Almost like I’m a real bike mechanic now

Park Tool truing stand

I debated with myself for months whether I needed a wheel truing stand. Is this something I really want to do myself vs having a professional do it right? Is it something I’ll be doing often enough to justify the expense? And more importantly, do I want to explain to Nana why there’s another bike thingamajig taking up precious balcony space?

After rebuilding Kuroko’s rear wheel a time or two, and faced with the task of building a new set of wheels for Ol’ Paint, the answer to the questions was a resounding “Yes.” (At least for the first two questions — as for the last one, let’s see if Nana just gives this blog a thumb’s up without reading it, as usual … )

Professional Wheel Truing Stand TS-2.2
Professional Wheel Truing Stand TS-2.2

After looking around a bit, I found a good price on this Park Tool stand and placed the order. After waiting nearly a month for word of delivery, though, I got notice it was out of stock. So I had another look, and this time I came across another Park Tool unit, but this one was a bit more compact, and cheaper — in fact, designed for the home mechanic. Plus it was available for delivery within a couple of days. Sold!

Park Tool TS-8 Wheel Truing Stand in the boxPark Tool wheel truing stand -- opening the box
One heavy box

The box, when it arrived, was much heavier than I expected, and I soon found the reason why: the uprights are made from 4mm steel plate and the base 5mm. That mass keeps the whole shootin’ match from wobbling or tipping over while truing a wheel. (There are holes in the base to allow screwing it down to a workbench, but that’s not an option for me.)

Wheel truing stand parts laid out on wooden floor
Massive steel bits

The stand went together quickly enough, although I soon discovered I didn’t have an 11mm combination wrench. I made do with an adjustable wrench, but it was a tight fit.

The other tool that goes with a wheel truing stand is a dishing tool, which makes sure the rim is centered between the lock nuts. I was debating whether I needed one of these as well, but as this helpful how-to video demonstrates, all I need to do is turn the wheel around in the truing stand to achieve the same result. And when I got the stand together and put Ol’ Paint’s new front wheel in for a spin, I found that, indeed, the rim (hitherto only trued according to spoke tension) was centered between the hub flanges and not the lock nuts.

I haven’t actually started truing (or dishing) the rim yet, but I’m all set for the next rainy day!

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