Some moron left a pretty decent bike on my lawn (<short version) and it
needed a few repairs so I did 'em.. I'm left with one I'm not sure how
to do. The tires have a wobble. Is there a method to the madness of
adjusting the spokes to help alleviate those wobbles??
Get a spoke wrench. Do not use an adjustable wrench or vice grips -
those will probably mash or round the square parts of the spoke nipples
(the "nuts" that hold the spokes in the rim).
Where the rim is too far to the right, tighten the spokes on the left
side and loosen the ones on the right side.
And vice versa.
Go gradually - I usually tighten/loosen by half a turn at a time,
sometimes 1 turn at a time.
Also, see of spokes that would be tightened have some loose and some
tight - and just tighten the loose ones that need to pull the rim toward
their side. And amone ones to loosen, do not loosen ones that are already
close to lacking tension.
Don't worry about tension being perfectly even. It may be somewhat
uneven if the rim has any bent areas that the spokes have to work against.
And after riding the bike for about a week, check the spokes again.
And if you go to a bike shop for tools or replacement parts - don't call
a wheel a tire. A tire is just the outer rubber part.
And don't call the whole wheel excluding the tire and inner tube a rim -
the rim is just the hooplike part between the spokes and the tire & inner
- Don Klipstein ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
Likely, you are quite correct.
But it is quite possible to improve things somewhat with a spoke wrench.
The odds are the the rim has been damaged to the point that were all the
spokes to be removed it would not lie flat.
Unless it's a very expensive bike with expensive wheels, it just doesn't
make sense to rebuild a wheel.
I have a few old bikes laying about. One is a "folding bike" that in some
situations would be very valuable/useful. I have the room to keep junk
about but I shoud throw it out.
If I decided it was worth "keeping" it would make sense to buy a cheap bike
with the same size wheel and take the wheels off the cheap bike and put them
on the folding bike.
All that said, it is quite possible to completely rebuild a wheel by
removing all the spokes and then making the rim lie flat while maintain its
round shape and then re-instaling the spokes. Of course, it's easy to
damage the rim beyond any repair.
The first step is to buy a book or two that describes how to do it. There
is no law that says you have to re-spoke in the same pattern as the orginal
wheel. The books will help you decide what pattern to use. You can also
replace the hub and/or get a new rim for a completely fresh start.
I used to be "up" on this stuff but no more. I no longer read bike
magazines but when I did there are ads for bike parts, etc.
Reminds me as a kid,when I found a bike in someones trash,and decided to
fit it up so I would have a bike, The rear wheel was missing half it's
spokes and was warped terribly.I bought lots of new spokes,and took out all
the old ones before installing the new ones.
When I saw that I was hopelessly lost,went to my dad for help.
He took one look,and took me out and bought me a new bike.
I tightened up the spokes in the areas of the wobbles and it helped. I
fixed it up the rest of the way, put some more reflectors on it that I
had laying around and gave it to a 9 year old girl in the neighborhood.
To see how happy she was and her big smile was priceless. When I found
it, she was who first came to mind...
I think I'll be going yard saleing to see if I can find more bikes and
more kids to match them with..Ya can't beat the feeling of doing
something for someone who isnt' expecting it. And here in S. Fla things
are bad, so we have no shortage of kids who need it but don't expect
I had so much fun test driving this one I bought myself a new cruiser
type bike (Giant suede) like the one I found. I have a Specialized
mountain bike, but I'm getting too old for that position..
On Sun, 2 Nov 2008 18:08:30 -0500, email@example.com wrote:
Check with local Police departments in your area. They often have a
basement full of bikes they have recovered that no one has claimed.
usually they hold an auction periodically to get rid of them. You
might be able to stike some sort of a deal to get a few gratis, with
the understanding that you are going to fix them up and give them to
deserving kids. The local Social Services agency or Red Cross may also
be good contacts. They will know a lot of kids who could use a bike.
