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  1. #1
    Senior Member transam's Avatar
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    Truing Rolf Prima wheels

    We had a little accident today on our regular ride. While crossing a wooden bridge the rear wheel slipped in a crack and threw it out of true. We have a Co Motion with Rolf Prima Tandem wheels. I'm wondering how difficult it will be to true the wheel. Does it require a special tool to turn the nipples? Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.
    Just remember, once you're over the hill you begin to pick up speed.

  2. #2
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Before touching the wheels I would contact your authorized Rolf dealer or Rolf directly, just to make sure you don't inadvertently void any warranty coverage and to be sure that they won't need to inspect the wheels since 'being out of true' could have more than one root cause. It's the old 'ounce of prevention' thing.

    To your question, the 'tool' is a 3/16" nut driver with .300" OD ($15 from Rolf) that you work from inside the rim after removing the tire / tube / rim strip tape. A Craftsman 3/16" purportedly has the necessary .300" OD to fit into the spoke hole recess. The real problem becomes checking the tension as Rolf has previously said only the $360 DT spoke tensionmeter is accurate enough for use with their wheels. I don't know of too many shops or enthusiasts who have one of those things sitting around.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 05-21-08 at 09:02 AM.

  3. #3
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Interstingly, the book that comes with the wheels gives a whole bunch of info on how to operate a quick release, all the things to check periodically about the wheels, how to maintain the hubs. But says nothing about truing them.

    I guess they don't want you messing with the spoke tension. But it would be nice if they put in the info in TG's post.

  4. #4
    Senior Member transam's Avatar
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    Yeah, your right. They don't want you messing with the spoke tension. I just got back from the Rolf dealer near here and he said Rolf uses high tension on their wheels and the tension must be very accurate. Rolf suggests sending the wheels to him or have a pro with the highly accurate DT tensionmeter that TG mentioned do the truing.

    Our problem is the rim is bent and can't be straightened. The wheel is on it's way to Rolf to be rebuilt to the tune of $300. These high tech wheels aren't cheap.

    The moral of the story is don't ride across wooden bridges with cracks running parallel to the road.
    Just remember, once you're over the hill you begin to pick up speed.

  5. #5
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by transam View Post
    Our problem is the rim is bent and can't be straightened.
    That was my fear...

    Unlike conventional wheels, when high-tension / low-spoke count / paired-spoke wheels get out of whack with regard to spoke tension or wheel true it's usually a bad thing. Most efforts to re-tension and re-true seem to only to delay the innevitable rebuild while increasing your risk of a future spoke failure on the road.

    I still haven't decided what our long-term wheel strategy will be, aside from using the conventionally built wheels for our daily riding and tours. The Topolino wheels will likely be called upon for climbing or those times when you want to grab attention, and the Rolfs will be pressed into service for the flat and fast rides.

    As for the $300 bill on the repair, that sounds like a new rim, a full set of new spokes (they're really expensive spokes), labor + shipping.

    The Topolino's would probably cost about the same to fix for a really bad episode... assuming a right and left side spoke was damaged. However, any good wheelbuilder can purportedly do the Topolino rebuild.

  6. #6
    Senior Member transam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
    That was my fear...

    As for the $300 bill on the repair, that sounds like a new rim, a full set of new spokes (they're really expensive spokes), labor + shipping.
    That was my fear also, especially when you mentioned the wheel being out of true could have more than one root cause. I'm glad I got the professional opinion and just didn't try to do a quick fix. Could have had some serious consequences. My stoker is worth a whole lot more than the 300 bucks it'll take to make things right.

    The repair does involve a new rim, spokes, labor and shipping. We're now in the market for a new set of wheels for every day riding. Save the Rolfs for special occasions.
    Just remember, once you're over the hill you begin to pick up speed.

  7. #7
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by transam View Post
    We're now in the market for a new set of wheels for every day riding. Save the Rolfs for special occasions.
    FWIW, I'll be putting the black 36h White Ind MI5 / MI6 disc hubset (alloy carrier) with Velocity Fusion rims and Sapim spokes up for sale (see photo below) within the next 30 days or so... as soon as our next set of conventional wheels are finished. They will also come with a brand new spare Fusion rim. Not sure of the asking price yet, but it will be reasonable.


  8. #8
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    Hi, I am a bit new to this forum, but am throwing in my two cents about Rolf Wheels. First, I really like these wheels, but have not had good luck with reliability. Last spring, after about 3200 miles, the rear rim pulled out a pair of spokes. Our Burley Rivazzi was out of commission for three weeks while waiting for the wheel from Rolf. Much to the credit of Rolf they warranted the wheel even though it was beyond the warranty period. Last month, after a routine check, I noticed a wobble in the rear wheel. I then noticed the hub had broken at a spoke hole. This was after putting another 3400 miles since pulling out a couple of spokes. We are 3oolb team in season when we do the bulk of our miles. We ride in southeastern Michigan where the roads can be rough. This time it has already been a month and we still are waiting for the return of these wheels from Rolf. To their credit they are again warranting the wheels. I had the good fortune about a month before the Rolfs failed to run across a deal on a spare set of wheels. So, we are not totally out of a tandem like we were last spring. Right now, I am debating whether to cut my losses and sell them, or just use them for fast club rides and special rides.

