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How often do y'all need to true your wheels?

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How often do y'all need to true your wheels?

Old 05-14-07, 12:32 PM
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musicsucks
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How often do y'all need to true your wheels?

I just put together a new bike, and after a few days of riding it quite a bit (i'll probably get up to 200kms today) it is suddenly riding a little bit less awesome than it was before- there is some drag happening somewhere in the back and i can't quite figure out why. I think the back wheel seems to be a tiny bit out of true- it is used, and i think it was in true when i got it, but it also spent a year in my garage which might have made a difference. anyways; before i keep rambling

1) How often do you true wheels? is this less of an issue if your riding a fix gear and don't have to worry about the back wheel rubbing on the brakes?

2) Is it possible for my chain to be too tight? I think i might just need a new bb.

3) are there any other common problems that might be causing this that noob like myself might be unaware of? I think my chain line (and back wheel) is pretty straight- but to accomodate that my wheel is a little bit closer to the left than say, my top tube. I don't see why that would be a problem, but i figure i'd mention it.
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Old 05-14-07, 12:42 PM
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1) Never. I ride brakeless which definitely helps. also I have never had a pair of wheels for more than two years. I have seen messengers ride around here with amazingly wobly wheels and they don't seem to care.

2) I think the general consensus around here is that you should have about .5" of play in the chain. anything tighter might be too much wear and tear on your drive train. Of course my LBS thinks I should have LESS than 1/8" play in my chain, but after having him install a chain on my bike, I popped it in less than 5 miles, so i'm looking for a new regular LBS these days.

I dont quite understand why your wheel would be more to one side to get the chainline straight so ill let someone else handle that.

I find if I have some drag someplace, its usually that my back wheel was knocked out of alignment from a philly pothole or my drivetrain is general not properly lubed etc. drivetrain i think is way more important on a fixed gear than on any other bike.
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Old 05-14-07, 12:45 PM
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i built some wheels, i ride with no brakes and i didn't true my rear wheel for like 1500 miles probably.
i did it the other day because the wheel was off since i was cleaning all the crap off of my bike from riding in the rain/mud streets.
it wasn't that far out, i tightened the spokes a bit and then trued it up...it didn't really need to be done.

there should not be alot of tension in your chain...mine is actually kinda slack.
also, if you have the old school BB take off your chain and make sure your lock ring (on your bottom bracket cup) didn't loosen up and let your adjustable cup tighten on your BB.
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Old 05-14-07, 12:59 PM
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My wheels need truing after the three accidents I had last week. Other than things like that your wheels shouldn't need truing after the initial breaking in of the spokes.
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Old 05-14-07, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by piwonka
there should not be alot of tension in your chain...mine is actually kinda slack.
Mine's tight as *****, and I've had no problems. I have probably between .25" and .125" of play in my chain.

I don't true my wheels, really, but then again... they don't get that f*cked up generally speaking. If I hit something hard and they really get bent, then I'll put a couple minutes into it.
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Old 05-14-07, 01:06 PM
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I dig tight drivetrains, personally. Loose chains can drop. I true my wheels truer every couple weeks just because I can.
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Old 05-14-07, 01:21 PM
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I hadn't trued my wheels in 1.5 years until last week. After some pre-alleycat festivities that involved wheelie-dropping a 1-foot curb, my front was awfully wobbly and rode like a bronco instead of a ferrari. Also, one of the spokes was noticeably bent. Trued it up, and now I like riding again. Imagine that.
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Old 05-14-07, 01:26 PM
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just did it last night. i thought the idea of truing your wheels was a foreign concept until i built up a set. i think it all depends on how the wheels are built. the last set i had never needed a truing, ever. the set that i am on now, the set that i built, my first build ever.....these things need to be adjusted every other month, but the adjustments are small.
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Old 05-14-07, 01:33 PM
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Your riding style will probably have a big influence on the need to true your wheels. The nice thing about a fixed gear wheel is that it has no dish. This makes for a much stronger wheel than a multi-speed wheel. Assuming that it was built well, it shouldn't require that much attention. If you are jumping curves, smashing into potholes and generally subjecting your wheels to hard treatment regularly all bets are off.
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Old 05-14-07, 01:39 PM
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Out of true wheels do not cause drag unless they touch the brake pads or frame etc. as they spin.

