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Stronger Wheels prevent warping?
#1
I'm considering buying some stronger wheels (if they exist). I had problems with my rear wheel warping regularly (i got good at trueing!), and am already having problems with it with my 6 month old Cannondale F5.
I'm 260lbs, and fairly strong legs. Used for both commuting and singletracks (changing tires). I do the occasional jump but no more than 3-5 inches.

Do you think if I bought some higher end wheels this would help solve my headache or is this just part of regular maintenance?

Any suggestions? Thanks!
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#2
Well: "rims are consumables" (Roger Musson, and I do not tire of repeating that)
That said, a weak wheel is usually the result of poor build (low spoke tension) or inappropriate components (or a combination). What kind of wheels do you have? The original wheels (we're talking about this bike http://www.cannondale.com/deu/deu/Products/2009/Mountain/Hardtail/Details/1593-9FS5-F5-with-CO2-frame-technology right?) look ok, pretty standard, 32 spokes laced cross 3, should build a strong wheel. They are not fancy, but you don't want eye candy, you want durable. My guess: the spoke tension is too low (or the rims are crap, but I guess it is the spoke tension). When truing make sure that the spoke tension is roughly equal on all spokes (well, in the rear: all spokes on one side). Otherwise the wheel is not stable and a small force will warp it easily (in fact, it will do so just while riding on road). When the wheel is nice and round and the spoke tension is not all over the place, tighten the spokes one or two turns more. Make sure to relive the torsion (twist) in the spokes (tighten 1/4 turn further than you intend and turn back 1/4 turn) and "stress relieve" the spokes (to bring them from elastic deformation to inelastic deformation) by squeezing them pairwise. I suggest Roger Musson's book on wheelbuilding for more info: http://www.wheelpro.co.uk/wheelbuilding/book.php
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#3
(04-17-2010, 07:00 AM)Joe_W Wrote:  Well: "rims are consumables" (Roger Musson, and I do not tire of repeating that)

Always a pleasure to hear ya talk about rims Joe! (no joking at all). Thanks nice to read this and always reminds me ,"Oh yeah for got about that!".
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#4
Well, it is meant as: "if you wreck a rim: no worries! They can easily be replaced." That said: I found not too much about the rims (Jalco) except that another type (DD rather than x320) is supposed to be really durable. Since the wheels look not special at all (nothing wrong with that, in fact it is more convenient than fancy stuff if you need to do maintenance or replace parts) I expect the parts to be heavy, simple and durable. Maybe somebody else can comment on Jalco rims?
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#5
Wow, I don't think I ever warped a wheel, but I weigh 160lbs.I rode my 1992 Schwinn High Sierra Aluminum with Winemann USA rims in the mountains when I rode with the Santa Monica CA Dept Parks MBU bike safety patrol.

The only thing I miss is Stainless steel spokes as I ride by the beach and spokes are getting rusty. It seems its cheaper to buy new wheels than to re spoke.

But am thinking of doing one spoke at a time not to get lost. When I break a spoke. Just need to figure what size I need. Just serviced the hubs and am waiting for a front chain ring to do the crank. This site has great info.
Especially Alex's video. Sheldon Brown has great info too.

When I took my bike to several shops they all were very impressed by USA quality. Do not make them like that anymore.

I think I 'll find another 80's bike (maybe Cannondale)and fix it up.
Never Give Up!!!
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#6
Thanks Joe for the information. I might check out the book. And yes, that's the bike I have.

I've trued wheel's before, I've only focused and getting the wheel straight. How do you measure the spoke tension? Just strum the spoke for a sound?

"rims are consumables" makes sense, but I'd sure like to get more than 4 months of use of them.

(04-17-2010, 07:00 AM)Joe_W Wrote:  Well: "rims are consumables" (Roger Musson, and I do not tire of repeating that)
That said, a weak wheel is usually the result of poor build (low spoke tension) or inappropriate components (or a combination). What kind of wheels do you have? The original wheels (we're talking about this bike http://www.cannondale.com/deu/deu/Products/2009/Mountain/Hardtail/Details/1593-9FS5-F5-with-CO2-frame-technology right?) look ok, pretty standard, 32 spokes laced cross 3, should build a strong wheel. They are not fancy, but you don't want eye candy, you want durable. My guess: the spoke tension is too low (or the rims are crap, but I guess it is the spoke tension). When truing make sure that the spoke tension is roughly equal on all spokes (well, in the rear: all spokes on one side). Otherwise the wheel is not stable and a small force will warp it easily (in fact, it will do so just while riding on road). When the wheel is nice and round and the spoke tension is not all over the place, tighten the spokes one or two turns more. Make sure to relive the torsion (twist) in the spokes (tighten 1/4 turn further than you intend and turn back 1/4 turn) and "stress relieve" the spokes (to bring them from elastic deformation to inelastic deformation) by squeezing them pairwise. I suggest Roger Musson's book on wheelbuilding for more info: http://www.wheelpro.co.uk/wheelbuilding/book.php
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#7
Sure, "consumables" shouldn't mean you should replace them more often than the chain or break pads...

For spoke tension: There are tools for exactly that (tensiometers), they are... costly, at least the reasonable ones. I don't have one and the last wheels I built were ok. On the first ones the spoke tension was too low. What I do is: get the wheel nice and round with reasonably equal spoke tension all around. Then tighten the nipples half a turn each and check trueness. Then tighten some more (and recheck, stress relieve, yadda yadda...). If the spoke tension was equal all around, the wheel will stay round (unless you start doing crazy things like tightening the nipples two or three full turns each, a disbalance will develop quite fast then). On medium quality rims it is difficult to get the spoke tension too high. I usually stop when turning the Spokey becomes difficult and the spokes feel quite tight (compare to a wheel that is well built). In your case I'd true the wheel, get the spoke tension equalised and then tighten a total of two or three full turns more. Chances are good that this will suffice. If it doesn't, you have several choices: Try to redo the wheel from scratch, maybe start with a new rim (and then probably also new spokes) or get a new wheelset (decent mid range stuff, read the tests and look at how sturdy the tested wheels were).
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#8
Just my 2p:

Jalco rims are fairly basic entry-level rims but their quality is superior to that of Alex-"cheese"-rims that come on many bikes as standard over here. I've only warped one wheel (well, it was more of a Pringle than a warp), and that was by coming REALLY short on a double and smashing it into the back of the landing (it was the front wheel, an Alex-Rim). My point being I don't think the rims are your problem, and they should be fine for the riding you're doing (I used my Alex-Rims for All-Mountain/light Downhill until I broke one and wore the hub out on the other).

I reckon Joe_W is right in that you need to fiddle with Spoke tension, and his method above is a sound one. The only thing I'm going to add to it is to find a mate who's good at looking after their wheels, or next time you're in a decent bike shop have a look at the new MTBs on display, and gently squeeze a pair of spokes so you know what proper spoke tension ought to feel like; then have another go at truing the wheel and try and make the spokes feel like these.
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#9
Thanks Joe and Jon. Good advice/description.

I understand what you're saying and it makes logical sense. I'll give it a go next time it goes out of wack (I just had the shop replace the crankset (different story) and had them fix the wheel while they were at it.)

Heck, I have an old, out of usability bike, I think I'll go and practice on it's bad wheel.
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#10
Man, all this wheel talk got me into the garage to tune mine, not too bad. Old spokes on this 1992 Schwinn Aluminum MB. Last thing to do is the headset bearings, waiting for tools.
Never Give Up!!!
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