the mark at all points on the wheel, regardless of which way it is flipped.

    The other thing I did to make sure the vertical true was pretty close was to take that tape measure, and measure from a certain point on the hub (keeping that consistant) and measuring to the top of the hub, directly in line between a set of spokes.

    I hope I am making my method clear.

    In my way of thinking, it's a lot more precise than the brake pad method. Not as precise as you will get using a truing stand, nor as fast (it's very time consuming this way. I spent probably 4 or more hours truing and tensioning that wheel. Granted, I haven't done a lot of that before).

    Hope that helps you a bit.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I have a stand. I bought a nice Park one, like my local bike shop has. Trouble is, I don't know how to use it. (Silly me!)

    Is there a good step-by-step explanation on the web for beginners?

    Thanks!

  8. #8
    Senior Member King of Kadence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigBlueToe
    I have a stand. I bought a nice Park one, like my local bike shop has. Trouble is, I don't know how to use it. (Silly me!)

    Is there a good step-by-step explanation on the web for beginners?

    Thanks!
    Probably on Sheldon's site. But, treat yourself to a wheel building book. The Art of Wheel building by Gerd Schraner is a good read on the subject. There's another book that's highly touted by people here, maybe someone can chime in with the title/author.

  9. #9
    Senior Member z415's Avatar
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    I pretty much get it perfect with my brakes...., but then I spend a couple of hours.
    Falling is learning...[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]...learn to not fall in a box.
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    Tie zip-ties around your stays or fork on opposite sides of the rim, and clip them such that the cut is parallel to the rim. Make sure they're long enough so that they can touch the rim. Find a point that's approximately true, rotate the ties on both sides such that they just barely touch the rim, and give the wheel a spin. The ties should bend with the imperfections and give you audible rubbing sounds.

    I'm not capable of truing a wheel very well, but I was showed that trick and I thought it was pretty nifty. We finished the wheel on a professional truing stand to get the last imperfections out.

  11. #11
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    The other book is The Bicycle Wheel by Jobst Brandt. It's also good, though as much engineering-theoretical as practical (if you ever wanted to understand all the forces going on in wheels).

    Sheldon's site does have a good guide to tensioning and truing on his wheelbuilding page.

    I also find that a stand helps a lot, and you can get Performance's house-brand stand for $40 sometimes. Has very definitely been worth my while.

  12. #12
    Seņor Miembro JustBrowsing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigBlueToe
    I have a stand. I bought a nice Park one, like my local bike shop has. Trouble is, I don't know how to use it. (Silly me!)

    Is there a good step-by-step explanation on the web for beginners?

    Thanks!
    The aforementioned Sheldon Brown site is good (definitely more useful if you're building from scratch), but I've found the (surprise surprise) Park Tool page on truing to be very useful.

  13. #13
    Senior Member rjacob's Avatar
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    Thanks guys! I too just bought a Park TS-2 truing stand on eBay ($108+shipping). I had bought The Bicycle Wheel by Jobst Brandt, but it seemed to get into alot of stuff beyond my knowledge level. I just ordered The Art of Wheel Building by Gerd Schraner. I am hoping that has more usuable step by step instructions for me.

  14. #14
    Senior Member z415's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by travisthomas
    Tie zip-ties around your stays or fork on opposite sides of the rim, and clip them such that the cut is parallel to the rim. Make sure they're long enough so that they can touch the rim. Find a point that's approximately true, rotate the ties on both sides such that they just barely touch the rim, and give the wheel a spin. The ties should bend with the imperfections and give you audible rubbing sounds.

    I'm not capable of truing a wheel very well, but I was showed that trick and I thought it was pretty nifty. We finished the wheel on a professional truing stand to get the last imperfections out.
    Hmm, nifty trick, I usually just tighten up the cable on the brakes so they pretty much rub everything that isn't true.
    Falling is learning...[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]...learn to not fall in a box.
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  15. #15
    Alex Ramon BicycleTutor's Avatar
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    I recommend the Park TS-2 stand. Been using it for years with no trouble, and it stands up well in a bike shop. I just finished a wheel truing tutorial that demonstrates the procedure.

