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Truing wheel on the road ideas

Old 09-25-22, 05:01 AM
  #1  
utoner34
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Truing wheel on the road ideas

I am looking for possible ideas how can you fix the wheel when you are "out there".

You could do lateral with zip tie tied around one fork leg, although I still dont know how would you guess the center.

Radial idea: https://flatbike.com/wp-content/uplo...pe-829x622.jpg

How would you check dish?
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Old 09-25-22, 05:31 AM
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Originally Posted by utoner34 View Post
How would you check dish?
Flip the wheel.
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Old 09-25-22, 08:50 AM
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I view on road repairs as being a "make do" to get back tiding and save the fine tuning level for when I get back. Here's a shot of my most challenging on tour repair. I got the wheel good enough to just clear the brake pads and was able to ride the last 10 miles into Portland ME. Andy

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Old 09-25-22, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
I view on road repairs as being a "make do" to get back tiding and save the fine tuning level for when I get back. Here's a shot of my most challenging on tour repair. I got the wheel good enough to just clear the brake pads and was able to ride the last 10 miles into Portland ME. Andy

Yeah, that's a little out of true.

Gotta ask - what happened to cause that?
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Old 09-25-22, 09:33 AM
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The wife and I were finishing our VY to ME tour. She was a photographer and had stopped just ahead to shoot a picture and I, not paying attention to where I was rolling, rode into her left side rear pannier with my rt front one. Ft wheel turned 90* and folded over. No frame or body damage, just the wheel and the bent mirror stalk. Andy
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Old 09-25-22, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
The wife and I were finishing our VY to ME tour. She was a photographer and had stopped just ahead to shoot a picture and I, not paying attention to where I was rolling, rode into her left side rear pannier with my rt front one. Ft wheel turned 90* and folded over. No frame or body damage, just the wheel and the bent mirror stalk. Andy
Thanks. Glad to hear that no one was hurt and that there was no serious damage.

Haven't ever had a wheel do anything like that (though I have knocked more than one out of true via similarly not watching what I was doing closely enough and hitting road debris), so I had no idea what could cause it.
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Old 09-25-22, 11:38 AM
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If I were using the upside down (or better, hung) bike as a truing stand I'd skip the zip ties and simply use the brake pads. I'd adjust/push one pad to near touching and go from there. And yes, wheel flips to check dish.

All of my early wheel builds were done on hung bikes. Started ~1973. Got my stand in the early '80s. So every wheel I raced until I started working in bike shops.

Biggest challenge for my bikes as on-the-road truing stands is the handlebar setup. I use nice and very long stems. They don't grow on trees. I also mount my brake levers low, like racers 50 years ago. Upside down bike sits and rocks on those beautiful stems unless I set the handlebars on blocks. (Using pista-like bars with generously rounded "shoulders" and the bars rotated down doesn't help either.)
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Old 09-25-22, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Hondo6 View Post
Yeah, that's a little out of true.
50 years ago I heard wheels like those referred to as being "potato chipped". In my college days when I had a lot of math I thought the shape most similar to a potato chipped wheel was the Hyperbolic Paraboloid.
These days I don't know math from a hole in the ground!
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Old 09-25-22, 12:38 PM
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Most important thing is make sure the bike is in good working order before you go on your ride. If you really need a serious truing it is possibly a sign there should have been some good maintenance before hand or something bad enough happened that you just need to get it good enough to get to the next bike shop or home. Or if it is really bad you might have to walk or call someone to help out and hope you are OK.
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Old 09-25-22, 01:47 PM
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You can use the center of the tire aligned with the center bolt of the brake caliper to determine center besides flipping the wheel.

Best thing to do is make sure there is even tension on the spoke prior to any trip.
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Old 09-25-22, 02:42 PM
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It depends on how far ďout thereĒ is. If weíre talking my commute home from work Iím going to loosen the brakes to make the rim clear, ride slowly, and fix it at home.
If thatís not enough, or Iím farther out then I would flip the bike and true to brake pad spacing. You can actually do this with the bike right side up too if you have a bunch of stuff you donít want to scratch or get muddy on your bars, but itís a lot easier with something to lean the bike on, and you have to pick it up to rotate the wheel.

You can flip to check dish, but by eye in the frame will leave you close. If itís not hitting the frame or brakes and itís visibly true and round then close is probably close enough unless youíre on day 2 of a week long unsupported tour.
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Old 09-26-22, 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by utoner34 View Post
I am looking for possible ideas how can you fix the wheel when you are "out there".

You could do lateral with zip tie tied around one fork leg, although I still dont know how would you guess the center.

Radial idea: https://flatbike.com/wp-content/uplo...pe-829x622.jpg

How would you check dish?
You are over thinking it. If you are "out there" it's about getting the wheel not to rub on the brake calipers, or stays on a disk setup. If it's bent from a crash, work around the more obvious spots, if a broken spoke, obviously go at the adjacent spokes, and again, don't over do it.
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Old 09-26-22, 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Hondo6 View Post
Yeah, that's a little out of true.
Are you sure, might just be the camera angle...
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Old 09-26-22, 06:31 AM
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Two keys to truing:
It is as much an art as a science
small adjustments are best

sometimes the best way to make a "chipped" wheel rideable is to lessen spoke tension on adjacent spokes...not much...just a quarter turn at a time is best...just enough to make the wheel rideable...make sure to open the brake caliper first to provide more spacing between the brake pad and the rim.

another benefit of disk brakes is a wheel that is a bit out of true is no longer a big worry as there is no pad to rub on the rim

if you want to learn how to true a wheel for on road repairs, etc. I recommend going to a bike shop and asking for a used wheel to practice on...you may be able to get it for free...or you could just buy an inexpensive wheel to use as a practice wheel...I don't recommend using your riding wheels unless you don't mind having to drop it off at the local shop to get it trued correctly.

there are lots of videos showing how but honestly until you've spent time working a wheel you don't realize how much of a "feel" there is to it.
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Old 09-26-22, 01:21 PM
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I meant if you are on tour and you need to change broken spoke or similar.

