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Whether or not to mention wheel hop to the customer??

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Whether or not to mention wheel hop to the customer??

Old 03-09-15, 12:41 PM
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ClarkinHawaii
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Whether or not to mention wheel hop to the customer??

So I had a rebuild of what turned out to be a rather irregular used rim--cheap to begin with and rode hard ever since, with the usual minor warps and damages.

Bottom line--some radial hop (1-1.5mm) not resolvable without resorting to grossly uneven spoke tensions. Even spoke tensions are particularly important in this case because this guy is big and powerful and has a history of broken spokes.

So I made the compromise that in my judgement resulted in the best wheel that I could make out of the components supplied.

Operating on the principle that "ignorance is bliss" and the customer isn't going to be able to feel it anyway, because of tire and road surface imperfections, I can choose to not mention it to the customer.

Or, I can explain it all to the customer and perhaps turn off his enthusiasm for his newly-built wheel, and for no particular benefit.

Or I can stop work when I see that the hop is there to stay, contact the customer, and ask what he prefers me to do.

Which is the best course of action?

Last edited by ClarkinHawaii; 03-09-15 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 03-09-15, 12:56 PM
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do you really want stranger's on the internet recommending your course of action concerning the quality of your products and how they relate to your relationship with your customers?
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Old 03-09-15, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by ClarkinHawaii View Post
Or I can stop work when I see that the hop is there to stay, contact the customer, and ask what he prefers me to do.
This is what I would expect if I was the customer.
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Old 03-09-15, 01:07 PM
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Not commenting on the hop or the reasons or implications because I don't have enough info, but you should tell him.

The simple reason is that he may see it later and explanations of "imperfection" are easier up front than after when it'll sound like you're backpedaling.

In fact, depending on what you had to work with, you might have been in a position to explain up front, before even accepting the job, that there might be limitations, and you'll do the best possible within the limitations of his used rim.

"Expectation management" is a critical skill necessary to being a skilled practitioner whether he be a bicycle mechanic, doctor, or lawyer. Everything you do is constrained by the specifics of what you're working with, and it's important to explain the range of possible outcomes up front.
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Old 03-09-15, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Not commenting on the hop or the reasons or implications because I don't have enough info, but you should tell him.

The simple reason is that he may see it later and explanations of "imperfection" are easier up front than after when it'll sound like you're backpedaling.

In fact, depending on what you had to work with, you might have been in a position to explain up front, before even accepting the job, that there might be limitations, and you'll do the best possible within the limitations of his used rim.

"Expectation management" is a critical skill necessary to being a skilled practitioner whether he be a bicycle mechanic, doctor, or lawyer. Everything you do is constrained by the specifics of what you're working with, and it's important to explain the range of possible outcomes up front.
You hit the nail on the head, as usual.

In this specific case, the rim did not at first appear to have problems.

Lesson learned--from now on I will make it a standard policy to explain that the ultimate quality of the wheel will be constrained by any imperfections in the components. Simple, easy, covers my rear end, avoids embarrassment, and I should have thought of it on my own. Thanks!

Last edited by ClarkinHawaii; 03-09-15 at 01:40 PM.
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Old 03-09-15, 02:18 PM
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That's a problem with "repairing" wheels.
You have no idea how the spoke tensions etc. are until you check them.
You have to have your disclaimer up front that the wheel may have "unresolvable" problems AND what the course of action will be.

The customer may have already had the wheel "trued" and been dissatisfied.
In steps Clark and says "I can fix that wheel"!
You end up in a somewhat embarrassing situation as now......

You have to have a "PLAN B" in place before you start.
Never assume the customer is totally ignorant about the situation and you can fool them.
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Old 03-09-15, 02:47 PM
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Cant get the rim Trued back round or is it as tire issue?
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Old 03-09-15, 03:22 PM
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I've built most of my wheels on used rims. But I am now careful about what I spend the time building.

Is this the guy with 26" MTB wheels? Is it a flat rim, or double walled rim?

1mm hop may be within the design specs of the MTB wheels, and may be as tight of tolerance as what they were when new. Although, it could add a very minimal stress to the wheel.

When I true up wheels for friends and family, I rarely mention that the truing isn't perfect as it is always better than it was when I got it.

If it was my customer, I'd probably call him up and tell him that the rebuilt wheel has a slight hop. Possibly as good as it was when it was new, but not quite as good as you like to do on road bikes. But that MTBs often have slightly greater tolerances than road bikes. Then offer a new rim, spokes, and second rebuild (at a reasonable additional cost). My guess is that he will be very happy with the new wheel, and choose not to do the second rebuild. You could even give him a few days to try it out.

