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  1. #1
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Are there any cheap wheel truing stands that are worth it?

    I'm planning to build my first wheelset as soon as I get a little time (I've got all the parts, not finding the time is my next challenge). To do that, I'm looking for a stand to build/true them in and would like to do it as cheaply as possible.

    I've been trolling the craigslist and ebay looking for a used wheel truing stand and so far have had no luck.

    I'd rather not use my bike as the stand because:
    a) my time is limiting and I think it's going to take a while to get the wheels built up and trued, and I'd like to have my bike ready to ride rather than with zip tie for distance markers on it
    and b) my wife wants me to keep my bike down in the garage and do stuff on it down there (which will be cold this winter).

    I'm pretty sure I she'd be cool with having a truing stand, some spokes and a wrench or two up in the apartment as they won't take up too much space and is something I can keep out of the way while our daughter is awake and crawling around (and I won't leave the grease everywhere like when I was stupid about things and did repairs up in our last apartment without a drop cloth).

    So I'd like to be able to build the wheels in the apartment where it's heated and I can be around the rest of my family.

    I've read Sheldon Brown among others who've said they made a truing stand by taking an old fork and putting it in a bench vise (or drilling a 1" hole in their workbench). I currently don't have either a workbench or a vise (or a spare fork), so that looks like it'd cost me maybe $20 for a used straight fork and at least $50 for a minimally decent bench vise. The nice thing about that is then I'd have a vise I could use for other things, but at that point we're getting into the price range of a cheap dedicated truing stand.

    So are there any inexpensive (sub $100) truing stands that are decent? Basically, I have one bike, so I'm planning on making this wheelset and keeping it true occasionally as well as truing the wheels for the other bikes in our house. Currently that'd mean just truing the wheels of my wife's old mtb but potentially in the future may include building my wife a wheelset (in addition to building her an entire bike - though this is a bit off in the future for financial reasons as I'd like to build her something nice on the off chance I can convince her to go on long rides with me but currently she's ok on what she has now for her 2 mile commutes to work when she's forgotten something once a month or two). So basically, a stand would see some rather limited use and I can't justify the cost of say the park pro truing stand for such limited use.

    Anybody have any suggestions of worthwhile inexpensive truing stands (maybe with links)? Is getting an old fork and a vice the best approach? Or should I not cheap out and just get a decent thing for the specific task at hand?

    I had thought about getting a whole park tool repair stand and the add on truing attachment, but most of what I do now I can do without the bike being on a stand (though a stand would definitely make some things easier like a drive train replacement that I also have parts for and will be doing once I have the wheels done and the new cassette on so I know how long to make the chain). But in the end that was looking to cost in the area of $200+ and our family income is about to take a (hopefully temoporary) decrease, so I'd like to do something cheaper than that.

    tl,dr version: Looking for suggestions for a decent, inexpensive truing stand if there is such a thing.
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  2. #2
    incazzare. lostarchitect's Avatar
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    I posted on craigslist asking for a free used fork and got one. Try it, you might get lucky too.

    Then I drilled a hole in my desk. It's usually covered with a cutting mat, so no worries. Looks fine.

    If you don't have a workbench, where are you gonna put the vice?
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Jed19's Avatar
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    Apart from trolling craigslist, another option is to actually post a "wanted ad" on craigslist's bicycle for sale section. I was able to find and buy an unused Park TS-2 truing stand on craigslist real cheap. The stand was a present to the seller, and he was no longer into cycling, hence the sale.
    Regards,

    Jed

  4. #4
    Senior Member theblackbullet's Avatar
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    This is the one I've been using: http://www.performancebike.com/bikes..._1030340_-1___

    I just started building wheels this year, and have found this stand to be easy to work with. About ~7 wheels built on it and counting.

  5. #5
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    A fork will do OK for a front wheel and be a stretch (quite literally) for any rear wheel and won't have any indicator pointers for true or hop unless you get a salvaged brake caliper too.

    Amazon is selling the "Sunlite Deluxe" truing stand for $60 with free shipping and it stands on any flat surface and folds for storage. The reviewers give it 4 stars so it's at least functional. It looks very much like a cheaper version of the old Minoura stand which sells for 2.5X as much also from Amazon. Here is the link:

    http://www.amazon.com/Sunlite-Deluxe.../dp/B000AO7GDK

    REI has the Park "Home Mechanic" truing stand for $100. It's nothing elegant but should work for what you require. Here is REI's link but you might find it for less elsewhere as REI is almost never the price leader:

    http://www.rei.com/product/722266/pa...:referralID=NA

    With either of these stands (or almost any other model too) you will need a dishing tool to be sure your rims are centered or be willing to flip the wheel over frequently as it is trued.

