Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Bicycle Mechanics
Reload this Page >

Failed @ first wheel truing attempt, how can I start over?

Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

Failed @ first wheel truing attempt, how can I start over?

Old 02-15-19, 12:29 PM
  #1  
c4p
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 50
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Failed @ first wheel truing attempt, how can I start over?

Hello
So I have a few 700C wheels that are way out of true. I've been trying to practice wheel truing and started messing around with one of them (a shimano wh501 front wheel). I don't own a truing stand, I just use the brake pads from one of my bikes. Anyway, I messed up pretty bad and the wheel is waaaaaaaay worse now then it was before and i'm lost as to where to even start trying to fix it. I initially was able to fix the problematic area of the wheel, or so I thought, but then another section started rubbing, i'd fix that, then the rubbing went somewhere else, repeat. Then i'd go back, loosen this, tighten that......yeah. Wheel is ALL whacked out now..lol.

As a noob to truing, how would I sort of start from scratch here? Am I able to loosen ALL the spokes and then tighten them gradually?

Last edited by c4p; 02-15-19 at 12:32 PM.
c4p is offline  
Old 02-15-19, 12:51 PM
  #2  
Retro Grouch 
Senior Member
 
Retro Grouch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: St Peters, Missouri
Posts: 29,199

Bikes: Catrike 559 I own some others but they don't get ridden very much.

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1115 Post(s)
Liked 9 Times in 6 Posts
I'd try loosening all of the spokes until I could see just one spoke thread at the nipple and start over.

The issue to look out for is spoke wind up. You want the nipple to twist relative to the spoke. That doesn't always happen. Sometimes it's easier to learn by starting with all new components.
__________________
My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.
Retro Grouch is offline  
Old 02-15-19, 12:56 PM
  #3  
oliver1850
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 28
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
My advice would be to take the wheel to someone with some experience who will let you watch the process. If you want to make another attempt yourself, the first step would be to identify any spokes that are significantly different in tension from the average. You can do this by plucking the spokes and listening to the tone. Mark the high and low tension spokes on the brake surface with different colored Sharpies, then see if the out of true spots correspond to the out of tension spots. The goal is to have equal spoke tension and a rim that runs true.
oliver1850 is offline  
Old 02-15-19, 01:02 PM
  #4  
Andrew R Stewart 
Senior Member
 
Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 11,456

Bikes: Stewart S&S coupled sport tourer, Stewart Sunday light, Stewart Commuting, Stewart Touring, Co Motion Tandem, Stewart 3-Spd, Stewart Track, Fuji Finest, Raleigh Pro, Trek Cycle Cross, Mongoose tomac ATB, GT Bravado ATB, JCP Folder

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1677 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 8 Times in 7 Posts
One bit of advice I got a long time ago is to start with basic stuff. In wheels this is 32/36 spokes on non brand specific stuff. Use masking tape on the spokes to work on (defined by the area of the deviation). Count number of turns per spoke, make a list if you tend to forget easily (short term challenges). Turn one spoke and look at the resulting change to trueness. Go back and reverse the turns and see if the rim returns to the initial condition. Remember which side of the rim you're looking at as you turn the nipple which way. Andy
__________________
AndrewRStewart
Andrew R Stewart is offline  
Old 02-15-19, 01:09 PM
  #5  
Bigbus
Senior Member
 
Bigbus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Central West Coast
Posts: 232

Bikes: In Flux

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 59 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Fortunately, you haven't permanently damaged anything. Try Retro's approach and loosening everything until just a single thread is protruding from the top of the nipple. Everything should be really loose at this point. The simply work out all the play evenly and see where you're at and go from there. Once you've done this a few times you'll get a feel for the spoke tension and it begins to come naturally. I usually put my bikes on the work stand and clamp a wrench to the side of the fork or frame being careful not to scratch anything and then just spend some relaxing time with a beer or three and before I know it, it's running true. Biggest problem I have isn't side to side, but up and down. Good luck and enjoy the experience.
Bigbus is offline  
Old 02-15-19, 02:00 PM
  #6  
Bill Kapaun
Senior Member
 
Bill Kapaun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Mid Willamette Valley, Orygun
Posts: 10,676

Bikes: 86 RockHopper,2008 Specialized Globe. Both upgraded to 9 speeds.

