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Old 07-22-08, 08:26 PM   #1
Richard_Rides
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My LBS Can't True My Wheel.

I've got a pair of Bontrager Race wheels on my bike. In 2500 miles, never a problem. So, I took my bike in for a tune up. They true wheels as part of the tune up and charge $50 for tune ups. Upon getting my bike back, the wheel went out of true badly within 40 miles. I've taken the wheel back 3 times, each time they true the wheel and within 30-40 miles the wheel looks like a potato chip.

I've watched them true it, they put it on a truing stand and adjust a spoke or 2 to true the wheel. Takes about 5 minutes.

This shop sponsors the local bike club and has a good reputation but with my work schedule I can't go in there every other day to get my wheel trued. What's the deal here? Are my spokes not tensioned properly? They are getting frustrated and making insinuations, asking if I'm riding off curbs, etc...

What should I do next?
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Old 07-22-08, 08:38 PM   #2
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Well, how much do you weigh? Do you bunnyhop things? Are your wheels just really old and worn out?

If the fault's not in the wheels, they may not be properly stress relieving the wheel.
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Old 07-22-08, 08:41 PM   #3
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It doesn't sound like they are stress relieving the spokes if all they're doing is just turning them. Meaning they aren't getting rid of the spoke windup and the spokes are loosening off when you ride, resulting in out of true.

Also if the tension is off, it will go out of true.

Last edited by operator; 07-22-08 at 09:08 PM.
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Old 07-22-08, 08:45 PM   #4
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it sounds like it is new wheel time for you.
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Old 07-22-08, 09:36 PM   #5
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I would try a different LBS before I decided to get a new wheel.
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Old 07-22-08, 10:19 PM   #6
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Most of Bontrager's paired-spoke wheels have bladed spokes, so spoke "windup" would be hard to miss. Bad tension could be the answer, but it's also possible that your rim's spoke bed is cracking. This is a pretty common problem with Bontrager's paired-spoke wheels that have metal rims (haven't seen it happen to the carbon ones yet), so clean your wheel and then inspect it very closely around the spoke nipples.

Breakage of the hub flanges is another weakness of some Bontragers, but I don't think it's likely to do it little-by-little.


As I was saying to my co-worker the other day, someone ought to make wheels with, like, 32 spokes

Last edited by mechBgon; 07-22-08 at 10:50 PM.
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Old 07-23-08, 03:37 AM   #7
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Or maybe even 36?
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Old 07-23-08, 08:46 AM   #8
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I converted to 32 spoke wheels. I don't see the point of low spoke count wheels for recreational riders. Lose a spoke on those paired Bonti's and you are walking home.
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Old 07-23-08, 08:53 AM   #9
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Are they putting glue or something in the spoke that is always getting lose?? red thread compound works awesome in those situations.
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Old 07-23-08, 10:57 AM   #10
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Are they putting glue or something in the spoke that is always getting lose?? red thread compound works awesome in those situations.
It seems to me that red loctite on spoke threads would be a terrible idea.
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Old 07-23-08, 11:00 AM   #11
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Loctite on spokes is definitely not what you need. Unless you never want to true them again. Esepcially red loctite. There should be no issue with spokes coming loose if the wheel is built properly. There might be a deeper issue with the wheel - uneven tension, etc. - that your LBS is missing when they give it the 2 minute treatment.
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Old 07-23-08, 03:01 PM   #12
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The rim may be bent or bowed or there may be small cracks near the spoke holes that are allowing the spokes to gradually pull through the rim.
My wife's 5200 Trek has Bontrager Race Lite wheels. The front wheel has a bowed interval between the paired sets of spokes. It is impossible to true that part of the wheel closer than 1 mm.
It won't hurt to have the mechanic Locktite the nipples (I would not use red). That may hold the true for a while but ultimately I'd replace them with a set of custom built conventional wheels with 32 double butted spokes 3X. Custom built conventional wheels will probably be lighter and no more expensive than Bontragers.

Al

Last edited by Al1943; 07-23-08 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 07-23-08, 03:09 PM   #13
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they may just need to take it apart, and see if anything is bent then relace it ... instead of just adjusting a spoke or two .. there maybe another one that is a little to tight ... etc etc ...
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Old 07-23-08, 09:00 PM   #14
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DT Spoke Freeze is a red thread compound for use on spokes. It functions a s a thread locker for spokes, but will allow for truing of said wheels/spokes.

Make sure that you do not have a bent section on the rim. If you do, then after the wheel gets trued, you ride a bit and the rim goes back to the shape it wants.

I'd look at the drillings on the rims to make sure there are no cracks in the rim surface.

Also check into the fact that Bontrager Wheels have a 2 or 5 year warranty on them. See if it applies.

Remember, they are lite. They accelerate easily. They roll on cartridge bearing hubs. But a pair of 28 or 32 hole rims are stronger. The wheels you have are not for crappy roads or heavy/hard riders. Nor are the particularly forgiving of accidents, dings or impacts.
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Old 07-23-08, 09:39 PM   #15
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I'm going to agree with the comment that says they are probably not stress relieving the spokes. Just putting a wheel on a stand and truing it - without doing some stress relieving - does not do the job. Any time you true you must stress relieve and recheck and then repeat until the true stays "true". When you ride the bike after a truing you are, in effect, continuously stress relieving the wheel. So, you can see why just turning nipples is only part of the job.
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Old 07-24-08, 06:02 PM   #16
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Though I am reasonably experienced when it comes to wheel building, I fail to see how one can make a wheel "true" in just 5 minutes. Especially when the wheel has changed to a "potato chip" shape.

Find yourself an LBS who knows what he's doing. It may be a good idea ro read an article (Sheldon Brown) about truing wheels. If you have no intention to do the job yourself, this knowledge may help you when observing and making up your mind about the "experts".
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Old 07-24-08, 07:28 PM   #17
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ask them to stress relieve the spokes, but it may be the lbs, but more likely you may need a new wheel.
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Old 07-24-08, 10:31 PM   #18
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As I said before, Step 1 is to inspect the rim for cracks around the spoke holes, because this is a fairly common problem for Bontrager paired-spoke rear wheels. I just had another one surface on a routine tune-up today, with cracks around more than half of the driveside spoke holes. And this bike belongs to a lady, and judging by the frame size, not a very big lady either.

On the bright side, Trek routinely covers this problem under warranty, and this bike's owner happens to have some, like, 32-spoke wheels she can use in the meanwhile.


Quote:
Or maybe even 36?
Bah, that's just crazy talk!

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I fail to see how one can make a wheel "true" in just 5 minutes.
Right, I'll try to work slower then

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Old 07-24-08, 10:44 PM   #19
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I true and build my own wheels and it very possible that the tension is not even (way off) around the wheel, or it is cracked.
I'd start by loosing all the spokes and see how it looks with no tension first it could be damaged already then check for cracks if it looks good I'd start retightening the spokes from scratch stress relieving and get it back so you know its right, they may be tightening them just to pull the rim true with out checking tension this would make the rim twist as you mention.
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Old 07-25-08, 05:49 AM   #20
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Spend 50 bucks a coupla times and you could've bought a truing stand, tension meter, and spoke wrench and learned yourself - and its fun. Maybe something to consider?
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