Author Topic: Wheel truing question  (Read 808 times)

Wheel truing question
« on: June 16, 2020, 04:20:04 pm »
I’ve never tackled wheel building or truing and have left such matters to the LBS when required. They recently re-trued the rear wheel on MicroQ’s Islabike. It is now noticeably out of alignment after half a dozen local rides. Sure, the roads are potholey round here but I’m pretty sure it’s not suffered a major whack and the wheel is back to binding on the brake pads and also a little oval too.

So what does the jury think - did the LBS do a poor job getting appropriate tension on the spokes when they trued it up last time? Has MicroQ secretly abused it to death? Is the rim shot to bits (looks generally ok to me) or some other issue. What solution would you recommend. I think they range from
A) take it back to the LBS and pay again of risk a debate about quality of their last job
B) buy a replacement wheel (seems like overkill)
C) learn to do the job myself and buy the requisite kit to do so (might make sense in the long term)
D)?

Re: Wheel truing question
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2020, 04:30:46 pm »
Shoddy job by LBS, I reckon.

Sounds like the 'trued' it by cranking up the tension on one spoke.

A proper job is an incremental process of slackening a couple by a tiny bit, tightening the opposite spokes a bit. Done gradually and with a little less adjustment to the spokes either side of the wobble.

Take it back. They'll only learn if people complain (and it could have been done by the saturday kid).
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Dave_C

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Re: Wheel truing question
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2020, 06:45:22 pm »
MrCharley is correct. Every wheel I have ever had build for me has come with a warranty, in that they expect it to go out of true as the spokes untwist and will retrue for free within a couple of weeks of use.

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Re: Wheel truing question
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2020, 07:31:53 pm »
it is possible that it went out of true in the first place for some prevailing reason, like the spoke tensions (necessarily)  include some that are so slack the nipples are in danger of backing out.  This is very likely if a dished rear wheel has taken a knock and the rim isn't straight any more (very likely in the hands of sprogs, I would say).

Short of taking the wheel to bits and starting again the wheel might be doomed to go out of true repeatedly if it starts with that kind of problem.  Or it might just be that they didn't do a very good job.

If you want perfection, learning how to build wheels yourself is the best way.  It takes a while to learn and to do, but it can still save time in that it avoids days without bikes and needless trips to the LBS.

cheers

Re: Wheel truing question
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2020, 07:34:28 pm »
Depends on the damage too. If the rim is bent, truing it will have limits. Although they should tell you if there's a risk that the repair won't last.

Re: Wheel truing question
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2020, 09:09:31 pm »
MrCharley is correct. Every wheel I have ever had build for me has come with a warranty, in that they expect it to go out of true as the spokes untwist and will retrue for free within a couple of weeks of use.

Sent from my HD1913 using Tapatalk

I don’t expect the wheels I build to go out of true. I had one recently that did move a bit when I mounted a tight tubeless tyre, but that’s a different problem than spokes untwisting and the magnitude was still so small it has no practical effect.

OP - best plan is to learn to do it yourself, then you’ll know why and what can be done - and when to give up!

Re: Wheel truing question
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2020, 09:52:56 pm »
Thanks for all the advice. I’ve stripped the tyre off and had a good look. The rim has no obvious dings or narrowing etc. However, I did find a snapped drive side spoke which was sneakily held in place by the other spokes in the lacing arrangement. Cause of snapping unknown, but it’s failed by the hub and MicroQ has probably abused it riding up kerbs etc.
Also discovered that the LBS sends the wheels off somewhere to be done so I’m thinking I need to cut out the middleman here, although that means sourcing new spoke(s), a jig and learning how to do the job - or finding a good local wheel person in rural north Hampshire to take the job on directly. Either way, it won’t be fixed tomorrow which gives me a chance to fire up the tandem.

Re: Wheel truing question
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2020, 10:05:31 pm »
It's not unduly difficult to true or even build wheels. There are books and videos around.

Re: Wheel truing question
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2020, 11:28:44 pm »
You don't need a jig for starters just a frame and two clothes pegs.. Maybe after a few builds when you get keen.

Re: Wheel truing question
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2020, 11:32:25 pm »
A Spokey makes it nicer, but for truing, yeah, clothes pegs or cable ties on the frame/forks would be good enough.

Re: Wheel truing question
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2020, 11:59:54 pm »
Thanks for all the advice. I’ve stripped the tyre off and had a good look. The rim has no obvious dings or narrowing etc. However, I did find a snapped drive side spoke which was sneakily held in place by the other spokes in the lacing arrangement. Cause of snapping unknown, but it’s failed by the hub and MicroQ has probably abused it riding up kerbs etc.

riding up kerbs may put the kiss of death on spokes that were cracked and going to break anyway but it doesn't do more than hurry up the inevitable for flawed spokes.   Spokes start to  break by fatigue and what mainly causes them to fatigue is if they are crap spokes, they fit the hub craply, and/or the wheel hasn't been stress-relieved. 

