Truing Stand - To buy or not to buy?

byunbee

Well-Known Member
So over the past week, I've been learning about how to true wheels. It's not rocket science, but it is somewhat tedious and time consuming.

How much your LBS charges for truing a wheel will, I'm sure, depend on where you live. My LBS charges $30-40 per wheel and both my wheels need truing. I figure I need to true the wheels annually, or sometimes more often depending on the need.

I've been eyeing the Park Tool TS-4.2 Professional Bicycle Wheel Truing Stand - Compatible with Fat Bikes & E-Bikes that costs $426.95. On one had, I can recover the cost likely in no more than 4 years depending on number of times used. As we have more than one bike in the household, the cost can be recovered in as little as 2 years.

I just wanted to ping the forum members and hear your thoughts on whether purchasing one is a good investment or not, as some of you likely own one and either have had good or bad experiences doing it yourselves.

 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
I have this AliExpress truing stand.
It's an identical one sold on eBay and Amazon.
AliExpress just happen to have the lowest price.

To be honest, I rarely use it.
I do sometimes, but I am too lazy to take off the rims and tires so I just ended up doing the zip tie method on ebikeschool.com YouTube channel.

Also, the truing stand that I bought on AliExpress does not seem to have very good accuracy (I don't know the word).
For example, if you were to put this stand on completely flat sureface, maybe one leg will be off the floor. (just like bad chair / table)
Which defeats the purpose of truing stand because it requires precision.

Here's one that I have.

They have this one which appears to have better quality, but I don't have one so I am not sure.
 

Nova Haibike

Well-Known Member
Your profile says you are in OC. You have a bicycle co-op there, The Bicycle Tree, where for a small donation you could use all the tools you need for just about any repair. As for buying a truing stand, there are a lot of tools I would put ahead of a truing stand, but that is your call. A truing stand primarily makes the job of truing faster, not necessarily better. But some (or maybe a lot) of that speed is related to experience.
 

Nova Haibike

Well-Known Member
I have this AliExpress truing stand.
It's an identical one sold on eBay and Amazon.
AliExpress just happen to have the lowest price.

To be honest, I rarely use it.

I would never recommend anyone buy a cheap truing stand, not even the "cheap" one sold by Park Tool. The whole point of a truing stand is to provide a stable platform for accurate and speedy truing. Cheap stand are too wobbly in my experience.
 

Tars Tarkas

Active Member
I've fiddled with spokes with some success but never built a wheel or really trued one up beyond eyeballing it. I've Jerry-rigged guides to help and I've never had to have a professional job. More than that, I'm cheap. Here's my thing: You aren't calculating what your time is worth in figuring your ROI. I don't know what your time is worth, but tuning spokes in only interesting for about 3 minutes. Then it rapidly becomes a boring chore, regardless of what your time is worth. For me, a truing stand would never be worth it, but certainly, to each his/her own.

TT
 

linklemming

Well-Known Member
Given the amount of bikes I have, I will eventually own a truing stand.

That being said, I have been doing it on the bike for over 20 years. Back in the days of rim brakes, I would just adjust the brakes so they would barely rub, true and repeat. I have buit a wheel from the ground up using this method. It was tedious

These days I use zip ties on the bike but you could create all sorts of things.

 

Tars Tarkas

Active Member
I'm not sure zip ties had been invented when my college 10-speed was mugged when locked to a light pole on the street. Someone maliciously beat the crap of both my front and rear wheels. To anyone with any money at all they would have been trash. I used some stiff wire or something as an alternative to zip ties and finished up using the rim brake pads as guides. The job wasn't perfect but it was pretty durn tolerable. I was definitely back on the road.

