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Repair wheel or buy new? Beginner needing some advice.

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Repair wheel or buy new? Beginner needing some advice.

Old 04-14-13, 10:14 PM
  #1  
abruno
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Repair wheel or buy new? Beginner needing some advice.

I'm a summer rider that is finding that a bike I purchased in the summer of 2009 is starting to have quite a few problems that I'm questioning if I should repair or replace so I was hoping for some advice. I currently ride a 2009 Jamis Beatnik that has Alex ID19 double-wall rims that seem to be causing me some trouble.. Last year before I started riding heavily in the summer I decided to take my bike in for a look because my rear hub was making a noise that sounded like it had sand within it. If I remember correctly the problem was either that the rear hub was no good or was heavily damaged from wear and tear. It was repacked and I was told that before the summer was out it should be replaced completely. It wasn't.

Today while riding I popped a spoke on my rear tire and prior to this I noticed the hub was also starting to sound like it had sand in it as well again. Throw in the fact that both the front and the back wheels aren't true.. I'm wondering if it is worth the effort to: straighten the wheels, replace the spoke, and probably rebuild my entire back wheel.. OR.. Go ahead and replace my stock wheelset that I got back on the bike in 2009.

I guess I am looking some advice to either:
  1. Take it into the shop and pony up for repairs
  2. Replace a stock wheelset that I bought back in 2009 that seems like its in rough shape
  3. Finally suck it up and get my hands dirty not only buying a bunch of tools but learning how to fix my stuff

What do you guys think? To be honest I think all paths are great but don't really know what road I should go down.. All I know is its warming up and its killing me that I know things are only going to get worse with that back wheel.
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Old 04-14-13, 10:32 PM
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Cutting to the chase, a bad hub must either be rebuilt with new bearings (if it's possible) or the wheel trashed. It's very rare that it's worthnthe expense to replace a hub while saving the rim.

Now you have a bad rim too, so my question is what part of this wheel do you think warrants salvaging?

Whether you do your own work or not, bad hub + bad rim = new wheel every time.
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Old 04-14-13, 10:44 PM
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I agree with FB. How you go about getting a new rear wheel is your call. Personally I'd build it myself (yourself). If I didn't know how I'd work that out. Put a spoke in the original wheel- true it up best you can, and set it aside. When it comes time to sell the Jamis put the original back on.
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Old 04-14-13, 10:56 PM
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Yeah, pop for some new wheels. No sense spending dollars on an old wheel set that's several years old.

If I can get 2 years of daily use out of a wheel set, I figure I got my money's worth.
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Old 04-15-13, 05:53 AM
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I would not recommend building a wheel when you have to spec and purchase hub, spokes and rim. The cost in time and money combined far exceed what you face with a simple wheel replacement. Lacing a wheel is a fairly routine task, typically done rarely, and you can learn how to true a wheel without building one. Yes, it can be rewarding, but so can the hundred or so miles you could be riding instead. It is, however a good idea to have the proper tension verified on any replacement wheel.

As for the front wheel, you need a good evaluation of hub and rim condition in order to determine the best course. If the shop you went to previously did not advise you up front that you needed to choose between temp repair and replacement then I would suggest you get that evaluation from a different shop, or the head mechanic at the original one.

Selling a bike that has a known bad wheel is terrible advice. How would you feel if you bought a bike and then found out you needed to spend maybe 1/3 of the purchase price on a new wheel? Selling with the bad wheel, unless you do full disclosure is just plain dishonest.

I do want to speak to the 3rd option you listed. A hub should last a decade or more if kept properly adjusted with occasional overhauls. Odds are high it was not adjusted from the get-go when you purchased it, the bearings were allowed to get dirty, or the hub was left unadjusted for a long period. You need to at a minimum to regularly check hubs for adjustment, and possibly how to adjust/overhaul them. Not everybody has the time and inclination to do repairs on a bike, but it's critical that you know how to determine when repairs are needed. I don't think it's wise to depend on a once-per-year tune-up to detect and correct all needed maintenance.

One final note. I notice the bike is a fixed gear. It is important that the chain not be too tight, as that can potentially cause extra hub wear. You should have a very slight amount of play in the chain at the tightest point. The other consideration with a fixed gear is that a wheelset will be less expensive ($100 - 150+ for a set) whereas building a wheel will be no less labor.
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Old 04-15-13, 09:12 AM
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Modern Shimano 105 or better hubs should last 40000 to 50000 miles if not exposed to rain/mud. Clean and repack with grease and new balls every 5000-6000 miles. I don't ride in the rain, so I only adjust for proper bearing pre-load during bearing repack (5K-6K miles). Rim durability is a function of spoke counts and rim design. More spokes (32 or 36) will result in a stronger wheel. Deep V rim is stronger than boxed rim. The use of butted spokes will improve durability of weaker rims. Proper tensioning and stress-relieving are critical to maintain trueness.

One must visually inspect the wheels to see if they are worth saving. Take them to a decent bike shop to get a 2nd or 3rd opinion.

If you have 32H hubs and they are OK, then you can relace them with a cheap/strong rim like Weinmann DP18 (about $25 shipped). New spokes and rims should not exceed $115. Add $100 for labor.
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Old 04-16-13, 10:42 AM
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Wow thanks for the great responses everyone! Here is a consolidation of what I'm hearing:
  • Go ahead and get my front wheel checked out
  • Look into getting a replacement for my back wheel
  • See if my rear hub is in shape to be used for a new wheel
  • Be sure to take my bike in for tune ups and maintenance more than once a year
  • Even though I do currently have a flipflop hub, I'm riding with a freewheel and not fixed gear. (Sorry I didn't clarify this earlier)

With that said, where can I start to get some solid research and gear reviews for rims and hubs? Anyone have a good recommendation for some online stores? What are some brands you've had great experiences with?

Everything has been super helpful and thanks again for the info.
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Old 04-16-13, 10:55 AM
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Before doing anything else, learn about proper chain slack (tension) adjustment for single speed, IGH and fixed wheel bikes. Seeing that your were riding SS made me look again at your OP, and the reference to hub wear. Hubs last someplace close to forever, so unless yours saw lots of rain or was ridden in very dirty conditions, there's a good chance that the wear was caused by chain tension.

The proper chain tension for SS is zero. The chain should be slack at all times. Slack will vary as you pedal because the sprockets are never perfectly round, so start by finding the tightest place. Pull the wheel back as far as possible, leaving only a vestige of slack. Test by rocking the crank back and forth while holding the wheel and note that there's some play that allows you to visibly transfer the slack from the lower to upper loop and back. That's the right "tension" adjustment, and you should confirm that it's slacker yet in other places as you turn the crank.

BTW- this may not apply to you, and your hub damage might have been caused by the prior owner, but being reminded can't hurt even if you already know.
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