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Thread: Truing wheels

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    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    Truing wheels

    I was at Performance Bike yesterday and I was telling the mechanic that I just got done truing my wheels and that I think I have to get them better. I told him that I got them at about .024mm and he said at school, they said that 2.0mm was acceptable. Doesn't that seem like a lot? Or maybe, I'm close enough and not to worry about it.
    George

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    .024 is way overkill. Thats the clearance for some engine internal parts, like piston to cylinder clearance. Go out and ride your bike, then measue the run out again. I can guarantee you it will be .5mm+

    2mm is perfectly acceptable, I like to get near a mm, but I just eyeball it, I don't use a dial indicator.

    No point in getting that precise when it will immediately change.

    The most important part of truing is the stressing. True, stress, tue and repeat until you can stress the wheel as much as possible and the run-out stays within 1 mm. Like my high school physics teacher used to say, close enough for the girls we go with.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

    1980 3Rensho-- 1975 Raleigh Sprite 3spd
    1990s Raleigh M20 MTB--2007 Windsor Hour (track)
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    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    I usually true wheels without a dial and then double check them with it and if you aren't using metric then getting within 4-5 thousands of an inch is acceptable.

    The stressing is really important and a properly built and set up wheel should not change much (if at all ) after being run.

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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    I was at Performance Bike yesterday and I was telling the mechanic that I just got done truing my wheels and that I think I have to get them better. I told him that I got them at about .024mm and he said at school, they said that 2.0mm was acceptable. Doesn't that seem like a lot? Or maybe, I'm close enough and not to worry about it.
    _____________

    Hi George,

    I think you might have the decimal in the wrong place here. .024mm is less than one-thousandth of an inch. As a machinist . . . I can guarantee that you did not true your rim to that accuracy. Maybe .24??

    DON
    The older I get the less future there is to worry about!

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    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwood View Post
    _____________

    Hi George,

    I think you might have the decimal in the wrong place here. .024mm is less than one-thousandth of an inch. As a machinist . . . I can guarantee that you did not true your rim to that accuracy. Maybe .24??

    DON
    Your right Don and thanks everybody, I have this hang up where everything has to be perfect. Maybe some day I'll get over it.
    George

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    But how close can you get the radial true and dish? Lateral true is the easy part.

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    [QUOTE=I have this hang up where everything has to be perfect. Maybe some day I'll get over it.[/QUOTE]

    George,

    Ha ha! Reminds me of me. I also have the perfection curse and, perhaps even worse, the symmetry curse. Things left and right have to match. Up and down can vary some, depending on the situation. In a 4-bolt pattern . . . I can't tolerate one bolt head not matching the others,etc. Indeed a curse.

    Fortunately owning a machine shop allows me to pursue my nonsense of trying to 'perfect'. Of course it also forces me to accept imperfection.

    DON
    The older I get the less future there is to worry about!

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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    Your right Don and thanks everybody, I have this hang up where everything has to be perfect. Maybe some day I'll get over it.
    Then why didn't you have your decimal in the right place?

    I've got some of these same issues, but after having ridden 30,000 miles or so in the last few years, there are a LOT of things that used to bother me about the bike that don't anymore.

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    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    Guess what? I did it again. I did the wheel again and had that thing perfect. Then I tried squeezing the spokes as hard as I could and I said a job well done. Then I jumped on the bike (200#) and as I went down the driveway, ping, ping, ping. I went around the block and looked at the wheel and yes it's off again. I'm going to call it a night and try again tomorrow. Thanks a lot guys for the help.
    George

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    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Portis View Post
    Then why didn't you have your decimal in the right place?

    I've got some of these same issues, but after having ridden 30,000 miles or so in the last few years, there are a LOT of things that used to bother me about the bike that don't anymore.
    You have to give me a few more years, I'm only 67
    George

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    Spokes ping if they are twisted . Um, they ping as they unwind. It's important to take the twist out as you true a wheel or it wont say true when you ride.

    Tighten 1 1/4 turns and back off 1/4 . With practice you can feel the wind up and you'll get a feel for how much to unwind.

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    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DDYTDY View Post
    Spokes ping if they are twisted . Um, they ping as they unwind. It's important to take the twist out as you true a wheel or it wont say true when you ride.

    Tighten 1 1/4 turns and back off 1/4 . With practice you can feel the wind up and you'll get a feel for how much to unwind.
    Thanks for the tip, I'm going to try again tomorrow, until I get it. I hope I don't end up buying new wheels when I'm done Just kidding.
    George

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    You could also put a drop of oil in the nipples. Make sure you wipe off any excess.

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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    Guess what? I did it again. I did the wheel again and had that thing perfect. Then I tried squeezing the spokes as hard as I could and I said a job well done. Then I jumped on the bike (200#) and as I went down the driveway, ping, ping, ping. I went around the block and looked at the wheel and yes it's off again. I'm going to call it a night and try again tomorrow. Thanks a lot guys for the help.
    This is how I stress a wheel.

    Take out the QR and lay the wheel on the ground with the axle on a piece of carpet or newspapers so it doesn't hurt the floor.

    Step on one side of the rim and balance yourself on the edge of a table or chair.

    With your other foot, slowly (and carefully) apply pressure progressively to the other side of the rim until you can feel the rim just start to give. You will hear all kinds of pings and pops, thats good. Rotate the wheel and repeat. Now flip the wheel and repeat for the other side.