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 620 Post(s)
Liked 8 Times in 7 Posts
USED wheels can be problematic for a beginner.
FIRST- Examine the rims to make sure they aren't bent from running into curbs etc.
Use an adjustable wrench for a "gauge" and run the jaws around the circumference to make sure the brake tracks aren't "splayed out.
That'll eat you up if trying to true from one side at a time. You get one side "true" and the opposite side is 2X as bad. You go to that side and make the problem worse.

One method (messy) is to take a felt tip marker. Spin the wheel and use the marker on both sides to just touch the high spots.
Examine WHERE the high spots are. If across from each other, the rim is "splayed".
Bill Kapaun is offline  
Old 02-16-19, 07:55 PM
  #7  
ramzilla
Senior Member
 
ramzilla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: 1/2 Atlanta GA 1/2 Fernandina FL
Posts: 2,400

Bikes: Vintage Japanese Bicycles

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 382 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
It's an art and, not a science for me. Just like tuning the strings on a guitar. Small fine adjustments can make a big difference in how true a wheel spins. One of the most important things I've learned from reading these forums is when you tighten a spoke on one side of the wheel, you need to loosen the spoke an equal amount on the other side of the wheel.
ramzilla is offline  
Old 02-16-19, 08:02 PM
  #8  
ramzilla
Senior Member
 
ramzilla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: 1/2 Atlanta GA 1/2 Fernandina FL
Posts: 2,400

Bikes: Vintage Japanese Bicycles

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 382 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Front wheels are easy. Rear wheels are hard. Front wheels (should) have equal tension on all the spokes. Rear wheels have much higher tension on the drive side spokes than the non drive side. The drive side spokes are shorter than the non drive side. And of course, the drive side is where the chain is. So, get back in there and get those wheels spinning true!!!!!
ramzilla is offline  
Old 02-17-19, 10:32 AM
  #9  
krecik
Senior Member
 
krecik's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 130
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 44 Post(s)
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
One of the problems that arises when truing wheels is that when you see a side to side wobble, you can't be sure whether THAT is the wobble or if that part of the wheel is true and the rest of it is wobbling.

The way I did it was by using two pencils. Spin the wheel and bring two pencils closer to the rim on both sides until they barely scrape it. They will leave marks on the rim where it is out of true. If you do this correctly, you will see the pencil marks darkening and thinning out. The darkest parts are most out of true.

Then it's just a matter of adjustment, try to true the rim starting from the middle of the pencil mark (where it is the darkest) and move out to the sides of the mark, reducing the number of turns on the spokes as the mark dims out. Then just rub out the mark with a rubber and repeat.

You can also put your frame up on a chair if you don't have a stand and observe the wheel as it spins relative to the little bridge that is welded on the bottom of the frame near the bb, that will give you a good idea of the trueness as you go along.

It takes some time and patience. If you are feeling frustrated, drop it, go for a walk and forget about it, come back to it later with a fresh mind. Whatever you do, don't listen to all the pseudo-mechanics that will tell you to "take it to an expert" or to buy an expensive truing stand, you'll never get any experience that way.

Best of luck.

Kret
krecik is offline  
Old 02-17-19, 10:47 AM
  #10  
Lemond1985
Sophomore Member
 
Lemond1985's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 1,268
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 684 Post(s)
Liked 68 Times in 57 Posts
Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
I'd try loosening all of the spokes until I could see just one spoke thread at the nipple and start over.
Great advice. Start at the valve stem, then just tighten each spoke a half a turn at a time. Don't lose your spot by letting go of the wheel before you reach the valve stem. Grab parallel pairs of spokes and squeeze them together to reduce tension. Have a finished "good" front wheel nearby to compare tension to.

If you tighten the spokes uniformly, and the wheel is still crooked, then the rim is bent. Not your fault, so don't expect perfection, just do your best to straighten the wheel while keeping the spoke tension as uniform as possible. Pluck the spokes like guitar strings to compare the tension.

