Wheel truing (or falsing!)

Discussion in 'Australia and New Zealand' started by Absent Husband, Apr 26, 2005.

  1. Hi all,

    And another thing....!!

    Got my rear wheel trued a couple of weeks ago, while my LBS were
    whacking on my new rear cassette (which is excellent, btw!). My rear
    wheel had a bit of a 'lazy S' to it, as you watched it spinning through
    the rear brake pads. Not huge, but just enough to scrape both brake
    pads each rotation...

    Anyway - wheel got trued, and I was a very happy camper. I could feel a
    change in the 'stiffness' of the wheel, and I have been happily
    peddaling around since then.

    Until Sunday (the day of my bizarro sports drink trial...). Just after
    leaving home, heard/felt a small noise near the rear wheel. Looked
    back, expecting a small puncture or something, but nothing to see.
    Wheels didn't deflate during the ride, so I figured I'd just flicked
    out a small stone I'd ridden over or something.

    Anyway, the next day when I got my bike out of the 'shed', I noticed
    the rear wheel was rubbing against one of the brake pads again!! The
    'lazy S' effect had returned (not quite as bad as last time, but bad
    enough to just touch a brake pad). Also, one of the spokes was VERY
    loose (ie. could easily flex it with my hand, and I could spin the
    spoke nipple (hope terminology is right here!) around with my fingers
    easily. In fact, on the 'offending spoke', half of the thread near the
    rim was exposed.

    Now - obviously I need to re-true this wheel. Do the 'wheel builders'
    amongst you think I'm just unlucky, or was the wheel not re-rued
    properly? Or have I just got a dodgy spoke that needs to be replaced?
    (note - have hit no major potholes or anything - mainly smooth road
    riding since the last 'truing' a couple of weeks ago).

    I'm just trying to work out if I should be annoyed/upset with my LBS
    when I take the wheel back in to be checked out.

    Of course - there is a lesson here!! I really need to learn how to true
    my own wheels!!! Sheldon Brown here I come... Hope I can get it fixed
    in time, otherwise I'll be doing my 40km ITT on Sunday with the rear
    brakes 'open'... :(

    Cheers all,
    Absent Husband (who hopes his immense lard @rse isn't collapsing his
    wheels...)
     
    Tags:


  2. Jose Rizal

    Jose Rizal Guest

    Absent Husband:

    > Anyway, the next day when I got my bike out of the 'shed', I noticed
    > the rear wheel was rubbing against one of the brake pads again!! The
    > 'lazy S' effect had returned (not quite as bad as last time, but bad
    > enough to just touch a brake pad). Also, one of the spokes was VERY
    > loose (ie. could easily flex it with my hand, and I could spin the
    > spoke nipple (hope terminology is right here!) around with my fingers
    > easily. In fact, on the 'offending spoke', half of the thread near the
    > rim was exposed.
    >
    > Now - obviously I need to re-true this wheel. Do the 'wheel builders'
    > amongst you think I'm just unlucky, or was the wheel not re-rued
    > properly?


    The wheel was not trued properly. It's most likely that your LBS merely
    tightened or loosened a few spokes to get the wheel true, instead of
    going around the wheel, checking the tension on each spoke with a
    tensiometer or by plucking, and making sure that the tension is close to
    even with all the spokes.

    > I'm just trying to work out if I should be annoyed/upset with my LBS
    > when I take the wheel back in to be checked out.


    Don't go back mad, just go back... and watch the mechanic check the
    tension on all spokes, rather than adjusting just a few. Afterwards,
    also watch the mech squeeze the spokes and re-true. If he doesn't do
    these things, demand your money back if you paid, and go look for
    another LBS.

    > Of course - there is a lesson here!! I really need to learn how to true
    > my own wheels!!! Sheldon Brown here I come... Hope I can get it fixed
    > in time, otherwise I'll be doing my 40km ITT on Sunday with the rear
    > brakes 'open'... :(


    Truing bicycle wheels is really a simple job.
     
  3. ritcho

    ritcho New Member

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    I agree with Jose, the wheel wasn't trued properly. There are a couple of observations that could help.

    1. You need a spoke wrench. They are cheap and save you visits to the LBS.

    2. Left-side spokes (non-drive-side) are not as tight as right-side spokes, but they shouldn't be loose.

    3. The threads need to be lubricated so that the nipple doesn't 'stick' on the spoke while it is being tightened. If it sticks, the spoke will twist and will unwind itself as soon as it hits a bump. Some people swear by all sorts of lubricants, but I'm happy using some light household general purpose oil in one of those squeezy containers. You can reduce the incidence of wind-up by overshooting and backing off. ie, tighten a 1/4 turn by turning 1/2 and then backing off a quarter.

