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Old 2019-07-07, 11:11 PM   #181
song
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Originally Posted by Garp View Post
I keep doing minor adjustments, though. Not that they're needed (they're probably not) but I can't decide where to compromise between truing and evening the spoke tension, which reintroduces some wobble.
If a spoke is so loose that I can rotate the nipple with my bare fingers, I consider that to be a fairly urgent problem. Otherwise, though, as long as my wheel is true, I don’t worry about it much. If your wheel is true and you have a few very loose spokes, a good thing to do is just uniformly tighten the whole wheel. Your loose spokes will then become tighter, as the wheel redistributes the tension. In this case, I go around and tighten every spoke a half- or quarter-turn. I count from the valve hole, and tighten spoke number 1, then spoke 4 then spoke 7, then 10 and so on, all the way around the wheel. Then I start from spoke 2 and do the same thing, and then start from spoke 3 and go around once more, and then it’s done. This is the best way I know of to tension a wheel without damaging it, but be sure to true it (if necessary) before you begin.

There are people on this forum who have been professional bike mechanics for years and know way more than I do, but this method is what has worked for me. I rebuilt my 20” wheel 3 years ago, and have trued it maybe twice since then. I am not good at high jumping and usually do not even attempt it, but I weigh about 90 kg and ride my 20 pretty regularly, and almost every time I take it out, I ride it down several flights of stairs.
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Old 2019-07-08, 12:55 AM   #182
Garp
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Thanks for the advice, song. The thing is, I was going pretty much the other way.

Here's my reasonning:
Since I'm going for flatland stuff, I don't care much about riding (as in tracks, road or even muni). So a bit of wobbling shouldn't be an issue.
On the other hand, robustness is important. I'm not 100% sure but from what I've read, a somewhat high and even tension is what makes a wheel sturdy.

Ideally, we should have both. But that would require a perfect rim and mine is not.
Right now, the tension is not exactly even but close and there's a wobble of about 2mm.
I'm not sure what to do from here.

Also, when I'm idling on the left, I can hear some spokes 'ping' a little. Should I be worried?
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Old 2019-07-08, 02:00 AM   #183
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Originally Posted by Garp View Post
I'm not 100% sure but from what I've read, a somewhat high and even tension is what makes a wheel sturdy.

Ideally, we should have both. But that would require a perfect rim and mine is not.
Right now, the tension is not exactly even but close and there's a wobble of about 2mm.
I'm not sure what to do from here.

Also, when I'm idling on the left, I can hear some spokes 'ping' a little. Should I be worried?
High, even tension is good, yes, but tension will never be 100% uniform.

2mm of wobble is acceptable to me. It's about what my wheel has. Others may disagree, and would probably be right to do so, but we are not talking about racing bikes here- not even racing unicycles!

What is imperfect about your rim? Did you set it on a table before starting your rebuild and it didn't lie flat?

Noises coming from a unicycle can be a sign of serious problems, but most commonly it just means that the spokes need to be tightened, and in your case, that's an even better guess than it usually would be, since you just built your first wheel. Loose spokes can be a serious problem, but they can also be fixed easily if you notice them in time. I would recommend giving all of them a half-turn and see if the noise goes away. If it doesn't, perhaps you could do another round of tightening. Be careful not to over-tighten, though, as you can damage your rim that way.
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Old 2019-07-08, 03:00 AM   #184
Garp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by song View Post
What is imperfect about your rim? Did you set it on a table before starting your rebuild and it didn't lie flat?
I did and it didn't. Two contact points, with the two high points each less than a centimeter up.
So it is wobbly but not by much. I've seen people (on youtube) retruing wheels that were waaayyyyy more twisted than mine.


The thing about tension is that I have no idea what a good tension is. I have nothing to compare with.
I am indeed afraid of tightening too much and messing up the rim.

Last edited by Garp; 2019-07-08 at 03:00 AM.
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Old 2019-07-08, 04:45 AM   #185
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The thing about tension is that I have no idea what a good tension is. I have nothing to compare with.
I am indeed afraid of tightening too much and messing up the rim.
If you have a "calibrated" musical ear or a frequency meter app on your smart phone or something similar, you can measure the tension and resulting stress on the spokes. Here is a write up about using the musical pitch to determine the stress on each spoke.

On my 36er I check the tone of each spoke as part of my regular maintenance. If I find a spoke that the pitch is lower then the others, I tighten it so all are about the same. Normally they stay the same but if I happen the hit a spoke with my foot or something, sometimes I find the spoke looser with a lower tone. If I don't fix a loose spoke soon, sometimes it will continue to loosen and start to effect other spokes.

When I first built the wheel I used a frequency meter (PitchLab Pro) but for just checking every so often I do it by ear. They have had special bike spoke apps for checking the tension but I'm not sure if they are still available.

Here is another by ear/musical note reference.
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Old 2019-07-08, 06:02 AM   #186
Garp
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If you have a "calibrated" musical ear or a frequency meter app on your smart phone or something similar, you can measure the tension and resulting stress on the spokes. Here is a write up about using the musical pitch to determine the stress on each spoke.

