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How to Maintain Bike Wheels | Bicycle Repair
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All right. So we’re going to talk about how to maintain your wheels and how to know when to bring it into a bike shop to get them fixed or replaced.
So this is a brand new wheel on a brand new bicycle, and as you can see, it’s spinning perfectly smooth in between the brake calipers. So it’s not catching on one side. It’s not weaving back and forth. This is a well maintained wheel. It’s brand new, and it’s spinning perfectly. So what you’ll see with wheels sometimes is, this part of the wheel is called a hub, and basically there’s an axle that goes through there, and there’s bearings. Those need to be adjusted properly or else the wheel will not spin properly, or the wheel will be too loose. So if you hold your wheel on the top here and you wiggle it back and forth it shouldn’t move at all, and when you spin it, it should spin freely.
So that’s one piece of maintenance that you want to make sure that you keep up on because you can actually break your axle if it’s too loose. You can break your bearings if it’s too tight, and that’s never good because then you’ll be out of a bicycle to ride.
So also you want to make sure that you’re checking the sidewalls of your rim. Basically it’s right here where the braking surface is. If you don’t have disc brakes and you have caliper brakes, or U brakes, or something like that, basically what will happen is the brakes will wear down on the sidewall of the rim. Some rims have indicators who have a line. If that line is gone, it’s time to replace your rim. Also an easy way to do it is just to feel the rim, and if you feel a dip in the rim, almost like a U shape, that means that you need to replace the rim, because what could happen is these sidewall could blow out because of all the pressure from your tube, and also from the pressure of your braking.
The other thing that you want to make sure that you’re keeping up on is that the wheel is spinning freely on the actual rim. So the rim basically is held in center by these spokes, and basically the spoke tension is pulling it this way, and this spoke tension is pulling this way, so if they’re not pulling correctly, or you hit a pothole or something like that, this could happen to your wheel. It may not be this drastic. It may just be a slight wave in the wheel, when you spin your wheel it hits each side of the brake caliper. That usually can be fixed. But what you want to make sure is that you get your wheel replaced if it looks like this, or you get your wheel fixed if it is out of ascrew, because it can become much worse and also wear down your brake pads.
The best thing to do is usually go to a bike shop and have them assess your wheel and make sure that it can be trued, or if you need a new wheel. And also it is quite an advanced process, so unless you took a class on it, you probably shouldn’t do truing at home.
So that’s the way you can keep your wheels ready and rolling.