    4. Spokes, especially on highly dished rear wheels, are _tight_. ie, when the LHS spokes are satisfactorily tight, the RHS spokes will need to be really tight to centre the wheel. You might have to tighten _all_ of your spokes if the wheel is undertensioned. Note that under-tensioned spokes can unscrew themselves. A properly tensioned wheel doesn't unscrew itself, even without any kind of thread locking compound.

    Ritch
     
  4. Duncan

    Duncan Guest

    ritcho wrote:
    > 3. The threads need to be lubricated so that the nipple doesn't

    'stick'
    > on the spoke while it is being tightened. If it sticks, the spoke

    will
    > twist and will unwind itself as soon as it hits a bump. Some people
    > swear by all sorts of lubricants, but I'm happy using some light
    > household general purpose oil in one of those squeezy containers. You
    > can reduce the incidence of wind-up by overshooting and backing off.
    > ie, tighten a 1/4 turn by turning 1/2 and then backing off a quarter.


    Also, don't forget to stress relieve after truing the wheel. This will
    remove any spoke windup.

    I find the easiest way is to place the wheel flat on a hard surface and
    put your weight on opposite sides of the rim until you've forced the
    spokes under your hands spokes slack. You'll hear them pop and twang as
    they unwind. Repeat around the rim, flip wheel over and repeat.

    The alternative is to place extra tension on every pair of spokes
    surrounding a single spoke with your hand (or lever, per Sheldon Brown)
    all around the wheel.
     
  5. Kim Hawtin

    Kim Hawtin Guest

    Jose Rizal wrote:
    > Absent Husband wrote:


    >> I'm just trying to work out if I should be annoyed/upset with my LBS
    >> when I take the wheel back in to be checked out.

    >
    > Don't go back mad, just go back... and watch the mechanic check the
    > tension on all spokes, rather than adjusting just a few. Afterwards,
    > also watch the mech squeeze the spokes and re-true. If he doesn't do
    > these things, demand your money back if you paid, and go look for
    > another LBS.


    i have had similar problems. my *previous* LBS. i recon used WD40 or
    similar to loosen seized spoke nipples ... and mashed all the slots in
    the tops, throuhg the holes in the top wall in the rim.

    found another not quite so LocalBS, been recommened by folk at work.
    replaced all the spokes, nicely tentioned =) running true =D
    no bollocks. also adjusted the gear index thingy (i didn't know i had)
    set up the brakes again =)

    >> Of course - there is a lesson here!! I really need to learn how to true
    >> my own wheels!!! Sheldon Brown here I come... Hope I can get it fixed
    >> in time, otherwise I'll be doing my 40km ITT on Sunday with the rear
    >> brakes 'open'... :(

    >
    > Truing bicycle wheels is really a simple job.


    with the right know how ;) i'm not quite there yet. soon...

    in fact all the problems i've had have been since i went to afore
    mentioned *previous* LBS ... =/ ggrrrrr 9 punctures/flats/blowouts in a
    forghtnight

    cheers,

    kim
     
  6. dave

    dave Guest

    Duncan wrote:
    > ritcho wrote:
    >
    >>3. The threads need to be lubricated so that the nipple doesn't

    >
    > 'stick'
    >
    >>on the spoke while it is being tightened. If it sticks, the spoke

    >
    > will
    >
    >>twist and will unwind itself as soon as it hits a bump. Some people
    >>swear by all sorts of lubricants, but I'm happy using some light
    >>household general purpose oil in one of those squeezy containers. You
    >>can reduce the incidence of wind-up by overshooting and backing off.
    >>ie, tighten a 1/4 turn by turning 1/2 and then backing off a quarter.

    >
    >
    > Also, don't forget to stress relieve after truing the wheel. This will
    > remove any spoke windup.
    >
    > I find the easiest way is to place the wheel flat on a hard surface and
    > put your weight on opposite sides of the rim until you've forced the
    > spokes under your hands spokes slack. You'll hear them pop and twang as
    > they unwind. Repeat around the rim, flip wheel over and repeat.
    >
    > The alternative is to place extra tension on every pair of spokes
    > surrounding a single spoke with your hand (or lever, per Sheldon Brown)
    > all around the wheel.
    >