    Put the wheel back in the stand and re-true. Repeat the entire stressing procedure untill you can stress the wheel and it doesn't go out of true. I have wheels that I ride regularly that have stayed in true for years after I trued them with this method..
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

    1980 3Rensho-- 1975 Raleigh Sprite 3spd
    1990s Raleigh M20 MTB--2007 Windsor Hour (track)
    1988 Ducati 750 F1

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    Quote Originally Posted by San Rensho View Post
    This is how I stress a wheel.

    Take out the QR and lay the wheel on the ground with the axle on a piece of carpet or newspapers so it doesn't hurt the floor.

    Step on one side of the rim and balance yourself on the edge of a table or chair.

    With your other foot, slowly (and carefully) apply pressure progressively to the other side of the rim until you can feel the rim just start to give. You will hear all kinds of pings and pops, thats good. Rotate the wheel and repeat. Now flip the wheel and repeat for the other side.

    Put the wheel back in the stand and re-true. Repeat the entire stressing procedure untill you can stress the wheel and it doesn't go out of true. I have wheels that I ride regularly that have stayed in true for years after I trued them with this method..
    At the shop we do essentially the same thing by hand to within .5mm. True, then stress relieve by placing the rim on the bench and push abruptly straight down with some force with hands placed 180 degrees apart on the rim. The amount of force applied is not excessive and will become easy to judge once you start hearing the pings as the spokes unwind. Rechecking truing after stress relief reveals how the wheel can go out of true as you ride if stress relieving is not performed. Wheel pinging while on the bike is an obvious indicator of inadequate stress relieving after truing. Wheels can certainly be trued to closer tolerances than .5 mm but truing to this tolerance will ensure that you will not feel brake rub with proper pad distance adjustments from the rim. In addition, truing to this tolerance provides smooth, consistent braking action under light applications. Truing to closer tolerances is nice but not necessary.

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    To avoid windup I hold each spoke with pliers while adjusting the nipples. No twists for me.

    Al

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    Quote Originally Posted by Al1943 View Post
    To avoid windup I hold each spoke with pliers while adjusting the nipples. No twists for me.

    Al
    _______________

    There is a certain level of danger with this method if not careful. The jaws of the pliers 'could' scar the spoke which would cause a 'stress riser' at that point, cause premature failure.

    But if it works for you . . . great.

    DON
    The older I get the less future there is to worry about!

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    use your best eye kenhill3's Avatar
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    I've learned, building wheels for a number of years now, to automatically overtighten and then then back off to unwind. Interestingly enough, there is very little, if any, of the pinging and creaking during stress relief.
    "I tell you, We are here on earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you any different." - Kurt Vonnegut jr.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kenhill3 View Post
    I've learned, building wheels for a number of years now, to automatically overtighten and then then back off to unwind.
    _______________

    Interesting! That's exactly what you are supposed to do when tuning a piano . . . and for the same reason.

    DON
    The older I get the less future there is to worry about!

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwood View Post
    _______________

    There is a certain level of danger with this method if not careful. The jaws of the pliers 'could' scar the spoke which would cause a 'stress riser' at that point, cause premature failure.

    But if it works for you . . . great.
    No scarring, no problems. There are special pliers for holding spokes or you can place a rag between the spoke and the pliers.

    Al

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    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    Thanks again everybody and all your answers helped a bunch, the wheels are done and they are a lot better than when I got the bike. I got reading from the drive side to 25 and 26 and all the rest 19 and 20. I was a little worried about 200# on the 28 spoke wheels. I read an article in bicycle adventure that a guy kept breaking spokes on his 32 spoke wheels and was ready to buy new wheels with 36 spokes. Instead he found a guy to true his wheels and tension them and he said he never broke another one, with loaded touring. Anyhow have nice Christmas and take your new bikes for a ride and have fun.
    George

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    Wow, you guys are perfectionists. I true my wheels by tightening up the brakes and finding the spot where the shoes touch.I then back off,and tighten up until the touch is gone-then I'm finished.
    Of course this is for older steel rigid MTBs that I ride(or buy/fix/sell()on our crummy, potholed/lifted streets in New Orleans.No point in making them anymore than functional.They will soon be knocked out of true.
    Thanks,
    Charlie

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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    Thanks again everybody and all your answers helped a bunch, the wheels are done and they are a lot better than when I got the bike. I got reading from the drive side to 25 and 26 and all the rest 19 and 20. I was a little worried about 200# on the 28 spoke wheels. I read an article in bicycle adventure that a guy kept breaking spokes on his 32 spoke wheels and was ready to buy new wheels with 36 spokes. Instead he found a guy to true his wheels and tension them and he said he never broke another one, with loaded touring. Anyhow have nice Christmas and take your new bikes for a ride and have fun.
    Glad to hear you got it done, George. It sounds like you've put the tension meter to good use, too-

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    I like Sheldon Brown's advice to use an old left side crank arm on the spokes. Put it between two crossing spokes and flex.
    As bike riders we're the abused children of the road. It's no wonder we're not nice to each other.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickowensis View Post
    At the shop we do essentially the same thing by hand to within .5mm. True, then stress relieve by placing the rim on the bench and push abruptly straight down with some force with hands placed 180 degrees apart on the rim. The amount of force applied is not excessive and will become easy to judge once you start hearing the pings as the spokes unwind. Rechecking truing after stress relief reveals how the wheel can go out of true as you ride if stress relieving is not performed. Wheel pinging while on the bike is an obvious indicator of inadequate stress relieving after truing. Wheels can certainly be trued to closer tolerances than .5 mm but truing to this tolerance will ensure that you will not feel brake rub with proper pad distance adjustments from the rim. In addition, truing to this tolerance provides smooth, consistent braking action under light applications. Truing to closer tolerances is nice but not necessary.
    +1 on everything.

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