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truing stock wheels

Old 05-26-09, 04:42 PM
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daven1986
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truing stock wheels

Hi all,

I keep reading threads where people have wheels that keep true for many thousands of miles. I was wondering if I can get the same effect if I true a stock wheel to within 0.5mm and properly stress test etc. or does this phenomenon only occur on hand built wheels?

Also how much of a jump is it to go from truing wheels to building them?

Thanks

Daven
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Old 05-26-09, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by daven1986 View Post
Hi all,

I keep reading threads where people have wheels that keep true for many thousands of miles. I was wondering if I can get the same effect if I true a stock wheel to within 0.5mm and properly stress test etc. or does this phenomenon only occur on hand built wheels?

Also how much of a jump is it to go from truing wheels to building them?

Thanks

Daven
Depends on the particular machine built wheel and the quality of the components and the build. A properly chosen wheel, with good qualitiy components, machine built properly can probably be tensioned and re-trued by hand to last a long time - if the wheel is being used for it's intended purpose.

Whether or not a wheel stays in true doesn't mean anything. And you shouldn't use that as a metric for quality wheelbuilds. Which is what you're trying to do. A perfectly fine handbuilt wheel will still go out of true if it's not being used for it's ideal application. Say fat guy on a single wall rim, piece of **** hub. etc etc.

If you can tension and true a machine built wheel. It's down to just learning proper lacing and proper preparation and it's all the same.
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Old 05-26-09, 04:49 PM
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Not much of a jump, really.

One ingredient you left out is developing the proper tension. The higher the tension your wheel has, the less likely it is to go out of true. Of course, too much tension will damage your rim. And getting to too much tension is likely to round off the spoke nipples.

How often do you find yourself truing your wheels?
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Old 05-26-09, 05:31 PM
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+1 to most of what noglider said.
A minor clarification IMO is that it is not 'to much tension' that roundsoff the spokes, rather it is because of a wrong sized or cheap spoke wrench, not lubricating the spoke threads and nipple/rim interface, and/or using aluminum nipples that contributes to the rounded nipples. Of course, it is aggravated because at higher tensions (which is of supreme importance to achieve a strong, durable wheel) more torque must be applied, and the mentioned causes will likely do in the nipples.
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Old 05-26-09, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Not much of a jump, really.

One ingredient you left out is developing the proper tension. The higher the tension your wheel has, the less likely it is to go out of true. Of course, too much tension will damage your rim.
Rofl. Bunch of nonsense.

Too high spoke tension = less durable wheel. Why? Because spokes are above their ideal tension! Wheels with higher spoke tension than normal doesn't make it less likely to go out of true. You get no benefit from running higher tension than needed.
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Old 05-26-09, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by wmodavis View Post
+1 to most of what noglider said.
A minor clarification IMO is that it is not 'to much tension' that roundsoff the spokes, rather it is because of a wrong sized or cheap spoke wrench, not lubricating the spoke threads and nipple/rim interface, and/or using aluminum nipples that contributes to the rounded nipples. Of course, it is aggravated because at higher tensions (which is of supreme importance to achieve a strong, durable wheel) more torque must be applied, and the mentioned causes will likely do in the nipples.
You people seem to think "high tension" instead of "proper tension" results in quality wheelbuilds. No wonder there are so many crappy handbuilt wheels out there.
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Old 05-26-09, 07:08 PM
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Perhaps we differ in how we use terms, but your conclusion that I'm full of it or that I don't know how to build durable wheels is unfounded. I agree that too much is bad. In other words, there is such a thing as too much tension. But it isn't found often. It's easier to find a wheel with too little tension.

You seem to be disagreeing with something I didn't say, i.e. that more tension is always better.
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Old 05-26-09, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by daven1986 View Post
Hi all,

I keep reading threads where people have wheels that keep true for many thousands of miles. I was wondering if I can get the same effect if I true a stock wheel to within 0.5mm and properly stress test etc. or does this phenomenon only occur on hand built wheels?

Also how much of a jump is it to go from truing wheels to building them?

Thanks

Daven
There's nothing magical about hand-built wheels. If they invented a cheap machine that would lube nipples, lace a hub and install nipples, I'm sure many builders would buy it. It's the steps builders take following this that often lead to a hand-built wheel lasting a long time.
In some ways, it's easier to build a wheel than to properly true an existing wheel. When you build a wheel from scratch, you know its history, you know the steps that have gone into it, you know how the components were measured, etc. When you true an existing wheel of unknown build, it's like trying to understand a movie when you walk into it half-way through.
The jump from truing to building mostly involves measuring and choosing components, lacing is very minor. The main steps in building integrate the three processes of creating lateral true, creating radial true, and gradually building correct and even tension. Weaving these three together present the main challenge in building. None of these is accomplished in one step, or one single round. When you are working on one factor, you have to keep in mind how it will change the other two.
If you can true a wheel, and you have paid attention and learned what really happened when you turned the wrench, then you can build a wheel.
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Old 05-26-09, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by operator View Post
You people seem to think "high tension" instead of "proper tension" results in quality wheelbuilds. No wonder there are so many crappy handbuilt wheels out there.
Welcome back.

