The bike in question is my wife's Bianchi Volpe. It's about 3 years old, but with low mileage. I would guess about 1000 miles or less. It's been used primarily on short trips and rides, all on pavement, with the longest single ride being about 35 miles. It had one tune up at the bike shop after the initial break-in period.
So, yesterday we were riding merrily along when I noticed a wobble in the rear wheel of the Volpe. When we got home, I took a closer look and noticed the wheel was actually striking the brake pad in one spot on each revolution. I got out my spoke wrench and got ready to do some basic truing. That's when I noticed the wheel was in much worse shape than I thought. The spokes on one side were still tight, while most of the spokes on the other side were very loose. At least four of them were so loose, they rattled around when I shook them with my fingers.
I have never had a wheel go bad like this, much less after such gentle use and low miles. Was this the result of a bad wheel build, or could something else have caused it? I re-tightened all the loose spokes and have gotten it trued up again. Tightening all the loose spokes on one side has pulled the wheel very close to one of the brake pads, so now I have to re-adjust the pads too. But I was wondering if a wheel should just be re-built completely after it has gone so far out of whack?