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Old 06-22-10, 07:36 PM   #1
bjtesch
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what is proper etiquette regarding rim and tire labels?

I remember in the old days there were standards as to how you positioned the rims and tires so the labels were in a certain relationship to each other. What are the current standards?
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Old 06-22-10, 08:23 PM   #3
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Here's how I do it now:
1) If the front hub has a logo, it needs to be readable as you look down on it from your position on the saddle.

2) The rim should be laced so the hub logo can be read by sighting through the valve hole. This is harder than it looks since you have to plan for rotation during lacing except with tangential spoking.

3) If the rim's labels are not symmetrical -- many are nowadays -- they should be readable from the left side of the bike. (Many say they should be readable from the right side, the side with the drive train, but I argue that since most of us dismount from the left we will lean the right side against a wall, and so this is the normal viewing position for a bike "in repose".) Edit: What follows is totally incorrect, the result of a mental lapse. For correction, see posts #7 and #10. For a rear wheel, you can observe this rule only if the "handedness" of the rim allows it, i.e., whether the spoke hole to the left of the valve hole is above or below the midline when the rim is held horizontally for lacing. This, and not the position of the label, dictates which way the rear hub has to be oriented, at least if you build by Jobst Brandt's method. (It's about maximizing spoke-derailleur clearance under pedalling loads.) More important is that both rims should have their labels facing the same way.

4) The tire should be mounted so the most flamboyant part of the label straddles the valve, if for no other reason than it makes it easier to find the valve for pumping when you are wearing sunglasses in the shade or a poorly lit garage. It also provides a reference point for tracing hard-to-find punctures. If the tire has directional arrows, respect them even though in most cases they don't mean anything for road tires. Some people put the tire label beside the rim label (which was typically 180 degrees away from the valve hole) but modern rim labels are often spread all over the rim.

With the exception of the tire mounting, none of these fetishes makes any practical difference but I find that even as an amateur wheel-builder I notice them in other peoples' wheels. And hey, it doesn't add any weight or cost any more....

Last edited by conspiratemus1; 06-23-10 at 07:47 PM.
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Old 06-22-10, 08:36 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by conspiratemus1 View Post
Here's how I do it now:
1) If the front hub has a logo, it needs to be readable as you look down on it from your position on the saddle.

2) The rim should be laced so the hub logo can be read by sighting through the valve hole. This is harder than it looks since you have to plan for rotation during lacing except with tangential spoking.

3) If the rim's labels are not symmetrical -- many are nowadays -- they should be readable from the left side of the bike. (Many say they should be readable from the right side, the side with the drive train, but I argue that since most of us dismount from the left we will lean the right side against a wall, and so this is the normal viewing position for a bike "in repose".) For a rear wheel, you can observe this rule only if the "handedness" of the rim allows it, i.e., whether the spoke hole to the left of the valve hole is above or below the midline when the rim is held horizontally for lacing. This, and not the position of the label, dictates which way the rear hub has to be oriented, at least if you build by Jobst Brandt's method. (It's about maximizing spoke-derailleur clearance under pedalling loads.) More important is that both rims should have their labels facing the same way.

4) The tire should be mounted so the most flamboyant part of the label straddles the valve, if for no other reason than it makes it easier to find the valve for pumping when you are wearing sunglasses in the shade or a poorly lit garage. It also provides a reference point for tracing hard-to-find punctures. If the tire has directional arrows, respect them even though in most cases they don't mean anything for road tires. Some people put the tire label beside the rim label (which was typically 180 degrees away from the valve hole) but modern rim labels are often spread all over the rim.

