Relacing and truing a wheel

Bike in workstand and tools on narrow balcony
Cramped workspace

Following my mechanical during Lejog, I’ve been wanting to redo all the spokes on the rear drive side. The replacement spokes arrived earlier this week, and today was forecast to rain. (We haven’t seen any yet — what’s up with that typhoon?)

Before starting on the wheel, I readjusted the headset. This was a bit loose on my first ride after Lejog, so I just retightened everything and confirmed it was all good. Then I wanted to retighten the bottom bracket bearings. I got out all the relevant tools, only to discover the self-extracting screw had gone missing. No doubt it will be discovered by future archaeologists shoveling through tons of mud in the land once known as England. I’ve ordered a replacement, but meanwhile I have no way to remove the crankset to get at the bottom bracket bearings.

Crankset showing missing self-extracting screw
Something’s missing

Putting that aside until the replacement arrives, I removed the wheel from the bike, and then removed the cassette and brake disc from the wheel. This exposed a rather muddy bit of the hub that I hadn’t cleaned up during Kuroko’s recent bath.

Bicycle hub covered with mud, and again after cleaning
This still needs cleaning

Tire partially removed with tire levers in place
Panaracer tire levers working nicely

With the tire, tube and rim strip off, the wheel was ready for the work to begin. I started from the valve hole and worked my way around to the right: remove each spoke and replace it, one by one.

Bicycle spoke being measured against wheel
This goes here

Bicycle hub showing mangled spokes
Making sure to tackle the correct side

I used the first spoke I removed as a tool to keep the old nipples from falling off within the rim as I unscrewed them, and to guide the new nipples into place.

Managled spoke
Maybe I won’t reuse this

Threading a spoke through a bicycle hub
Threading the spoke through
Tightening a spoke with a round wrench
Tightening the spoke

Wheel with new spokes and detail of hub
All the new spokes in place

As I worked my way around the wheel, I plucked each new spoke as I tightened it, roughly matching the pitch to the existing spokes so that I could be sure the tension was roughly equal. (There’s a tool to measure the tension, and I should probably make use of it if I’m going to be truing my own wheels.)

Loose spokes after removal
These can be reused
Damaged spokes after removal
These can’t

Finished wheel ready for truing
Finished wheel ready for truing

When all the spokes were in place, I temporarily mounted the wheel back on the bike to use as a rough truing stand.

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