  6. #6
    Senior Member theblackbullet's Avatar
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    ^^^I have owned a cheap stand similar to the sunlite deluxe and have had bad experiences. When you use wheels with different hub spacing, the metal arms have to flex and if they don't flex equally, then you have the wheel sitting to one side or the other of the stand. This makes it hard to use one side of the feelers. Also, with that narrow base, larger heavier wheels like to move the whole stand around. I'd definitely opt for the spindoctor stand with the prices being that close.

  7. #7
    incazzare. lostarchitect's Avatar
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    With a fork, you can use zip ties for indicators. It works very well.

    To do rear wheels, you attach the wheel so it's outside the fork (as in, it's only attached to one of the 2 dropouts). This also works well--it's the same way the $100 park home mechanic unit above attaches.

    I'm not saying it's not nice to have a truing stand, but really--you do NOT need one to build wheels. If you're on a budget a fork works nicely.
    1964 JRJ (Bob Jackson), 1973 Wes Mason, 2000ish Colian (Colin Laing), 2013 Velo Orange Pass Hunter

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by himespau View Post
    So are there any inexpensive (sub $100) truing stands that are decent?
    I've been happy with the Minoura I've been using for the last fifteen years; those can be found for about $80 with Craigslist having a used one for $40.
    Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 10-18-11 at 11:52 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post


    REI has the Park "Home Mechanic" truing stand for $100. It's nothing elegant but should work for what you require. Here is REI's link but you might find it for less elsewhere as REI is almost never the price leader:
    I'd skip it. It's a lot easier having separate radial/lateral probes and separate left/right (move each one in until the rim hits it to find high spots instead of eye-balling for the highest excursion away from the probe) instead of single-sided.

    http://www.rei.com/product/722266/pa...:referralID=NA

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by theblackbullet View Post
    ^^^I have owned a cheap stand similar to the sunlite deluxe and have had bad experiences. When you use wheels with different hub spacing, the metal arms have to flex and if they don't flex equally, then you have the wheel sitting to one side or the other of the stand. This makes it hard to use one side of the feelers. Also, with that narrow base, larger heavier wheels like to move the whole stand around. I'd definitely opt for the spindoctor stand with the prices being that close.
    i have the Minoura and it, like the Sunlite, has two sets of notches for both front and rear hub spacing so the rear spacing doesn't have to flex much to accomidate different widths from 126 to 135 mm.

    I find with any truing stand that using the qr skewer to clamp the hub firmly in place makes a world of difference in stability and reproducability.

  11. #11
    Can'tre Member 3alarmer's Avatar
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    Cheap, portable, stores easily, and it works .......

    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    i have the Minoura and it, like the Sunlite, has two sets of notches for both front and rear hub spacing so the rear spacing doesn't have to flex much to accomidate different widths from 126 to 135 mm.

    I find with any truing stand that using the qr skewer to clamp the hub firmly in place makes a world of difference in stability and reproducability.
    +1 on all of this.......If they still made the Minoura, it's the one
    I'd require for the people who take the infrequent class I teach
    here. In its absence, the Sunlite is a pretty good knock off, just
    a little less in the sturdy department, but still ideal for the person
    who only builds the occasional wheel and needs to fold up and
    store the thing somewhere to save space.

    I still use mine a great deal, and have had zero issues with differences
    in locknut over distances from hub to hub. You do need to buy a dish
    gauge to use with it. Otherwise you have to continually flip the wheel,
    which becomes tedious.

    Quote Originally Posted by Terrierman View Post
    No wonder everybody hates you.

  12. #12
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
    I posted on craigslist asking for a free used fork and got one. Try it, you might get lucky too.
    good idea

    Quote Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
    If you don't have a workbench, where are you gonna put the vice?
    I was just going to get a square section of plywood, and bolt it to that and work from it while sitting with the vise on the floor and its weight and the profile of the board keeping it steady.
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  13. #13
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jed19 View Post
    Apart from trolling craigslist, another option is to actually post a "wanted ad" on craigslist's bicycle for sale section. I was able to find and buy an unused Park TS-2 truing stand on craigslist real cheap. The stand was a present to the seller, and he was no longer into cycling, hence the sale.
    Yeah, I hadn't considered this, but will try it. Thanks.
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  14. #14
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Ok, I'll try asking on CL first, but it sounds like that Sunlite on Amazon (or the Spin Doctor) would be acceptable if I can't find anything. I'd seen the Sunlite one but saw that it was so much cheaper than anything else and so that made me wonder if it was too flimsy. Also, I wasn't sure how adjustable it was as the first wheels I'll be building will be 130 mm x 26" so I didn't want to get something that wasn't adjustable and one for 700c wheels (though it'd probably be dumb to make one just for one size wheel, but I wouldn't put it past the lowest cost producers).
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  15. #15
    working on progress treebound's Avatar
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    How close to Andover are you?
    http://boston.craigslist.org/nwb/bik/2656151254.html

    I searched for "truing stand" on the Boston CL and get four hits, one was the above link, I didn't look at the other ones. Also check for nearby CL cities, especially if you are outside of the main one nearest to you.