  9. #9
    Senior Member brewer45's Avatar
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    After an unfortunate incident very similar to the OP, Malkin and I ALWAYS walk unfamiliar obstacles like railroad tracks and broken-up asphalt. We also walk obstacles that we know all too well. This gives us practice on starting and stopping, and avoids pinch flats and bent wheels.

    Cheers!
    2008 Red Co-Motion Speedster Co-pilot (Redster)
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    2007 Giant FCR2W (stoker's commuter)
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    1970's Stella rebuilt as fixed-gear (captain's toy)

  10. #10
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeybikey101 View Post
    I really like these wheels, but have not had good luck with reliability. Right now, I am debating whether to cut my losses and sell them, or just use them for fast club rides and special rides.
    The problem with these and other 'racing wheels' is that they are designed for racing, e.g., special events where a performance 'boost' is desired. Unfortunately, consumer demand feed by marketing have combined to create the impression that these types of wheels are 'suitable' for every day use. The latter is simply not true and the increased wheel-related problems and associated costs to fix those problems continue to bear this out.

    To Rolf's credit, they have continued to improve the the reliability of their products whenever a systemic weakness has been identified. Early on it was a quality control lapse with wheel lacing and tension answered with a more robust QA program. After that a front hub design issue surfaced that was addressed with a beefed-up front hub. More recently they changed the rim to provide a wider brake track and add more material to the spoke bed. In many cases, failures related to these issues have been addressed under warranty.

    Bottom Line: Racing wheels are, well, racing wheels. IMHO, to reap their real benefits, maximize their service life, and mitigate costly repairs teams should train on conventional wheels and 'save' their racing wheels for appropriate special events that warrant their use.

  11. #11
    Oldie, just not here! Onegun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
    The Topolino's would probably cost about the same to fix for a really bad episode... assuming a right and left side spoke was damaged. However, any good wheelbuilder can purportedly do the Topolino rebuild.
    TG, are you saying the spokes on the Topo wheels CAN be replaced? To my old eyes, it sure looks like they are molded as part of the hub shell!
    BICYCLE - [bahy-si-kuhl] - Noun :> A medical device used to correct the common geriatric condition of OFS, (Old, Fat & Slow), in a manner that does not induce brain-decaying boredom like walking or running.

    2005 Trek T2000 Tandem, 2003 Burley Tosa Tandem, Pacific Dualie beater tandem, and 6 singles including 2 fixies.

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  12. #12
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onegun View Post
    TG, are you saying the spokes on the Topo wheels CAN be replaced? To my old eyes, it sure looks like they are molded as part of the hub shell!
    Topolino wheels use a modular design centered around the aluminum front axle/bearings and the heat treated steel rear axle / bearings and hard anodized alloy cassette carrier. Just looking at the wheels one might assume there are 24 spokes on the front wheel and 30 on the rear. However, the spoke network for each wheel is comprised of a left and right hand hub/spoke assembly; wheel halves if you will. Each front wheel half and the left rear use 6 hybrid carbon and kelvar reinforced spokes that run from one side of the rim to the other across the axle and are bonded to the hub. The right rear drive side uses 9 hybrid spokes. This method of constructing the wheel eliminates the J-bends and associated bending moment and stress points found with most spokes, either at the hub or the rim, e.g., Shimano's DuraAce 16 wheel design.

    If a spoke becomes damaged during a crash or from mis-handling, or breaks at the threaded end for some reason (e.g., road hazard), the damaged hub/spoke assembly can be replaced as a unit, either by Topolino or a qualified wheel builder. Each hub/spoke assembly costs owners about $65 after a $100 core charge is refunded upon return of the damaged hub/spoke assembly.

    The spokes on a Topolino are attached to the rim by stainless steel spoke nipples that sit inside the rim similar to the Rolf's and are trued in the same way as a steel spoked rim using relatively normal tension.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 05-22-08 at 09:52 PM.

  13. #13
    Oldie, just not here! Onegun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
    However, the spoke network for each wheel is comprised of a left and right hand hub/spoke assembly; wheel halves if you will.
    Aaah! I didn't get that from their site, nor see it when I was looking at yours in the flesh. I got the "continuous spoke" idea, but I thought the "wheel halves" on their site was just an exploded view to show you the replacable axle inside, etc. Interesting technology!
    BICYCLE - [bahy-si-kuhl] - Noun :> A medical device used to correct the common geriatric condition of OFS, (Old, Fat & Slow), in a manner that does not induce brain-decaying boredom like walking or running.

    2005 Trek T2000 Tandem, 2003 Burley Tosa Tandem, Pacific Dualie beater tandem, and 6 singles including 2 fixies.

    TampaBayCycling.com - A LOCAL Cycling Forum
    The Florida Panthers Tandem Club

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