When to re-true newish wheel?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    When to re-true newish wheel?

    I got a new wheelset for my FS 29er recently- some 1600g WTB Stryker XCs for $620
    After the first 2.5 hour punishing ride the rear was a couple mm out of true, and after the next 3 hour slightly less aggressive ride there was no change from before. Front is straight still.

    Question- At what point of "breaking in" should wheels like these be re-trued? Now and before it goes further out? Wait until after several more rides to see if it keeps moving?

    Yes, I know, a hand-built set of wheels would have been stress relieved before delivery and likely not need this truing, but I didn't have that extra $300 available at the time. Besides, this query is about truing, not costs or brands anyways.

    TIA
    Last edited by Noclutch; 11-22-2011 at 05:33 PM.

  2. #2
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    Stress relieving can be done on even factory-built wheels, here's the basics from Mike T Stress Relieving Wheels from half way down the web page:

    "Stress Relief

    Method 1. Perform this once only, just after you have got a fair amount of tension in the wheels. Where the "heads in" spokes exit the hubs take the plastic tipped hammer and tap the spoke bend a little flatter. This does not take much effort. You can also use your thumb to flatten this curve.

    Method 2. Perform this after every "round" of truing or tensioning. Grasp parallel pairs of spokes on each side one pair in each hand - while wearing leather gloves and squeeze them in the hands as hard as you can. Go all around the wheel once.

    Method 3. Perform after every round. Take a plastic handled screwdriver or wooden dowel, place the handle or dowel just above the spoke crosses furthest from the hubs and force spoke crosses down towards the hub with the handle. Don't go ape here, use judgment, control and passion.

    Method 4. Perform once. Take the screwdriver handle and slightly twist the final spoke crosses around each other. Be gentle here. Place the screwdriver handle in the final cross and above it, press down slightly and twist the two spokes around each other. This is not really a "twist" but just a slight, very slight bending. The spokes will do this themselves if you don't do it but then they might lose a minute bit of tension too.

    Method 5. Do this once after you have a fair amount of tension on the spokes. Take a thin punch and a hammer. Tap the head of each spoke to seat the head squarely in the hub flange. I said "tap"................not "pound the **** out of". We're seating the head in the flange and aligning the head.

    Method 6. Place wheel flat on floor with the rim part nearest to you touching the floor. A piece of cardboard or carpet will prevent the QR from scratches. With hands at 9 & 3 o'clock, press down gently but firmly and quickly. Rotate wheel 1/8th turn & repeat for one full turn of the wheel. Turn wheel over and repeat. The pings you hear are spokes unwinding. Check for true afterwards. Repeat this after each stage or "round"."

    Riding the spokes a few miles will start the process of unwinding the spokes from residual stresses. So now, follow the previous steps to complete the process, and then true or get your wheels trued.
    Hey everybody, ride my wheels! They ride good, real good.
    I'm a wheel builder. SRLPE Wheel Works. Send me a PM.

  3. #3
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    Thanks 4slomo- good things to ponder . Yea, I figured that riding was doing much of that stress relieving anyways. I don't know why, but also playing with a spoke wrench also kinda wiggs me out with these lightweight wheels. On my KTM I'll tighten spokes occasionally, but that rear wheel gets massively punished and never goes out. But it's spokes are almost hydro hose diameter, and with tire and tube weighs almost as much as my whole MTB

    So if I were to consider doing the truing myself, is a spoke tensionometer necessary, or is the ole "ting-pitch" method adequate? Or for touch ups like this is it all done by eye? Does anyone make clamp-on feelers so I could do it in the frame instead of purchasing a truing stand? I'd like to get somewhat competent in doing this, but don't want to booger things up either!

  4. #4
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    In my opinion, a spoke tensiometer is not necessary to get relatively even spoke tensions, you can do that by plucking the spokes and listening to the tones if you aren't tone deaf, and adjusting the spoke nipples as needed until the tones match. Using this method, it is helpful to have another properly tensioned similar wheel as a standard, to compare tones with and make sure that your overall spoke tension is adequate, not too high or too low. You also need to balance between trueness and even spoke tensions. I spent years building wheels for myself using my upside-down bike frame as my truing stand, and clamping or taping indicators to the stays and fork to gauge trueness.

    Purpose-built equipment enables a good wheel builder to be more efficient, accurate and precise, given appropriate wheel building and measurement techniques are also used. A good wheel builder is able to build wheels that have a higher level of performance than those of lesser quality wheel builds.