I guess the person who said it's like tuning a guitar is right, and with each wheel you work on, you can't help but to get better slightly at the task as you gain experience. Keep at it, and just go do something else for a while if you get frustrated (you will) and good luck.
Lemond1985 is offline  
Old 02-17-19, 11:50 AM
  #11  
speedevil 
I never finish anyth
 
speedevil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Western KY
Posts: 948

Bikes: 2008 Merckx LXM, 2003 Giant XTC mtb, 2001 Lemond Alpe d'Huez, 1997 Lemond Zurich, 1989 Cannondale ST, 198? Masi Nuovo Strada, 1984 Pinarello Turismo

Mentioned: 37 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 222 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
I've found the biggest asset in building wheels is patience. Presuming that the lacing is correct, when you start bringing the spokes up to tension, make small adjustments. As a habit, I turn the spoke wrench a quarter-turn or so, and then back it off a bit. Avoid big adjustments (even where the rim is most out of lateral true) by making a larger number of small adjustments to tension. You'll be happier and the wheel (and by inference, you) will be better off as a result.

For a rear wheel, once the dish is close, I make initial adjustments with the DS spokes. The NDS spokes, being under a lower tension due to the bracing angle, are easier to adjust. Bringing up the NDS tension will increase the DS tension, so don't go all in on the DS spoke tension. Again, small adjustments and patience will result in success.

One more small item - I dip the spoke threads in linseed oil and the let the excess drip off as I lace the wheel. This helps with adjustments when truing, and the linseed oil will become "gummy" with age and help to prevent spokes loosening up. You can buy "spoke prep" but linseed oil has been used for a long time for this purpose and works well.

One more small item - I put a tiny dab of grease on the conical part of the nipple before screwing it onto the spoke. This will help make the adjustments smoother, as you won't have to overcome nipple-on-eyelet metal-on-metal friction.
__________________
Dale, NL4T
speedevil is offline  
Old 02-17-19, 04:34 PM
  #12  
ArmChairRider
Senior Member
 
ArmChairRider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 217

Bikes: 630 Beach Bike Schwinn Hurricane ATB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 35 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Use talcum powder to highlight and keep track of high sides and run out. De-stress the spokes every time an adjustment is made.
ArmChairRider is offline  
Old 02-17-19, 05:21 PM
  #13  
rseeker
Senior Member
 
rseeker's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Southeast US
Posts: 485
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 167 Post(s)
Liked 5 Times in 5 Posts
Before my first home truing, the mechanic at my LBS let me feel up a properly-tensioned wheel. Good thing, because it was more springy and less rigid than I'd expected. It was a help.
rseeker is offline  
Old 02-17-19, 06:34 PM
  #14  
ArmChairRider
Senior Member
 
ArmChairRider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 217

Bikes: 630 Beach Bike Schwinn Hurricane ATB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 35 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by rseeker View Post
Before my first home truing, the mechanic at my LBS let me feel up a properly-tensioned wheel. Good thing, because it was more springy and less rigid than I'd expected. It was a help.
That's a leading phrase if I've ever saw one.

(just kidding around)
ArmChairRider is offline  
Old 02-17-19, 07:08 PM
  #15  
408mopar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 98
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 24 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'm also a rookie when it comes to truing wheels. I've only done three, so I'm most likely more lucky than good, lol.
I'll second the ideas of lubing the nipple threads and the point where they spin in the rim as they are adjusted. I did that, and it helps noticably.
I had the opportunity to use a truing jig. I know they're not cheap, but it really helped.
I was concerned that I'd need a spoke tension gauge. I opted to try my work for a while. Two of the three wheels I did are still good. The third was badly tacoed, and has moved a bit. I plan on going back to it soon. I will get a tension gauge. Guess I could "feel up" a few wheels at the LBS. That should get me thrown out.
I agree that it's a bit art, a bit science. But, I yam a rookie.
408mopar is offline  
Old 02-17-19, 08:14 PM
  #16  
rseeker
Senior Member
 
rseeker's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Southeast US
Posts: 485
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 167 Post(s)
Liked 5 Times in 5 Posts
Originally Posted by ArmChairRider View Post
That's a leading phrase if I've ever saw one.

(just kidding around)
LOL yeah. Now that mention it, it was kind of an intimate touch.

The first time I had my fingers in a front hub I was at it all night. (That's literally true: it took longer than I thought, and I was hoping to ride the next day.)

Last edited by rseeker; 02-17-19 at 08:23 PM.
rseeker is offline  
Old 02-17-19, 08:39 PM
  #17  
ArmChairRider
Senior Member
 
ArmChairRider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 217

Bikes: 630 Beach Bike Schwinn Hurricane ATB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 35 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by rseeker View Post
LOL yeah. Now that mention it, it was kind of an intimate touch.

