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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 05-10-11, 08:04 AM   #1
bradtx
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New wheels... break-in?

Hi All, With a new wheelset I try to get about an hour of minimal load, acceleration, braking and a smooth as possible road, before using them as normal. Is this just a waste of time? BTW, I'm helping someone with a new wheelset who's had problems and he looked at me like I was nuts when I mentioned a break-in period.

TIA, Brad
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Old 05-10-11, 08:18 AM   #2
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Last new factory wheel I bought, a Fulcrum 7 rear, bought it, tire on, and a 300km audax for its first ride, no bedding in time, no issues several thousand Km later, last wheel I built, tire on, then off road for 25km, about 6-700km off road later no issues.

If the wheel is well built, should ride straight from the box / truing stand with no need for bedding in time. The only thing that needs bedding /breaking in on a bike are disc pads and some suspension forks
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Old 05-10-11, 08:20 AM   #3
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Yes-no-maybe. Cartridge bearings will often need some time to work off the first excess seal drag, which if fractions count you don't want to do in a race setting. Likewise unless you go over the wheel by hand, ping the spokes ASO, a soft start can give you time to notice something that's seriously off.

The rest is open for discussion. In even the best built wheel the spokes will do a bit of final settling when the wheel starts rolling. On two occasions I've also noticed a "huge" change in bearing adjustment during an early stage of usage.
I much prefer to see what's happened during that time, although it's probably negligible.
If it was important, it'd be pretty much impossible to sell wheels over the 'net for instance.
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Old 05-10-11, 08:24 AM   #4
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Break-in is primarily a concern for loose ball bearing hubs. Only requires riding around a city block a few times...at which point you want to make your final adjustments to the bearing play.

The final adjustment should hold up well enough for the next tune-up or overhaul for the bike.

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Old 05-10-11, 08:24 AM   #5
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A decent bike shop does include a post break in checkover of whole bike,
wheels and all ..

Being a DIY wheel builder, I took the service tech on my solo tour with me.

Note: Low cost hubs have a rougher cone and cup surface, some burnishing
of the race contact surface will take place, as the balls roll around.
and that will loosen things up a bit.

Last edited by fietsbob; 05-10-11 at 06:10 PM.
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Old 05-10-11, 09:46 AM   #6
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On machine built wheels, if the tension and stress relief are not done by hand, there is a break-in period... when a wheel is properly hand built and stress-relieved, the spokes are given excursions up to very very high stress, then retensioned and the wheel re-trued. If the wheel is not properly stress relieved, the high stress comes when riding, and needs to be re-tensioned and trued after a few hundred kms. After a few tens or hundreds of kms, the spokes tension will likely be lower than optimal and so wheel strength is comprimised until the tension is brought back up.

I have never had a set of factory-built wheels (like Shimano, Easton, DT, Zipp etc) and I don't know how they make them, but they generally have a very good reputation for not needing retensioning.
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Old 05-10-11, 01:12 PM   #7
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There is no break in period for bike parts. The first adjustments are made after the cables streach. If they are properly prestressed they most likely won't need adjustment.
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Old 05-10-11, 05:54 PM   #8
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Properly-built wheels can be treated normally right away. If they are going to untrue themselves, they might as well do so right away so you can fix it as soon as possible.

I build most of my own wheels these days, but when I get a wheel built by a machine I always check it out in a truing stand before I ride it, and in most cases I stress-relieve it and increase the tension. I have seen machine-built wheels with fairly loose spokes.
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Old 05-10-11, 07:16 PM   #9
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Thanks for all of the replys, seems I've been overly cautious.

Brad
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Old 05-10-11, 08:05 PM   #10
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Idk. Even though stuff doesn't break in, it's still a good idea to ride slow for the first mile or two to make sure nothing is seriously screwed up. You don't want to hammer right away and shift your RD into your spokes, for example. (I actually did that once on a bike I bought used, before inspecting it.)
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