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  1. #1
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    Help, wheel truing disaster.

    Hi all.
    I have a trek 1000 which I love to bits and use to commute daily.
    My rear wheel was slightly out of true. I've read the advice on the park tools website and sheldon brown's.
    With that advice I tried to true my wheel using the brakes as a guide and a spoke key.
    I'm pretty certain I've gone wrong somewhere because my wheel is REALLY out of true now.

    Can anyone help? Has anyone been in this scenario before?

    I've been tearing my hair out the past 2 days.

  2. #2
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    Are you very far away from a bike shop? They can do it in around 1 minute usually. They have more sophisticated set ups, at least my old one did. And they did it for free because I bought my bike there.

  3. #3
    dbc
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    If you can't figure out what went wrong, get that wheel over to a bike shop. It would be very difficult to troubleshoot a problem like this on a forum board.

  4. #4
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    hey

    Thanks guys for your advice. I've booked to take my wheel in.

  5. #5
    Bring That Beat Back Old Dirt Hill's Avatar
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    I had a friend who tightened the spokes that needed to be loosened and loosened the spokes that needed to be tightened. It only took "fixing" a couple spokes to create a big mess.

  6. #6
    Bikes are good El Julioso's Avatar
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    Keep in mind that to tighten a spoke, you turn counterclockwise on the spoke nipple with the spoke wrench. This is the exact opposite of the "righty-tighty, lefty-loosey" that so many people are used to, which causes some confusion. If your tube/tire/rim strip was off and you were looking at the spoke nipples from above, then you would tighten the nipples clockwise from the top.

  7. #7
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    Righty-Tighty is correct as long as you remember that you are tightening the nipple onto the spoke.

    Al

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    It's MY mountain DiabloScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al1943 View Post
    Righty-Tighty is correct as long as you remember that you are tightening the nipple onto the spoke.

    Al
    Yeah, you have to think of the nipple as a nut and you're generally looking at it right side up even though your hand is upside down.
    http://diabloscott.blogspot.com/

  9. #9
    In beaurocratic limbo urbanknight's Avatar
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    An easier way for me to remember it was the normal way with a screwdriver, reverse with a spoke wrench. Now it's second nature.
    "Well, I guess you can cut the arts as much as you want... Sooner or later, these kids aren't going to have anything to read or write about." (Richard Dreyfus as Glenn Holland)

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by urbanknight View Post
    An easier way for me to remember it was the normal way with a screwdriver, reverse with a spoke wrench. Now it's second nature.
    But it's not the reverse with a spoke wrench, it's actually the same. DiabloScott's analogy is very good.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    You're probably turning the nipples the wrong way. Imagine using a screwdriver to tighten the nippies from the outside of the rim.

  12. #12
    Senior Member z415's Avatar
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    On top of the whole discussion on which way to turn, remember the tension is kind of high so 1/4 to 1/2 turns do a whole lot and a full rotation of the nipple is usually way too much. Also little work on a larger number of nipples is better than a lot of work on one. I make it a point to always do 4 nipples either way from the point thats most out of true meaning every time I have a dip or something I at least tighten 4 and loosen 4 with 1/4 to 1/8 turns.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by buckleyheaven View Post
    With that advice I tried to true my wheel using the brakes as a guide and a spoke key.
    Using the brake as a guide is where you went wrong. You can really only use that for a VERY rough true. No way you can correct small errors with this precisely.

    All this talk about which way to turn a spoke is great, when he gets to a truing stand that is.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  14. #14
    Midwest Rider CsHoSi's Avatar
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    I somewhat agree with you, operator. The thing is it can be done, I guess you have to have natural talent though. I don't, or don't have the patience. I can get a rough true. I'm following this MikeTechInfo wheelbuilding page and he quotes Gerd Schraner from his book, "The Art of Wheelbuilding":

    It is always the wheelbuilder who makes a good job of truing wheels, not the truing tools. It is therefore not necessary to have the latest high-tech, sophisticated toy to attain a high quality wheel. I learned how to true wheels using an old bicycle fork and my fingernail to measure misalignment.
    But now Mike.T has a dial indicator to measure his accuracy and see every spoke's influence on the rim. He can get his wheels precise to 0.003", that's three-thousandths of an inch.

    I'm going this route, MorningStar Tools produces the custom instruments for a reasonable price, $88-98. The one in the link mounts to any dropout with a skewer. He also has one that bolts between axle and nut. It can be used to measure true in disc rotors too. I'm getting his drumstix for realigning them. I'm talking to him via email and he is responsive with answering questions that the website lacks.
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  15. #15
    Curmudgeon Wil Davis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CsHoSi View Post
    I somewhat agree with you, operator. The thing is it can be done, I guess you have to have natural talent though. I don't, or don't have the patience. I can get a rough true. I'm following this MikeTechInfo wheelbuilding page and he quotes Gerd Schraner from his book, "The Art of Wheelbuilding":

    But now Mike.T has a dial indicator to measure his accuracy and see every spoke's influence on the rim. He can get his wheels precise to 0.003", that's three-thousandths of an inch.

