1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Odd LBS experience. Rim true-ness - How good is good enough?

    Hey there,
    I took in my rear wheel to be trued by the LBS, and was told that it was a cheap rim and was about as good as could be expected.

    I asked as, since I replaced my front wheel (which is now just about perfect for the time being) the rear in comparison wavers around and reverberates at high speed. No sound, but I can feel it.

    The guy acted like the wheel itself was cheap junk, but offered no alternatives.
    While it's not one of their 1000 dollar wheelsets, I feel that this wheel rim/hub combo still costs around 100 dollars (shimano deore XT hub, and laserdisc double wall rim combo thing) and as high as 180 online, and can run so much truer than it is as is evident by my front new wheel.

    I'm even seeing some up and down wavering on the rear wheel rim and none on the front. I pointed this out and he said that at this level some of this is to be expected, but again, I'm not seeing any from my new front wheel.

    Was he talking out of his butt, or is there really quite a bit of misalignment movement to be expected, and if so, how much?

    It's one of those situations where I don't want to become obsessed, but I'm also trying to make my bike the best it can be. So when do I call it good enough?

  2. #2
    ilmfat
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    The quality of the rim is not the only factor. If it was built poorly, you could have all kinda of movement.

    That said, they should be able to get it riding fairly well.

    I doubt you need a new wheel, but it sure seems like you need Different shop.
    crap! i gotta learn to climb.

  3. #3
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    Hrm, yeah. Some of the staff in there are great. It's just a crap shoot as to who approaches you when you're in there.

  4. #4
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    Re: Odd LBS experience. Rim true-ness - How good is good enough?

    The up/down may be more of a hop, if there us no side to side wobble.
    Most quick truings may not address the hops as much as the trueness. If you payed more than 10-15 they ripped you off.

    Some hops are hard to remove without detensioning the wheel amd starting over. Which is way more time consuming/money.

    Laserdisc rums are xt hubs are pretty nice. Unless the wheel is badly bent, somebody should be able to fix it.

    P.s. some hop, say less than 2mm is ok. The tire will flex more than that anyway.



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  5. #5
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    A little waver isn't anything out of the ordinary, specially with a lower end wheel that's been ridden. The guy was probably trying to save you a few bucks; he could have taken your $$ and returned you a wheel that was barely better than when you dropped it off. At that price point, wheels are pretty much disposable, or great candidates for learning how to true them yourself .
    I'd be really, really surprised if you could feel anything at all out of the ordinary under any sort of trail operating conditions. Ride it into the ground. Trueness isn't anywhere near as important on disc wheels as it was with rim brakes.

  6. #6
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    Got another shop you can take it to ?
    It's hard to say, without seeing it ... Maybe it's as simple as, it's close enough, and getting it closer to perfect wouldn't be worth the cost (De-tensioned, as mentioned above) versus the value of the component.

    Then again,
    It's your money ... If they wanted to just take it, they'd try, and then tell you it's the best they can get it, due to blah, blah, blah.

    FWIW,
    I don't buy the "at this level some of this is to be expected", unless he is inferring that the rim is actually bent, and can't really be trued the way a new (not bent) rim can ... But I can see the idea that a new rim might be a less costly solution to getting things spinning true.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by breaddrink View Post
    The guy acted like the wheel itself was cheap junk, but offered no alternatives.
    Is the rear wheel new too? He may have been telling you the rim is damaged beyond an effective repair.
    Only two infinite things exist: the universe and stupidity. And, I am unsure of the universe
    - Albert Einstein

  8. #8
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    Laserdisc rims bend easily to the point that you can't true it no matter what you do with the spokes but without actually seeing it in front of me and checking the spoke tension, who knows.

    The guy probably acted like the wheel was cheap junk because at that point it probably was cheap junk.

    Any set of wheels become cheap junk if they break unfortunately regardless of price point.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by breaddrink View Post
    Hrm, yeah. Some of the staff in there are great. It's just a crap shoot as to who approaches you when you're in there.
    If you have a particular guy you like to deal with, ask him for his phone number and call ahead. Tell him you like his work and you want HIM working on your stuff.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Giggity View Post
    Is the rear wheel new too? He may have been telling you the rim is damaged beyond an effective repair.
    No, actually I asked if he had the same rear equivalent and how much it would be, and he said they didn't stock them at all.
    I then pointed out that the previous week I'd bought the front wheel from this same store and could he check for me?
    He went off into the back, Came back and said "No. We don't have that in stock".

    I had been told no about 4 times in a row in a pretty abrupt way at this point, so I said thank you and called it a day.
    It was also 30 mins from closing on a Saturday. Perhaps I'd joined them at a weary time

    Unfortunately their prices are way lower than I've found for the same wheelsets online.

  11. #11
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    Truing a machine-built wheel has limitations, especially one with fewer spokes (like 28h Trek /GF's) as tension is much higher.
    Once knoocked out-of-true, it's difficult to bring back to within 2 mm without removing the nipples,
    lubing the rim / nipple interface, and adding spoke prep to the threads.
    Doing so takes time/$$, and perhaps he was just saying it wasn't worth the coin..
    The best is the one you want to ride most often..

  12. #12
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    Get a spoke wrench and get to work. What's the problem? Adjusting a rim for true and round isn't rocket surgery. Sometimes it's easier to do it your self than to convince someone else to care about your stuff as much as you do.

  13. #13
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    I did/have.
    It's simply out of whack/sporadic and more sudden than I have the experience to right. As I said it also seems to have a hop.

