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Thread: Newbie Question

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    Newbie Question

    Hi! I've been lurking on the boards for about a month now, and figured since we're back in season here in Buffalo I would ask a few questions.
    I just purchased a cheap Quest bike from Dicks ($99, down from $250). I took it out for a 9 mile ride Saturday. Last year, I did the ride on a cheap Wal Mart Roadmaster mountain bike and was dead tired. I had to stop at least twice there and back and walk the bike. I've been going to the gym and really focusing on cardio. This time, I was able to do the ride without stopping and I was going pretty fast this time!
    When I got the bike home, I noticed the front rim was bent a little, so the brakes were rubbing in a few spots. I want to get a new front and rear wheel. I am only looking to spend about $30 or $40 on the wheel. I was looking at some at Niagara Cycle Works online. I figure i need steel and 36 spokes. Any suggestions from that site that anyone can help me with? Thanks!

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    A wheel shouldn't fail after a single ride. Perhaps you should see about getting Dick's to repair or replace it? It also might not be a bad idea to pay a local bike shop to true and tension the wheels that came with the bike (assuming Dick's can't do it).

    You don't say what size wheel you need, but for $30-40 I wouldn't expect you to get much. Heck, many tires cost more than that!

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    Senior Member Pinyon's Avatar
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    When you are talking about the $20 - $40 range for a wheel, then your best bet is to get a used one. New ones in that price range will have similar problems to the one that you already have. I would suggest trying a used sports equipment store or local bike shop that specializes in vintage or used bikes. Many of those bike shops have old wheels laying around that come off bad wrecks, or when people decide to replace a wheel for some reason or another. That is what I did to replace the rear rim on my older bike. It works like a champ.

    I would also suggest that you try to find a aluminum rim/wheel (double-walled aluminum rim if it is a 700c road bike rim). Aluminum rims will hold up A LOT better than the steel ones these days. Mostly because the only people that really make steel rims these days tend to use cheap and softer steel than they used to make wheels out of prior to the late 1980s. After 1990 or so, aluminum rims really do hold up better than the steel ones. Believe me. I know. It does not have to be made by someone like Mafic or Bontrager, but parts and repairs on those name brands will be easier and cheaper to come by. Unless you want to learn how to lace spokes and repair and build and re-build the wheels over and over yourself.

    Good luck.
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    They are Wheel Master wheels. Here is a link to one of them.

    http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ducts_id=31594

    Anyone have any information on these? I really only ride casually. I will usually ride 2-3 times a week to and from work, approximately 6 miles each way. I'm not off-roading with them or riding centuries (yet). I really want to ride but I can't afford to spend hundreds on wheels.

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    Senior Member CACycling's Avatar
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    OK, you most likely don't need a new wheel, you just needed it trued as mentioned above (I assume Dicks would do this for free as you just bought the bike). The wheels you see at Niagara are probably equal to or less than the quality of what you currently have on the bike so it would not be an upgrade.

    You bought a low-end bike and, if you really get into riding, you will probably be looking to replace it down the road. Doing much upgrades to a bike like this really isn't worth it. Just keep the wheels trued, brakes and derailers adjusted (if you are at all mechanically inclined you can learn to do this yourself with very few tools) and ride the heck out of it.

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    Go to a _good_ bike shop and get them to true the wheels. Truing is the process of straightening out the wheel and ensuring that all the spokes are tensioned correctly. Buying a so-so wheel is not going to fix anything and you'll likely end up with the same exact problem. Good luck and enjoy the riding!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg_R View Post
    Go to a _good_ bike shop and get them to true the wheels. Truing is the process of straightening out the wheel and ensuring that all the spokes are tensioned correctly. Buying a so-so wheel is not going to fix anything and you'll likely end up with the same exact problem. Good luck and enjoy the riding!

    +1 Go to a reputable bike shop and get the wheel trued & retensioned. I very seriously doubt that Dick's will be able to perform the needed maintenance. They are simply a "Big Box" retailer that specialises in sportingoods.

    Keep riding. You'll be amazed at how fast your endurance improves.

    Best of luck and welcome to the herd !
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    Remember, hard work pays off later but procastination pays off now!