Dunno, I guess I true mine about once in 2000mi.
Non-stellar new wheels do need a truing soon after first use, it's no biggie. Doesn't mean that the build is all that bad, either. Just not world class.
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Old 05-14-07, 03:16 PM
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a well-bulit wheel will probably need to be trued once after being ridden a couple of weeks, and then hardly ever after that.

riding fixed and/or brakeless or not shouldn't have much bearing on keeping your wheels true. I can't see a wheel going out of true from rubbing on a brake pad. the brake pad would have to be horrible mis-aligned for that to happen, or the wheel is already way out of true if it's rubbing the pad. that will slow you down, but if you spin the wheel slowly you should be able to hear it if you can't just hear it when you are riding to tell if that is your problem.

I can have my chain pretty tight and it only makes noise if its not lubed well.
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Old 05-14-07, 03:19 PM
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Wheels should be trued when they need it, how often that is depends on how good the build was and how many stupid human tricks you do. If you're regularly having to true the same section, you probably have some issues (seized or semi-stripped nipple).

Chains should be loose enough that at the tight point the drivetrain doesn't bind, put the bike in the stand and give the cranks a gentle nudge. If they consistently stop at the same point, it's too tight.
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Old 05-14-07, 03:25 PM
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^agreed on that chain tension.

i think riding brakeless might be alittle harder on your wheels...doing the skids with the rear wheel sliding out to the side and the hops where the wheel is slamming on the ground and stuff...maybe not though.
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Old 05-14-07, 03:57 PM
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I built my wheels last September. Haven't needed to true them yet. Make sure the tension is on the tight side (but not too tight). Use a tension gauge.
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Old 05-14-07, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by piwonka
^agreed on that chain tension.

i think riding brakeless might be alittle harder on your wheels...doing the skids with the rear wheel sliding out to the side and the hops where the wheel is slamming on the ground and stuff...maybe not though.
riding brakeless stresses the crap out of a hub and wheel, so much so that I generally wont use a hub anymore after 2 years or 25k miles, ive had one fail before and it wasnt pretty

pretty easy to see why too, flip bike over then give the rear wheel a good healthy spin, now stop it abruptly with a gloved hand........lots of intertia huh? now think about all the trackstands, rocking back and forth, locking up the rear in a skid, and constantly applying max torque out of the saddle to the drivetrain, it puts lots of stress on things
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Old 05-14-07, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by pedex
riding brakeless stresses the crap out of a hub and wheel, so much so that I generally wont use a hub anymore after 2 years or 25k miles, ive had one fail before and it wasnt pretty

pretty easy to see why too, flip bike over then give the rear wheel a good healthy spin, now stop it abruptly with a gloved hand........lots of intertia huh? now think about all the trackstands, rocking back and forth, locking up the rear in a skid, and constantly applying max torque out of the saddle to the drivetrain, it puts lots of stress on things

Not arguing since you've ridden a kajillion more miles than I ever will, but is it flange failure or thread asplodification that worries you?
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Old 05-14-07, 05:00 PM
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flange failure

Ive spun lockrings before, thats minor compared to what a flange failure does to you.

Heard a snapping/crunching sound, then the rear wheel jammed itself in the seat stays after the spokes broke loose, all this while I went skidding into a tall curb head on wondering what just broke on my bike. I got lucky really, it could have been far worse.
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Old 05-14-07, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by musicsucks
I just put together a new bike, and after a few days of riding it quite a bit (i'll probably get up to 200kms today) it is suddenly riding a little bit less awesome than it was before- there is some drag happening somewhere in the back and i can't quite figure out why. I think the back wheel seems to be a tiny bit out of true- it is used, and i think it was in true when i got it, but it also spent a year in my garage which might have made a difference. anyways; before i keep rambling

1) How often do you true wheels? is this less of an issue if your riding a fix gear and don't have to worry about the back wheel rubbing on the brakes?