    Having said that, to hear it's also fine when to me it doesn't look that hot, and "as good as can be expected" according to the store guy makes me wonder how good is good enough. Hence the question.

    Seems a little relative to who's looking at it and as someone mentioned, how much they care.

    Quote Originally Posted by SAthirtythree View Post
    Get a spoke wrench and get to work. What's the problem? Adjusting a rim for true and round isn't rocket surgery. Sometimes it's easier to do it your self than to convince someone else to care about your stuff as much as you do.

  14. #14
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    I would have asked him to clarify his response. Why can't it be trued? What part of the wheel is beyond repair? Is the hub fine? If the rim is jacked beyond repair and your hub is fine see what it would cost to replace the rim instead of the whole wheel. They may be able to get you a better deal just lacing a new rim to your existing hub. An XT hub isn't the best but it aint bad.

    Quitting time on a weekend probably had something to do with a short response. I wouldn't be as responsive but I am not in customer service either.

    I am not shy about asking for one of the people I know are knowledgeable and I have a good relationships with at my LBS and I typically do this. If someone is offended by this then they need to take it upon themselves to work on their customer relations and general knowledge. Talking to the right person can work wonders for getting what I need out of a visit to my LBS. It can also get me a better deal on a larger purchase.

  15. #15
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    Re: Odd LBS experience. Rim true-ness - How good is good enough?

    How old is the wheel? What type of riding? Where do you ride? As a former service manager/ mechanic would see this from time to time. A cross country wheel used in AM application. Spoke nipples seized or rounded. Makes it impossible to true. Not saying that is what happened here. Speak to the manager if not satisfied. Support your LBS!!!

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  16. #16
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    If the rim is not damaged then any competent mechanic should be able to get the wheel near perfect, without hops or wavers.

    If the rim has been damaged in any way (rim wouldn't lay flat or round without spokes) then there is going to be a compromise either in spoke tension, wheel trueness, or both, simple as that.

    The fact that the mechanic didn't explain this to you and just said "they're junk" shows his level of expertise IMO.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by gary24153 View Post
    How old is the wheel? What type of riding? Where do you ride? As a former service manager/ mechanic would see this from time to time. A cross country wheel used in AM application. Spoke nipples seized or rounded. Makes it impossible to true. Not saying that is what happened here. Speak to the manager if not satisfied. Support your LBS!!!

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2
    This. I've come across a few wheels at the shop that weren't able to be trued. Whether the rim being trashed, nipples siezed, etc... The mechanic should have told you the reason he wasn't able to fix it.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by breaddrink View Post
    No, actually I asked if he had the same rear equivalent and how much it would be, and he said they didn't stock them at all.
    I then pointed out that the previous week I'd bought the front wheel from this same store and could he check for me?
    He went off into the back, Came back and said "No. We don't have that in stock".

    I had been told no about 4 times in a row in a pretty abrupt way at this point, so I said thank you and called it a day.
    It was also 30 mins from closing on a Saturday. Perhaps I'd joined them at a weary time

    Unfortunately their prices are way lower than I've found for the same wheelsets online.
    This is actually sounding like some pretty poor service and I would probably look for a different shop. A shop can always order something. Maybe they can't get the exact item. Maybe they can't get that item at the same price. Those would be acceptable answers but just saying they don't have it and leaving it at that isn't really an acceptable answer.
    Only two infinite things exist: the universe and stupidity. And, I am unsure of the universe
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  19. #19
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    I have had to tell many customers that what they thought were nice wheels were either cheap and crappy (for the riding they were doing) or just beat to death. I own some of those wheels myself. That being said, there is a right way and a wrong way to let somebody down & and the mechanic shoulda explained things a bit better for you.

    While not being high end, your wheel isn't cheap and crappy, unless you're riding aggressive AM or DH or are trying to win XC races on it. As with most things condition is everything. Hops & dents suck to get out of wheels/rims, flat spots get a new wheel or live with it till it tacos, seized nipples (heh heh) sometimes crumble when twisted. Shite goes wrong and if the wheel isn't that bad, as Duke said within 2mm and the tensions are okay, it can be best to leave it be.

    As for feeling the and seeing the wobble. Many mass produced tires for both bikes and autos aren't perfect. That is part of why auto tires are balanced. So, is it the rim or the tire or both that are wobbling? Is the hub adjusted properly? Also, do you have a reflector on the rear wheel?

  20. #20
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    My pet peeve - true wheels

    OP,
    You got a lot of good responses here. I would like to add that I think a lot of bike mechanics put too little emphasis on true wheels due to everyone running disc brakes. Wheel trueness is just as important now as it was when everyone ran cantilever brakes - not for braking, but for wheel strength and tension balance. In my experience, when a rim is left a little crooked, it tends to degrade more quickly than if it were straight but with uneven spoke tension.
    When it is true, with uneven spoke tension, it will usually find a balance point where it is no longer true, but it is no longer degrading and will last for a long time being only slightly out of whack (inside that 2mm mentioned previously).
    ...or it will explode.
    I think your shop should have given you better service, or at least a better explanation. To me it sounds like they're already getting ready to sell you your next wheel.
    If they are as good as they think they are, they need to be professional even late on Saturday.

    A busy bike mechanic once gave me a rim to replace my bent one. He zip tied it to the existing wheel with all the holes lined up for me, gave me a spoke wrench, and told me to move all the spokes and nipples from one rim to the other - which took over a 1/2 hour. Then all he had to do was true it - which only took him 15 minutes - which is all he charged me for. That kind of service is hard to find, but there's no reason not to expect it.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

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