Basic Wheel Care
So you have invested in a new bike and are enjoying riding the trails or roads. Although bikes today are highly strung pieces of equipment, made lighter and faster with highly advanced materials, they are surprisingly robust. By following some simple care guidelines, you can be enjoying many drama free hours of cycling. And the modern day wheel is no better example of how far todays bicycles have come. Once the dark arts of the bicycle, the wheel, todays machine built wheel not only has less spokes, a lighter weight, and less rolling resistance, but are also more robust to the challenges of cycling.
Damage to a wheel while out cycling is likely to result in a car ride home. Broken spokes quickly send the wheel out of true, and if it is rubbing on your frame and brakes, then that’s the end of your day out on the bike. Continuing to ride will be risking damage to your bike and wheel. A broken spoke doesn’t signal the end for a wheel, but riding prolonged distances with a broken spoke certainly puts stress on the remaining spokes. Thankfully with today’s wheels this happens less and less, and the majority will give you years of incident free riding. So what are the little things you can do to prolong the lifespan of your wheels?
Firstly, never adjust spoke tension. Wheel building is an art, and this is definitely one place where a little knowledge is dangerous. Leave spoke tension and wheel truing to the professionals, not You Tube. Spokes do loosen over time on every wheel, especially when new, so it is advisable to book new wheels into the shop after 500k to get them tensioned. After every few rides spin the wheels and ensure the run true sideways as well as up and down. At the first sign of deviation off true, get the wheels to the shop. Running wheels out of true for periods of time will only apply stress in directions and to parts of the wheel not designed to withstand it.
Also make sure your wheels and brake pads are clean, especially road wheels where the braking surface is on the rim. Use RESURRECTION Bike Degreaser to remove the dirt and grime that accumulates. Then follow up with a bike wash free of silicone, as silicone can impact your stopping power, and dry down. By not keeping your wheels clean, you are creating a sand paper like effect on the braking surfaces, dramatically reducing the lifespan of your wheels.
And lastly, wheels today are exceptional for their designed purpose, mountain bike wheels stay true over the toughest of terrain, and road bike wheels ride fast. Stay within their intended purpose and you should enjoy years of trouble free cycling.