    Speaking of which, time to search my local CL again, just keeping a casual eye open for a stand as well. In the mean time I just use a fork or old bike as a wheel holder.

    Edit: and here's a TS-2 Park stand as well:
    http://boston.craigslist.org/gbs/bik/2649107999.html
    Last edited by treebound; 10-18-11 at 12:42 PM. Reason: added edit
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  16. #16
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Thanks, I saw those, the andover one came on after I posted, but unfortunately, I'm not within range of either of those as I'm car free. Might contact the guy in framingham and see if he ever comes into the city though.
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  17. #17
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Turns out there's a used one of those cheaper Minura stands on fleabay, so I guess I'll try for that as it seems to have been highly regarded. Might have to finally get around and set up one of those sniping programs as I often tend to get outbid at the last second.
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  18. #18
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    Last edited by bionnaki; 10-18-11 at 02:54 PM.

  19. #19
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    I've been using something like the Performance stand noted above, or the Minoura on sale at Nashbar: http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...0052_164238_-1___

    Works fine. Flip the wheel occasionally to make sure it's really centered. The stand ain't rocket science. 90% of the problems I've had I traced back to bearing adjustment, the rest were user error.

  20. #20
    Senior Member peugeot mongrel's Avatar
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    This may seem amusing but this works well - lightweight & stands up on it's own - can take it inside, spin & tweak in the evening - cheap. It has helped me build 3 sets so far. I made a bracket to set dish.



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  21. #21
    Chainstay Brake Mafia
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    nice.. you could do that without having to cut a frame too
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Tunnelrat81's Avatar
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    I built this stand out of Roger Musson's wheel building book and couldn't be happier. I built it with scrap plywood and the hardware etc. and finish cost me less than $25. If you're interested, you can google his name and link to his book. He sells the book online in .pdf form for around $15.

    -Jeremy


  23. #23
    Senior Member peugeot mongrel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frantik View Post
    nice.. you could do that without having to cut a frame too
    I got the front half of a bike already cut up at a salvage yard - you do have to spread the fork a lot for the rear so you can't go back.
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  24. #24
    Senior Member Chombi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theblackbullet View Post
    This is the one I've been using: http://www.performancebike.com/bikes..._1030340_-1___

    I just started building wheels this year, and have found this stand to be easy to work with. About ~7 wheels built on it and counting.
    +1 on the Spin Doctor truing stand as sold by Performance Bike! I've had mine for almost two years now and successfuly built a few wheelsets on it already. Like all things you need to get used to its features and understand how to best use them, It's a pretty simple/basic truing stand, but it is more than adequate to build up any kind of wheel you might want to. PB prices them really low, especiailly when they have them on sale for pre and post season clearances. I think I got mine for less than 50 bucks!

    BTW, if one is wondering about the quality of the stand, take note that it's actually a re-branded Minoura (Model 1) stand, so I might think that it's at least mid-level in quality and not crap. Only thing I might want to add to it is a centering tool to set up/center the feeler support, but you can also do that by either using a known good/center wheel or flipping the wheel you are building a couple of times to move things towards the center. IMO, With all it's features, it's a much better value than Park's lowest model truing stand.

    Chombi

  25. #25
    Senior Member Chombi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by himespau View Post
    Ok, I'll try asking on CL first, but it sounds like that Sunlite on Amazon (or the Spin Doctor) would be acceptable if I can't find anything. I'd seen the Sunlite one but saw that it was so much cheaper than anything else and so that made me wonder if it was too flimsy. Also, I wasn't sure how adjustable it was as the first wheels I'll be building will be 130 mm x 26" so I didn't want to get something that wasn't adjustable and one for 700c wheels (though it'd probably be dumb to make one just for one size wheel, but I wouldn't put it past the lowest cost producers).
    I avoid Sunlite tools after the chainwhip I bought from them exploded to pieces on the first freewheel I used it on......It was a total junkster of a tool!!

    Chombi

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