Friday, March 9, 2012

An new skill, and a small epiphany

I trued the back wheel on my hybrid bike last night. The rim was bumping the brake in one spot, so I bought a spoke wrench at one of my local bike shops, Spokes, watched a YouTube video for some pointers and gave it a whirl. It was easier than I thought it would be. After about a half-hour of trial-and-error to figure out the technique, the wheel was tracking perfectly. Next time it will take 10 minutes or less.

Hint for all you young bicycle mechanics out there: a half-turn of a spoke wrench is lot for a three-millimeter bend in the rim. Easy does it. Just tighten the spoke coming from the opposite side of the bend, and loosen the spokes on the same side, which pulls the rim in that direction. Simple concept, and it just takes a little practice to figure out the dynamics.

While I was spinning and wrenching, I had a realization: bicycle wheels have spokes in order to allow the rims to be trued. If they were solid, or there were just a couple of struts, there'd be no way to fix even the slightest bend. So does everyone know this and I'm just late to the game, duh, or is this fact only obvious to the kind of people who own spoke wrenches?

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