Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Extreme Wheel Truing

This rear wheel came off a customer's bike recently in the Century Cycles store in Peninsula. This is what is referred to, in technical terms, as a "potato chip" (as opposed to a "taco," where the wheel would be folded completely in half).
This wheel is toast; it would need to be replaced no matter what. But, if you find yourself out on the road or trail with a wheel in this condition, you might be able to effect an emergency fix, as Derrick demonstrates in this video:

This technique is not recommended as a permanent fix, but in a pinch, as Derrick said, "it'll getcha' home."
After you do get home, stop in for a replacement wheel. We find, however, that to get a good-quality wheel requires a custom wheel-building job. Inexpensive pre-built replacement wheels are adequate for casual riders, but don't hold up for serious riders putting in lots of miles. High-end name brand wheels are light and fast, but aren't durable enough to stand up to heavy day-after-day use in commuting or long-distance touring situations.
This is where Century Cycles mechanics can come to the rescue with their custom wheel-building service. Tell us about how and where you're riding, and we'll select the right hubs, spokes, and rims to meet your needs.
We often keep a few of these hand-built wheels in stock for emergency replacements. These wheels use the following components:
  • Shimano Deore hubs - durable and easy to service with readily-available parts
  • Brass nipples and stainless steel spokes made by DT Swiss
  • 700C Salsa Delgado Cross rims - double-walled with spoke eyelets for extra durability

We usually build these wheels with either 32 or 36 spokes each. The front wheel is $94.99, and the rear wheel is $109.99 (compatible with 7-, 8-, 9-, or 10-speed Shimano or SRAM cassettes). Prices will vary with other component options. Call us to check what's currently available, or to ask about ordering your custom-built wheels!


  1. Play enough bike polo and you'll be an expert at slap truing a wheel. I've been playing bike polo on a slap trued wheel since June. It's not straight as an arrow, but it's sure good enough for polo.

  2. At the Wheelmen's National Meet last month, straightening a high wheel like this was discussed. Instead of slapping, though, it was put in a doorway and pushed sideways til it popped back into shape.

    I do like the finesse involved in slapping a small wheel on the floor!

  3. I can attest to the quality of a wheel built by CC... My Surly's wheels are custom builds!