riding with a buckled back wheel

AdelaidePeter
Posts: 265
Joined: Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:13 am

riding with a buckled back wheel

Postby AdelaidePeter » Tue Feb 20, 2018 4:54 pm

Last weekend I noticed that my back wheel was buckled. It's a significant buckle - at least half a centimetre. I noticed it because the brake was rubbing. I loosened the back brake so I can still ride it (and the brake still works). It's a pretty sturdy 20 year old hybrid / flat bar bike (I think tyre width is 28mm - not sure about the actual wheel width), but this is the final straw in my decision to finally replace it. So my intention is to keep riding it to commute, until I get a new bike in the next week or two.

My question is: what risks are involved in this? I am already taking the precaution of adjusting my route so it consists entirely of shared paths and low traffic back roads.

Disclaimer: whatever anyone says, I'll probably ride it anyway :)

NASHIE
Posts: 551
Joined: Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:16 pm
Location: Perth, WA

Re: riding with a buckled back wheel

Postby NASHIE » Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:37 pm

AdelaidePeter wrote:Last weekend I noticed that my back wheel was buckled. It's a significant buckle - at least half a centimetre. I noticed it because the brake was rubbing. I loosened the back brake so I can still ride it (and the brake still works). It's a pretty sturdy 20 year old hybrid / flat bar bike (I think tyre width is 28mm - not sure about the actual wheel width), but this is the final straw in my decision to finally replace it. So my intention is to keep riding it to commute, until I get a new bike in the next week or two.

My question is: what risks are involved in this? I am already taking the precaution of adjusting my route so it consists entirely of shared paths and low traffic back roads.

Disclaimer: whatever anyone says, I'll probably ride it anyway :)


No risks unless its broken a spoke. Just get it trued or buy a spoke wrench and true it yourself. 5min job, won't be perfect but its a handy skill to learn. Plenty of youtube how too's.

User avatar
P!N20
Posts: 735
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:50 pm

Re: riding with a buckled back wheel

Postby P!N20 » Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:50 pm

There's a high risk of bike geeks passing judgement on your maintenance skills.

User avatar
Duck!
Expert
Posts: 6796
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 8:21 pm
Location: On The Tools

Re: riding with a buckled back wheel

Postby Duck! » Tue Feb 20, 2018 7:51 pm

If, as is highly probable, the buckle is the result of a broken spoke, continued use will likely lead to further broken spokes as the stress is unevenly distributed through the wheel.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

User avatar
AUbicycles
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 12984
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2005 2:14 am
Location: Sydney & Frankfurt
Contact:

Re: riding with a buckled back wheel

Postby AUbicycles » Tue Feb 20, 2018 8:21 pm

If the wheel is just buckled, it can be straightened "trued" at the bike shop. Much cheaper and easier than a new wheel. Even replacing spokes as necessary will not break the bank.

You can actually also true it yourself - a $5 spoke key, a large dose of patience and access to youtube will solve it.

User avatar
bychosis
Posts: 5510
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2012 1:10 pm
Location: Lake Macquarie

Re: riding with a buckled back wheel

Postby bychosis » Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:27 pm

If it is still otherwise sturdy, then true it up and ride on. A hybrid would normally have a fairly high spoke count so the wheel should be sturdy. I’ve ridden mountain bikes with rims that were quite out of shape, trued them up as best possible and kept riding, taped broken spokes together to get home etc. Also bent the rim back to shape with a shifter after rock strikes. It’s not so bad on an alloy rim with a high spoke count.

Just see if you can find the cause of the wobble. Broken spoke or just out of true is an easy fix, damaged rim where the spoke has pulled out is terminal.
bychosis (bahy-koh-sis): A mental disorder of delusions indicating impaired contact with a reality of no bicycles.

AdelaidePeter
Posts: 265
Joined: Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:13 am

Re: riding with a buckled back wheel

Postby AdelaidePeter » Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:59 pm

Thanks everyone. I just went and looked (admittedly by torchlight) and the spokes all seem to be intact. It's all a little strange because it happened at the end of a ride where nothing out of the ordinary happened.

I'm not afraid to buy a new bike because it's long overdue. But I'll look into "trueing" (a term I'd never even heard before).