I think there are benefits of using a new, strong, double walled rim but it may not be in the budget. Also, since the wheel is already built with used parts, it might not save much money to rebuild a second time now, rather than just trying it out for a while.

Ultimately you will have to judge what the customer's expectations are now, and guess what they will be like in the future.

Next time, suggest potential problems with rims that have had a heavy rider and multiple broke spokes before beginning a rebuild.
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Old 03-09-15, 03:48 PM
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All of the replies above are great--all I know so far is he says he has a problem with wheel hop--more will be revealed--thanks for the great advice and suggestions--I don't know anyplace else where I could learn so much so fast as on this forum. Mahalo!
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Old 03-09-15, 05:16 PM
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Next time you take in a used wheel for rebuild or repair, spin it in a truing stand, to get a sense of the "before" so you know what you'll be dealing with.

Broad sweeping changes in radius, like a round wheel built off center are easy to correct, as are gently ovalized rims that aren't very deep in section. What's harder to correct are local flat spots, with repairability decreasing with greater depth, narrower span (more local) oe deeper cross section rims. These local flat spots usually mean actual distortion of the rim and are much harder to flex to round than a rim that's warped but not actually bent. Deeper section rims are always harder to correct for radial bends, because the section is so stiff in that direction.

A quick spin in a stand to assess the issues will put you in position to estimate what you can achieve and how long it'll take you. While you're at it, don't forget to look for signs of corrosion, brake track wear and stress cracking since all of these also factor into any decision.
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Old 03-09-15, 05:54 PM
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I was thinking about throwing a wheel on the truing stand pre-disassembly.

But, if the old wheel was missing a spoke, then it is a bit of work to replace the spoke, true, then unbuild and rebuild, but perhaps worth it, especially if you've already trued that wheel a few times.

I don't think I've ever unbuilt a wheel only to rebuild it. I often get loose parts, but I'm getting better with pre-inspection of those too.

Put Knobbies on the MTB wheel...
You'll never feel a thing.

I still think that 1mm is pretty close to the MTB tolerance.
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Old 03-09-15, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by ClarkinHawaii View Post
All of the replies above are great--all I know so far is he says he has a problem with wheel hop--more will be revealed--thanks for the great advice and suggestions--I don't know anyplace else where I could learn so much so fast as on this forum. Mahalo!
One of my friends asked me to look at the wheel from one of his fellow church members.
The guy was homeless and needed a favor.
After he showed up, I put it on the truing stand and it was spot on as one could expect from a used wheel.
Next i ran the tension meter and the tensions were basically perfect.
He then told me he had taken it to the LBS and they had trued it.

Then I stepped back and saw the big bulge in the tire!
I was in such of a hurry to show my "skills", I missed the forest!
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Old 03-10-15, 07:12 AM
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I've found low spots at the rim join to be common, especially in low priced rims. I attribute that to how the rims are made. The extrusion is rolled into a coil and a saw cuts the coil into sections that are flattened and joined to form individual rims. If the width of the saw cut isn't accounted for, the rim will have a slight low spot at the join.
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Old 03-10-15, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
I've found low spots at the rim join to be common, especially in low priced rims. I attribute that to how the rims are made. The extrusion is rolled into a coil and a saw cuts the coil into sections that are flattened and joined to form individual rims. If the width of the saw cut isn't accounted for, the rim will have a slight low spot at the join.
Amazingly, I'm finding lately that some of the cheap unbranded Chinese rims are rounder with smoother rim joints than some of the name brand products.
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Old 03-10-15, 08:35 AM
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As a customer, honesty of a vendor is key. You should tell him about the compromise and explain that in your opinion, the best option without buying a new rim is to keep a little hop in the wheel.

You can even be somewhat blunt about the fact you can't in good conscience take the hop out of the wheel with these components without compromising reliability.

If the hop is only 1.5 mm, you should be able to convince him that it is the right move, with his only reasonable option to pay for a new rim (and potentially spokes unless ERD is the same for the new rim).
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Old 03-10-15, 09:13 AM
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If it were my wheel, I'd be tempted to slacken/detach a couple spokes where the rim "dips" inward, knock it outward slightly with a block of wood, and see if that helps the hop and tension imbalance. Probably better to play it safe with a customer's wheel though.
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Old 03-10-15, 09:42 AM
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As a provider, the last thing I'd want is for a customer to see any indication that my work wasn't excellent.

I even make sure the damn directional arrows on Conti GP4000 tires are pointing the right way even though I'm thoroughly unconvinced those tires actually have directionality. I just don't want a customer to see the arrow one day and think "well, they put my tire on backwards".
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