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Truing a bent rim?

Old 05-29-12, 08:43 AM
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-M.
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Truing a bent rim?

Hey,

This morning a car backed into my front wheel and bent the rim. (I wasn't able to get his plates though) I took it off the bike and I was able to bend it back enough so that it turns in the dropouts again. There is luckily no fork/frame damage. I'm going to try and true the wheel this evening to see if I can get it back to proper working order. I don't have alot of experience truing wheels so is there anything I should be on the lookout for? I did a quick check of the wheel and it doesn't seem to be cracked anywhere. (I'll double check again this evening) I just want to make sure I don't miss anything and that I'm not going to be riding a rim that is going to fail at some point.
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Old 05-29-12, 08:56 AM
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Look for stress cracks if the rim had any sharp local bends. If it's just warped badly, you can true it by the spokes. How decent you get the final results depends on your skill, the number of spokes, the nature of the bend, and the rim's rigidity. It takes variation in tension to force a rim into line, so you'll be doing a balancing act between relatively even tension and getting the wheel straight, but you can't have both.

Assuming you can get it decent, don't worry about safety issues. It won't suddenly collapse, but will have a shorter lifespan and will begin the process of breaking spokes sooner rather than later, though that could be years out. If you do start breaking spokes later on, my rule is to forgive one or two, and think total rebuild after the third.
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Old 05-29-12, 11:19 AM
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Thanks for the info. It didn't have any really sharp bends, just warped badly. I'll give it a shot tonight and hope for the best. It's not an expensive rim but I'd rather not have to replace it if I don't have to. Good to know if won't fail on me when/if I can get it working properly again.
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Old 05-29-12, 11:25 AM
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Backed into you? How close were you to his ass? Just because you are on a bike, doesn't mean you shouldn't follow the normal spacing. Always stop a car length behind for 2 reasons. 1) There is room in case they drift backwards on start up. 2) In case they stall you can get around them without making dangerous maneuvers in traffic.
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Old 05-29-12, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by svidrod View Post
Backed into you? How close were you to his ass? Just because you are on a bike, doesn't mean you shouldn't follow the normal spacing. Always stop a car length behind for 2 reasons. 1) There is room in case they drift backwards on start up. 2) In case they stall you can get around them without making dangerous maneuvers in traffic.
The OP came here for advice about saving his wheel, not a lecture about riding in traffic.

There are any number of ways someone following good practices can get backed into. And there's no one answer for how far behind a stationary car one should stop.
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Old 05-29-12, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by svidrod View Post
Backed into you? How close were you to his ass? Just because you are on a bike, doesn't mean you shouldn't follow the normal spacing. Always stop a car length behind for 2 reasons. 1) There is room in case they drift backwards on start up. 2) In case they stall you can get around them without making dangerous maneuvers in traffic.
It was at a red light and I was behind him, at the back of the car right by the curb in the bikelane. It wasn't a four way stop, just a red light in the middle of a longer street at a crosswalk for pedestrians. I'm guessing he backed up to angle his car because he then did a u-turn to go the other way. I can only assume he didn't see me at all. The bottom of the wheel hit the curb and the top of the wheel got pressed further by his bumper. I looked away for a second to check my bag for something and because the light had just turned red I knew I'd have to wait a little bit anyway and that's when it happened. (not making that mistake again!)

I'm just glad that I wasn't further ahead, it could've turned out worse. Not being hurt is the main thing to me, having a bent rim for something stupid like this is annoying and frustrating but can be fixed or replaced if needed. I do agree with your spacing (for both cars and bikes) if behind a car in the lane but I was in the bikelane at the side of the road and he just backed right into the lane. Not really sure what I could've done to avoid that.
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