By Nick Mark
True a bike wheel with disc brakes
The most important thing about any bikes or bikes for 2-3 year olds is to ensure the bike provides a safe and secure ride. A bike has to be ‘true’ if you want the best performance. But first, what does it mean to ‘true’ a bike?
In simple words ‘straighten the bike wheels’ is known as truing the bike. When the wheels on the bike need to be aligned to bring it back to its perfect round shape we need to true the bike.
Bumping the bike here and there is pretty normal for a new rider aged 2-3 years old. Those little bumps or just regular daily use can cause little wobbles on the wheel, and if not fixed properly it can affect proper brake alignment, stopping power, and structural integrity. That can create obstacles to your smooth rides.
True the wheels as soon as you feel the off-centered rims of your bike or your kids bike. You can seek professional help from any bike repair shop or do it yourself. Wheels of bikes for 2-3 years old are pretty simple to true.
Let’s get on with the process of how to true a bike wheel.
Recognize if your bike needs truing
Using an ideal spot as reference when checking on wheels makes the process easier. Brake pads provide good support and can act as a perfect setting to look for any misplacement.
But when it comes to bikes with disc brakes, that can be a little complicated. For bikes with disc brakes, the brake pads are connected with the disc, not up against the rims.
The professional way to solve that issue is to use a bike truing stand. A bike truing stand is a tool, where you can check if the wheels are off centered and fix them.
Getting a true stand for one-time use is not very cost effective, and bear in mind that you also have to separate the wheel from its frame. We sure do not want to make the job more complicated.
Thankfully there is another easy way to check if your bike wheel’s disc brake needs truing. All you need is a reference frame near the rims. You can build this reference frame using some household items, like a pencil and some home elastic bands.
Steps to create the reference frame and find the spot:
- Find an object to use as a pointer that sticks out. You may use a wooden object or simple pencil.
- To place the object/pencil in right spot we need some elastic band or strand
- Now adjust the tool/pencil in the right spot, where the wheels will touch evenly.
- Run the wheels to see if there’s any off-centered spot
- When the pencil hits the high spots, it will create a vibration and you will notice the friction happening. That’s the spot that needs fixing.
True the wheels
Now comes the real job, fixing the off-centered spots. Rims of the wheels are connected by spokes to its hub at the center and spokes are attached by little screws called spoke nipples. So, each spoke is connected to another via hubs. When you use a bike wheel with a disc brake, you have to make sure the spokes are at the right place.
Tightening or loosening the spoke nipple can solve it. The tool we need for the process is a spoke wrench, a very small piece of apparatus to tighten or loosen the spokes.
Spoke wrenches come in different sizes as different wheels have different sized spoke nipples. A regular adjustable wrench can be used as well, but that will take longer as the wrench cannot go the whole turn.
Now to actually true the wheels, here are the steps:
- Select the spokes causing the displacement
- Figure out what the spoke needs, tightening the nipple or loosening?
- Pick out the right size spoke wrench
- Provide the right treatment on the spoke nipple, remember the oldest and easiest instruction ‘Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey’
- Find the connected spoke and apply the same turns in the opposite direction
- Check wheels with the reference frame to see if it need more work
Well, you are done and the wheels look perfectly aligned. Make sure to take your bike for a ride to test it out!
Things to remember when truing a bike wheel that has disc brakes
- Bikes wheels of a disc brake bike might have some stickers on, so when checking for uneven spots keep that in mind. These stickers can take a little space.
- Always keep the turn number even for connected spokes. If only one spoke gets fixed, that may cause more uneven structure. If one side is loosened, another side has to be tightened by the same amount of turns.
- Use the right size spoke wrench for spoke nipples. If not, the process can be delayed and nipples can be harmed.
- Make sure the reference frame is not causing any fatigue or tearing on the wheel.
Well, there goes all the steps and information you need to true your bike wheel. Now you can true your bike wheels or those of your kids’ bikes. Happy riding!
Nick is the editor of ScooterReviewOnline.com and BestBabyGeek.com. He loves to review the best outdoor and baby/ toddler products. He is passionate about all things related to bikes and scooters.