    Just to add to this.. My dearly loved TCR was totally lethal in a side
    wind. Yeah they are supposed to be twitchy but this was a bit worse
    than just twitchy. COuldnt see a thing wrong. Till my brother who is a
    heavy earth mover mechanic grabbed the whole wheel and managed to flex
    it. None of the spokes were loose enough to be obvious.. really. But
    the whole wheel was just loose enough to be dodgy. Yes both wheels.
    And tightening everything up a quarter of a turn made a huge difference
    to the handling

    Dave
     
  7. geoffs

    geoffs New Member

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    Wheel truing is not a hard skill to pick up but it does take a bit of time.
    Read the bible (The Bicycle Wheel by Jobst Brandt) and go forth and true.
    I had a few bad experiences with bodgy bike shops who swore that they were the best wheel buildersin the known universe. Wheels that go out of true when you are on tour are a real pain and a great incentive to learn how to do it better so that you are self sufficient. Time dependant, I build most of my wheels these days and if an accident occurs, it's nice knowing that I can fix it without wondering what kind of job the lbs will do.

    Cheers

    Geoff
     
  8. Hi all,

    Thanks for the sage-like words of wisdom - all makes sense.

    Rang the LBS and explained. They were surprised, but said to bring the
    wheel straight back in as they'd obviously not "tensioned the spokes
    properly". Hopefully it was just an oversight, and all will be well
    (I've had great service from them in the past...).

    BUT - I'm gonna have to learn this myself!! After its fixed, I'll have
    to find myself am old wheel from somewhere and start on the road to
    becoming a bit more self-reliant (*mental images of Franken-bike
    already starting to appear*)

    Thanks again all,
    Absent Husband
     
  9. Absent Husband wrote:
    > Hi all,
    >
    > Thanks for the sage-like words of wisdom - all makes sense.
    >
    > Rang the LBS and explained. They were surprised, but said to bring the
    > wheel straight back in as they'd obviously not "tensioned the spokes
    > properly". Hopefully it was just an oversight, and all will be well
    > (I've had great service from them in the past...).


    Another explanation is that someone has mixed nipples and spoke sizes,
    or just a dud (undersized) set of spokes. Been there done that.
     
  10. Random Data

    Random Data Guest

    ritcho <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...

    > 1. You need a spoke wrench. They are cheap and save you visits to the
    > LBS.


    Don't scrimp on this, and you may need a couple. There are 3 standard
    sizes, two of which differ by 0.1mm. I can't remember the actual
    sizes, but it's Park black, Park Green, Park blue from smallest to
    largest common. There's also a Park red, but these are fairly rare -
    those colours refer to the colour coded matching spoke key. I've also
    got a Crank Bros 3-way key which is reasonably nice, and a good trail
    tool

    A couple of further points myself - if the original wheel is
    sufficiently distorted, and especially if there are a few flat spots,
    getting even tension isn't going to happen but you can get a
    functionally true wheel that'll last for another couple of years at
    least. This is a lot more common with mountain bikes, since wheels
    tend to get thumped into things a little more often.

    In the OPs case it's also possible that the spoke nipple is too large
    for the spoke. I've got a couple of different spoke sizes on various
    wheels, and every now and then when I'm replacing a spoke I'll use the
    wrong one - it'll get very close to the right tension, then just as
    you put the final tweaks in the bugger will pop.

    There was mention down thread of stress relieving by flexing the
    spokes to release wind up. Releasing wind up and stress relieving are
    different things, though the methods are similar. Stress relieving, as
    I understand it (and Jobst can probably explain it better, Google
    stress relieving jobst brandt), involves overloading the spokes for a
    short time on the initial build in order to cause mild ductile
    deformation, which results in any imperfections from the forming
    process being reduced/removed. Easiest way is to use an old LH crank
    and force pairs of spokes to wind about 15 degrees further around each
    other.

    "Pinging" the spokes after initial true to release wind up is
    different, and explained well in the post I saw. However the only
    stress this relieves is the wind up, and the crank arm method isn't as
    effective in my experience. My preferred method, at least with half
    decent rims [1], is to place the axle on the ground then firmly press
    opposing sides of the rim toward the ground, moving around by about 60
    degrees before each subsequent press. Once it stops pinging flip the
    wheel and do the other side, then retrue. Repeat until acceptably true
    after releasing wind-up.

    Dave - who has a couple of home built wheels that aren't entirely true
    , but I have a bad habit of landing sideways-ish and otherwise having
    lots of fun.

    [1] After ripping a hole in the sidewall of a Velocity Deep V (26") in
    a kerb related incident, I decided to test its lateral strength, sans
    spokes. Did you know you can place one of these rims over a suspended
    axe handle and hang off each side without deforming it if you weigh
    around 75kg?
     
