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Old 08-08-10, 07:20 AM   #1
big chainring 
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VAR Rim Dent puller

So my LBS has this tool. Its an old VAR tool that is made to pull the dents/flat spots out of rims. I have an old wheel with Nisi tubular rims. Its been used and somewhat abused as of late. The rim has two small flat spots that make the wheel thump, thump. thump down the road. I can definitely feel the out of roundness when riding the bike.

The dilemma is that the bike shop mechanic doesnt want to use it. He explained to me its an old tool that probably shouldnt be used because of the fatigue to the metal that is caused when the rim is bent back. He said that I already fatigued the metal bending the rim by riding it, and now bending it back could lead to rim cracking and failure.

The flat spots are'nt that bad. They really are'nt dents, just flattened spots. I would like to do it and take the consequences, but the mechanic said he wouldnt do it.

What do you guys think? Is he right?
Maybe I should go back when he is not there and see what another mechanic would do.
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Old 08-08-10, 07:32 AM   #2
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Find a new mechanic. Back in my shop days I used the VAR tool on regular basis with great success. The key is to loosen enough spokes to span the contact width of the tool. When pulling the flat spot go farther than you'd think as the rim will have tendancy to spring back. Be carefull with soft silver rims as the part of the tool that 'pulls' on the inside of the rim may leave indentations.
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Old 08-08-10, 07:38 AM   #3
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He's probably concerned, and doesn't want to make a testpilot out of a customer. After all, he would have no practical way to verify that the wheel would be safe.

I wonder how ductile the aluminum rim is, and how much overbending might be needed to allow for springback. I've played around with straightening aluminum clinchers with very mixed results. Perhaps tubular rims are more tolerant of such treatment?

If you really are curious, see if he'll sell the tool.

EDIT: Just saw miamijim's post. Good enough for me.

Last edited by FlatTop; 08-08-10 at 07:40 AM. Reason: firsthand info
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Old 08-08-10, 07:55 AM   #4
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metal fatigue on the VAR tool? WOW that tool is IMHO a built over built for the cause and I doubt it incurrs much stress during use.

most likely the tool is hanging there and he does not know how to use it.

well of course I can't find the tool online anywhere to ensure I am thinking of the correct one but I certainly would not worry about the age of the tool and stressing it.
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Old 08-08-10, 08:17 AM   #5
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metal fatigue on the VAR tool? WOW that tool is IMHO a built over built for the cause and I doubt it incurrs much stress during use.

most likely the tool is hanging there and he does not know how to use it.

well of course I can't find the tool online anywhere to ensure I am thinking of the correct one but I certainly would not worry about the age of the tool and stressing it.
Metal fatigue to the rim.

Yeah, he pretty much told me the tool hangs just for show. They have a whole bunch of really cool VAR tools that probably don't get much use. The tool itself is very solid.
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Old 08-08-10, 08:22 AM   #6
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.... Yeah, he pretty much told me the tool hangs just for show. They have a whole bunch of really cool VAR tools that probably don't get much use. The tool itself is very solid.
It sounds like they don't know how to use them.
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Old 08-08-10, 09:10 AM   #7
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Ask him, nicely, that if he isn't going to use it, will the shop sell it to you? Offer to sign a waiver to hold the shop harmless, if they desire. Make them feel comfortable about selling the tool to you.

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Old 08-08-10, 09:46 AM   #8
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Tell him you don't wear a helment either, so it is ok to use it.
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Old 08-08-10, 09:57 AM   #9
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^^^ lol!!!
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Old 08-08-10, 12:44 PM   #10
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^LOL^

Thinking this through or maybe overthinking. The mechanic was a nice guy. He put my wheel on a trueing stand and checked it out closely. He may have just been trying to save me the disappointment and considerable labor charge involved in the repair. I can remember working at a bike shop and customers would come in with bikes that were beyond reasonable repair, the labor would be more than the bike was worth and really wouldnt improve the bike that much.

But man thats a cool looking tool. Maybe I'll casually stop in in the near future and see if they want to sell it, or just loan it to me. They are one of the better shops around and have dealt with me fairly in the past.
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Old 08-08-10, 01:35 PM   #11
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I've used that tool and it does work, but don't expect perfection.
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Old 08-08-10, 02:12 PM   #12
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I wouldn't have used that tool on a tubular rim either, mine or a customer's. It barely works on steel clincher rims, which is its intended purpose.
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Old 08-08-10, 03:37 PM   #13
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I'm in the same situation with a set of Shimano 600 wheels I got for $25. The rear has a flat-spotted Wolber GTX rim. I've seen the Park tool which expands off the hub's shell. Looks iffy. Thought I'd experiment with a plywood jig and C clamps to try to pull the flat spot out some. Curved pieces of wood to support contact points.
Nothing to loose, otherwise it's a new rim anyway.
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