    Quote Originally Posted by Noclutch View Post
    Thanks 4slomo- good things to ponder . Yea, I figured that riding was doing much of that stress relieving anyways. I don't know why, but also playing with a spoke wrench also kinda wiggs me out with these lightweight wheels. On my KTM I'll tighten spokes occasionally, but that rear wheel gets massively punished and never goes out. But it's spokes are almost hydro hose diameter, and with tire and tube weighs almost as much as my whole MTB

    So if I were to consider doing the truing myself, is a spoke tensionometer necessary, or is the ole "ting-pitch" method adequate? Or for touch ups like this is it all done by eye? Does anyone make clamp-on feelers so I could do it in the frame instead of purchasing a truing stand? I'd like to get somewhat competent in doing this, but don't want to booger things up either!
    Hey everybody, ride my wheels! They ride good, real good.
    I'm a wheel builder. SRLPE Wheel Works. Send me a PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclutch View Post
    So if I were to consider doing the truing myself, is a spoke tensionometer necessary, or is the ole "ting-pitch" method adequate?
    There are two ways of arriving at an acceptable spoke tension and both work -

    • A tensiometer plus knowing the tension number that you're aiming for.
    • By feel. Of course you have to have some idea what you're working for. This method has always worked for me. My site explains it better.


    Then there is equal spoke tension, which is probably the most important thing. I get this with the pluck/ping method and it's very accurate.

    Does anyone make clamp-on feelers so I could do it in the frame instead of purchasing a truing stand?
    You've got one in your toolbox and it's the same as I used for decades - a screwdriver. Clamp it against the stay or fork leg with finger & thumb and let it touch the rim. It's infinitely adjustable. Or, just use the thumb itself. It's uncanny how accurate and sensitive this is.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4slomo View Post
    I You also need to balance between trueness and even spoke tensions.
    This issue has always intrigued me. My gut guess as a newbie wheelbuilder is that trueness trumps tension. Then again, I understand that a poorly tensioned wheel eventually will become untrue.

    So where do you draw the line? I could see driving myself nuts trying to get both "perfect" It's tough enough for a newbie to get even dish, true up and down, and true side to side.
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt View Post
    This issue has always intrigued me. My gut guess as a newbie wheelbuilder is that trueness trumps tension. Then again, I understand that a poorly tensioned wheel eventually will become untrue.
    So where do you draw the line? I could see driving myself nuts trying to get both "perfect" It's tough enough for a newbie to get even dish, true up and down, and true side to side.
    This is what's important, and in order -
    1. Equal tensions. Very closely followed by -
    2. Sufficient tension. And quite a way behind is -
    3. Trueness.

  8. #8
    dwt
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T. View Post
    This is what's important, and in order -
    1. Equal tensions. Very closely followed by -
    2. Sufficient tension. And quite a way behind is -
    3. Trueness.
    Well then I have a set (or two ) of some half- assed wheels, pretty much in reverse order I'm afraid.

    Sorry to hijack the thread but is it ok to detention the whole wheel and start over? Like back off the nipples till I see threads then give it another go ? Thx.
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt View Post
    is it ok to detention the whole wheel and start over?
    Absolutely.

    Like back off the nipples till I see threads then give it another go?
    For sure. You have to begin at a point where you know everything is equal - and just being able to see the start of the threads is that place. It's all on my site.

  10. #10
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    Thanks guys, and thanks especailly to Mike T. I read your whole link and soaked it like a sponge- awesome page and handy links too . I don't know that I'll actually be building any wheels, but maybe I will tackle the truing myself after getting a spoke wrench from the LBS instead of paying them to do this this time

    Three dumb questions (related to touch up truing without retensioning a whole wheel):
    Is it cool to true a wheel with the tire inflated/pressurized on it? Would it make it more difficult?
    Second, if you have identified an area of rim that is out of true( off to one side) but no detectable pitch/tone difference in the spokes in the area, is it then better to add tension to achieve trueness, or loosen the opposite side, or alittle of each?
    Lastly, say on a 32 spoke rim, is it likely that more than one spoke should be tensioned or 2 or 3 in that area( 2 on one side, one on the other?
    Sorry for the kindergarten level questions, but I am a 50 y.o. noob who loves tools, just doesn't have a spoke wrench, yet

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclutch View Post
    Thanks guys, and thanks especailly to Mike T. I read your whole link and soaked it like a sponge- awesome page and handy links too . I don't know that I'll actually be building any wheels, but maybe I will tackle the truing myself after getting a spoke wrench from the LBS instead of paying them to do this this time
    That's why it's there. It sells you nothing and gives you power.

    Is it cool to true a wheel with the tire inflated/pressurized on it? Would it make it more difficult?
    No problems. We do it all the time. For a "big" job I'd remove tire, tube and rim tape but for minor jobs just go to it.

