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Horribly out of true wheel

Old 07-04-21, 09:50 AM
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LarrySellerz
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Horribly out of true wheel

Hey guys, I had a crash a few weeks ago that took out my back rim brake and many spokes lost tension. I took the brake off and it seemed ridable, but a few hundred miles later I was pushing hard on a group ride and it felt unstable. After getting home I took a spoke wrench to the thing, like half of the spokes were super loose, but I have no idea what im doing and now the wheel is horribly out of true, way worse than when I started. I took it out on a 30 mile ride and it rode great, and some roadies I talked to said its OKAY and not dangerous. What is the worst case scenario if I just keep riding with a badly out of true wheel? Is there a chance it will fail catastrophically?

As far as im concerned, an out of true wheel is mainly a problem if it rubs against the brakes. If you remove the brakes, it becomes a problem if it starts rubbing against the frame. Am I wrong? It wont like taco or anything right? Not trying to put more money into this bike
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Old 07-04-21, 10:14 AM
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If you have loose spokes, the J bend gets flexed too much and will fatigue prematurely.
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Old 07-04-21, 10:59 AM
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If you don't use your rear brake, you increase the probability of damage to yourself when you stop the front wheel and the rear keeps going.
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Old 07-04-21, 11:10 AM
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My old "Wolber" wheel became my "Wobbler" wheel several years ago. I was able to get it reasonably laterally true, but it had a bad hop, and some under-tensioned spokes. It became annoying after a while and I eventually replaced it. I believe that wheel had 36 spokes, and I never broke any spokes.

However, unless you are riding a fixie, I wouldn't encourage riding without a back brake any more than necessary.

What happens when you get a badly bent front wheel and need to remove the pads? Or, you have a brake failure. Zero brakes??? Or, as mentioned above, too much front brake can send you tumbling.

There have been people who have successfully straightened rims, but I'd encourage you to just buy a new rim (or new wheel), and fix it properly.
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Old 07-04-21, 01:05 PM
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Sup Larry! Probably you won't die or even wreck if the rear wheel fails. Keep fiddling with the spoke wrench but it may not last too much longer, given the wattage you are putting through it. Maybe by the time it gives up completely, your group will appreciate your presence so much they will sponsor a new wheel for you. Would not hurt to ask!
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Old 07-04-21, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post
I took the brake off and it seemed ridable,Ö
You rode with the rear brakes removed, but you didnít mention that you put them back on. Did you? I mean riding without rear brakes presents yet another safety issue.

Dan
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Old 07-04-21, 01:30 PM
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Think about it--if a section of the rim gets pushed to one side in an accident, the spokes on that side will become loose. If you tighten those spokes, you will make the bend worse. The idea of the spoke wrench is to tighten the spokes on the other side of the bend, pulling the rim true. A spoke wrench is not intended to just tighten loose spokes--it's used to true the wheel and all the spokes work together to do that.

But that typically doesn't work on a rim bent badly in an accident. As mentioned above, there are ways to straighten some rims to get within range of truing by spokes, but that takes time and experience.
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Old 07-04-21, 01:41 PM
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To my way of thinking, a wheel that is so out of true that a rim brake can’t be ridden is something that you can get home on but not something to leave home on.
The first decision point is: Has the rim taken a set so that it no longer lies true in one plane but is permanently bent into a potato-chip shape? That is, if all the spokes were removed completely, would the rim show high spots and low spots when you set it down on a flat table? In a crash like you describe, this is typically what happens and this damage cannot be repaired or compensated for by tightening and loosening spokes: to pull the rim into one true plane, some will have to be way too tight and others way too loose. And because the rim has bends and kinks in it, the transitions between tight and loose will be more abrupt than spoke tension can accommodate. It is sometimes possible to straighten a bent rim and reuse it if you have the knack. (I don’t because I haven’t crashed enough to learn it.) But most likely you need a new rim.

The spokes should be re-useable, if your new rim has the same (or close within a couple of millimetres) nipple-seat diameter, provided you haven’t been running them too long too loose, else the J-bends will be fatigued and will break prematurely. If you are trying to not put too much money in the bike, you should definitely re-use the spokes as they can cost more at retail than a rim. (A professional wheel-builder will not want to re-use your spokes because if they start to break, he knows you will blame his work, not your old spokes. But if you are doing it yourself, no-one’s reputation is at stake and it will be better for your budget.)

Good luck!
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Old 07-04-21, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
Think about it--if a section of the rim gets pushed to one side in an accident, the spokes on that side will become loose. If you tighten those spokes, you will make the bend worse. The idea of the spoke wrench is to tighten the spokes on the other side of the bend, pulling the rim true. A spoke wrench is not intended to just tighten loose spokes--it's used to true the wheel and all the spokes work together to do that.

But that typically doesn't work on a rim bent badly in an accident. As mentioned above, there are ways to straighten some rims to get within range of truing by spokes, but that takes time and experience.
Ooh **** lol, so I made the bend worse? how bad is a bent wheel, am I just loosing out on watts, or are they prone to failure? This bike is only 3 months old and this is already the second rear wheel, really don't want to get this bike overhauled because I need a new front wheel (broken hub)and new chain and cassette according to the bike shop. Hate putting so much money into a 450$ bike. I intend on riding it until it wont ride any more, then buy a new one
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Old 07-04-21, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by conspiratemus1 View Post
...not something to leave home on.
This is easy... Time to refresh your self on how to rebuild wheels. It's not really a hard thing and it's cheap. If you fail you just end up with a wheel you can't use. And that is what you have now!!!
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Old 07-04-21, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post
Ooh **** lol, so I made the bend worse? how bad is a bent wheel, am I just loosing out on watts, or are they prone to failure? This bike is only 3 months old and this is already the second rear wheel, really don't want to get this bike overhauled because I need a new front wheel (broken hub)and new chain and cassette according to the bike shop. Hate putting so much money into a 450$ bike. I intend on riding it until it wont ride any more, then buy a new one
That's your choice.