The first time I had my fingers in a front hub I was at it all night. (That's literally true: it took longer than I thought, and I was hoping to ride the next day.)
LOL
First time I ever thought that spoke nipples could be third base.
I'm almost certain Scotty, the engineer of the Star Trek Enterprise, has had some intimate moments with the warp drives.
ArmChairRider is offline  
Old 02-17-19, 09:10 PM
  #18  
ArmChairRider
Senior Member
 
ArmChairRider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 217

Bikes: 630 Beach Bike Schwinn Hurricane ATB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 35 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
[QUOTE=408mopar;20799660]I'm also a rookie when it comes to truing wheels. I've only done three, so I'm most likely more lucky than good, lol.
...QUOTE]

That is the thing about trueing one's own wheels.
Once they get good at it they don't have to true the wheels for a long time. Then the skill sets deplete a little.
But yeah, a wheel trueing stand, spoke tensioner and a dish tool comes in handy.
ArmChairRider is offline  
Old 02-18-19, 07:58 PM
  #19  
Jon T
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: West Orange County, CA
Posts: 911

Bikes: '84 Peugeot PH10LE

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 320 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 9 Times in 4 Posts
You'll be amazed how far 1/4 turn on a spoke nipple will move the rim. As previously mentioned, back them all off until you see 1 thread on each spoke and then SLOWLY tighten them 1/4 turn at a time. After it's close, 1/8 turns will finalize it. Wheel truing takes time--don't try to rush it. If you get flustered, STOP! Take a break and come back to it after you've re-composed yourself. Again, DON'T RUSH. Good luck and keep us posted.
Jon
Jon T is offline  
Old 02-19-19, 08:22 PM
  #20  
Ptcycles
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Sylvania, OH
Posts: 24

Bikes: 73 Schwinn Continental, (my first), 1993 Nobelette, Cannondale 500,Team Fugi, Raleigh Supercourse, Raleigh Gran Sport, 1976 Krystal, Tsunami, Giant Boulder SE, Series 30 Paramount, Scott Unitrack, As long as I have room the Hoard will grow...

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Unless I missed it in the previous responses, let the air out of the tire before you do any adjusting. Also the advice about doing 1/8 or 1/4 turns is spot on.
Ptcycles is offline  
Old 02-20-19, 11:52 PM
  #21  
Cycle Tourist
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 140
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 31 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Start over.

Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
I'd try loosening all of the spokes until I could see just one spoke thread at the nipple and start over.

The issue to look out for is spoke wind up. You want the nipple to twist relative to the spoke. That doesn't always happen. Sometimes it's easier to learn by starting with all new components.
Yeah I'd loosen em all and put a little oil on the threads. Then gradually work around tightening enough so none are real loose. Pay attention to roundness and to loosen one side the same amount you tighten the other. This should get you there with a nice clear ding when you pluck each spoke. They ideally should sound nearly the same. You should be proud as heck when your done. If things don't work out just take it to your LBS and watch if they'll let you.😁
Cycle Tourist is offline  
Old 02-24-19, 06:52 PM
  #22  
408mopar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 98
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 24 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Ptcycles View Post
Unless I missed it in the previous responses, let the air out of the tire before you do any adjusting. Also the advice about doing 1/8 or 1/4 turns is spot on.
A good point. I did that when I did mine. Forgot to mention it.

Also, the rims I did were aluminum, except for one I tried to true for a friend. It was steel, and I couldn't get it to move the way I wanted it to. I assumed it was because it was steel, but I don't know.
408mopar is offline  
Old 02-24-19, 08:14 PM
  #23  
bwilli88 
Senior Member
 
bwilli88's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Kampong Cham, Cambodia but I have quite a few in Lancaster, PA
Posts: 1,714

Bikes: Bikes in USA; 73 Raleigh Supercourse dingle speed, 74 Raleigh Grand Prix SS, 78 Raleigh Supercourse, 83 Centurion Pro-Tour, 82 Raleigh RRA.

Mentioned: 37 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 404 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Ideally remove the tire from the rim.
Most everything else is good, particularly loosen the spokes to one thread showing, then start again.
With the wheel off and the heads of the spokes showing you could put a tiny bit of oil on the end of the spoke.
__________________
My Cambodia bikes; ?? Zunow, 81 Centurion Pro Tour, 85 Gazelle Mens Market bike, ?? Maxwell Allroad, 12 Fuji Stratos.
bwilli88 is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.