Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 20 of 45 Posts

·
Give it a crank
Joined
·
2,995 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wheels are still ok as far as a visual check by spinning the rims. I know I'll need to true the wheels sooner or later and I like doing my own bike maintenance. How difficult is it to do your own wheel truing? Do you really need a fancy trying stand?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,235 Posts
It's actually quite simple. It could take some practice but once you get the hang of it and understand the concept, it's very easy.

The very simple approach:
Look down the line of the wheel.
If you tighten a spoke on one side, the rim will be pulled to that side.
If you loosen a spoke on one side, the rim will be moved to the other side of the wheel.

Work slowly, never try to get rid of a wobble all at once.

As you tighten or loosen a spoke, you are affecting the tension through out the rest of the wheel, therefore, you can mess up the alignment on other parts of the wheel. That's why you work slowly (1/8 to 1/4 turn on any spoke nipple is plenty (most of the time)).

Also, remember, when you tighten a spoke, you are decreasing the distance between the rim and the hub (spoke is getting shorter). Therefore, you are "creating a flat spot" on that area of the wheel. This is how you adjust high and low spots on your wheel.

That's the basic concept, you can read a lot of stuff in many books and papers on this. If you want to get to the nth degree and very anal about your wheels, then you can study and study and study. But bottom line, it isn't complicated to go and true your own wheels.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
107 Posts
Built my first wheel a month or so ago with the help and advice of some other members here.

As gmats just stated - have patience and work in small increments. One other tip that worked for me and you may find useful is the use of zip ties (cut to the meet the edge of the rim) to help you identify where the rim pulls to one side or the other.

Once you do it, and start to see how the tightening/loosening pulls the rim to one side or the other - you will build confidence in what you're doing and it will go smoothly.
 

·
A wheelist
Joined
·
5,991 Posts
Mtn-Rider said:
My wheels are still ok as far as a visual check by spinning the rims. I know I'll need to true the wheels sooner or later and I like doing my own bike maintenance. How difficult is it to do your own wheel truing? Do you really need a fancy trying stand?
All you need to know is in the info in my sig. Make sure you pay attention to the links at the end. Fancy truing stand? Errrr........no.
 

·
Give it a crank
Joined
·
2,995 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Mike T. said:
All you need to know is in the info in my sig. Make sure you pay attention to the links at the end. Fancy truing stand? Errrr........no.
Excellent! Bookmarked for when the time comes, thank you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
@ Mike T
Had my rear wheel come out of the drop outs during a sprint yesterday. Next pedal stroke ended up bending the rim and disc. What are the chances that it is repairable?
 

·
A wheelist
Joined
·
5,991 Posts
RobM101 said:
Had my rear wheel come out of the drop outs during a sprint yesterday. Next pedal stroke ended up bending the rim and disc. What are the chances that it is repairable?
That all depends on how much they are bent. Bent rotors are easy to fix, if the metal hasn't been kinked (ie - stretched) and it is just warped. But a bent rim that has to be pulled back into alignment using spoke tension then results in a wheel with uneven spoke tensions and this is setting up the spokes for failure. It's probably best to replace the rim. A qualified wheelbuilder is the best person to pass judgement.
 

·
Fat & Single
Joined
·
4,175 Posts
OP i have just bought myself a Park tension meter from jenson, thats the cheapest place to get them if you are considering one .
 

·
Cars Hurt.
Joined
·
224 Posts
ozzybmx said:
OP i have just bought myself a Park tension meter from jenson, thats the cheapest place to get them if you are considering one .
Do you feel that tool is well worth the $60 it costs. I have been considering building some wheels and once I add a tension meter and spoke prep its just as cheap to have them built. I thought it may be a nice tool to own though.
 

