How important is it to true your wheel?

7 replies to this topic
  • jcolborn48

Posted December 23, 2008 - 02:24 PM


Is tightening each spoke down to specs much less accurate than having your wheel trued?

  • William1

Posted December 23, 2008 - 02:39 PM


An unbent, properly built wheel by nature will have evenly tightened spokes. A bent rim will still be bent with properly tighten spokes. An untrue wheel will have unevenly tightened spokes. To determine if the rim is bent or merely out of true, you lossen certain spokes and tighten ones on the opposite side. The rim will come into true, the spokes you loosened slightly will tighten. If this does not work, your rim is bent. Keeping the spokes tightened properly is key to not having a bent rim in addition to having a catostrophic wheel failure caused byt the spokes that are tight supporting the load of the loose ones.

  • jcolborn48

Posted December 23, 2008 - 03:14 PM


Thanks, that is the answer I was looking for

  • Justin89

Posted December 23, 2008 - 04:53 PM


Keeping the spokes tightened properly is key to not having a bent rim in addition to having a catostrophic wheel failure caused byt the spokes that are tight supporting the load of the loose ones.

Thats exactly what happened to me on my front wheel. I started the race with a "trued" bent wheel and ended the race with 16 spokes missing and my wheel like a square:banghead:

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  • BC3

Posted December 24, 2008 - 12:56 PM


[COLOR="Blue"]Well all maintenance is important, but when it comes to wheels...Well, that's what keeps you upright and moving down the road...
Out of balance wobbly wheels make for a bad ride ......Granted Knobby tires
on rough ground....your not going to feel an out of balance condition like a STREET bike....Keeping your spokes "TUNED" will keep money in your pocket instead of buying a new rim and spokes....Not to mention that long walk back to the truck..... [/COLOR]

  • grayracer513

Posted December 24, 2008 - 04:26 PM


A properly healthy wheel can be said to be round, on center, flat, and straight. The first two are pretty easy to figure out. Flat means that the rim does not deviate left/right out of the plane it rotates in. Straight refers to the rim channel itself. The rim should have no vertical bends that don't follow the arc of its diameter, and should not twist so that one bead is higher than the other.

A spoked wheel gets its strength from the collective strength of all of the spokes at once, and because of that, each spoke should ideally have the same tension as all the rest. As the wheel is built, the focus is on getting the wheel round and flat while increasing the spoke tension as uniformly as possible. Done right, the wheel ends up the right shape when the spokes are all up to equal tension.

Once the wheel is in use, there are two things that you might encounter. The first is loose spokes in a straight wheel. Usually, you tighten thing up, and you're OK. If a whole set of spokes is loose, you need to be careful drawing them up so you don't pull the wheel out of shape in the process.

The other problem is a wheel that's out of shape, but mostly still tight. Here, you have to figure out the cause. You cannot fix a dented, flattened, or bent rim with spokes, but if it's not too bad, what can be done is to loosen the whole thing up and "rebuild" it. A wheel that is running out of round/flat can usually at least be improved to a serviceable level.

To your original question then, torquing the spoke to specs is a good thing, but if you ignore the trueness of the wheel in the process, you can end up building in a problem.

  • Family Man

Posted December 26, 2008 - 12:48 PM


Well put. Well hop is a sign of a wheel with uneven spoke tension.
Its best to true wheels like William said, loosen the opposite side and tighten the other. Go in really small 1/4 turn increments. It helps if you have a junk wheel to practice on first. Moto wheels are supposed to be easier to build than bicycle wheels because the rims are so much beefier. They are harder to mess up. But once they are bent I reckon they are much harder to true/adjust. I have trued and built up bicycle wheels, havent had to on my moto bike yet. In bicycle maintenance its considered an art form requiring tons of Patience. Avoid over tightning your spokes as that tend to make wheels realy easy to taco.

  • William1

Posted December 26, 2008 - 01:12 PM


Bicycles wheels are more difficult to dobecause the rims are so soft ( a slight tweaking of the spoke can have a big effect sometimes, a a real touch is needed) though a bent bicycle wheel can be straightened relatively easily. A bent motorcycle rim can be impossible to straighten without the right jig and a press.

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