With the exception of the tire mounting, none of these fetishes makes any practical difference but I find that even as an amateur wheel-builder I notice them in other peoples' wheels. And hey, it doesn't add any weight or cost any more....
3) Wrong. Pictures of the bike are always taken with drivetrain side on. Thus all labels are viewable from the right side.
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Old 06-22-10, 08:43 PM   #5
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I think indexing the tire on the rim really helps with locating flat causing problems in the tire.
Spoke lacing preference is another pride issue. Most discriminating cyclists will prefer the right side (drive side) pulling spokes be heads out and extend from the lower side of the hub forward to the rim, both wheels.
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Old 06-22-10, 08:45 PM   #6
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I think indexing the tire on the rim really helps with locating flat causing problems in the tire.
Spoke lacing preference is another pride issue. Most builders will prefer the right side (drive side) pulling spokes be heads out and extend from the lower side of the hub forward to the rim, both wheels.
It's not a pride issue. One way is wrong, one way is not. The sheldon way is the wrong way. Proper drive side lacing is on all current production shimano/campy wheels that feature conventional lacing.
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Old 06-22-10, 08:51 PM   #7
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3) If the rim's labels are not symmetrical -- many are nowadays -- they should be readable from the left side of the bike. (Many say they should be readable from the right side, the side with the drive train, but I argue that since most of us dismount from the left we will lean the right side against a wall, and so this is the normal viewing position for a bike "in repose".) For a rear wheel, you can observe this rule only if the "handedness" of the rim allows it, i.e., whether the spoke hole to the left of the valve hole is above or below the midline when the rim is held horizontally for lacing. This, and not the position of the label, dictates which way the rear hub has to be oriented, at least if you build by Jobst Brandt's method. (It's about maximizing spoke-derailleur clearance under pedalling loads.) More important is that both rims should have their labels facing the same way.
I just went and looked and it seems that I have about 20 rims that I'm going to have to relace because all of my rims, except on one Italian bike, have the labels incorrectly oriented. Better get to work.

Tried to find a rim with the first hole to the left of the valve hole facing the wrong way and couldn't do it. Tried flipping it over and damn if the first spoke hole to the left of the valve hole wasn't still facing up. No matter what I did, that hole was still facing up, no matter the orientation of the rim label. I think it's some sort of conspiracy by our right-handed overlords.

Brandt's instructions for lacing the hub are that the spoke which goes into the first hole to the left of the valve hole has it's head rotated ccw when you build the wheel, thus making room for a pump head. The other thing he claims is that that spoke should have it's head out (spoke leaves the hub on the inside). There are a whole lot of wheels built in violation of that rule.
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Old 06-22-10, 09:00 PM   #8
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placing the label consistently is really more about snobbishness.
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Old 06-22-10, 10:55 PM   #9
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If you run tubulars, you don't have a choice of where the label is except drive side or not. The label is always (more often than not) by the valve stem.
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Old 06-22-10, 10:59 PM   #10
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Well, the question that started this thread was about etiquette. So no surprise that "snobbishness" worked its way into it.

Desconhesido is of course correct and I was confused: The first spoke hole to the left of the valve hole will be in the same position no matter which way you flip the rim to make the label right side up. I did have a rim not so long ago that was drilled "backwards" from what I was used to: the first spoke hole to the left of the valve hole was below the midline. This made it impossible (I think -- as I said, I'm an amateur) to duplicate the spoke pattern in the hub's grooves from the old spokes and still get the leading and trailing spokes to orient correctly. But it has no bearing on the orientation of the label. My bad.

And yes, I realize that bikes are photographed from the drivetrain side. But I spend much more time looking at mine from the left side than I do photographing them.
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Old 06-23-10, 12:24 AM   #11
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The first spoke hole to the left of the valve hole will be in the same position no matter which way you flip the rim to make the label right side up. I did have a rim not so long ago that was drilled "backwards" from what I was used to: the first spoke hole to the left of the valve hole was below the midline. This made it impossible (I think -- as I said, I'm an amateur) to duplicate the spoke pattern in the hub's grooves from the old spokes and still get the leading and trailing spokes to orient correctly. But it has no bearing on the orientation of the label. My bad.

And yes, I realize that bikes are photographed from the drivetrain side. But I spend much more time looking at mine from the left side than I do photographing them.
Yeah, it's all ok.

