20 Sep 2017

WHEEL MAINTENANCE AND CLEANING TO KEEP SPINNING

Maintaining and cleaning your wheels will guarantee you not only cycle faster and longer, but will also keep you and your bike looking slick and swift. Just follow these pointers to maximise your riding and your purchase.

Maintenance: truing

Arguably the most important wheel job, after picking your perfect pair, is to ensure your wheels roll nice and true. Essentially this means they roll perfectly in a forward direction without any lateral movement. If you notice your wheel deviates left and right, it’s a sign that your spokes need tensioning; leave it too long and your rim could start to rub on your brakepads; leave even longer and the spokes could pop out, resulting in a worst-case scenario of your wheel collapsing.

Thankfully, truing is one of the simpler jobs. Go around each spoke on each side and give it a gentle strum. This is a good way to tell if you have a loose spoke. You just need to pick up a handheld truing tool – there are plenty on the market so choose one suitable for your wheels – and give the spoke a quarter-turn clockwise to apply tension. This is a balancing act because you don’t want to over-tighten the spoke and slightly distort the rim the other way. If you find the spoke nipple is proving hard to budge, applying a drop or two of light oil should help things along. Find out more about truing here.

Maintenance: bearings

Bearings are a vital component of your wheels, as well as your headset and bottom bracket. But like many things, they become tired and inefficient over time. To assess the state of your wheel bearings, you can lift the front wheel off the ground, give it a spin and see how swiftly it rolls up to speed. If your wheel feels rough, or if there's any rocking from side to side, the wheel bearings may need servicing or replacing.

Maintenance: cleaning your bike

Cleaning your wheels is hardly the most glamorous task in the world but is vital to improve brake quality, prolong the life of your rim and brakepads, and keep your Vision wheels rolling fast.

Firstly, if you've got caliper brakepads, you should regularly check for any little stones that may have embedded in them. If you find any, prise them out with a small flathead screwdriver. If the pads have worn away, seek a replacement set. If you've got disc brakes, keep your rotor clean by wiping away any dirt and grime with a clean cloth and, as with rim brakes, you need to check your pads for wear, too.

Keeping your rims clean not only looks sparkling but it improves braking efficiency. With aluminum rims, simply spray them with a lotion called isopropyl alcohol and wipe down with a soft cloth. If you’re using carbon rims, acetone on the braking surface is often recommended to increase grip.

Never jetwash your wheels. Yes, this powerful stream of water can clean your frame nicely but blasting your wheels is a surefire way to send water into your bearings and raise the chances of corrosion. Instead, wash your hubs and spokes with hot, soapy water. A special wheel-cleaning brush will help to get in-between the spokes. Now you're an expert in wheel-maintenance, read about wheel terminology here.