    I'm going this route, MorningStar Tools produces the custom instruments for a reasonable price, $88-98. The one in the link mounts to any dropout with a skewer. He also has one that bolts between axle and nut. It can be used to measure true in disc rotors too. I'm getting his drumstix for realigning them. I'm talking to him via email and he is responsive with answering questions that the website lacks.
    Truing to within 0.003" is very accurate. I wonder to what accuracy wheel-rims are manufactured and machined?

    - Wil
    "" - Marcel Marceau

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    Using the brake as a guide is where you went wrong. You can really only use that for a VERY rough true. No way you can correct small errors with this precisely.

    All this talk about which way to turn a spoke is great, when he gets to a truing stand that is.
    I don't think a real truing stand is required to get a wheel very close to true. Using the brake pads will do an acceptable job IF you know what you are doing. A truing stand is a great help if you are building a wheel from scratch or doing a very precise truing job but it isn't essential to get good results.

    The OP turned a slightly out of true wheel into a way out of true wheel so there was a fundamental problem in his approach. A truing stand wouldn't have prevented this.

  17. #17
    bac
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Julioso View Post
    Keep in mind that to tighten a spoke, you turn counterclockwise on the spoke nipple with the spoke wrench.
    Yup, that gets some people just like removing the pedals does sometimes. Remember that you really should learn how to true a wheel. Once you get it, it's really simple. It's a tool you'll need in your toolbox someday!

    ... Brad

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bac View Post
    Yup, that gets some people just like removing the pedals does sometimes. Remember that you really should learn how to true a wheel. Once you get it, it's really simple. It's a tool you'll need in your toolbox someday!

    ... Brad
    Interesting, I always tighten mine clockwise.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wil Davis View Post
    Truing to within 0.003" is very accurate. I wonder to what accuracy wheel-rims are manufactured and machined?

    - Wil
    I can tell you that when they come to the LBS in the box to be assembled, they all get put on the truing stand, and 99% of them need at least a few spokes turned...

    I'd imagine that with the higher priced wheels, that they may come more in line, but for stock wheels, those things are hit and miss.

  20. #20
    Curmudgeon Wil Davis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Conveyor Belt View Post
    I can tell you that when they come to the LBS in the box to be assembled, they all get put on the truing stand, and 99% of them need at least a few spokes turned...

    I'd imagine that with the higher priced wheels, that they may come more in line, but for stock wheels, those things are hit and miss.
    I think you're talking about built wheels; I'm talking about the manufacturing tolerances of the components used in the wheels, and it seems to me that having a gauge which measures to within 0.003" only makes sense if the components are manufactured to be within those same tolerances. FWIW when I build wheels I'm satisfied if I can get them to within less than 0.5mm of true.

    - Wil
    "" - Marcel Marceau

  21. #21
    In beaurocratic limbo urbanknight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al1943 View Post
    But it's not the reverse with a spoke wrench, it's actually the same. DiabloScott's analogy is very good.
    You're absolutely right, but it's reverse from the way you look at it. You gotta think like a lament, they're looking at the nipple from the hub's point of view. For that reason, I don't care what it IS, what matters in this case is what it LOOKS LIKE. It probably depends on whether you're an engineer or an artist as to which thinking method works best for you (literal or conceptual)
    "Well, I guess you can cut the arts as much as you want... Sooner or later, these kids aren't going to have anything to read or write about." (Richard Dreyfus as Glenn Holland)

  22. #22
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    Now I'm all confused and about to true for the first time. Can somebody draw a rough diagram of which way to tighten the nipple? Is the spoke at 12 o clock or six or what? I gotta learn how to do this.

  23. #23
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    A nipple tightens a spoke by being screwed further onto it. You are trying to thread the nipple down the spoke toward the hub as if the spoke were one long threaded rod.

    The threads are common right-handed type so picture it as if you were looking at the top of the nipple through the tire and rim. You would turn it clockwise to tighten. If you are working on a nipple that's at the 12 o'clock position, look down on it from above and turn the spoke key clockwise from that perspective.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Torchy McFlux's Avatar
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    Think of the nipple as a jar lid, and the spoke as a jar.
    That helps me turn them the correct way for some reason.

  25. #25
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    Thanks guys I got it....but all this talk about nipples and screwing and rods........I mean read this from the top....my wife's reading this over my shoulder and LOL.

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