  11. Tamyka Bell

    Tamyka Bell Guest

    On Wed, 27 Apr 2005, Absent Husband wrote:

    > Hi all,
    >
    > Thanks for the sage-like words of wisdom - all makes sense.
    >
    > Rang the LBS and explained. They were surprised, but said to bring the
    > wheel straight back in as they'd obviously not "tensioned the spokes
    > properly". Hopefully it was just an oversight, and all will be well
    > (I've had great service from them in the past...).
    >
    > BUT - I'm gonna have to learn this myself!! After its fixed, I'll have
    > to find myself am old wheel from somewhere and start on the road to
    > becoming a bit more self-reliant (*mental images of Franken-bike
    > already starting to appear*)
    >
    > Thanks again all,
    > Absent Husband
    >
    >


    Hehehe well when you find somewhere to teach you, I'll come along too! I
    want my own franken-bike.

    Tam
     
  12. casurina99

    casurina99 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Messages:
    83
    Likes Received:
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    > Hi all,
    >
    > Thanks for the sage-like words of wisdom - all makes sense.
    >
    > Rang the LBS and explained. They were surprised, but said to bring the
    > wheel straight back in as they'd obviously not "tensioned the spokes
    > properly". Hopefully it was just an oversight, and all will be well
    > (I've had great service from them in the past...).
    >
    > BUT - I'm gonna have to learn this myself!! After its fixed, I'll have
    > to find myself am old wheel from somewhere and start on the road to
    > becoming a bit more self-reliant (*mental images of Franken-bike
    > already starting to appear*)
    >
    > Thanks again all,
    > Absent Husband



    AH,

    May I suggest along with all the other sage advice re multiple spoke wrenches, and The Bible, the o5ther important thing is a well prepared mind - patience Grasshopper patience!! I prefer to extend my patience with a bottle of red.. something that encourages taking time, perhaps even some decent music too. Oh and do it after the kids are in bed :)

    Also I use rubber bands on the brakelevers for precise adjustment of the 'truing guides' on my bike whilse trueing.

    May the force be with you ;)

    T
     
  13. Carl Brewer

    Carl Brewer Guest

    On Wed, 27 Apr 2005 14:36:41 +1000, ritcho
    <[email protected]> wrote:


    >3. The threads need to be lubricated so that the nipple doesn't 'stick'
    >on the spoke while it is being tightened. If it sticks, the spoke will
    >twist and will unwind itself as soon as it hits a bump. Some people
    >swear by all sorts of lubricants, but I'm happy using some light
    >household general purpose oil in one of those squeezy containers. You
    >can reduce the incidence of wind-up by overshooting and backing off.
    >ie, tighten a 1/4 turn by turning 1/2 and then backing off a quarter.


    My LBS suggests otherwise, the nipple (brass) should be lubricated
    so it slides against the rim eyelet, but *not* the spoke (or the spoke
    will undo over time).

    I'm not sure if this applies to alloy nipples.
     
  14. Kim Hawtin

    Kim Hawtin Guest

    Absent Husband wrote:
    > BUT - I'm gonna have to learn this myself!! After its fixed, I'll have
    > to find myself am old wheel from somewhere and start on the road to
    > becoming a bit more self-reliant (*mental images of Franken-bike
    > already starting to appear*)


    you are aware that its a one way path, that leads to a fixie ...

    kim
    ~ who is aquiring franken-parts also... =D
     
  15. ritcho

    ritcho New Member

    Joined:
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    This may well be the case, though my own experience with brass nipples suggests no problem with lubricating the threads. Remember: dry threads are the source of sticking (and spoke wind-up). If the wheel has enough tension, it won't unwind, or at least they never have for me. In real life, the difference might be negligible - I wouldn't know.

    Regarding "stress-relieving", I put on a pair of gardening gloves and then went around the wheel, squeezing pairs of spokes (on the same side) together as hard as I could... no cranks or standing on the wheel. That is not to say that those methods are ineffective though...

    Ritch
     
  16. Carl Brewer

    Carl Brewer Guest

    On Thu, 28 Apr 2005 11:10:45 +1000, ritcho
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >
    >Carl Brewer Wrote:
    >> On Wed, 27 Apr 2005 14:36:41 +1000, ritcho
    >> <[email protected]> wrote:
    >>
    >>
    >> >3. The threads need to be lubricated so that the nipple doesn't

    >> 'stick'
    >> >on the spoke while it is being tightened. If it sticks, the spoke

    >> will
    >> >twist and will unwind itself as soon as it hits a bump. Some people
    >> >swear by all sorts of lubricants, but I'm happy using some light
    >> >household general purpose oil in one of those squeezy containers. You
    >> >can reduce the incidence of wind-up by overshooting and backing off.
    >> >ie, tighten a 1/4 turn by turning 1/2 and then backing off a quarter.