2) Is it possible for my chain to be too tight? I think i might just need a new bb.

3) are there any other common problems that might be causing this that noob like myself might be unaware of? I think my chain line (and back wheel) is pretty straight- but to accomodate that my wheel is a little bit closer to the left than say, my top tube. I don't see why that would be a problem, but i figure i'd mention it.

1) I build my own wheels, and tension them up quite a bit. And I am rather light 63-65 Kg. So, I never have to true my wheels again.

2) It is.If it's too tight, you'll have some attrition and therefore, diminished efficiency of the drivetrain. Let's not forget the increased wear. That lost energy has to go somewhere, and attrition energy is where.

3) Your wheel should be dished to have the rim at the center. When you dish a wheel, the hub stays in place while the rim "translates" laterally.
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Old 05-14-07, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by chunts
riding fixed and/or brakeless or not shouldn't have much bearing on keeping your wheels true. I can't see a wheel going out of true from rubbing on a brake pad. the brake pad would have to be horrible mis-aligned for that to happen, or the wheel is already way out of true if it's rubbing the pad. that will slow you down, but if you spin the wheel slowly you should be able to hear it if you can't just hear it when you are riding to tell if that is your problem.
Yes, I can't see what a fixed cog or brakes have to do with wheel trueness. Spokes lose tension or lateral stresses make things go janky, sure, but I don't suspect that either has anything to do with your wheel staying true. I've ridden a pair of wheels for more than a year now built by something of an expert in my opinion, and they've yet to go out of true with a heavy rider with a load and plenty of what is technically misuse of a road wheel - bunnyhopping, carrying extremely heavy loads, going up and down curbs. I'd say the number one thing that affects wheel trueness is how graceful you are and how good your balance is, assuming a well built wheel. Build and rider are everything, so blame those first, but don't blame brake pads, and please don't run out and chuck your brake because it will save you on your truing tab.

I would also suspect that fixed wheels aren't stressed more, and that riding without a handbrake doesn't introduce any more stress than with one unless you're sloppy or harsh on your gear. Fugazi Dave schooled several of us a while ago pointing out that the torque on a geared bike in a small gear is much much greater than a fixed wheel and a typical gear of 65-80" - basically, all of the "stress" you're putting on a gear you can't push is stress on your body, not the equipment.

If you're in a small gear spinning smoothly up a 15 degree grade and popping your calves out with exertion, you're putting almost all of that force to your drivetrain and thus to the road, but if you're mashing your brains out in 49x18 at 30 rpms, most of your effort is being wasted as heat and stress distributed about every part of you pushing.
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Old 05-14-07, 08:26 PM
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once every 6 months for fixed gears. a good build helps.
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Old 05-14-07, 10:32 PM
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i only true my wheels when im on the toilet so 10 or 20 minutes every day or so keeps everything in check.
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Old 05-15-07, 03:26 AM
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I would true my wheels less often if I was better at it. I guess that's how we learn though!
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Old 05-15-07, 04:48 PM
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i haven't needed to true my wheels in about 2000mi. I have in fact never had to true a wheel for any reason other than a crash.
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Old 05-15-07, 07:37 PM
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I've noticed that my cheapie wheelsets need more truing (like a twice a year) than my nice wheelsets which I haven't had to touch since I got them. After getting them true and tensioned right they should stay pretty straight for a long time barring accidents.
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Old 05-15-07, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by ieatrats
If you're in a small gear spinning smoothly up a 15 degree grade and popping your calves out with exertion, you're putting almost all of that force to your drivetrain and thus to the road, but if you're mashing your brains out in 49x18 at 30 rpms, most of your effort is being wasted as heat and stress distributed about every part of you pushing.
And I think, as friction heat produced in the drivetrain. It's a bad idea to climb hills with a high gearing, no matter how strong you are.
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