I think you and Noglider are on the same page here...

I have to agree with you on the proper tension vs high tension as I have heard too many people say that to build a wheel right you need to tighten the spokes to the point of rounding off the nipples or max out the tension.

That is a load.

Proper spoke tension is based on a number of factors as you can only build a wheel that is as strong as it's weakest link and excessive tension can f up a perfectly good rim.

When you use a tension meter and calculate spoke tension there is a minimum and a maximum tension allowed and one needs to work within that range... this is where experience comes into play as you will know that certain components can withstand.

Maxing out the tension also removes one's reduces one's ability to make any adjustments down the road.

Building a wheel is not rocket science but it also isn't child's play... some people never get it.

My Pug has some old Raleigh wheels with a suicide hub but besides that it has single walled Weinmann rims laced with 1.3 mm butted spokes to Normandy hubs... they are very light.

After 15,000 km they are still running as true as the day I rebuilt them... had I ridden them as they were I know they would not have survived the abuse they have received.

Middle of the road parts and an excellent build can yield some great results.
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Old 05-27-09, 02:28 AM
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thanks for all the replies, my road bike wheels have gone perhaps 1 or 2mm maybe more out of true which is affecting my brake pad to wheel distance. I plan to get a tool and try truing them, but was wondering if in the future this could be extended to building a whole wheel it seems it can, however it may be just as cost effective to get a LBS to build the wheel and I just maintain it true.
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Old 05-27-09, 05:08 AM
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There are good wheels to be had at prices lower than you, or I, could buy the components for. But knowing how to true - preferably build - wheels is an invaluable talent that puts you into a true(!) and working knowledge of what is going on with this part of your bicycle. I suggest all cyclists learn this - no rush, but do try to get around to it.

As for a bike-shop building wheels for you, be very careful. A LBS built a wheel for me recently as I was on a tight schedule. If I didn't have a working knowledge of wheels - I might have ridden on the turkey they handed me. It was a disaster! Good think I knew what to look for.
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Old 05-27-09, 05:10 AM
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Originally Posted by daven1986 View Post
Hi all,

I keep reading threads where people have wheels that keep true for many thousands of miles. I was wondering if I can get the same effect if I true a stock wheel to within 0.5mm and properly stress test etc. or does this phenomenon only occur on hand built wheels?

Also how much of a jump is it to go from truing wheels to building them?

Thanks

Daven

It depends on the all the components of the wheel really. Can you go back properly stress a machine built wheel that wasn't built well to start with? I don't know ..... but it sounds like a can of worms for a novice.

Who's to say if you could build good wheels until you try it.

Is there something magical about handbuilt wheels? Yes, No.... Maybe..... it depends on the user. It is an art form in itself.... as everyone has their ways of completing the process. The first well built wheel I bought was made by Wheelsmith in the 80's. It was perfect.... and stood up to anything. It didn't last though, as nothing does when it takes on a car.... otherwise I'd still have it. I prefer handbuilt these days too. Joe Young built my last set and I've not had to ever touch them for adjustments. As Gerd Schraner says..... they "Stand"! I use a pro because I set my limits on how much time/energy I want to spend working on a bike. Everyone is different..... they only way to know is to do it.
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Old 05-27-09, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Garthr View Post
It depends on the all the components of the wheel really. Can you go back properly stress a machine built wheel that wasn't built well to start with? I don't know ..... but it sounds like a can of worms for a novice.
For the novice, every thing about wheel building is a can of worms but it can be learned. Jobst Brandt's or another good book on wheelbuilding is a very good starting point.

One way to get hands-on experience is to buy cheap machine built wheels or, better, get them off of a thrift-shop bike. Take them apart and rebuild them as that will take you through all of the assembly, truing and tensioning steps at low cost and with little liability. You could use your bike frame and brake pads as a makeshift truing stand so your only investment would be a spoke wrench. The knowledge you gain will allow you to properly maintain your good wheels if they need attention.

As Retro Grouch, I and others have stated repeatedly, you can buy good quality, preassembled, complete wheels for less money than you can buy the components, even if you already have the hubs. And "machine made" wheels from a good source like Colorado Cyclist will be hand finished and properly trued and tensioned needing no further work. I have over 10,000 miles on a set of CC's wheels and they have needed no truing attention whatsoever.

So, the only reason for building wheels from scratch is the love of the process and the satisfaction it can bring. The pure economics don't support it.
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Old 05-27-09, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by daven1986 View Post
thanks for all the replies, my road bike wheels have gone perhaps 1 or 2mm maybe more out of true which is affecting my brake pad to wheel distance. I plan to get a tool and try truing them, but was wondering if in the future this could be extended to building a whole wheel it seems it can, however it may be just as cost effective to get a LBS to build the wheel and I just maintain it true.
Read the available information on wheel truing first and when you are comfortable with that, you can tackle this rather basic task.