TT
 

byunbee

Well-Known Member
Your profile says you are in OC. You have a bicycle co-op there, The Bicycle Tree, where for a small donation you could use all the tools you need for just about any repair. As for buying a truing stand, there are a lot of tools I would put ahead of a truing stand, but that is your call. A truing stand primarily makes the job of truing faster, not necessarily better. But some (or maybe a lot) of that speed is related to experience.
Given the pandemic, I don't think I would chance going to a public shop to use tools that have been touch by who knows how many people.
 

byunbee

Well-Known Member
I've fiddled with spokes with some success but never built a wheel or really trued one up beyond eyeballing it. I've Jerry-rigged guides to help and I've never had to have a professional job. More than that, I'm cheap. Here's my thing: You aren't calculating what your time is worth in figuring your ROI. I don't know what your time is worth, but tuning spokes in only interesting for about 3 minutes. Then it rapidly becomes a boring chore, regardless of what your time is worth. For me, a truing stand would never be worth it, but certainly, to each his/her own.

TT
Well, many of us ride and learn about bikes as a hobby. I'm not sure I would monetary value of my time against it. It's always good to learn how to maintain your bike. There's also the factor of waiting 2-3 weeks to get your bike back due to all the backlog at the local LBS. But like you said, to each his/her own.
 

byunbee

Well-Known Member
I would never recommend anyone buy a cheap truing stand, not even the "cheap" one sold by Park Tool. The whole point of a truing stand is to provide a stable platform for accurate and speedy truing. Cheap stand are too wobbly in my experience.
Do you consider the stand that I linked a cheap stand?
 

Tars Tarkas

Active Member
Well, many of us ride and learn about bikes as a hobby. I'm not sure I would monetary value of my time against it. It's always good to learn how to maintain your bike. There's also the factor of waiting 2-3 weeks to get your bike back due to all the backlog at the local LBS. But like you said, to each his/her own.
No argument there at all. By all means go for it. I enjoy doing most of my own bike work too, but you might be able to buy a set of spare wheels for the price of the Park truing stand. Then you could drop your warped wheels off at the LBS for a long as it takes and maybe still come out ahead. Just saying...

TT
 

Marcela

Well-Known Member
I've got the truing stand you linked in the first post. It is a nice one. I've used it on a Cattrike Expedition, where you can really tell the difference cause you got two wheels running parallel. I've used it on my Sequoia. I'll use it on my Vado 5.0 when I feel the need some day. Spokes will relax after the initial run in, whatever time that takes. I wouldn't go all out and respoke a complete wheel, but for maintenance it doesn't take a lot of experience if you're careful.
 

Sierratim

Well-Known Member
So over the past week, I've been learning about how to true wheels. It's not rocket science, but it is somewhat tedious and time consuming.

How much your LBS charges for truing a wheel will, I'm sure, depend on where you live. My LBS charges $30-40 per wheel and both my wheels need truing. I figure I need to true the wheels annually, or sometimes more often depending on the need.

I've been eyeing the Park Tool TS-4.2 Professional Bicycle Wheel Truing Stand - Compatible with Fat Bikes & E-Bikes that costs $426.95. On one had, I can recover the cost likely in no more than 4 years depending on number of times used. As we have more than one bike in the household, the cost can be recovered in as little as 2 years.

I just wanted to ping the forum members and hear your thoughts on whether purchasing one is a good investment or not, as some of you likely own one and either have had good or bad experiences doing it yourselves.

You shouldn't need to true up your wheels even annually. Unless you hit something pretty hard, they are very stable if assembled correctly the first time. It sounds like your wheels weren't done correctly in that spoke nipples shouldn't just rattle loose. Normal practice is to put spoke prep on the spoke threads before threading on the nipples. Over several days this prep stiffens up acting something like removeable locktite. The nipples stay where you put them this way. I've built a handful of wheels this way and didn't need to true them unless something 'bad' happened.

What are the rest of the tools in your bike shop like? Are you equipped with decent tools for all the other bike tasks you might need to do? If so, go for it as a personal learning experience. Otherwise, I think your money is better spent on more good quality tools and have your LBS rebuild and true your wheels.

BTW - I've trued all the wheels I've built on an entry level trueing stand. I'm sure a pro level cyclist could telll the difference, but they were round and true for my purposes.