We have an Italian Bianchi from about 1987 and it has the only rims in our garage with the labels right-side-up from the left. The wheels are built rather different from most in that they're small flange, 4X, and asymmetrical lacing, both front and rear. But hell, they roll. Ambrosia rims. They roll nice. Otherwise, we've got rims built by Performance and by Colorado Cyclist and by me. I think I've been building mine to match the Colorado Cyclist wheels which are trailing spoke--head out, pulling spokes-- head in, symmetric, and front matches the rear. That's not Jobst's rule, but f'm.
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Old 06-23-10, 07:17 AM   #12
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Labels driveside indexed with the valvestems for locating tube/tire problems. I feel that this allows in cases of patching that the patch provides a bit of protection for the tire carcass (if there is a larger than usual puncture defect not needing a boot). I also dremel a minor notch in the stem to ease ID of the tube's orientation. Needless to say, I patch until the tube becomes (to me) unsafe.

Regarding the hub label, my rear aligns to the valvestem, my front is off by two spaces.
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Old 06-23-10, 07:28 AM   #13
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Unless you're a sponsored rider who wants to project a certain image in photographs, mount your tires evenly seated with valves straight, and don't worry about some supposed etiquette.

This shows the world that you're a bike RIDER, not some image conscious wannabe.

It's a bicycle. You ride it for sport or transportation, not status.

BTW- imagine if you went to the Pirelli dealer and told him you wanted all your car's tires mounted with the word Pirelli centered at the valve. If you said it was for your Ferrari that you were showing next week, he'd probably be fine with it, otherwise expect to be ridiculed.
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Old 06-23-10, 09:05 AM   #14
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BTW- imagine if you went to the Pirelli dealer and told him you wanted all your car's tires mounted with the word Pirelli centered at the valve. If you said it was for your Ferrari that you were showing next week, he'd probably be fine with it, otherwise expect to be ridiculed.
If the mechanic doing the install was worth his wage, he'd probably explain the little yellow/orange dots on the new tire, and their intended relationship to the valve stem location and/or wheel trueness/weight when mounting.

(I'm being a snob for the humor potential. I promise!)
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Old 06-23-10, 09:14 AM   #15
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I know nothing of etiquette in this area, but I've always oriented rims on a build so that the label reads from the right side. The bike is worked on and usually inflated from that side, most people actually lean there bikes or lay them down on the NON drive side, and pictures are usually taken from the right side. I always mount the tire so that the pressure portion of the label is by the valve stem. Mechanics will thank you and will be less likely to mis-inflate, and if you are the absentminded type or have multiple bikes it's easy to find the right pressure.

As for wheel builds I just made sure the hub label is right side up when looking forward on the bike, pullling/trailing spokes head out, and the valve had a clear area above it (2 sets of crossed spokes on either side.
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Old 06-23-10, 09:14 AM   #16
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If the mechanic doing the install was worth his wage, he'd probably explain the little yellow/orange dots on the new tire, and their intended relationship to the valve stem location and/or wheel trueness/weight when mounting.

(I'm being a snob for the humor potential. I promise!)
I buy value Michelin City tire @ $7 each. No dot but the tire is uni-directional with an arrow on the sidewall. Bike is smooth as silk up to about 43 mph (12% downgrade).

I wouldn't worry about aligning the dot unless you plan to cycle at +35 mph.
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Old 06-23-10, 09:18 AM   #17
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Here's how I do it,install tires,ride bike.

It's transportation,not a trailer queen.
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Old 06-23-10, 09:46 AM   #18
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I wouldn't worry about aligning the dot unless you plan to cycle at +35 mph.
He's talking about car tires. Probably does go faster than 35 MPH on them.

I always allign the tire label with the valve stem to aid in finding the cause of flats.
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Old 06-23-10, 07:59 PM   #19
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...The bike is worked on and usually inflated from that side, most people actually lean there bikes or lay them down on the NON drive side, ....
Lay them down on the non-drive side, sure. But for leaning I'm going to pay more attention to that, next group ride, and see. (Not the rim labels, just the way they lean against the coffee shop window.) Maybe we are doing it backwards here in Canada....being closer to the North magnetic pole throws off our sense of right-left propriety maybe?
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