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I have a set of custom wheels and the rear seems to go out of true every few months - I am thinking of buying a truing stand and start doing this myself - does anyone else true their own wheels? Are there any good guides out there to do this or is this best reserved for master mechanics? I do all my other maintenance, including hubs etc, but never delved with truing..
 

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I Type, Therefore I Am
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I true my own. Just like anything else, the more you do it, the better you get.
 

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I'm sure that many people on these forums and others true their own wheels. It's not rocket surgery and with a little study and practice you can get proficient at it. You might ask a wrench at your LBS if they would be willing to get you started. Your first tool should be a spoke wrench in the correct size and your brain. Look at the Zinn books (Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance etc.) and maybe pick up Jobst Brandt's The Bicycle Wheel and you'll have as much or more info than you would ever need. Other books you could look at are Gerd Schraner's (sp?) book, the Barnett's manual, and Park's Big Blue Book of Bicycle Maintenance.

Good luck,
Bob
 

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What the Hell is going on
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I have mad skills.
I've built all my wheels for all of my bikes.
The last time I trued them were several years ago.
I have mad skills.
 

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eRacer
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I doubt if everyone builds their own wheels, but most probably re-true them. With a little practice and a Spoke Wrench/Truing Stand, it is pretty easy to do. A well built set of wheels usually remains true for a long time if taken care of, but eventually a little wiggle may develop and it is nice to be able to re-balance and re-true that yourself.
 

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Carbon Fiber = Explode!
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I can only true things with 28+ spokes. Anything in the 20 under range and I start to suck. But then again, I only own one wheel with 18H while everything else is has much more.

Stick to 32/36H to learn on, less spokes = less forgiving.
 

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Pretty much anyone can wing a spoke wrench around a "suspecting" nipple and torque it to the right or left bringing it back into "true." Half turn, 3/4 of a turn or full turn it's all done.

Strangely the same idiot who thinks it's so easy ends up taking the wheel out of round because he tightened and not loosened, over loosened and not tightened and got happy with the "dial in method of turn the nipples till they cry."

Before you grap a spoke wrench, best to understand all the dynamics involved with rear dishing, quality of spoke and cross of spokes, as well as construction of the wheel itself.

Yes I can get a wheel straight side to side but then there's that HOP!
 

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u don't wanna 3/4 or full turn of a nipple to true, nooo!! never just adjust one nipple to bring the rim back, the name of the game is small increments of a few nipples around the problem area to bring it back true... ie, 1/4-1/2 turn of one, tighter, if that is not enough, back out the outside pair by a similar amount.... obviously start small (1/4) and then move back and forth until fixed.

unless the spoke is undertensioned, but that is a different story that confuses the issue... if all the spokes have good and similar tension by the unsophisticated grab method, its probably good enough for DIY truing...

hop is removed by eyeballing the low point of the rim with your stand feeler.... take the pair of spokes (one from each side of hub) and tighten both - again in small amounts, until that low spot in the rim is removed.... even after adjusting a few times, you'll find that spoke tension has not exceeded anywhere near 10% of the other spokes after bringing them up to equal tension...

again, the name of the game is small even adjustments.

edit: 1/4 is actually for a big knock outta true, for fine adjusting for that perfect run and to remove brake shudder etc, we're talking far smaller increments.... like 1/8... seriously.... don't be ham-fisted... wheel building is more about finesse and attention to detail...
 

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Yes I do.
I used to build all my own wheels, but over the years, I've decided that all my rear wheels suck. They all start getting funky after a year and a half. Fronts are no sweat.
My master shop guy builds my rears now (and only charges me $40 labor for a rear......well worth it....he even builds with washers)
 

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road bike resurrector
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I ture my own wheels on all my bikes except my Ciocc, I leave that to the professionals, and he does them free when I bring a six-pack of Grolsch. :thumbsup:
 

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wankski said:
hop is removed by eyeballing the low point of the rim with your stand feeler.... take the pair of spokes (one from each side of hub) and tighten both - again in small amounts, until that low spot in the rim is removed.... even after adjusting a few times, you'll find that spoke tension has not exceeded anywhere near 10% of the other spokes after bringing them up to equal tension...

again, the name of the game is small even adjustments.

edit: 1/4 is actually for a big knock outta true, for fine adjusting for that perfect run and to remove brake shudder etc, we're talking far smaller increments.... like 1/8... seriously.... don't be ham-fisted... wheel building is more about finesse and attention to detail...
You have excellent information and I believe you're pretty good at trueing wheel rims. But here's an added tid-bit too on hop from Bicycling Magazine

