Intro: Basic Truing Bench and How to True Wheels.
Tools & Materials Needed:
1. Bench: workbench, card table, kitchen table, floor.
2. 2 identical plastic parts bins. They must be taller than the height from the top of the handle bars to the tallest part on the handlebar stem.
3. Sharpie Marker.
4. Spoke wrench. I use a Park Tool SW-7C Multi-Spoke Wrench as I wasn't sure of my spoke nut sizes.
1. Prep and clear surface of bench, table, or floor.
2. Put parts bins upside down on area the handlebars go. If you have a choice of a longer or shorter area, I'd use the shorter area because you can true both sides at once without moving the bike once on the surface. This assumes you have lots of light on both ends.
3. Lift the bike and turn upside down. The center of gravity, and the easiest point to lift the bike, is probably just in front of the seat, above the pedals.
4. Put bike on bench, upside down.
5. Put the bins under the handlebars so the length is perpendicular to the handlebars. There should be some air between the tallest item on your handelbar stem and the benchtop.
6. The seat should stabilize the back end.
7. Use the Sharpie marker to number every other spoke on the metal rim. This allows you to quickly identify the spoke you're working on, and if that's affecting other spokes. And it looks really technical and uber cool. My wife says it looks dorky, I say, ignore her. I'm a fashion pioneer. :p
8. Believe me, marking the wheel will help you finish faster because you know exactly which spoke you need to work on. 1/4 twist left, 1/8 twist right... if you don't ID the spokes, how do you really know it's the right one?
9. Make sure the wheel is locked tightly in place as it should be. I trued everything and then put it on the ground, but it wouldn't work right. I put it back up on the bench, and realized I hadn't fully tightened the wheel in the frame. Did that, and it worked fine.
10. Spin the wheel and see how many times it rubs the brakes. Let it slow down and it will stop at one very much out of true.
11. If you have a lot of trouble, try pulling the brakes side to side and see if those are not adjusted properly. Once you get it into proper alignment, adjust the brakes. Another issue could be the ball bearings need to be cleaned and re-greased. You'll have to find those instructions elsewhere. And make sure the wheel is securley in place on the frame.
12. Assuming the brakes and bearings are fine, spin the wheel and see where it stops. Use the wrench to adjust the spoke. Try 1/2 turn on that spoke. Spoke #14 took 10 minutes to properly adjust, but it was worth it. If it gets tighter, move it 1/2 back to where it was, then 1/2 the other way.
13. When that spoke moves freely, see if the wheel moves freely by slowly spinning it slightly to see if it rubs at the next one, or wherever it stops on a free spin.
14. Keep doing that until the entire wheel spins and spins freely.