Go slowly and be patient and if you have problems... stop.

I service a lot of wheels and many of those come from people who didn't completely understand the process and ended up borking up their wheel... I have also taught many people how to true and build wheels... some people seem to get it immediately and do very satisfactory work while others need to work at it a little longer.

I find it to be one of the most satisfying things I do in the shop and no fail wheels are a wonderful thing.
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Old 05-27-09, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by vredstein View Post
If they invented a cheap machine that would lube nipples, lace a hub and install nipples, I'm sure many builders would buy it.

How much do wheel building machines cost, anyway? And do they lube the nipples or anything? If not, why not?
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Old 05-27-09, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
How much do wheel building machines cost, anyway? And do they lube the nipples or anything? If not, why not?

First for the OP:

Search for threads by me a few weeks back - I detail exactly how to turn a machine built wheel into a decent wheel. It was a thread in which the OP was looking to buy a front wheel online.


Regarding wheel building machines...

I've received catalogs in the past for machines that in US dollars run 20,000 bucks. They are computer controlled, use a combination driver and wrench - driver as a guide for placement of the wrench. And they utilized a built-in torque measurement system. (This way they don't have to use short spokes - most wheels you see nowadays use long nipples to hide the fact that the spokes are too short - those nipples will eventually break just like under-tensioned spokes will eventually break at the heads.)

So the question basically is, how come they can't put out a quality wheel? Actually they can....BUT...the owner just turns around and uses the improved wheel building machine technologies to build even more wheels in the same amount of time. Greed for quantity rules the day...sad but true.

If you were to lube the nipple seats before inserting the wheels...and replace the wheels several times to squeeze the spokes...and then do a final touch up and squeeze...you can get a pretty good wheel in 15 minutes.

The above actually does happen - but only for very high end wheels per the requesting companies request to the OEM. I.e, don't expect it for bikes under the $1500.00 - 2000.00 price tag range...not suggested retail...but what would be considered "normal" retail. Think a Cervelo with Dura Ace or a Tommasini with Chorus to get that benefit.

=8-)
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Old 05-27-09, 09:08 AM
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Thanks, mrrabbit. That helps.

I just found this article, which helps also.

http://yarchive.net/bike/machine_built_wheels.html
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Old 05-27-09, 09:53 AM
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cheers guys I think for now I am going to stick with just truing the wheels - will give it a go once uni has finished.

The only reason I was looking into building a wheel is that I plan to build a bike with 23mm tyres and disc brakes, I can't find any wheels online that have rotors and can go down to 23mm tyres, I figured they would have to be custom builds.

Wheel building sounds fun though

I guess all the stress relieving etc. applies to truing wheels too?

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Old 05-27-09, 09:58 AM
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What is it exactly that you need daven?

Rim size?
Front and rear hub axle size?
Cassette or Freewheel?

=8-)
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Old 05-27-09, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by wmodavis View Post
+1 to most of what noglider said.
A minor clarification IMO is that it is not 'to much tension' that roundsoff the spokes, rather it is because of a wrong sized or cheap spoke wrench, not lubricating the spoke threads and nipple/rim interface, and/or using aluminum nipples that contributes to the rounded nipples. Of course, it is aggravated because at higher tensions (which is of supreme importance to achieve a strong, durable wheel) more torque must be applied, and the mentioned causes will likely do in the nipples.
very good advise...
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Old 05-27-09, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by mrrabbit View Post
What is it exactly that you need daven?

Rim size?
Front and rear hub axle size?
Cassette or Freewheel?

=8-)
rim size: 700c
front and rear hub size: this is the frame I want http://www.cotic.co.uk/product/roadrat and it says you can use MTB or road hubs I think.
Cassette will be required at the back

hope I understood what you asked!
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Old 05-27-09, 01:46 PM
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ah cool, I may be in the US at some point, but then there is the trouble of getting them back! At least I now have some confidence that I can find what I require. Is there any particular search term I can use to find similar wheels? At the moment "road rims with disc brake hubs" doesn't return anything useful.

are the park tool 4 sided spoke tools the ones to get? I remember reading somewhere that one kind doesn't grip the nipples properly.

thanks for the help
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Old 05-27-09, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by kenhill3 View Post
Shameless commerce.
Yeah...I'm shameless....

I actually bend over backwards not to do this as BikeForums does have advertising requirements...I think this is only the second time...first was for spokes...

=8-)
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Old 05-27-09, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by mrrabbit View Post
Yeah...I'm shameless....

I actually bend over backwards not to do this as BikeForums does have advertising requirements...I think this is only the second time...first was for spokes...

=8-)
Yes... there are advertising requirements.

Become a sponsor and then there will be no shame and I won't have to move posts.
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