·
Fat & Single
Joined
·
4,175 Posts
Lets Try Science said:
Do you feel that tool is well worth the $60 it costs. I have been considering building some wheels and once I add a tension meter and spoke prep its just as cheap to have them built. I thought it may be a nice tool to own though.
I used a mates one on a new set of 29er wheels after about 2 months and have not had to true the wheels since, some of the spokes were way out of tension. Definately worth the $60 IMO.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
350 Posts
I once ordered some spokes from my LBS, and as they handed them to me I asked if they could apply some spoke prep. The guy gunked them up for no extra charge, but if I order them only for my next build, how would I go about getting them prepped?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,273 Posts
I don't think a tension meter is worth the trouble or the money. Would you rather have a wheel where all the spokes are the same tension or a wheel that is true and round. If you are building with a new rim it should build up into very evenly tensioned wheel when it is both true and round. People are always splurting out that you need to have the tension the same on every spoke, that is bs. I have probably built in excess of 200 wheels and have never found a tensiometer to be more than a curiosity after the wheel is built.

As far as spoke prep goes this is what I do

First: Don't mix up the spoke lengths

Now: Grab about quarter wheels worth (8 spokes) hold them all so the ends of the threads are all at the same plane. Dip the first 2mm or so of the wad of spokes into the spoke prep, many times there is enough in just the cap of the spoke prep

Now: Rub the wad of spokes together spinning the threads against each other and then when the spoke threads are all lightly coated separate them all on the edge of the workbench so the threads are sticking out into the air, separate the spokes so they aren't touching and allow them to dry completely.

Now build you wheel worrying about both roundness and true at the same time. After you think you have it grab 2 spokes at a time and squeeze the hell out of them seating them into the hub and seating the nipples into the rim. Then once again check for round and true. When you are done grab your tension meter and check if you feel like it. If all the spokes aren't the same tension place the meter back in the drawer and call it good.

Have fun
 

·
Cars Hurt.
Joined
·
224 Posts
I guess my concern would be if what I tension the wheel to is enough. I could build a perfectly true wheel but if spoke tension is half of what it should be it could fail.

Is there any trick to knowing if your in the ball park of correct tension on a new build?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,273 Posts
Having the tension high enough from the start is one case for the use of a tensiometer but still not really necessariy. If you grab a couple of parallel spokes and really squeeze the **** out of them the wheel shouldn't deviate by more than a quarter inch or so while you are squeezing. If the wheel have very low tension it is easy to get half inch or more. Wheelbuilding is an art and only gets more fun and relaxing with experience. After a few wheels you will feel more comfortable and start with mixing spoke lacing paterns and take pride in the fact that you built yourself 2x/3x rear wheel with alternating colored aluminum nipples.
 

·
MTBR Member
Joined
·
3,008 Posts
AKamp said:
Having the tension high enough from the start is one case for the use of a tensiometer but still not really necessariy. If you grab a couple of parallel spokes and really squeeze the **** out of them the wheel shouldn't deviate by more than a quarter inch or so while you are squeezing. If the wheel have very low tension it is easy to get half inch or more. Wheelbuilding is an art and only gets more fun and relaxing with experience. After a few wheels you will feel more comfortable and start with mixing spoke lacing paterns and take pride in the fact that you built yourself 2x/3x rear wheel with alternating colored aluminum nipples.
AKamp, I have been working on wheels for a little while now - have yet to build my first, but the next wheel I need will be built by my hands. I have all the tools I need, and some I don't necessarily need(FSA Tension gauge, comes to mind).

Anyways...question: on the first couple wheel builds would you recommend forgoing a true spoke prep and lubing w/ a thick oil like Phil Wood Tenacious instead? This has been recommended to me, and I was wondering what your take is on it.

Thanks for any info.
 

·
~Disc~Golf~
Joined
·
16,496 Posts
Lets Try Science said:
Is there any trick to knowing if your in the ball park of correct tension on a new build?
I've been building wheels for a while now (not as much as Mike T) and have never used a tensionometer. I just could tell by feel and especially the pitch of the spokes when plucked (good for even tension; even tone=even tension). I have checked some of my wheels with a tensionometer just for sh!ts and giggles, and they've always been within the ballpark.
Go to a shop and feel the spokes on several bikes. Pluck them and listen.

"Ping" not "Pong" ;)
I think one octave up from middle C is a good spot.(C1)
 

·
~Disc~Golf~
Joined
·
16,496 Posts
Mike T. said:
"Pung" is much worse and "Plupp" means you failed bigtime.
and "tick-tick-tick" means the spoke is not even installed and you're just tapping it on the table while watching TV instead of getting to work on the wheel.
 
1 - 20 of 45 Posts
Top