User avatar
geoffs
Posts: 369
Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2007 10:16 pm
Location: Inner west, Sydney

Re: riding with a buckled back wheel

Postby geoffs » Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:04 pm

If the buckle has been caused by a spoke losing tension it will most probably be a non-driveside nipple coming loose. If this has happened then the spoke tension on the wheel is to low and it will take more than 5 mins to fix

RobertL
Posts: 587
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 3:08 pm
Location: Brisbane

Re: riding with a buckled back wheel

Postby RobertL » Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:51 am

AdelaidePeter wrote:Thanks everyone. I just went and looked (admittedly by torchlight) and the spokes all seem to be intact. It's all a little strange because it happened at the end of a ride where nothing out of the ordinary happened.

I'm not afraid to buy a new bike because it's long overdue. But I'll look into "trueing" (a term I'd never even heard before).


Even if you buy a new bike, spend a few $$ on a spoke spanner and have a go at truing the wheel yourself. Use youtube videos to help. If nothing else, it's a handy skill to have, and if it works, then you've got a perfectly usable "spare" bike.

I've really only done it once - on my clapped out old MTB. I started with a bad buckle, got 95% of the buckle out, but rounded off some of the nipples in doing so, so that's as good as it's going to get!
Image

ironhanglider
Posts: 2291
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:44 pm
Location: Middle East, Melbourne

Re: riding with a buckled back wheel

Postby ironhanglider » Wed Feb 21, 2018 12:21 pm

AdelaidePeter wrote:Thanks everyone. I just went and looked (admittedly by torchlight) and the spokes all seem to be intact. It's all a little strange because it happened at the end of a ride where nothing out of the ordinary happened.

I'm not afraid to buy a new bike because it's long overdue. But I'll look into "trueing" (a term I'd never even heard before).


The easy way to look for loose/broken spokes is to give pairs of spokes a squeeze and just work your way around the wheel.

Often with old wheels one broken spoke is just the first of many, so a rebuild with new spokes may be in your future.

Cheers,

Cameron
Image

AdelaidePeter
Posts: 265
Joined: Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:13 am

Re: riding with a buckled back wheel

Postby AdelaidePeter » Wed Feb 21, 2018 1:02 pm

RobertL wrote:Even if you buy a new bike, spend a few $$ on a spoke spanner and have a go at truing the wheel yourself. Use youtube videos to help. If nothing else, it's a handy skill to have, and if it works, then you've got a perfectly usable "spare" bike.


Given my past experience of using Youtube help videos to try to fix other things (my toilet, my car door lock), I'm pretty skeptical. In the case of my car door lock, not all car doors are basically the same (despite the videos claiming they were), and I bent some parts so badly that even when I gave up and took it to the garage, I'd made it worse. So I'll probably prefer to have a spare bike with a buckled wheel, than spend a few dollars and hours just to ruin it totally.

I'm not sure if that's a commentary on Youtube help videos, or my handyman skills :)

RobertL
Posts: 587
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 3:08 pm
Location: Brisbane

Re: riding with a buckled back wheel

Postby RobertL » Wed Feb 21, 2018 5:46 pm

AdelaidePeter wrote:
RobertL wrote:Even if you buy a new bike, spend a few $$ on a spoke spanner and have a go at truing the wheel yourself. Use youtube videos to help. If nothing else, it's a handy skill to have, and if it works, then you've got a perfectly usable "spare" bike.


Given my past experience of using Youtube help videos to try to fix other things (my toilet, my car door lock), I'm pretty skeptical. In the case of my car door lock, not all car doors are basically the same (despite the videos claiming they were), and I bent some parts so badly that even when I gave up and took it to the garage, I'd made it worse. So I'll probably prefer to have a spare bike with a buckled wheel, than spend a few dollars and hours just to ruin it totally.

I'm not sure if that's a commentary on Youtube help videos, or my handyman skills :)


LOL. I know a guy who told me that he once went for a ride with some mates and at the start, one of them noticed that his wheel was a bit out of true so he grabbed his multitool to straighten it. Five minutes later, the wheel was S-shaped, he couldn't ride and the rest of them rode off chuckling.
Image

human909
Posts: 8671
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 11:48 am

Re: riding with a buckled back wheel

Postby human909 » Thu Feb 22, 2018 9:41 am

AdelaidePeter wrote:So I'll probably prefer to have a spare bike with a buckled wheel, than spend a few dollars and hours just to ruin it totally.

It is a pretty basic task. Don't write yourself or your wheel of so quickly.

Given the speed that it occurred it is probably only a single spoke that needs correcting to get it 95% true. Could potentially be done in two minutes.

*(Getting things to the 99% true stage is always an art and requires patience and skill. IME most wheels don't come from the factory in a highly true state.)