On Thu, 30 Oct 2008 21:26:22 -0400, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
To true the wheel, you will need to jury rig a truing stand. In your
case, the easiest way would likely be to turn the bike upside down,
and build an upright post of some sort that can be placed on the
ground beside the wheel. Duct tape a piece of stiff wire (coathanger)
to the post pointing towards the side of the wheel rim. Adjust the
pointer wire so that as you turn the wheel, the wire is as close as
possible without touching at any point. It will probably be close in
one or more spots and far away at others.
Now spin the wheel and grab it to stop it as it passes the place that
is farthest from the indicator. adjust the spoke tensions in that area
to bring it closer. Don't over-do it. You'll be doing this repeatedly
for quite some time as you GRADUALLY bring the rim into true in small
increments. Take care that you don't end up pulling the whole rim all
the way to one side in relation to the hub, or leave the hub anywhere
other then exactly centered as the axis. A real truing stand would
have indicators on both sides, and top and bottom. A practiced tech
with the real equipment can often true a rim in minutes.
If this is all too much work for you, just bring the wheel to any bike
shop and let them do it. It won't cost that much.
I read it and all you need is your finger to gage the proximity of the
rim as you rotate it. Been there, done that.
Everything should be made as simple as possible,
but not one bit simpler.
-- Albert Einstein --
Nor more complicated than necessary.
-- Added by RLM --
That's OK when you have experience, but a better method is to spin the
wheel while bracing a grease pencil against the frame and slowly
advancing it toward the rim. This marks the "high" points and remains
as a reference during adjustments.
The OP's appears to be unable to determine if his wheel may not be
sprung beyond true-ability. He should take it to a bike shop.
On Thu, 30 Oct 2008 21:26:22 -0400, email@example.com wrote:
Yes. First check the wheel for any rim/hub damage/rust and remove any
reflectors/decoration from the spokes. There is a small tool to
tighten/loosen the square-shaped spoke nipples. You can true the
wheel without removing it from the bicycle by watching the spacing
near the brake pads. Look where each spoke is attached and how it is
pulling against the rim. When you're done, plucking will tell give
you about spokes that may be too loose.
My father was frugal, so all the bikes I and my sisters got as kids were
from police auctions, and all needed repair. My father made me help
with the repairs, and I did the same thing with my kids; its a good way
to spend time with your kids.
Almost all the bikes we got had wobbly wheel issues, and the problem was
with the rim, not with the tires. So step one was to measure the
length of the spokes, then visit the bike shop and buy a dozen
replacements and a spoke wrench. The next step was to remove the tire
and inspect the rim. If the rim had clear problems, such as a bend in
he metal, or rust, we usually bought a new rim. You can probably clean
up rust, but there isn't much you can do if the metal is bent. With the
tire off, check for broken or loose spokes. Replace broken ones, and
snug up loose ones, but you will have to do further snugging or
The next step was to figure out the cause of the wobble. We only ever
looked for two things: is the rim flat perpendicular its axis (does it
wobble side to side), and is it round, not oval shaped (if someone has
overtightened the spokes at 90 and 270 degrees, for example, the rim
would have a greater radius at 180 and 0 degrees, and would wobble
accordingly. Lacking special tools, we would just stand the bike upside
down, and hold a marker (grease pencils are good, but I've used a common
desk pencil) fixed on a frame arm while you spin the wheel; the pencil
will mark where the rim is closer to that part of the frame arm and
leave the rest unmarked. Do this from both sides of the bike, to get
marks that will show you where the rim has to be pulled one way or
another. Also do it from a member above the frame, to see if it is too
oval, and where the high points are.
We always addressed the sides first, then checked if it was oval after
we got it flat (perpendicular to the axis). I don't know why we did it
in that order, but it seemed to work well.
By tightening and loosening the appropriate spokes, you can eventually
get the rim true, but usually this means doing it once, removing the
pencil marks, and then doing it again, and possibly again, as each
adjustment will affect other areas.
Its probably more efficient to take it to a bike shop, unless you like
doing stuff like this, and/or want to spend some time working with your
child. Around here most of the bike shops seem to look down on such
work, unless you have a state-of-the-art bike, but we still have one
place that has been here for years (it was where my father took me) that
is happy to work on any bike, but all their people are getting old and
I'm not sure how long they will stay in business.
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