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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 05-18-07, 05:20 AM   #1
atomship47
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most important tool for truing wheels

i suppose a spoke wrench ranks up there.

what's handier, a truing stand or a tension meter? theoretically, wouldn't tensioning each spoke (per side), be the first step in truing a wheel?

after buying a shimano spoke wrench, should a tension meter be my next purchase?
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Old 05-18-07, 06:11 AM   #2
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Are you building wheels, or just doing routine maintenance truing?

If you are just tweaking wheels, then the tension on the spokes should be approximately right (if who whoever built the wheel in the first place did it right). So a stand would be more useful.

If actually building wheels, then I think you would want both a truing stand and a tension meter.
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Old 05-18-07, 06:37 AM   #3
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You can get away with building and truing on the bike (no truing stand). Additionally, you can even your tension by plucking. The absolute tension will be unknown, but a shop can spot-check a spoke for you.

I'd say to get a $35 super-cheap truing stand. I've been using a bottom-of-the-line Minoura for 14 years and a couple dozen wheels. If you're not in a production environment, there is very, very little additional value in a "nice" stand (I've used both).

Then, get the Park tensiometer. For one thing, it's just a really neat tool. Nothing wrong with stockpiling neat tools. It will make all your builds easier.

The most important tool is patience. You have to take your time. If things aren't going your way, leave the project and do something else for a while.
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Old 05-18-07, 07:12 AM   #4
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A truing stand was my second purchase. Had to replace my really old clunker when the lbs mechanic showed me his Ultimate single post stand. Spoke access is so much better and the truing indicators are well designed.

I don't build wheels any more, just maintain them. I do like to tension equalize my wheels at the first sign they need maintenance; especially if I break a spoke for no identifiable reason. That requires measuring every spoke.

The cheap Park spoke tension meter works very well especially after oiling. One of the screws came loose and I was concerned that it might affect calibration after tighening. Checked it out against the lbs's Park and it was right on.

The Barnett's Manual chapter on wheel building and truing is a free download. Do a google search as I don't have it bookmarked. They mention oiling the Park and have a very good section on tension equalizing if I remember correctly.

Al
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Old 05-18-07, 07:21 AM   #5
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Spoke wrench, truing stand and dishing tool. You don't need a tensiometer if you're just truing.
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Old 05-18-07, 07:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jp_nyc
Spoke wrench, truing stand and dishing tool. You don't need a tensiometer if you're just truing.

On the dishing tool, the Ultimate wheel stand has that feature built in. Another advantage of a single-leg stand.

Al
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Old 05-18-07, 11:03 AM   #7
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Making an assumption here that you already have the most important tool: knowledge of how a bicycle wheel works and how to correct the problems. You can own all the tools in the world but knowing what your fixing is the starting point.
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Old 05-18-07, 11:36 AM   #8
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I made a dish tool with scrap plywood in 10 minutes...
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Old 05-18-07, 11:38 AM   #9
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Next most important tool in building wheels,

Beer
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Old 05-18-07, 01:15 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by vpiuva
Next most important tool in building wheels,

Beer
+1.

Good spoke wrench first.

Some means for measuring tension next. If you're musical and have a good ear and a known good wheel that's the same size and laced the same way with the same gauge spokes matching pitch works. I've tried it but my ears aren't that good. I use the Park Tensiometer.

Then an actual truing stand.

And last but not least, enough beer to last through the evening.
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