  16. #16
    Bikaholic blamp28's Avatar
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    I use an Ultimate truing stand when at home. If I need to do a quickie repair on the trail/road, I will use the brakes/eyeball method. To the OP - take the time to learn the skill properly using Sheldon's site and or one of the books mentioned. It is worth it. I don't even take the free tune ups for my bikes that the shops offer. It takes me more time to load the bike in the car and take it to the shop than to just tune it myself. That goes for wheel work too. How often does the shop just touch up the wheel and have it ready NOW. I have noting against shops, I spend a lot of money there. I just like being able to take care of things on my schedule so I can ride.
    Trek Fuel XC MTB, Giant OCR Road Bike, Rans Screamer - Tandem

  17. #17
    that bike nut BikingGrad80's Avatar
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    I have the $40 one that Performance sells and it works just fine. I built wheels on it. Certainly better than brake blocks.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    A trueing stand does two things for you. It provides a stable place to measure rim runout from, and it is capable of being set up at a comfortable work height. It's certainly possible to work around both of those issues but it's nicer if you don't have to.

    As far as the actual trueing process goes, my best advice is first to figure out whether or not your rim has been bent. If the spokes feel like they might be pulling the rim out-of-true, that's good. If the spokes are loose where the rim is out-of-true, you have a bent rim. If that's the case, you can fiddle with the spoke tension and make it straight but you can't make a good wheel out of it.

  19. #19
    Senior Member
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    Using brake pads for truing doesn't do anything for centering the rim or for radial truing, in fact it could make those two variables worse. There are some creative ways to do radial truing and dishing with the wheel on the bike if the tire and tube are removed.
    I use a TS-2 stand, but it's certainly not perfect either.

    Al

  20. #20
    Senior Member z415's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al1943 View Post
    Using brake pads for truing doesn't do anything for centering the rim or for radial truing, in fact it could make those two variables worse. There are some creative ways to do radial truing and dishing with the wheel on the bike if the tire and tube are removed.
    I use a TS-2 stand, but it's certainly not perfect either.

    Al
    In the time I made that last post until now, I have actually learned more and I know do it with an eye towards radial truing also with complicated tape and removing the tires/tubes, etc. Obviously, something I do not do very often.
    Falling is learning...[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]...learn to not fall in a box.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by atomship47 View Post
    i would like "true to the naked eye" accuracy. i don't have the patience to get there using my brake pads.
    Wheelbuilding, and to a lesser degree wheeltruing is all about patience.

    Bob
    Be the Bike

  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    Anybody ever use a bike trainer stand. I have thoguht about using mine. It seems like you could jury rig a dail gauge with a little work.
    Eric
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  23. #23
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    For the "How-do-I" questions above, IMO the "practice-makes-perfect" cliche applies more to wheelbuilding than most any other area of bike mechanics.

    I'd recommend using an old wheel that someone has thrown away (your LBS might have one that you can have for free) and just practice on it to your heart's content. Messing up won't cause you to panic because the wheel isn't worth anything anyway.

    Big, big, big thing to keep in mind is to make adjustments in SMALL increments. For wheelbuilding start with 1 turn per spoke and work your way to 1/16th of a turn when you have it almost perfect. For truing, start with 1/4 turns and work down from there.

    At first, you will have to think through each adjustment (which spoke(s), which way to turn, how much to turn). Eventually the whole process becomes instinct.

    I can't think of any other aspect of bike wrenching that gives one more satisfaction that wheelbuilding.

    Bob
    Be the Bike

  24. #24
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobby Lex View Post
    Wheelbuilding, and to a lesser degree wheeltruing is all about patience.
    +1 + Horse Sense.

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