BicyclingMagazineWheelTrueing said:
3. Stop Hops

Next, true the wheel radially by spinning it and looking for high and low spots against the gauge. (This is almost impossible to do without a truing stand, but you might try it by attaching a zip-tie around the brake arms, just a couple millimeters above the rim; this can give you a line to sight off of.) If the rim has a high spot, it will have a corresponding low spot directly across the diameter of the wheel. To remove the hop, loosen the spokes a quarter-turn at the low spot; and snug them a quarter-turn on the high spot. As before, work only in quarter-turns, then spin the wheel to check your adjustment, and do one hop at a time.
 

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I was truing and building wheels for years and then I found this book. For a novice such as yourself it will give you a good foundation for your wheel building skills.

I've been out of shops for years but still keep the kills sharp. Yesterday I rebuilt a 32h wheel of my wife's while watching the Penn Relays. From tear-down to rolling true in 45 minutes. I think my record without distractions is 20 minutes with all new parts... 25 if I have to cut spokes. But that's how a shop makes money.
 

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OUTLAW BIKER
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I true my wheels, my friend showed me how after I spent 20 bucks to get a broken spoke replaced during one of our rides. He said for what I just paid I could have gotten the best spoke wrench and a supply of spares... so when the next one broke I did just that and have been doing my wheels and everyone that breaks them that knows me ever since, 20 plus years now...
 

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I used to true my wheels, and then I got a set of handbuilts. That was about 20,000 miles ago and I haven't touched a spoke wrench since. :thumbsup: I like the current setup a lot.
 

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EverydayRide said:
You have excellent information and I believe you're pretty good at trueing wheel rims. But here's an added tid-bit too on hop from Bicycling Magazine
yes you are correct... (sorry i left that out!) just like how i describe lateral truing, if you tighten one thing, you should be looking to loosen the opposite by a similar amount... what that doesn't make clear, as far as i can see, is that you must tighten/loosen, opposing pairs of spokes, or otherwise your rim will pop outta lateral true (obviously)... on lightweight rims this may mean adjusting 4 spokes at a time, altho again, you will adjust the epicentre of the hop (the middle 2) a bit more and back off on the outside spokes if that makes sense.... the minimum necessary..

OP, don't worry if this seems like a bit much on your first attempt... i didn't really understand and get confident at doing this until i built wheels at commercial quality (i.e. selling my work)... of course i started out fooling on my own wheels to cut costs too....
 

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Realizing the problem

rawsonstreet said:
I have a set of custom wheels and the rear seems to go out of true every few months - I am thinking of buying a truing stand and start doing this myself - does anyone else true their own wheels? Are there any good guides out there to do this or is this best reserved for master mechanics? I do all my other maintenance, including hubs etc, but never delved with truing..
Truing is not hard, but you have something else going on. I'm guessing that the overall tension is too low and this allows one or more spokes to de-tension (nipple actually un-screws) as the wheel rotates and spoke tension is reduced during each revolution. If there is enough tension on the wheel, the spoke never gets slack enough so that the nipple can turn. So, your wheel needs to be brought up to tension while keeping it true and round. Read up on wheel building - Sheldon Brown (R.I.P.) has some stuff on his web site. Your problem is more than just a couple of tweaks on a couple of spokes. Not hugely difficult, but more than just getting rid of side-to-side wobble.
 

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Yes, I true my own wheels. I've never built any though. The closest I've come, which is not close at all, is replacing several broken spokes in a wheel.
 

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Not a rocket surgeon.
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Do it. Its not hard but takes a bunch of patience. Test your abilities on some junk wheels off a old cruiser or something like that. Wider rims are more forgiving and easier to learn on.
 

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Yes, I true my own wheels and often build them, too. I just finished replacing rims and rebuilding a wheel set on my Reynolds DV46T.

Initially, due to a lack of time, I brought this wheel set to a LBS to have them redish the rear wheel from shimano to campy. This is a highly respected local shop. In the process of doing so the owner over tighten the rear spokes and screwed up the rear rim. I was hoping it was just cosmetic but it ended up being serious. I inform the owner but he didn't take any responsability. It ended up costing be more money to replace them rims.

Needless to say, I built up the wheels and won't ever again let anyone build or true my wheels. Especially a carbon rim.
 
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