Why Offer Wheel Building?
One of the most common operations our service department performs is wheel truing. Just about every bike that comes in to the shop for service requires some sort of tweaking of the spokes. Tight and true wheels are critical for both good bike handling and for consistent braking if you use rim brakes. Unfortunately, most of the wheels found on today’s bikes, even though they may be built from decent enough component parts, lack the strength they are capable of achieving. This is due to the high-speed process of building wheels by machine. For now, the only way to build a durable wheel that will maintain its strength for a good long time is to build with human hands or to, at least, have a skilled person do the final truing and tensioning.
How Do You Know When A Wheel’s Gone Bad?
First, you want to check the wheel for trueness. A wheel can run out laterally (wobbles side to side) and/or radially (out of round). A visual check is easy. Just spin the wheel and sight along the rim. Before you do this, though, try to move the rim from side to side with the wheel installed on the bike. Any more than a slight sideways movement could mean worn or misadjusted hub cones, or really loose spokes.
Next, check the spoke tension. Give the spokes a squeeze. The spokes should not deflect much if at all. On your front wheel give each spoke a “ping”. The tone produced should be the same pitch on each of the spokes. This will not be true on your rear wheel because of the offset (dish) that is built into many rear wheels to accommodate the cassette or freewheel. The freewheel side spokes will be of a higher pitch than the non-freewheel side, but each side should be consistent. This method of testing does not tell you whether or not you have the proper tension, but will give an indication of rim integrity. For example, if the wheel appears to be true both laterally and radially but the spoke tension varies a lot from spoke to spoke, then there may be some damage to the rim. Yes, it is possible to straighten damaged rims by adjusting the spoke tension, but the result is a wheel that is out of balance and thus is unreliable. If you’ve decided your wheel is not up to task after testing for trueness and spoke tensioning, it may be time to consider a new wheel set.
What We Do
R-D Bike Shop offers wheel building services to meet any cyclist’s requirements from racing to touring, mountain-biking, commuter biking, recumbents and BMX bicycling. All of our components are hand selected to insure the highest quality. All wheels are built with proper tension and stress relief. Straight gauge, double bladed and aerodynamic spokes are available per the customer’s preference.
How Much Does It Cost?
Base pricing is $30 (plus parts & shipping) per wheel for a standard wheel build. (Aero rims and wheels with additional spokes beyond standard configurations will incur additional charges.) Call (330-848-2453) or send us an email with your requirements/needs/questions and we’ll be happy to provide an estimate for our work. We offer in-depth consultation on your wheel needs and competitive pricing. We work with customers throughout the U.S. and Canada.