On my 36er I check the tone of each spoke as part of my regular maintenance. If I find a spoke that the pitch is lower then the others, I tighten it so all are about the same. Normally they stay the same but if I happen the hit a spoke with my foot or something, sometimes I find the spoke looser with a lower tone. If I don't fix a loose spoke soon, sometimes it will continue to loosen and start to effect other spokes.

When I first built the wheel I used a frequency meter (PitchLab Pro) but for just checking every so often I do it by ear. They have had special bike spoke apps for checking the tension but I'm not sure if they are still available.

Here is another by ear/musical note reference.
Excellent

I was indeed plucking the spokes and comparing the pitches to determine their tension.
I did that based on my understanding of physics, not too sure if I weren't overlooking other factors that made this approach inadequate. I'm glad to see it's correct.

Thank you in particular for the second link. According to its table, the optimum pitch for my spokes (plain-gauge, 168mm) should be between F and F#, i.e. between 698 and 740 Hz.
Now I have something to work with. Thanks a lot, Mr T
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Old 2019-07-10, 09:32 AM   #187
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Holding the seat handle

A couple of months ago, I needed to improve my transitions between forward and backward riding so I started repeating a simple routine.
Back then, it usually took me 40 to 45 minutes to complete, thanks to a lot of failed attempts. Nowadays, I finish it in just over 15 minutes.

In order to spice things up and improve my balance, I started two days ago to do the same routine but with one hand holding the seat handle.
I was expecting it to be somewhat harder, but not that harder! Now the whole routine takes over an hour!
My balance feels like I'm back to when I first started riding 15-20 meters, almost 5 months ago.
This should keep me entertained for a while...
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Old 2019-07-17, 07:41 PM   #188
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More weight on the seat while idling?

I've been able to idle for a few weeks but I can't get past 40-50 cycles. I've very little weight on the seat and the thigh just gives up.
Every time I try to rest more on the seat I'm down.

Is there a trick to it? Or something specific I could practice that would help? Any idea is welcome.
Or is it one of those things that only get better over time? Like, maybe in 6 months I'll be almost there
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Old 2019-07-17, 09:07 PM   #189
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Originally Posted by Garp View Post
I've been able to idle for a few weeks but I can't get past 40-50 cycles. I've very little weight on the seat and the thigh just gives up.
Every time I try to rest more on the seat I'm down.

Is there a trick to it? Or something specific I could practice that would help? Any idea is welcome.
Or is it one of those things that only get better over time? Like, maybe in 6 months I'll be almost there
You could try practicing some variations on idling, such as going forward/backward a full revolution of the pedals. I can idle for long-ish periods, but I never got good at a small idle. The smaller I idled, the more energy it took to change direction, the more it hurt my knees. Big idles, where I go from the 3/9 position to the 9/3 position, feel more relaxed, like the motion of a pendulum, where the speed slows way down near the point of reversal.

It has frequently been my experience that the key to unlocking one skill may lie in a loosely-related other skill. For example, learning to slow down to a stop, then reverse...that improved my idling perhaps more than if I had exclusively focused on practicing the idle.

I also recall I could not get weight in the seat during the idle. Don't worry about it. You're getting an amazing workout.
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Old 2019-07-18, 08:24 PM   #190
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Thanks for the suggestions, el. I'll try them.
I do practice long idles now and then but my experience differs from yours: I find them more taxing and can do less of them than smaller ones.
I like them though. They're soothing.

Quote:
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I also recall I could not get weight in the seat during the idle. Don't worry about it. You're getting an amazing workout.
I agree about the workout but I do worry about it.
How am I going to remove one foot from the equation without putting more weight on the seat?
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Old 2019-07-19, 01:08 AM   #191
song
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If you can idle 40 to 50 strokes, you are definitely ready to start trying one-footed idling. When I first started, my non-pedaling foot pressed heavily against the frame. Others on this forum started by simply taking their foot off the pedal and sticking it up in the air, but I still can't do that! At first, I found that I had to really use my non-pedaling foot to push the frame backwards, and then the frame would come forward on its own, then I would push it back again, etc.
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Old 2019-07-19, 02:05 AM   #192
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If you can idle 40 to 50 strokes, you are definitely ready to start trying one-footed idling.
Oh but I tried!
As soon as I remove the top foot, all my weight ends up on the down pedal and I stop swinging
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Old 2019-07-19, 06:22 AM   #193
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Oh but I tried!
As soon as I remove the top foot, all my weight ends up on the down pedal and I stop swinging
Funny
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Old 2019-07-19, 07:25 AM   #194
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Oh but I tried!
As soon as I remove the top foot, all my weight ends up on the down pedal and I stop swinging
So you need to practice idling with more weight on the seat.
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Old 2019-07-19, 08:41 AM   #195
Garp
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So you need to practice idling with more weight on the seat.
You think so?


>click me< (for pierrox only)
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