    >>
    >> My LBS suggests otherwise, the nipple (brass) should be lubricated
    >> so it slides against the rim eyelet, but *not* the spoke (or the spoke
    >> will undo over time).
    >>
    >> I'm not sure if this applies to alloy nipples.

    >
    >This may well be the case, though my own experience with brass nipples
    >suggests no problem with lubricating the threads. Remember: dry threads
    >are the source of sticking (and spoke wind-up). If the wheel has enough
    >tension, it won't unwind, or at least they never have for me. In real
    >life, the difference might be negligible - I wouldn't know.


    Likewise. My copy of the DT book on wheel building will arrive in a
    week or 3, and Sheldon says little about it. I'm only going on what
    the bloke who's teaching me to build them says :)

    He did build me a wheel that wore out before it went out of true,
    but that had alloy nipples. YMMV :)
     
  17. An Update:

    Took the wheel into the LBS this afternoon. They could not believe how
    quickly teh wheel had 'deteriorated' in the two weeks since truing....

    The wheel builder dude started tightening the spokes in his wheel
    truing jig thingy (??) and then took it off to 'stress' the spokes by
    pushing on the rim (as described earlier).

    Two spokes snapped!! He swore - and asked how old the bike was. "4
    months" I replied.

    He said - "This wheel is basically unsafe - there is something wrong
    with it, and we'll hit Orbea up for a new one under warranty - there is
    NO WAY you should be riding on this because its gonna fail at an
    awkward moment...."

    Excellent, I thought... Now I've just got to find my warranty card
    (hope I filed it!!). If they can't get me a new whel by tomorrow, the
    LBS is going to lend me a 'shop wheel' for Mooloolaba on Sunday. I must
    have looked worried, because the mechanic smirked and said - "don't
    worry, its much better than what you've got on there now..."

    I've got all my fingers crossed that this works out OK - and that I can
    find my warranty card (stapled in my Orbea manual, wherever the hell
    that is...!!)

    Cheers,
    Absent Husband (who's awesome legs smash rear wheels with their
    unspeakable power!!)
     
  18. Carl Brewer

    Carl Brewer Guest

    On 27 Apr 2005 22:54:27 -0700, "Absent Husband"
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >An Update:
    >
    >Took the wheel into the LBS this afternoon. They could not believe how
    >quickly teh wheel had 'deteriorated' in the two weeks since truing....
    >
    >The wheel builder dude started tightening the spokes in his wheel
    >truing jig thingy (??) and then took it off to 'stress' the spokes by
    >pushing on the rim (as described earlier).
    >
    >Two spokes snapped!! He swore - and asked how old the bike was. "4
    >months" I replied.


    wow, POS!

    I broke 5 spokes in about 20,000kms, until I got a good wheel made
    up for me. Factory wheels are poo...
     
  19. Tamyka Bell

    Tamyka Bell Guest

    On Thu, 27 Apr 2005, Absent Husband wrote:

    <snip>
    >
    > Cheers,
    > Absent Husband (who's awesome legs smash rear wheels with their
    > unspeakable power!!)
    >


    Oh do they now? Then I guess I just have to challenge you to a BLART ride,
    eh?

    Tam
     
  20. "Oh do they now? Then I guess I just have to challenge you to a BLART
    ride,
    eh? "

    <snip>

    I'm trying to think of a cool way out of this, that still leaves me
    with my self-respect intact - but I can't think of one!!!

    I'll start a new thread on this to drag in all the BrisVegans, but
    before I do - which of the next few weekends is best for you
    BLART-wise???

    And I need some 'poseur' advice!! If I end up with a snazzy rear wheel
    from the LBS that is just the bomb, I need the exact right phrases to
    explain my mismatched, 'odd couple' wheels - basic Mavic CX22 (or is
    that CXP22??) on the front, but carbon fibre wheel p*rn on the back...
    Might be able to pull off the whole look with aplomb if I could lipo
    the lard @rse before Sunday...

    Not saying that your a 'poseur' or anything, though - not with the sky
    blue jersey, matching knicks, shiny silver rocket with 'go fast' red
    tyres..... ;)

    Cheers,
    Absent Husband
     
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