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Old 12-05-08, 07:55 AM   #1
donheff
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Wheel maintenance

I just read a comment on a bike review that piqued my curiosity: "20 and 24 spoke wheels seldom need maintenance but when they do it will be beyond the reach of most home mechanics." I have trued (or more accurately sorta trued) the wheels on an old beater bike and assumed I would be able to do so on my Tricross Comp when the time comes. I am glad to hear that the time may not come fast but what is with the difficulty issue? Are these things really a lot more difficult to true? Do the spokes tend to stay in place for a long time?
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Old 12-05-08, 09:11 AM   #2
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I hope you are right.

I haven't had to true my low spoke wheels (Performance Forte Titans) yet, but I am confident I can do it when needed. The rims are stiffer and the spoke tension is higher than a traditional wheel, but the principle is the same, no?

By the way, the Titans are great wheels for the price. I got mine on sale for $130 for the pair.
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Old 12-05-08, 09:31 AM   #3
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I've trued hundreds of wheels and the basic rule of thumb here is: the more spokes on the wheel, the easier it is to true. In my experience I have found this to be the case.

It is also more difficult (for me) to true wheels that have the spoke nipples at the hub. Still do-able but more time consuming.

48 spoke tandem wheels are easy to get super-true and round!

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Old 12-05-08, 10:12 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick@OCRR View Post
I've trued hundreds of wheels and the basic rule of thumb here is: the more spokes on the wheel, the easier it is to true. In my experience I have found this to be the case.

It is also more difficult (for me) to true wheels that have the spoke nipples at the hub. Still do-able but more time consuming.

48 spoke tandem wheels are easy to get super-true and round!

Rick / OCRR
Less spoke count are not easy to retrue. That is what I have found but the main problem is if you have Aero Spokes. In tightening the nipple- you twist the spokes so you have to hold the spoke so it does not twist. A tool is normally available for this type of spoke from the manufacturer of the wheels.


I have a set of Durace wheels and only 16 spokes on the front wheel. I decided that they would be safer if done by the wheel builder at the LBS but the Mavic Aksiums I tightened the spokes when they became loose and took the slight wobble out of them. Whether they are oval now is anyones guess. but they ride OK.

But the wheels I do have trouble with are the Tandem wheels. 36 spoke downhill spec and the tough rims do take some pulling back into shape.
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Old 12-05-08, 10:30 AM   #5
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I am no expert but this is my understanding of low spoke count wheels. Equal spoke tension set at the right value is critical throughout the wheel. Small variations can lead to spoke failure. One needs a tension meter to set tension and true wheels. Some manufactures, such as Rolf, require very accurate measurement of tension that is beyond most shops and traditional spoke tension meters.
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Old 12-05-08, 12:07 PM   #6
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annecdotally,
I sheared off 2 spokes on my 20 spoke Ritchey rear wheel when a large branch was kicked into my wheel by an adjacent rider on our weekly Sat. morning hammerfest, whilst about 4th back from the front of peleton. Wheel totally jammed in the chainstays.
I skidded to a halt with a blown tire due to , and everyone reacted expertly ... no one went down...
a lotta 'DOOOODEEE!" sss (and other more colorful expletives ...) pronounced and heartrates recoverin from goin MAX... brown chamois stains... you know the routine...

anyway,
Replaced the spokes myself, not knowing I wasn;t s'pposed to be able to get the wheel true again without compooterized machinery...

the ritchey wheel been fine and pretty true for over a year - based on what my truing stand shows...

maybe some wheel configs are more sensitive, to ab-user adjustments, than others?
I know a set of Alex wheels which came on a Tarmac I had didn't stay true for more than 50 miles before both front and back went out again...
...one of the few bikes which I quickly made go away...
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