If you take a wheel that has started to break spokes, they are replaced  and then you stress-relieve it, you can often minimise further spoke breakage.  I'd try that first but if you break more than a few further spokes you would be best off rebuilding the wheel with new spokes throughout.

cheers

Re: Wheel truing question
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2020, 01:56:07 pm »
I'd like to put in one more vote for option C), learn to do the job yourself (and maybe MicroQ can learn, too, as he/she gets older). A decent spoke wrench will let you true a wheel to a somewhat acceptable level without removing the wheel, in no more time than it takes to take the bike to the LBS. If you find yourself enjoying this sort of thing you can probably find a way to rationalize the purchase of a truing stand, tension meter, etc.

Thanks for all the advice. I’ve stripped the tyre off and had a good look. The rim has no obvious dings or narrowing etc. However, I did find a snapped drive side spoke which was sneakily held in place by the other spokes in the lacing arrangement. Cause of snapping unknown, but it’s failed by the hub and MicroQ has probably abused it riding up kerbs etc.

Drive side spoke snapping at the hub is (to me) a pretty good indication that the spoke failed due to metal fatigue, and the other spokes are probably in a similar state. MicroQ seems to have put a fair number of miles on the bike, which is what you bought it for. A new wheel would get the bike rideable again quickly, and you can use the old hub to teach yourself how to build wheels.

To Brucey's list of causes of fatigue, I would add insufficiently tensioned spokes, which are more common on cheaper bikes and on machine built wheels. If you do start building your own wheels, a good tensiometer will help you avoid this problem.

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: Wheel truing question
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2020, 04:32:05 pm »
So what does the jury think - did the LBS do a poor job getting appropriate tension on the spokes when they trued it up last time?

Wouldn't surprise me. I took a wheel to my LBS to repair a broken spoke some time ago. It was fine for a short while but rapidly went wonky. And I hadn't been riding up kerbs or anything daft like that.

Only took it to them to save time. In future, I'll be more selective about where I go for that kind of job, or do it myself.

None of the wheels I've built from scratch myself have gone out of true... yet.

Re: Wheel truing question
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2020, 06:10:16 pm »

To Brucey's list of causes of fatigue, I would add insufficiently tensioned spokes, which are more common on cheaper bikes and on machine built wheels. If you do start building your own wheels, a good tensiometer will help you avoid this problem.

needless to say if the overall tension is insufficient in a rear wheel, it is the NDS spokes that are liable to break first, not the DS.

'Insufficient tension' might be defined by the spokes going slack in service; this can cause

a) the nipples to back out
b) the spokes to rub at the crossings (which you can often hear)
c) the spokes to fret in the hub drilling
d) the spokes to flex abnormally (in compression, eg by buckling) and suffer accelerated fatigue

If you are wondering how close you are sailing to the wind with a dished (rear) wheel design, you can build it with good lubricant on the nipples and ride it for a bit. If the NDS nipples start to back out PDQ (within the first hundred miles or so) you may well have something that is intrinsically unsuitable on your hands  (for the service loads encountered). If it still happens but it isn't so swift/severe, it may be within the scope of being fixable using threadlock on the NDS nipples.

Needless to say most modern wheelsets with low spoke counts won't work without threadlock on the nipples.

cheers

Re: Wheel truing question
« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2020, 07:56:01 pm »
MrCharley is correct. Every wheel I have ever had build for me has come with a warranty, in that they expect it to go out of true as the spokes untwist and will retrue for free within a couple of weeks of use.

Sent from my HD1913 using Tapatalk

On a properly built wheel, the spokes shouldn't untwist on the first few rides, ie the spokes shouldn't be twisted.

Re: Wheel truing question
« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2020, 10:35:56 am »
Good news!
After buying various tools (and that was a challenge as everyone seems to be out of stock of anything useful) I managed to dismantle MicroQ's rear wheel, get a spoke out to measure, order spokes, repair the wheel and true it up to an acceptable extent.  Not TdF standard but adequate for an 11 year old.  After several test rides it still seems fine.

I might have learned a new skill.  Thanks everyone :thumbsup:

Re: Wheel truing question
« Reply #16 on: July 06, 2020, 01:13:03 pm »
 :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Re: Wheel truing question
« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2020, 01:37:28 pm »
And no doubt huge sense of acheivement.  :thumbsup:
Get a bicycle. You will never regret it, if you live- Mark Twain

Re: Wheel truing question
« Reply #18 on: Yesterday at 08:00:22 am »
IMO any wheel that needs the attention of a spoke key before the rim wears out (or, on an MTB, is destroyed by impact on rocks!) was a failure.
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Re: Wheel truing question
« Reply #19 on: Yesterday at 09:23:08 pm »
IMO any wheel that needs the attention of a spoke key before the rim wears out (or, on an MTB, is destroyed by impact on rocks!) was a failure.


H*lf*r*s & E*a*s sell failures by the thousand every year. I get to fix a lot of them.

If it's not too much to ask - now we have a true diagnosis of a broken spoke - might there be a retraction of the standard 'shoddy job by whoever' based on incomplete information?

Asking for a friend.
VELOMANCER

Well that's the more blunt way of putting it but as usual he's dead right.