    Second, if you have identified an area of rim that is out of true( off to one side) but no detectable pitch/tone difference in the spokes in the area, is it then better to add tension to achieve trueness, or loosen the opposite side, or alittle of each?
    This might mean that the rim is permanently bent. And the proof for this is if we pull it back into true then the tensions will be off. But unless it's a big bend then we can work with it - just true it (let off opposite side [say 2 spokes] and tighten one) - try 1/8th turns. Then check for equal tension (get ping to = ping not punngg and definitely not the dreaded Plup!) Then check true once again and work back & forth until you're happy. But do it in little bits, like 1/8th turns and sometimes even less.

    Lastly, say on a 32 spoke rim, is it likely that more than one spoke should be tensioned or 2 or 3 in that area( 2 on one side, one on the other?
    GOOD question! I like to fan out. Let's say we have a "long" wobble - I'll loosen maybe 3 or even 5 spokes but as I get further from the high spot, I'll do less of a turn. Let's use the 3-spoke example - #2 spoke is at the high spot so it gets a 1/4 turn (say) and spokes 1 & 3 get an 1/8th each. Then the spoke on the low side gets 1/4 of a turn. So I'll do 3 on one side and 1 on the other or 5 on one side and 3 on the other - with the fractions of a turn lessening as we get away from the apex on the wobble. Does that make sense?

    Sorry for the kindergarten level questions, but I am a 50 y.o. noob who loves tools, just doesn't have a spoke wrench, yet
    They're excellent questions young fella (well you are 14 yrs my junior) and they show that you have been thinking. Thanks! That makes answering a pleasure.

  12. #12
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    Pretty much. In the 3 spoke example though, you mean that if #2 is at the high point you might loosen it 1/4 turn, then tighten(since they pull from the opposing flange) 1 &3 1/8th?
    Or that you would loosen 1,2 &3 1/8, 1/4, 1/8 then begin tightening as needed to get true and audibly equal tensioned,too? Kinda lost me at the low spot spoke...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclutch View Post
    Pretty much. In the 3 spoke example though, you mean that if #2 is at the high point you might loosen it 1/4 turn, then tighten(since they pull from the opposing flange) 1 &3 1/8th?
    Or that you would loosen 1,2 &3 1/8, 1/4, 1/8 then begin tightening as needed to get true and audibly equal tensioned,too? Kinda lost me at the low spot spoke...
    I should draw a diagram but I don't have time tonight. Let's try this -

    H is the high side of the wobble. L is the low side.
    Spoke 2 is the high spot. 1 & 3 are on either side of it. (on the same side of the rim!)
    On the low side of the wobble (the other side of the rim) we have spokes 1 & 2 on either side of spoke 2 on the high side. Do a drawing of that.

    So - we have spokes 1H, 2H, 3H and 1L, 2L.

    1H - loosen 1/8th turn. 2H - loosen 1/4 turn. 3H - loosen 1/8th turn.
    1L - tighten 1/8th turn. 2L - tighten 1/8th turn.

    BUT - and this is where the pluck-ping method of checking relative tensions is much faster than picking up, using and putting down a tensiometer - I would pluck 1H, 2H and 3H and if there was any difference in their tones I would remove less of a turn from the spoke(s) with the lower tone as they were already slacker than the one(s) with a higher tone.

    And with spokes 1L and 2L I would pluck both of those and tighten the one with the higher pitch less of a turn as that spoke is already tighter. This way, we are truing the wheel at the same time as equalizing the tensions.

    Howzat?

  14. #14
    dwt
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T. View Post
    Absolutely.



    For sure. You have to begin at a point where you know everything is equal - and just being able to see the start of the threads is that place. It's all on my site.
    Will check it out. This will be a good winter project. Thx again.
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  15. #15
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    Awesome Mike-gotcha! Rep worthy help for sure

    It is good to think of the spokes tension relative to their neighbors... I could come up with some dopey metaphor about life or politics here, but instead I'll just go for a ride ( also because I can't get a spoke wrench today LOL)

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclutch View Post
    Awesome Mike-gotcha! Rep worthy help for sure
    Awesome. Glad you got the idea. If I remember correctly, Roger Musson talks of all this - especially plucking spokes to be loosened or tightened and varying the amount on them in the quest of helping even tensions - in his fine Roger Musson's wheelbuilding e-book.

    Maybe this info should be added to my Wheelbuilding page. I'll check to see if it's already there. It's exchanges like this that give me ideas for what to add.

  17. #17
    dwt
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    It's unseasonably mild here in the northeast, so I'm still riding the wheels - and they're holding up so far. Will re-tension two sets when the snow starts to fly.

    Meanwhile, ground down a screwdriver and fabbed a nipple driver, per your webpage. Should be handy.



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