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  1. #1
    Senior Member donheff's Avatar
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    When is wheel truing needed?

    On my front wheel I have Roval Classique Pavé, alloy double wall rim, machined sidewalls with 20 spokes (24 rear). I have about 5000 miles on the bike and have never trued the wheels. A few days ago I noticed a slight shimmy in the front when I was leaning back riding no-hands. I checked everything out and nothing seems loose. When I spin the wheel there is a very tiny bit of side to side movement when I watch the rim pass the brake shoes but not enough that I would have assumed I need to true it. I would guess it might be 1/32". Other than the little shimmy when I lean back the bike feels fine at speeds up to 40 MPH (around my max). So, is such a tiny bit of movement a sign that I need to true the wheels?

    Also, I have only trued a wheel once - on my beater bike after I ran into it with the car. It had cheap, ten year old wheels so no harm, no foul. I got the wheel revolving satisfactorily but damaged the nipples on a couple of spokes in the process. I question my skill set for truing my good wheels but... Are the videos on you tube good enough to coach me on these newer, higher end wheels?
    Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson

  2. #2
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    1/32" is not much. Just a little tweek to tighten one spoke might do the job. Have you checked to be sure the tube and tire are seated correcty?
    oldschool areodynamic brick

  3. #3
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegheny Jet View Post
    1/32" is not much. Just a little tweek to tighten one spoke might do the job. Have you checked to be sure the tube and tire are seated correcty?

    Yea - what he said.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
    If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

  4. #4
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    To avoid damaging nipples in the future, buy a better wrench.

    First, know which wrench. Black is for DT or Wheelsmith spokes. Red is for Japanese spokes and I believe that green is for some obscure English spokes. Chances are you need black. The final determination is that the wrench should just barely go onto the nipple.

    Second, buy one of the wrenches that has its slot in a corner rather than in one side. This will allow the wrench to capture all 4 sides of the nipple for a better grip. This type of wrench is placed around the spoke above the nipple an pushed "down" onto the nipple to locate it. At the upper limits of torque on the drive side of the rear wheel, this type of wrench is much more likely to prevent the rounding off of the nipple.

    Good spoke wrenches are worth what you pay for them.

  5. #5
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    I'm probably a little obsessive when it comes to wheels, so for me any blip is a problem. My rationale is blips only get worse and harder to fix if ignored. However, don't mess with a good wheel unless you have consulted a repair book of some sort. The Park Tool company book or the Zinn manual have good intro sections on truing up wheels. I would warn you that truing can be a bit mind bending at times. Have fun.

  6. #6
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    That amount of movement in a wheel is just on the acceptable- but How about the spokes? Ping the spokes and they should feel taught and should all have the same ring to them(Except around the wobble) If any of the spokes feel loose- then get them into a wheel builder to tension and retrue- and get the rear wheel done at the same time.

    In fact- at 5,000 miles I would do this in any case. those spokes would have lost tension after that milage.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  7. #7
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    In my humble opinion, the one thing that separates real cyclists from casual cyclists is the ability to build one's own wheels. Now that most online bike shops are selling only prebuilt wheels (and no longer selling rims and spokes), this is becoming less a sine qua non, but learning how to build your own wheels will certainly give you the confidence to true any wheels where you detect shimmy. I've even re-dished a Shimano pre-built wheel when I converted one from cassette to Surly Fixxer. Wheel-building is not as complicated as it looks. It reminds me of basket-weaving sometimes. There are many books on the subject. Jobst Brandt's is probably the standard reference, even though the author is terribly arrogant, he does know his stuff. And if you want to build with ultimate convenience (no dishing tool required), get the Park professional truing jig, the greatest wheelbuidling invention of the 20th century.

    Luis

  8. #8
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    5,000 miles? seriously? wow. I would think you would have a pro check the spoke tensions on both wheels by now. also ... 40 mph? seriously? wow. you have experienced the dreaded "death wobble" especially if you got it when you took your weight off the front and overloaded ht rear. look it up -it's a pretty interesting phenomena especially at high speeds. I got it once and it wasn't a happy experience!
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  9. #9
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    Tensioning is the hard part. Lacing is straight forward with a few pictures. Truing is patience. Look around at a bunch of bikes I bet on most where the brake rubs the wheel you will see scalloping from over tensioning. I can't tension wheels but I have laced and trued them. Poor tensioning and 1 spoke goes and the wheel goes WAY out of round.