I prefer to prioritize safety and dependability. What is broken on your front hub? How did you manage to destroy the chain and cassette in 3 months? 1000+ miles a month?

A lot of good used parts show up on Craigslist, often for a bargain, and potentially better quality than you began with. Also it doesn't hurt to browse a local bike co-op, thrift stores, or second hand recyclers.
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Old 07-04-21, 03:15 PM
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You donít wear a helmet, you donít wear a jersey, you crashed, and your rear wheel is so out-of-true that you removed the brake caliper. And youíre surprised that they donít want you on their group ride?
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Old 07-04-21, 04:11 PM
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A modestly out of true wheel isn't likely to be a real safety concern, but I'd be concerned that if an entire section of the rim was so bent to cause a whole section of spokes to go slack, that you may actually have an increased chance of lateral failure and a crash. Also if you are riding without a rear brake if anything happens to your front brake you're completely screwed. Your bike sounds like a death trap. I know new bike availability is terrible right now, but maybe try to look for a used bike in the extremely near future.
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Old 07-04-21, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Sup Larry! Probably you won't die or even wreck if the rear wheel fails. Keep fiddling with the spoke wrench but it may not last too much longer, given the wattage you are putting through it. Maybe by the time it gives up completely, your group will appreciate your presence so much they will sponsor a new wheel for you. Would not hurt to ask!
woah that emoji is awesome, he is slam dancing!! If my front brake fails in a pinch ill just use my shoe against the back wheel to brake, its slow but works. Delivered food for a living a while ago, and occasionally your bike gets stolen and you have to find one in a dumpster or something (college town so there are tons) and I once had a bike with no working brakes. It sucks and ruins your shoes. Kinda of doubt it will fail suddenly, rim brakes don't really do that i think

Last edited by LarrySellerz; 07-04-21 at 04:45 PM.
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Old 07-04-21, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
You don’t wear a helmet, you don’t wear a jersey, you crashed, and your rear wheel is so out-of-true that you removed the brake caliper. And you’re surprised that they don’t want you on their group ride?
Dude the group I ride with offered me a free full kit (one of the women is a former olympian, owns a racing team and can hook me up) and a road bike, I think they want me there. I'd rather be accepted by the racers than that group ride. Anyways ill get stronger soon and prove my worth. Don't want the bike because ill break it

Last edited by LarrySellerz; 07-04-21 at 05:04 PM.
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Old 07-04-21, 05:11 PM
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I've knocked a rear wheel severely out of true due to uneven spoke tension from the factory. I did a bit of a nose stand, stepped off to the left and the rear wheel hit with the bike leaning over. It "looked" BAD!
I backed off all the spokes and retensioned it and it was FINE after that.

Is the metal stretched/kinked or just a smooth "wow". It might be salvageable if the latter.
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Old 07-04-21, 05:23 PM
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I guess my real question is whats the advantage of a true wheel besides being able to put a brake on. If im loosing significant speed I need to true it, but if its just a little dangerous but not slowing me down I can live with that
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Old 07-04-21, 05:34 PM
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If you are riding 40mph or 50mph down hills in your group ride with only half a brake.

I wouldn't be surprised if a bad rear wheel wobble could induce a full bicycle shimmy.... and send you into the bushes again. Potentially also putting other people at risk.

You could also break spokes, making your wobble worse. It may depend on rider weight and characteristics. You could also damage your tires/tubes.
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Old 07-04-21, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post
I guess my real question is whats the advantage of a true wheel besides being able to put a brake at a on. If im loosing significant speed I need to true it, but if its just a little dangerous but not slowing me down I can live with that
A true wheel will take you around corners at a much faster clip before losing its grip with the road. Since you already have a spoke wrench, throw the brake pads back on and use them for truing your wheel just as if it were in a truing stand. Flip the bike over and where the rim hits the brake, loosen that spoke(s) and tighten the ones on the other side from them. Before you know it, you will have a much truer wheel than you started with. As it gets closer to being straight, make smaller cranks on the spoke wrench. It's really simple to end up with something better than you have now. Good luck
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Old 07-04-21, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post
I guess my real question is whats the advantage of a true wheel besides being able to put a brake on. If im loosing significant speed I need to true it, but if its just a little dangerous but not slowing me down I can live with that
Sounds like a Darwin Award candidate.

"Hey guys, I had a crash a few weeks ago that took out my back rim brake and many spokes lost tension"

What if you lose control and wipe out your former friends?
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Old 07-04-21, 06:40 PM
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Larry... You must be kidding around. If your bike and bicycling style is as messed up as you describe I certainly would not want to go hunting with ya. I'm almost sure your just pulling my leg...
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Old 07-04-21, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by zandoval View Post
Larry... You must be kidding around. If your bike and bicycling style is as messed up as you describe I certainly would not want to go hunting with ya. I'm almost sure your just pulling my leg...
I can't think of anything I'd do with someone like that.
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Old 07-05-21, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by zandoval View Post
Larry... You must be kidding around...
I think I smell a troll.
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Old 07-06-21, 05:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
I can't think of anything I'd do with someone like that.
Have some fun on the internet with the
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Old 07-06-21, 07:41 AM
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Hard to advise without pics or video; however it sounds like the rim damage is significant. Personally I would de-tension to get a feel for the level of damage and then either re-tension to true, or replace the rim.

Handle it the way you want but remember, your future is in your hands here.
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