Why is everybody mentioning to use brakes for truing. Its not like everybody uses rim brakes these days.
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Old 09-26-22, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
If I were using the upside down (or better, hung) bike as a truing stand I'd skip the zip ties and simply use the brake pads. I'd adjust/push one pad to near touching and go from there. And yes, wheel flips to check dish.
The idea being, make it sufficiently safe and reliable to make the next leg of the trip.
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Old 09-26-22, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by utoner34 View Post
I meant if you are on tour and you need to change broken spoke or similar.

Why is everybody mentioning to use brakes for truing. Its not like everybody uses rim brakes these days.
Replacing "a spoke"?
Replace it and bring tension up so it's true. You didn't do anything to the other spokes.

Disk brakes?
Do what you would do if you were truing it at home. Else get it good enough to get home.
All you have to do is get it to NOT RUB until you can effect a "proper truing".
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Old 09-27-22, 12:24 AM
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Originally Posted by utoner34 View Post
I meant if you are on tour and you need to change broken spoke or similar.

Why is everybody mentioning to use brakes for truing. Its not like everybody uses rim brakes these days.
Two reasons:
1. They are still quite common.
2. If you donít have rim brakes, your required level of true (axial runout) is much less.

If youíre not running rim brakes then anything that doesnít run the fork or frame will probably get you home. Iíll bet you could use a finger tip as a truing gage at that point. If you happen to ride a bike that uses tubes you could always wrap one around the fork or stay and rotate it until the valve stem is in about the right place. Plenty of other field rigging options, just mostly unnecessary.
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Old 09-27-22, 07:34 AM
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I had multiple broken spokes on a tour a few years ago. I bought a cassette tool as we passed through a town, and, while staying at a friend's relative's house, I borrowed a few more tools and rebuilt the wheel in their basement. I used zip ties as true-ness gauges, and the brakes and flipping the wheel for dish.

In the vast majority of other scenarios, though, you do not need to worry about the dish if just doing a simple true or replacing one or two spokes, unless you were aware of the dish being significantly off before the spoke(s) broke.

As for what to use as a gauge, the brakes are the best and easiest bet. In fact, the most obvious standard to try and meet is 'rim not hitting the brakes', as this is all that is required to get you home.

If you have disc brakes, then you only need to make the wheel 'roughly' straight. If a spoke breaks, replace and bring it roughly up to correct tension and the wheel will be straight enough that you won't notice when riding. Worrying about getting a disc wheel within 1mm or getting the dish perfect when replacing a single spoke is an issue to bring up with your therapist, not a bike mechanic - it just isn't important.
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Old 09-27-22, 07:39 AM
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ALSO

if a wheel is significantly bent (like a potato chip as Andrew R Stewart shows above) then it is best to bend it back as best as possible before you start trying to true with spoke tension. Push the axle against a tree or something and push on either side of the rim to bend it back to close-to-straight.

A wheel in this state is basically ruined and needs replacement (the rim at least), but can be made safe to ride until replacement is possible.
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Old 09-27-22, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by ClydeClydeson View Post
ALSO

if a wheel is significantly bent (like a potato chip as Andrew R Stewart shows above) then it is best to bend it back as best as possible before you start trying to true with spoke tension. Push the axle against a tree or something and push on either side of the rim to bend it back to close-to-straight.

A wheel in this state is basically ruined and needs replacement (the rim at least), but can be made safe to ride until replacement is possible.
This! What i did to get the wheel good enough to ride safely was to loosen up all the spokes a tad then counter whack it against the ground, keeping the tire pressure normal. Eyeball the rim's straightness and reapply against the ground (whack) as you see the out of true spots change. After a few hits I retensioned the spokes to gain more straightness and not lose too much on the slack spokes. Andy (a member of the "hit it harder club" sometimes)
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Old 09-27-22, 03:20 PM
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When my back wheel pretzeled (a friend thought it would be fun to jump on the rack while I was riding at walking pace) I rested it on a kerb stone and stood/bounced on it to get it back into shape, then slackened the brake cable. I trued it the next day and continued to use it.
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Old 09-27-22, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by utoner34 View Post
How would you check dish?
Unless you're rebuilding the whole wheel, you shouldn't need to mess with the dishing. Use the brake pads as indicators to show which spokes you need to adjust. Get it so the rim passes between the pads without rubbing and call it good. You can fine-tune things when you get home.

Of course, if you have disc brakes you can't use the brake pads as indicators of rim trueness, but then again, rim trueness isn't as compelling an issue with disc brakes.
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Old 09-28-22, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
... rim trueness isn't as compelling an issue with disc brakes.
Just be sure to check chainstay clearance (allowing for any movement from the bearings) by inverting the bike if necessary - a wobbly tyre can grind through a frame.
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