    Bill

  10. #10
    Senior Member donheff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    5,000 miles? seriously? wow. I would think you would have a pro check the spoke tensions on both wheels by now. also ... 40 mph? seriously? wow. you have experienced the dreaded "death wobble" especially if you got it when you took your weight off the front and overloaded ht rear. look it up -it's a pretty interesting phenomena especially at high speeds. I got it once and it wasn't a happy experience!
    The LBS where I bought it (and my wife's) offer a nice deal on comprehensive tune-ups over the winter. I think I will tell them to true all four of our wheels this year. As to 40 MPH, I go that speed on a steep hill I ride down once in a while and I didn't experience the wobble there. I have only noticed it at low cruising speeds like 15 MPH when I lean back and ride with no hands for a break. No way I am doing that going downhill at speed
    I think I will practice a bit on our beaters and maybe look into truing the good bikes' wheels next year.
    Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson

  11. #11
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegheny Jet View Post
    1/32" is not much. Just a little tweek to tighten one spoke might do the job.
    To avoid making the wheel out of round, never tighten just one spoke without also loosening an adjacent spoke an equal amount. http://sheldonbrown.com/wheelbuild.html#tensioning
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  12. #12
    Senior Member
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    I am intimidated by this thread.
    Here I thought I was a reasonably accomplished cyclist biking over 10,000 miles/year.
    I guess I am not. No idea this business was this complicated.
    I had wheels go bad on me a few times. In all cases the wheel needed to be replaced. Cracks. Perhaps I got the cracks because of improper wheel maintenance? I thought I had lousy wheels.
    Well, I will see my LBS more often. Too old to learn new tricks.

  13. #13
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    Go to the Barnett's site http://www.bbinstitute.com/manual.htm

    and download the free wheel truing chapter. You'll get all the factors that dictate the need for wheel truing.

    A few years ago I bought the cheap Park spoke tension gauge when the best lbs mechanic in the area started using one. Mine reads the same as his after we lubed the pivots as recommended in Barnett's.

    I've tensioned equalized one set of wheels with it so far which is the best way to optimize a wheel to reduce failures not to mention truing requirements.

    Al

  14. #14
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    All my wheels get a once a year going over. During the dark cold of winter, I bring them in one at a time, check for true, check spoke tension, lube the spoke nipples, repack the wheel bearings, etc. If there is any problem with a wheel it gets checked immediately (the advantage of having more than one bike and/or extra wheels is that you don't miss rides while a wheel is being worked on). I don't especially like to see any wobble at all. Hence, my wheel truing stand does get regular use throughout the summer, but these are usually on two to three minutes jobs. I used to build my own wheels, but have no interest in that any longer.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by lhbernhardt View Post
    .
    And if you want to build with ultimate convenience (no dishing tool required), get the Park professional truing jig, the greatest wheelbuidling invention of the 20th century.

    Luis
    I vote for the Ultimate for ultimate convenience. It's one arm allows better access to the spokes and it's compactness/portability makes it easy to haul around if you travel to bike. No dishing tool required as well.

    http://www.aspirevelotech.com/Mercha...Code=ULTTRUING

    Al

  16. #16
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    I have no idea why you are running wheels with so few spokes...but I would have them checked and trued by a very knowledgeable wheelbuilder...you do not want a failure at 40mph.

  17. #17
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FloridaBoy View Post
    I have no idea why you are running wheels with so few spokes...but I would have them checked and trued by a very knowledgeable wheelbuilder...you do not want a failure at 40mph.
    Modern wheels that are well maintained will work just fine with fewer spokes. Modern rims are much stronger than just a few years ago and rim strength is the real secret to wheels.

  18. #18
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I would get my wheel trued every couple of years, or whenever there's any noticable wobble - whichever comes first. I like a perfectly straight wheel - it makes me happy - and I'm willing to pay the relatively small cost to make it so.

    I get my wheels trued and tensioned before every tour whether they need it or not. I've had a tour ruined by broken spokes and aim to prevent it in the future if at all possible. I carry a pretty big load on tour.

  19. #19
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    do you have strong touring wheels? ever consider using wheels from a tandem bike? (which might be even stronger) I wonder how much heavier a tandem wheel is over a standard wheel
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  20. #20
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    do you have strong touring wheels? ever consider using wheels from a tandem bike? (which might be even stronger) I wonder how much heavier a tandem wheel is over a standard wheel
    Tandem wheels can be a bit heavier and there is also a significant dropout spacing difference.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddmaxx View Post
    Modern wheels that are well maintained will work just fine with fewer spokes. Modern rims are much stronger than just a few years ago and rim strength is the real secret to wheels.
    I have not kept up with all the advances but *I* would still have the wheels checked and trued. Ask the mechanic what to look for that could be a potential problem.

  22. #22
    Senior Member genel's Avatar
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    From my experience, admittedly pretty subjective, is that a spoke is about to fail. Nearly every time I've noticed that a wheel has developed a bit of wobble, within a couple hundred miles I'll get that distinctive "ping". In the old days wheels going out of true was common and you could correct it easily. But today's wheels seem much stronger and normally stay true for thousands of miles, but then a spoke will stretch just a bit and then fail.

    I'm not an expert, just my experience.
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  23. #23
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    I have two sets of wheels for the Tandem. When riding seriously-it is surprising how often you put a wheel out on these things. Last had them trued in 2007 and one set have been on the wall ever since. The set I am using are perfectly true and nothing wrong with them. Except in comparison the the set on the wall- the spokes are slack. Very slack. Time to get them retensioned.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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