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    Thanks for the advice. Last time I had a friend that is into bikes and does all his own work true a wheel on my mountain bike. Then I started popping tubes left and right. I should state I'm 6'3'' and about 325 lbs. I do know someone who just started at a bike shop, so maybe I will talk to him and see if he can check it out. I think the bike I have now has a 32-spoke count. I didn't know if the extra 4 spokes would make that much of a difference. I'm just really pi**ed offed that I just got it and it's already messed up!

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    Well, my experience with that- I bought a $100 mountain bike at Academy. I took it off the road twice, both times very gently on fairly smooth surfaces, but still bent a rear wheel each time. But for $40, I just replaced the wheel. I think the local bike shop didn't want to fool with it because it would involve $40 worth of work to fix it.

    I would suggest this, though. Take a close look at it and make sure no spokes are actually broken. If not, you can likely true it yourself to a reasonable extent. Take the tire off the rim, mount the wheel back in the fork, spin it, and mark where it's in and out. Notice that alternating spokes go to one side of the hub or the other. In the area where it's most out, tighten the spoke nipples a half turn that go to one side, and loosen the ones a half-turn that go to the other side. Spin it again, and repeat. Take your time, and you should be able to pull it back fairly true. With the tire off, you can use a screwdrive on the spoke nipples (at least the ones I've worked with), or you can buy a spoke wrench for $8 or so. If you buy the spoke wrench, take the wheel or a spoke nipple with you, because the wrenches come in different sizes. What happens on the cheaper wheels is that the nipple can pucker the rim in a little bit at that point, which loosens that spoke up and lets the wheel go sideways a bit. Retightening the spoke doesn't fix the pucker, but compensates for it. If a spoke is actually broken or pulled out, that won't work.

    It looked like my mountain bike wheels would have held up indefinitely (with me at 280 lbs) had I not ever hit a bump- so watch the curbs and potholes with the cheap wheels.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

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    Quote Originally Posted by sabresfan09 View Post
    They are Wheel Master wheels. Here is a link to one of them.

    http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ducts_id=31594

    Anyone have any information on these?
    I don't have any info, but for $27 I'd expect them to be complete junk. If you want decent wheels, I think you'll have to pay more. Do you really need a bolt-on cruiser wheel with a coaster-brake hub? If that's the case, I'm afraid there aren't going to be a whole lot of really great options. You best bet is probably to find a good bicycle shop and get them to true and tension the wheels you already own. Expect to pay around $20/wheel, or maybe a bit more if they're in really bad shape, for this service.

    If your bike is a 7-, 8-, or 9-speed mountain bike, then you have a lot more options as far are replacement wheels go...

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    Senior Member Zardhex's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum Good to know you've progressed from your previous ride! It looks like a good truing and re-tension of the spokes is the first thing i would try... If you use this opportunity to try to true the wheel yourself, may i recommend:

    http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=81

    lots of good repair info on the site....helped me resurrect a badly warped front rim on a beater wally-world Next mountain bike donated from a friend....i didnt have all the tools recommended in the link above but a good pair of pliers, a good grip, and a little bit of light oil to keep the spoke nipple's threads from stripping out..i got it trued to where the brakes are pretty tighton it with out rubbing(also learned things like deraileur and brake adjustments)...the best way to learn how to work on your bike is to start on that $100 bike...i know it seems a little scary learning how to work on something you just dropped hard earned cash on, but all it takes is a little patience, and help from anybody that knows about bikes, including a good bike shop...ride the hell out of it, and when something breaks, google your woes, or talk to the lbs(i doubt Dick's has any staff in the "bike-know") and you'll find a way to fix-er-up...then after a good hefty couple of months of riding it(and beating the crap out of it, cussing it out at every hill... hehe, just kiddin), you'll know what kind of bike you really want to get...and i guarantee it wont cost you more than a few hundred bucks for a much nicer one, leaving your Quest as a spare(and a learning tool)....and by then you'll have dropped some serious poundage too
    Last edited by Zardhex; 04-28-09 at 02:33 AM.