User avatar
Thoglette
Posts: 3842
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2009 1:01 pm

Re: riding with a buckled back wheel

Postby Thoglette » Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:57 pm

human909 wrote:
AdelaidePeter wrote:So I'll probably prefer to have a spare bike with a buckled wheel, than spend a few dollars and hours just to ruin it totally.

It is a pretty basic task. Don't write yourself or your wheel of so quickly.


+1. Right now you've written off the wheel, so you've got nothing to lose except some time. There's more than you need to know in this page on Sheldon's site.

Usually, I find that the "buckle" is caused by one or two spokes being a touch loose (i.e. those that need to tighten to remove the buckle).

That's unless it's a broken spoke. Most inexpensive machine made wheels are not properly stress relieved and tensioned, so they commonly fail quickly (scroll through the article above). Replacing a spoke is less bother than actually buying the bloody thing. (If you've got a local shop they may give a good deal for supply, install and re-tensioning.)

Now, never let me be one to stand in the way of an N+1 decision, but you can actually buy a new wheel (or wheelset) for less than the price of a new bike.
Stop handing them the stick! - Dave Moulton
"People are worthy of respect, ideas are not." Peter Ellerton, UQ

AdelaidePeter
Posts: 265
Joined: Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:13 am

Re: riding with a buckled back wheel

Postby AdelaidePeter » Sun Feb 25, 2018 6:33 pm

OK. On closer inspection it has 3 consecutive broken spokes, out of 36. (Consecutive at the rim). A handful of other spokes feel quite loose, probably due to the buckled wheel.

I'll get the local bike shop to have a look, and make a decision on whether to fix it based on what it costs, and what a new flat bar commuter costs.

Revisiting my original question - what should I watch for while riding it? I commute mainly on tracks, but a little road usage is inevitable.

ironhanglider
Posts: 2291
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:44 pm
Location: Middle East, Melbourne

Re: riding with a buckled back wheel

Postby ironhanglider » Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:26 pm

Hi Peter,

Ok, three spokes is definitely in re-build territory, but it is not in itself justification for a whole new bike.

A new set of spokes is going to be about $40-$50 Labour probably about $75-$95. It might be worthwhile to re-build the wheel if the hub and rim are still good and in good condition. However it may be the case that a new wheel will be cheaper and easier.

As for nursing a dodgy wheel, avoid anything that puts unnecessary loads on the wheel, particularly side-loads. Avoid steep hills and hard cornering, avoid rough surfaces (potholes, tree-roots) etc, don't pedal out of the saddle, but do get out of the saddle to unweight the wheel if you can't avoid a rough patch. Lower the tyre pressure to almost the point where you are concerned about pinch flats. Don't be in a hurry.

With a new wheel your bike will be as good as it was before.

Cheers,

Cameron
Image

NASHIE
Posts: 551
Joined: Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:16 pm
Location: Perth, WA

Re: riding with a buckled back wheel

Postby NASHIE » Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:49 pm

AdelaidePeter wrote:OK. On closer inspection it has 3 consecutive broken spokes, out of 36. (Consecutive at the rim). A handful of other spokes feel quite loose, probably due to the buckled wheel.

I'll get the local bike shop to have a look, and make a decision on whether to fix it based on what it costs, and what a new flat bar commuter costs.

Revisiting my original question - what should I watch for while riding it? I commute mainly on tracks, but a little road usage is inevitable.


I wouldn't be riding it with 3 busted spokes.

AdelaidePeter
Posts: 265
Joined: Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:13 am

Re: riding with a buckled back wheel

Postby AdelaidePeter » Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:12 pm

ironhanglider wrote:Hi Peter,

A new set of spokes is going to be about $40-$50 Labour probably about $75-$95. It might be worthwhile to re-build the wheel if the hub and rim are still good and in good condition. However it may be the case that a new wheel will be cheaper and easier.

...

With a new wheel your bike will be as good as it was before.


Sorry for another newbie question, but how interchangeable are different rear wheels? i.e. I assume any LBS will only have a limited range of new rear wheels; so what do I look for to ensure I can put it on my bike? Naively I'm thinking I just need to match:
* wheel size;
* spacing between the teeth on the gears (so it fits my existing chain) (though I imagine that's pretty universal);
* gears wouldn't need to be exact same size (diameter), but would need to match in terms of number of gears (7 in my case) and horizontal spacing between them.

ironhanglider
Posts: 2291
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:44 pm
Location: Middle East, Melbourne

Re: riding with a buckled back wheel

Postby ironhanglider » Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:42 pm

The gears can be transferred from the existing wheel to the new one. (and also the tyre, tube and rim tape).

