Wrench Tip Wednesday: Wheel Maintenance
Alright, I washed my wheels when I washed my dirt bike. I guess that means my wheel maintenance is all done until after the next ride, right? WRONG! Wheels often get neglected which can result in DNF’s or spending money to get new ones. BTW – wheels are not very cheap!
Wheel components include:
Like all components that involve connections, spokes can become loose. Think about how much abuse the wheels experience. When you do your routine check make sure all spokes are tight but NOT too tight. If a person overtightens a spoke, it can cause them to break when riding/racing which can cause a DNF or a bent wheel! Fasst Company sells a Spoke Torque Wrench which helps ensure the spoke is tightened to the proper amount of tension. A regular spoke wrench can also be used, just be cautious. Overtightening seems to be a big problem. Don’t flex your muscles when tightening spokes.
Wheel truing is hopefully something you do not have to do often. To check if a wheel needs trued, put the bike up on a stand and spin the wheel. If the wheel has a wobble, it needs trued. To correctly do this, you will need a wheel truing stand. Remove the wheel from the bike and put it on the truing stand. All spokes will need to be tighten evenly. Tighten every 3rd spoke around the wheel and go 3 full rotations around the wheel. Tightening ever 3rd spoke helps ensure the load is equally distributed throughout the wheel. Continue to do this until the wheel does not have any more hops. If the spokes are regularly checked and kept torqued it will keep the wheel true longer.
Don’t forget about the wheel bearings. If the bearings go bad and stay that way for a while, you will be buying a new hub. If its wet, muddy, or sandy, do regular checks. Keep them greased and replace when needed. $30 wheel bearings are way cheaper than a hub.
Pro Tip – If you break your spokes regularly, zip-tie or wire two together at their crossing points. Do this for the entire wheel.