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old bike, wobbly wheel

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old bike, wobbly wheel

Old 09-19-21, 01:40 PM
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gululok
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old bike, wobbly wheel

I've been fixing up my old Costco bike for commuting. I thought I was almost done, but the bike store guy pointed out that both my wheels are a little wobbly. Also, while the spokes are solid enough, a lot of the nipples are rusty, and may break during truing. Other than the excess noise, are there any safety concerns to ride on wobbly wheels? I'm watching wheel truing videos on youtube right now. Is this something an amateur might do, or should I really leave it to the experts?


Also, I've replaced my shifter cables, and fitted some extra housing on sections where cables are previously left bare. The bike store guy seemed puzzled by that. Is there an advantage to leaving sections of the cable bare? Should I go back and remove those extra housings?
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Old 09-19-21, 01:44 PM
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unterhausen
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Welcome to the forum.
Bare cable is fine and has less friction. It might be better to remove the excess housing.

It's hard to know about truing your wheels. One thing you can do is oil the nipples at the spokes with a penetratingly oil. It would help someone else if they were going to try to true them if you don't feel you are up to it. The main thing to remember about truing is not to change it too much at one time.
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Old 09-19-21, 02:51 PM
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Bill Kapaun
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Originally Posted by gululok View Post
I've been fixing up my old Costco bike for commuting. I thought I was almost done, but the bike store guy pointed out that both my wheels are a little wobbly. Also, while the spokes are solid enough, a lot of the nipples are rusty, and may break during truing. Other than the excess noise, are there any safety concerns to ride on wobbly wheels?............
"excess noise" is a bit confusing.
IF it's from the rim hitting the brake pad, the rim needs truing.
IF it's from the hub, the hub needs servicing/replacement.

On a rear wheel, the spokes on each side will have different tension. (that's how you add "dish" to a wheel)
However, all the spokes on the same side should be equal to each other. You can "pluck" the spokes to compare evenness of tone/tension.
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Old 09-19-21, 03:09 PM
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gululok
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
"excess noise" is a bit confusing.
IF it's from the rim hitting the brake pad, the rim needs truing.
IF it's from the hub, the hub needs servicing/replacement.

On a rear wheel, the spokes on each side will have different tension. (that's how you add "dish" to a wheel)
However, all the spokes on the same side should be equal to each other. You can "pluck" the spokes to compare evenness of tone/tension.
Regarding the excess noise part. I haven't noticed it while riding, but the bike store guy pointed out that with the wheel out of true, some spots scraps against the break pads as the wheel turns. I'm wondering if this is an issue I can safely ignore for now. The park tools videos on youtube make it seem like a reasonable weekend project, but if I can safely live with it, maybe it's not worth risking me doing something stupid.

How do I tell if the hub needs servicing? I re-greased the pedals last weekend. Might be the hub need some love, too.
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Old 09-19-21, 03:37 PM
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Sounds like your wheel needs a true. It's not a massive safety issue, but if a wheel is out of true then it means there are spokes that are incorrectly tensioned and therefore the wheel is weak and the problem is only going to worsen over time.
If you are planning to do it yourself make sure to lube up them nipples before hand and be prepared to potentially replace some spokes. Once you learn how to true a wheel it really is a very valuable skill and is pretty straight forward once you get the hang of it.
Regarding hub servicing; remove wheel from bike, spin axle, if it feels rough or if there is excessive play then it needs a service.
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Old 09-19-21, 04:06 PM
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If you decide to lube the nipples, couple of things:

First, the rear non-drive side (left side) is usually under quite low tension and shouldn't need lube to turn freely. Any lube that you put on it may dissolve any compound that was put on there during the original build to prevent the nipples from rattling loose.

Don't use too much lube on the other nipples. Too much lube can get into the rim and make a mess on the protective tape that is installed to protect the tube. Just put some lube in a small container, dip a small stick (toothpick) into the lube and 'dot' a small amount at the spoke/nipple joint & also where the nipple enters the rim.

When trueing the wheel, if nipples seems stuck, you can add a little more lube where needed.
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Old 09-20-21, 12:30 AM
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If you plan to tension/true your wheels, do the front first as you do not have to worry about having spokes with different tensions on one side compared to the other. If you do not have a derailleur gear hub on the rear, the wheel will not be 'dished' and so the spokes will have the same tension on each side - so if you have a single speed bike or one with the gears inside the hub then tensioning the front and rear wheels will be the same.

Some rust on the surface of the spokes or nipples is not a problem - it is whether there is any rust on the spoke threads inside the nipple that will make or break your day

I assume you have a spoke nipple tool and not using a normal spanner? If you do not have one then get one, even those ones designed to fit many different spoke sizes are better than a normal spanner.

Start at the valve and go round the wheel checking whether each nipple is free. You should be able to turn it by a quarter of a turn than then back again without that rubbery feel you get when the nipple is frozen and all you are doing is twisting the spoke. I do not lubricate any of the spokes before I do this - instead I mark each spoke where the nipple is stiff or frozen by putting a bit of masking tape around that spoke. Once you have finished checking all the spokes, you now know which spokes need a bit of penetrating oil.

If you do have some frozen nipples, be patient. Sometimes it can take a week or more for all the nipples to free up, and I check them every day, removing the bit of tape from the spoke once that nipple frees up. If after a week of lubing and trying you still have some frozen nipples you might need the help of an experienced bike mechanic. I typically work on low end bikes that might be 20-40 years old, with little to no maintenance, left out in the rain or stored in a barn, and I have found that patience really pays off. Once a frozen nipple makes a little squeak and moves a little, then a bit more penetrating oil, and start to twist the nipple gently back and forth with your wrench, come back the next day and do it a bit more and eventually it should free up enough.

Now you should be ready for the truing/tensioning process.
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