Of course, you can true your bicycle wheels by yourself. However, be aware that truing a wheel takes some patience. You’ll also need to have the correct set of tools as well as the adequate technique—which is explained below.
While truing a wheel isn’t hard per se, it’s an easy process to mess up and you can end up pretty quickly worsening the damages. However, if you’re willing to take the time and follow the steps with great care, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to master the art.
Bicycle Wheel Anatomy
To learn how to true wheels without risking weakening it, it is essential to have a good grasp of the components of a bicycle wheel and the role that they play:
1. The Tire
The tire is the part of the wheel that enters into direct contact with the asphalt. Usually made in either natural or synthetic rubber, the tire protects the inner tube and connects to the rim. Note that some tires are tubeless which limits their risk of going flat.
2. The Innertube
The inner tube, or simply tube, is a circular valve that surrounds the rim of the wheel and fits within the casing of the tire. Its pneumatic property allows the wheel to match the asperity of the ground without damaging the rim, spokes, and hub.
3. The Rim
The rim is the circular part of the wheel where the tire and the spokes meet. Generally made of aluminum alloy or stainless steel, it’s the part of the wheel that’s the most prone to shocks due to impact or collision with rocks.
4. The Spokes
The spokes are the thin rigid cables fixed between the rim and the hub of a wheel. They can be made out of aluminum, stainless steel, carbon fiber, or even titanium. They form an important piece of the wheel allowing it to spin consistently without weighing it down.
5. The Hub
The hub is the central point of the wheel where all the spokes converge and where the axle connects with the fork. Commonly made of a mix of steel, aluminum, and carbon, the standard bicycle hub contains a set of two bearings to smoothen the rotation of the wheel.
6. The Brake Pads
Also known as the brake system or rim brakes, the brake pads aren’t parts of the wheel, as they’re attached to the fork, but they interact directly with the rim and can cause some
wheel troubles after a fall or a torsion. There are different types of pads on the market such as calipers, cantilevers, or v-brakes.
If the rim is severely deformed, it is difficult to correct it with the spokes alone. At this time, the wheel should be removed, and the rim should be trampled and hammered (pad board to prevent damage to the rim) for rough adjustment. Then, continue to the next step.
How to adjust bicycle rims
First adjust the circle. Also called adjusting the vertical runout. Loosen first and then tighten is the principle. First find the lowest point. If the lowest point is at the position of lever A on the right, loosen lever A 1/4 turn (90 degrees). At the same time, loosen the two adjacent bars on the left every 1/8 turn (45 degrees), the adjustment range is left=right as the principle, such as right 1/4=left 1/8X2, otherwise plane deformation will occur , This is often referred to as “shutdown.” The specific adjustment range depends on the degree of depression. Generally, it should not be too large, and it should be adjusted in place gradually. Don’t expect satisfactory results all at once. If the lowest point is between two bars, the two bars will loose 1/4 week each. If necessary, loosen the longer strips appropriately.
Then, find the highest point of the protrusion. If the most protruding point is at the position of bar A on the right, tighten bar A by 1/4 turn (90 degrees), and at the same time, the two adjacent ones on the left side are each 1/8 turn (45 degrees); if the most protruding point is at two Between the bars, the two tightened by 1/4 of a week. If necessary, tighten the far steel bars appropriately.
Adjust according to the above method until the longitudinal runout does not exceed 1MM.
Leveling. Also known as “walking the dragon”, which means to adjust the swing from side to side. Find out where the left swing is the most. If it is in the position of rod A on the right, tighten rod A 1/4 turn (90 degrees). At the same time, loosen the two adjacent ones on the left every 1/8 turn (45 degrees); if it is between the two, tighten the rod on the right 1/4 of a week, and loosen the one on the left. 1/4 of a shot. Look for the largest swing to the right and adjust it.
Adjust the center. That is, the rim should be located in the center of the hub (the entire length of the flywheel should be considered for the rear wheel). Otherwise, it may deviate from the center line of the frame and the front and rear wheels are not on the same plane. The method is, if you lean to the left, loosen the left side and tighten the same amount on the right side, and vice versa.
Adjusting the circle requires patience and careful work, through repeated adjustments, until the requirements are met. Generally, the single-layer rim must be deflated before adjustment, otherwise the steel bars may pierce the tire, and the adjustment of the knife ring (double-layer rim) does not require deflation.
The correction of rim deflection is mainly by adjusting the tension of the spokes on the left and right sides of the rim to balance it to center the rim.
●The direction of adjusting the copper head of the spokes is opposite to that of the locking screws, counterclockwise for locking, and clockwise for loosening. For example, if the rim yaw position is to the right (the right spoke has greater tension), it depends on whether the spoke at that place is a right spoke or a left spoke, and if it is on the right, the tension is relaxed clockwise ; If it is the left side, tighten it counterclockwise, and at the same time, adjust one spoke (the spoke on the other side) in the opposite direction.
●The adjustment range of the copper head is limited to 1/8 to 1/4 turn each time. Turn the rim to check after the adjustment is completed, and fine-tune slowly. Do not adjust too much at one time, which may cause serious consequences.
1. Adjust the brake stroke knob to make the brake block closer to the rim to facilitate the judgment of the yaw condition.
2. Rotate the wheel set and find out the deflection part by observing the change in the gap when the rim passes through the brake block.
3. Mark the most severely distorted spoke with a mark, use the adjuster to adjust the spoke, as well as one spoke before and after it (according to the above-mentioned adjustment technique), then repeat steps 2 and 3, repeat the correction to satisfaction state.
After the rim has been rectified, adjust the distance between the brake pads to an appropriate distance, and confirm that the brake is centered, so as to prevent the rim from being distorted due to long-term uneven force.
How do I know if my wheel needs trimming?
The most common way to determine if the wheel axis is not straight is to check your brake pads.
Will they rub the rim? If this is the case, your wheels are likely to be repaired urgently.
The same is true for tires. If one or two tires rub against the frame, the problem of inaccurate lateral positioning will occur.
You should also check the condition of your wheels after any bumpy landing (one wheel before the other, or simply poor condition after a jump landing), collision or vibration.
Finally, when you notice missing or broken spokes, it’s time to fix your wheel. Although it is not dangerous to continue riding the bicycle with uneven spoke tension, you may cause some damage to the structure of the rim and hub in the long run. This will eventually wear the tires faster than normal.
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