Bike wheels

wheels Fixes, Reviews & Guides

Embedded thumbnail for Properly Tension the Chain on Fixed Gear or Single Speed Bicycle

Properly Tension the Chain on Fixed Gear or Single Speed Bicycle

How to tension the chain on a fixed gear or single speed bicycle:

Hang the drive chain on the seat stay, put the rear wheel into the frame as far forward/backward (depending on...

Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for Remove a Tubular Tire and Excess Glue from Zipp Rims

Remove a Tubular Tire and Excess Glue from Zipp Rims

This video will show you how to remove a tubular tire and how to remove the excess glue from the rim bed afterwards.

There are two ways to remove the tire from your rim. If you do not plan...

Part tires wheels
Company: Zipp
Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for Overview of the Campagnolo Khamsin Asymmetrical Wheelset

Overview of the Campagnolo Khamsin Asymmetrical Wheelset

Today, an overview of the Campagnolo Khamsin Asymmetrical Wheelset.

In the box comes a bag with two skewers, which are quick release (very premium quality). The feel is really nice quality...

Part wheels
Company: Campagnolo
Type: Review
Embedded thumbnail for Installing Spokes on a SRAM XO HUB

Installing Spokes on a SRAM XO HUB

This video will show you a method for loading spokes on to SRAM XO hubs when you are building wheels.

XO hubs have a unique flange shaped design, which yields a much stronger and robust...

Company: SRAM
Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for Fulcrum Racing Zero Clincher Road Bicycle Wheelset Review

Fulcrum Racing Zero Clincher Road Bicycle Wheelset Review

Fulcrum wheels have been used to win championships all over the world, and Fulcrum has been working with the top racing teams to make their wheels lighter, stiffer, faster, and smoother.

...

Company: Fulcrum
Type: Review
Embedded thumbnail for Review of Mavic Ksyrium SLS Road Bike Wheelset

Review of Mavic Ksyrium SLS Road Bike Wheelset

The Mavic Ksyrium SL S Clincher Wheel System is Mavic's popular and road-tested Ksyrium SL wheel, updated and improved, with Mavic's unique integrated tire and rim technology. By matching a...

Part wheels
Company: Mavic
Type: Review
Embedded thumbnail for Best Top of the Line Bike Wheelsets

Best Top of the Line Bike Wheelsets

Riders will often consider new wheels when it comes time to spending some serious cash. Here are 5 wheelsets beloved by both pros and ambitious amateurs:

5- For a true, all-around wheelset...

Part wheels
Company: Enve
Type: Review
Embedded thumbnail for Emergency Bike Spoke Replacement with FiberFix Kit

Emergency Bike Spoke Replacement with FiberFix Kit

The FiberFix is a kevlar chord used to fix a broken spoke in an emergency situation. Breaking a spoke is a rare occurrence, but it can happen while you are out on the road, so it would be a good...

Part Spokes wheels
Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for How to Remove Rust from Your Bike

How to Remove Rust from Your Bike

Today, I’ll be showing you my method to get rid of rust.

I’m going to be using this as an example It is a 24 inch wheel from an old vintage bike. If you just look, you can see the rust. It’...

Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for DIY How to Spray Paint Your Bicycle Wheel Rims

DIY How to Spray Paint Your Bicycle Wheel Rims

Today, I’m going to show you how to paint your rims. You’ll need a roll of masking tape, a 15mm socket set, and a plastic tire lever.

Step 1, take the 15mm socket set and take off your...

Part Rims wheels
Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for How to Install Fenders on a Bike

How to Install Fenders on a Bike

I'm here to show you how to install fenders on your bike. It's actually a pretty easy process, you only need a couple tools: 15 mm wrench, 10 mm wrench, 5 mm allen wrench, and 3 mm allen wrench....

Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for DIY Remove a Fixed Gear Cog at Home without Special Tools

DIY Remove a Fixed Gear Cog at Home without Special Tools

Today, I'll be showing you guys how to remove your fixed gear cog, but I will show you how to remove it without any special tools. Only tools you'll need is a screwdriver or some...

Part wheels
Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for DIY How to True a Wheel on Bike with No Truing Stand

DIY How to True a Wheel on Bike with No Truing Stand

Today, we’re going to show you how to true a wheel right off your bicycle. This isn’t what is normally done at the shop, but if you’re at home or out on the trail you can touch up your wheel and...

Company: Park
Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for DIY How to Make Your Own Mountain Bike Tire with Studs for Winter Ice and Snow

DIY How to Make Your Own Mountain Bike Tire with Studs for Winter Ice and Snow

Today I'm going to show you how to take a mountain bike tire like this and turn it into a gnarly tire like this. You only need a few simple tools and a bunch of wood ...

Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for Install Stan's NoTubes Tubeless Conversion Kit on a Non-Tubeless Wheel

Install Stan's NoTubes Tubeless Conversion Kit on a Non-Tubeless Wheel

Here you're going to see how to install a Stan's tubeless kit into a non-Stan's mountain wheel. The tools you're going to need: a drill with 3/8 inch bit, the proper kit (refer to...

Company: Kenda
Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for Install and Mount Wired Cycling Computer

Install and Mount Wired Cycling Computer

We're going to go over how to install a basic wired bicycle computer. All you'll need is a third hand cable tightener and a pair of cutters. This particular computer users rubber...

Company: Bontrager
Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for Bicycle Wheel Cartridge Bearing Maintenance

Bicycle Wheel Cartridge Bearing Maintenance

Ian wants to know: the bearings in my Roval wheel feel rough when I spin them around. How do I replace the bearings or overhaul my hub?

The quick way to overhaul cartridge bearings is...

Part hubs wheels
Company: Easton
Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for Replace a Bicycle Spoke

Replace a Bicycle Spoke

To replace a spoke you're going to need a spoke wrench of the correct size, a nipple driver or flathead screwdriver, a ruler to measure the correct spoke length, as well as some lube to put inside...

Part Spokes wheels
Company: Park
Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for DIY Straighten a Crooked Bike Rim

DIY Straighten a Crooked Bike Rim

We all know our bikes are only as good as the tires beneath them. That being said even the best tires on the market can only perform to their potential when rolling on straight rims and whether...

Part wheels
Company: Bike Hand
Type: Repair Tutorial
Guy Who Stole Copenhage Wheel and Started FlyKly

Copenhagen vs. Flykly Electric Bike Wheel, Who came First and Who's Full of Shit?

Recently, there were two electric bike wheels released that looked exactly the same. I thought to myself, "What the fuck?", this isn't possible. And in fact it wasn't. The story ...

Part wheels
Blog Tags: Electric Bikes
Type: Blog entry

bike wheel

The invention of the wheel revolutionized the caveman's daily hunting and gathering commute. Suddenly cave people were back in their dwelling well before sunset, which left plenty of time for other activities like domesticating dogs, discovering fire, and throwing cave parties with the neighbors.

Caveman bike

Bicycle - a vehicle composed of two wheels held in a frame one behind the other, propelled by pedals and steered with handlebars attached to the front wheel.

bike wheel

Let's get things rolling.

Bike wheels ("wheelsets" in pairs) start with the hub. This is the axle and bearing in the middle of the wheel, to which spokes can be attached on what is called the hub shell. The axle runs through the hub and supports the frame dropouts. Extending from the hub in the center are the spokes evenly supporting the rim under tension, connected by spoke nipples. On the outside of the rim sits the rubber tire making contact with the riding surface. Adjustments in spoke tension have huge impacts on wheel geometry, durability, and overall riding performance 

Wheel anatomy

Wheels are a manufacturing art form of specialized aerodynamic components made from strong and lightweight materials. Different types of bikes utilize different wheel structures and sizes. 

Amazon.com has some low-budget options in the $50 range, but they will be mass-produced aluminum and will not be as lightweight or strong as the carbon fiber wheels. Wheelsets for both road bikes (700c) and mountain bikes (26in) will be priced evenly as the value increases. The most touted carbon fiber wheelsets are going online in excess of $5,000! If you are in an emergency or on a serious budget, aluminum wheels will do the job just fine, but if you're even thinking about getting serious with your cycling, we have some carbon fiber wheels around $250.

Dollar sign on a bicycle

Keep in mind that you can follow a step by step process to assemble your own wheel, from the hub to the spokes to the rim. It saves a guy a lot of hard-earned dollars, and there are plenty of great tutorials out there to walk you through it. Building a wheel saves a lot of money and can give a sense of pride that you build what you ride, ride what you build. However if you don't like the thought of putting your life in your own hands, that's ok too.

Wheelman

Repairing bent wheels (called truing) can be one of the most difficult tasks one can do on a bicycle. If the rim is bent, or it's noticed that it is coming close to touching a brake pad, your wheel probably needs to be trued. Bringing the rim back into balance takes attention to detail that's mostly learned from building wheels in the first place. Patience is key, so if you're ready to bring that wheel back from the dead, here are some tips:

truing stand

  • Get a truing stand - the wheel can sometimes be trued while the bike is flipped over, but it just simplifies working on the wheel. Truing stands help notice slight imperfections that would otherwise be overlooked still in the frame dropouts.