A seven speed wheel might have either a screw-on cluster of cogs, or a cassette of cogs held on with a locknut. Sheldon Brown's website shows the difference.

The important dimensions are the wheel diameter and the gap between the rear dropouts. (The over-locknut distance).

7 speed compatible wheels are still around and it is likely that a good LBS will have a suitable wheel in stock.


Cheers,

Cameron
Image

uart
Posts: 1351
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2016 9:15 pm
Location: Newcastle

Re: riding with a buckled back wheel

Postby uart » Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:38 pm

AdelaidePeter wrote:OK. On closer inspection it has 3 consecutive broken spokes, out of 36. (Consecutive at the rim). A handful of other spokes feel quite loose, probably due to the buckled wheel.


The way it usually happens is that when the first spoke breaks, it puts a lot more load onto the adjacent spokes, and they soon break as well if you keep riding. Just be conscious of small buckles in your back wheel as that's the first sign of a broken spoke. Once you detect a broken spoke you nurse it home (meaning riding gently) and replace the broken one before riding again.

Three broken spokes will give a sizeable buckle, but if you just replace those three and bring them up to about the same tension as the others the buckle will mostly go. It takes a bit of skill to get it perfect though.

AdelaidePeter
Posts: 265
Joined: Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:13 am

Re: riding with a buckled back wheel

Postby AdelaidePeter » Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:34 pm

Local bike shop says they can do fix and true it for about $35 + $1/spoke, so I've booked it in.

Thanks for the advice anyone. It did not occur to me that spokes might be broken, and the breaks weren't easy to see.

I probably shouldn't ride it until I drop it in later this week, but I enjoy my daily ride home from work too much :)

User avatar
bychosis
Posts: 5510
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2012 1:10 pm
Location: Lake Macquarie

Re: riding with a buckled back wheel

Postby bychosis » Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:48 pm

AdelaidePeter wrote:I probably shouldn't ride it until I drop it in later this week, but I enjoy my daily ride home from work too much :)

There’s a good reason for a new bike, or at least improving diy skills. While a damaged bike is under repair, you can keep riding.

I like that if I’m commuting and I get to the garage to find a flat tyre, or if I’ve had to nurse a bike home and not had repair time overnight I can choose a different bike and save the repair for later.
bychosis (bahy-koh-sis): A mental disorder of delusions indicating impaired contact with a reality of no bicycles.

ironhanglider
Posts: 2291
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:44 pm
Location: Middle East, Melbourne

Re: riding with a buckled back wheel

Postby ironhanglider » Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:52 am

Whilst replacing the spokes and truing tensioning the spokes will get the wheel going for now, I fear that the fix will be temporary. Since spokes fail through fatigue, the other spokes will have had the same usage, and are likely to be similarly on the point of failure.

Sadly my prediction is that, in a few weeks another spoke will break and you will be in the same boat again. It won't take many seperate spoke replacements to add up to the cost of a rebuild/replacement, with the added aggravation of being off the bike for a day or two each time.

Cheers,

Cameron
Image

AdelaidePeter
Posts: 265
Joined: Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:13 am

Re: riding with a buckled back wheel

Postby AdelaidePeter » Tue Feb 27, 2018 2:48 pm

ironhanglider wrote:Whilst replacing the spokes and truing tensioning the spokes will get the wheel going for now, I fear that the fix will be temporary. Since spokes fail through fatigue, the other spokes will have had the same usage, and are likely to be similarly on the point of failure.

Sadly my prediction is that, in a few weeks another spoke will break and you will be in the same boat again. It won't take many seperate spoke replacements to add up to the cost of a rebuild/replacement, with the added aggravation of being off the bike for a day or two each time.


Ha, it wasn't until I booked in the fix that I got a dissenting opinion! Yes, I understand what you're saying. But at the relatively cheap price being quoted, I'll take the chance for now.

am50em
Posts: 395
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:21 pm
Location: Sydney

Re: riding with a buckled back wheel

Postby am50em » Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:12 pm

I also took the chance and replaced spokes and then had another broken spoke. Had that fixed then another. At this point I saw the light and bought a new wheel.
Alternatively have all the spoke replaced in one go. Continuing to ride with broken spokes will cause the others to fail more quickly.
YMMV.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users