Wheel of bad fortune.
May 3, 2014 10:07 PM   Subscribe

I stupidly and embarrassingly crashed my road bike after riding 6 feet from my house. Won't get into how I managed that, but the front wheel was warped out of true just a tiny bit. Didn't notice until half way thru my ride when I felt it when braking. I'm going to get it fixed Monday but would like to ride tomorrow (Sunday). Would it be unsafe or stupid to ride with a slightly tweaked wheel?
posted by ecorrocio to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total)
You could ride a mile and have it explode or ride fifty miles with it being fine. Without knowing how warped it is and how far you're going this question is pointless.
posted by kcm at 10:13 PM on May 3, 2014

It would help to know more about the circumstances...How fast were you going, what did you hit, what is your bike's frame made of, etc.

And are you sure the wheel is out of true, or is it perhaps just the brake pad that got misaligned?
posted by oxisos at 10:54 PM on May 3, 2014

What wheelset and bike are you riding?

How unsafe or stupid it is to ride with a tweaked wheel will depend on how bad the damage really is and how fast and hard you ride.

Alloy wheel and alloy components, I wouldn't worry too much. If you really want a piece of mind, take the wheel off, remove the tire and tube to check the rim for dents, waviness, flat spots or cracks. Cracks? Don't ride. Everything else ok? Check your brake alignment to eliminate rubbing and ride on.

Carbon fork/bars/crankset/frameset/pedals? Get that gear a professional look-over. Carbon's weakness is in impact resistance. Hairline fractures can occur and lead to complete and catastrophic failure with repeated stress.

If it were me, I'd check everything twice, tweak the breaks and make sure to carry flat kits, then enjoy the hell out of my ride, but take it easy downhill and around corners. The last thing I want to think is "huh, shouldn't have ridden like this" as wobbles set in at 30+ mph in a downhill sweeping corner.
posted by Giggilituffin at 11:19 PM on May 3, 2014

My biggest gripe as a bike mechanic is that people don't fix issues as soon as they're noticed.

You noticed your wheel isn't true. Get it trued, then ride it.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 12:03 AM on May 4, 2014 [3 favorites]

I've been riding daily on slightly-tweaked Aluminum wheels for a few years now. Spin the wheel and it moves about a centimeter left-to-right through a rotation. If there's no cracks, you'll be fine.
posted by flimflam at 12:19 AM on May 4, 2014

How loose did the spokes get after your accident? The way the wheels on your bike hold you up is that their spokes pull up from the top of the wheel rim to the hub with balanced tension (metal spokes have strength under tension, not compression). A loosened spoke could help that area of the wheel rim bend further under load and cause the wheel to fail.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:32 AM on May 4, 2014

Your local bike shop is probably open and if you catch the guy who likes truing wheels in a good mood (this would be my husband in our local bike shop which is not your local bike shop so YMMV), you may be able to get out on the road pretty quickly.

See if you can get it fixed this morning.
posted by sciencegeek at 5:05 AM on May 4, 2014

As a Dutchie who rides a bike (is there any other kind?) I would not even think about this: I'd take that bike out as it is today, then get it fixed soon. If it's something you don't notice right away, it's not worth worrying about.

But riding a bike is simply transportation here, not a sport [unless you want it to be one], so we are very casual about it. So take this opinion with a chunk of cheese. I can recommend Old Amsterdam, if you like that kind of thing.
posted by Too-Ticky at 5:49 AM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thanks folks. To answer a couple questions: I fell going about 2mph. A pedal I had removed and forgot to reinstall properly (I had just started it in thinking I'd do it later) popped off as I stood to build speed when starting. It was a weird fall though - bike flipped to the right under me and I landed on top of it. I'd guess the wheel is 1/8" out if true somewhere. Carbon fork & possible that took a hit. Got stuck painting the deck today, so the question is moot. Taking bike in maƱana. Thanks all.
posted by ecorrocio at 12:47 PM on May 4, 2014

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