April 18, 2023
Laced up easily, tensioning and truing were completely normal, and the finished wheel felt solid and strong as expected.
The old wheel was true except for its dent. Tensions were high and it appeared to be in fine shape. I output the measured tensions and, wow, what a different picture.
This spoke structure hid major issues. Pardon the low resolution! Hastily built new wheels may feel OK despite tension imbalance and old wheels can seem fine despite damage and corrections.
Check spokes 10–11, notice both left and right tensions are low. Must be a flat spot where spokes were loosened so the rim would not thump. To either side are twin extremes—spokes 6–7 and 11–13. Both groups show very high right and very low left tension. The rim is hiding a wide "W" lateral shape.
Spokes 36–37 are hugely imbalanced, showing a big side bend that could only be corrected by over tightening right and hugely loosening left spokes. Elsewhere, each imbalance tells a revealing story for a wheel that basically looked great (besides a dent).
For a deeper understanding of a wheel's condition it is sometimes useful to loosen spokes so the rim can display its true nature. You might be surprised and choose to rebuild rather than true.
Let's end with a couple images of Big 'Uns. If any of you get the chance to commercialize such a cool idea, savor the moment, I'll be your biggest fan. While the design may not endure, I hope you have fun!
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