Take a deep breath and don't rush anything. If there is a small flaw in the rim, you can find it by shining a light on the rim. In the reflection you will be able to find where the smooth stops and the trouble starts. Before messing with any spokes, try to hit the rim lightly with a rubber hammer to flatten the bump. Remember that you are working with very light metals, and overcorrecting can give more headaches than you might be ready for. Be gentle.

bent wheel cross-section  Hit rim here

When corrections are made to a small part of the rim, it affects the geometry of the whole thing. Work around the rim making even, small turns of the spoke nipples. Constantly check that spoke tension is even with your fingers. They should bend only under significant pressure. Broken spokes will be apparent.

Spoke tightening  spoke tighten

One thing to consider is that if the rim is severely dented, simply tightening loose spokes will only further deform the rim. Use a hammer to get the rim as close to round as possible before tightening spoke nipples. When a loose spoke is found, sometimes it is helpful to check the adjacent spokes at the same time. Covering more spokes makes a more uniform, round area of the rim. 

And finally: don't be a hero. If you have made many adjustments at very small increments and the wheel just doesn't seem to come into balance, take it to a professional. Solving the problems early and without too many adjustments will keep from further weakening the rim.

Wheels (and their diameters) can be put into categories based on their use:

For road and track bikes, lightweight and aerodynamic wheels are critical for high speeds, and large diameters allow for less rolling resistance (a fancy physics term for friction). The normal diameter for road bike wheelsets is 622mm or 29in. 

Mountain bikes need more rigidity and bulk strength. Therefore smaller diameters and thicker frames handle better the impacts of rumbling and tumbling down the trail. The most common mountain bike tire diameter is 559mm or 26in.

Different wheel and tire standards arose throughout the world in the early 20th century. Thankfully, programs like the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the European Tyre and Rim Technical Organization (ETRTO) developed definitive sizing scales and measuring procedures. This eliminated a lot of confusion in wheel and tire compatibility worldwide. The ISO system uses two numbers. the first is the outside width of the tire or rim in millimeters, while the second number is the most critical. It's the diameter of the bead seat of the rim (BSD) in millimeters. If this number matches, the tire will fit onto the rim.

If the tire is too narrow for the rim, there's a higher risk of damaging the wheel from debris on the road. Likewise, if the tire is too wide for the rim, there will be increased wear on the sidewalls of the tire and greater risk of a blowout.

Blowout  blown tire

The following sizing table was roughly transcribed from Sheldon Brown:

Common Tire Sizes and their ISO Equivalents

Fractional (inches ISO Applications
29 inch 622mm Most common width of road bike wheels
28 x 1 1/2 635mm, 622mm English, Dutch, Chinese, Indian Rod-brake roadsters
(Also marked F10, F25, 700 B), rare Canadian designation for the F13
28 x 1 5/8 x 1 1/4 622mm Northern European designations for 622mm (700c) tires
27 x anything 630mm Older road bikes
26 x 1 (650c) 571mm Triathlon, time trial, smaller road bikes
26 x 1 1/4 597mm Older British sport and club bikes
26 x 1 3/8 (S-6) 597mm Schwinn "lightweights"
26 x 1 3/8 (E.A.3) 590mm Most English 3-speeds, department store or juvenile 10 speeds
26 x 1 1/2 (650B) 584mm French utility, tandem and loaded-touring bikes, and very few Raleigh (US) and Schwinn mountain bikes
26 x 1 3/4 (S-7) 571mm Schwinn cruisers, mountain bikes
26 x 1 1/8 571mm Mountain bikes
26 x 1 1/4 559 Most common diameter of mountain bike wheels
24 x 1 520mm High performance wheels for smaller rides
24 x 1 1/8 520 or 540mm Caveat emptor
24 x 1 1/4 547mm British or Schwinn juvenile
24 x 1 3/8 (S-5) 547mm Schwinn juvenile lightweights
24 x 1 3/8 (E-5) 540mm British juvenile
20 x 1 1/8                

20 x 1 1/4

20 x 1 3/8

451mm Juvenile lightweights, some light BMX bikes, and some recumbents
20 x 1 3/4 419mm Schwinn juvenile
17 x 1 1/4 369mm Alex Moulton AM series
16 x 1 3/8 349mm Older Moulton, recumbent front, juvenile
16 x 1 3/8 335mm Polish juvenile
12 1/2 x anything 203mm Juvenile, scooters