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    Senior Member lutz's Avatar
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    You have to face the fact, that a 100$ bike will always come with junk wheels. I believe no reasonable amount of maintenance will be able to rig them for a guy over 300 lbs ( the spokes are certainly crappy, too).
    Actually, I believe the best idea would be to look for a used old-fashioned mountainbike (without any suspension nonsense) from a brand name manufacturer (scott, specialized, univega, jamis, whatever).
    These bikes came with solid wheels and are solid all around (of course you would have to check the used bike - but many people are buying bike just for showing off and never use them).
    Cut your losses and get a good used bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sabresfan09 View Post
    Hi! I've been lurking on the boards for about a month now, and figured since we're back in season here in Buffalo I would ask a few questions.
    I just purchased a cheap Quest bike from Dicks ($99, down from $250). I took it out for a 9 mile ride Saturday. Last year, I did the ride on a cheap Wal Mart Roadmaster mountain bike and was dead tired. I had to stop at least twice there and back and walk the bike. I've been going to the gym and really focusing on cardio. This time, I was able to do the ride without stopping and I was going pretty fast this time!
    When I got the bike home, I noticed the front rim was bent a little, so the brakes were rubbing in a few spots. I want to get a new front and rear wheel. I am only looking to spend about $30 or $40 on the wheel. I was looking at some at Niagara Cycle Works online. I figure i need steel and 36 spokes. Any suggestions from that site that anyone can help me with? Thanks!
    Replacing a cheap junk wheel with another cheap junk wheel, is going to cost more in the long run then getting a decent wheel in the first place. Now on your current wheel, if it's just rubbing a little, you need to go to a good bike shop and get the wheels trued, going out of true is typical when a wheel has low tension. Let me explain, a spoke hooks into the hub, the other end is screwed into a piece called a nipple. The nipple is free to turn, so when they true a wheel, they alter the tension of various spokes so that the wheel is straight and round.

    Spoke tensioning is to make sure all of the spokes have the required level of over all tension, this is both wheel and rider specific.

    Some wheels have chromed steel rims, you want to avoid those like the plague, when it's wet out, you get about the same stopping ability as a car on wet ice. Aluminum rims are better for stopping ability, and can still handle a load.

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    Hi! I've been lurking on the boards for about a month now, and figured since we're back in season here in Buffalo I would ask a few questions.

    What do you mean just back in Season... you can ride year around no problem around here Seriously once you get the cycling bug you won't want to pack away your bike for 6 months.

    I just purchased a cheap Quest bike from Dicks ($99, down from $250). I took it out for a 9 mile ride Saturday. Last year, I did the ride on a cheap Wal Mart Roadmaster mountain bike and was dead tired. I had to stop at least twice there and back and walk the bike. I've been going to the gym and really focusing on cardio. This time, I was able to do the ride without stopping and I was going pretty fast this time!

    It does take a bit of time to develop specific cycling endurance. When I started commuting to work a little over 2 years ago my 10 mile RT commute would get me quite tired for the first few weeks. After a while it gets easy. First a 20 miler seemed like a good long distance ride. As you ride more your perspective changes. Now I can ride weekly with the NFBC (Niagara Frontier Bike Club) weekly and can maintain nearly 21 MPH for 20 to 25 miles. You will get much stronger... just keep with it. It sounds like the workouts you've been doing over the Winter have helped set the stage for some descent endurance compared to where you were last year.

    When I got the bike home, I noticed the front rim was bent a little, so the brakes were rubbing in a few spots. I want to get a new front and rear wheel. I am only looking to spend about $30 or $40 on the wheel. I was looking at some at Niagara Cycle Works online. I figure i need steel and 36 spokes. Any suggestions from that site that anyone can help me with? Thanks!

    Take it back to Dicks and see of the "bike pro" can straighten the wheel out a bit. Unlike Wallmart of Target at least they do have some dedicated staff to help perform basic bike maintenance. These may not be the worlds most capable bike mechanics, but they should give you some basic help. If that doesn't work, then I fear that a $40 wheel will not help much either. I weight 215 Lbs and pack about 35 Lbs of gear with me on my daily commute. My first wheel neede replacing about 800 miles. The 2nd wheel went of almost 2500 miles before it started blowing spokes. As I approached 4000 miles, the wheel started blowing spokes every few weeks. I finally went and bought a high quality hand built wheel from Peter White. That set me back $238, but I also know that this wheel will last for may years and will NOT fail. Between my new rear wheel and the front wheel with generator hub (about $250), my wheels actually are worth just a hair more than what I paid for the bike. Such is the life of a clyde. Even mid priced bikes (around $500 to $600) will have wheels that will not hold up under normal riding conditions for us. Cheap machine built wheels just don't take much punishment. If Dicks won't help you straighten the wheel Berts Bikes charges $20 for wheel truing. That my be a best 1st step and then see how long your wheel lasts before you start blowing spokes.

    Happy riding,
    André

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