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So I have been commuting to work on my bike for about 12 months. The route takes me over a mixture of asphalt and some rocky forest trails. Just last week, I managed to get my rear wheel buckle. It got continuously worst over the last few days.

My bike is a Raleigh trekker bike. Similar to this one

http://www.raleigh-bikes.de/en/modelle/2014/trekking-sport/rushhour-10.html

What are some techniques that I can use to minimise buckling my rear wheel?

update: Thanks for the info. I had a closer look and found that the spoke was not able to extend itself enough to accommodate the bending of the rim. This must have occurred when I side hit a rock in the forest.

enter image description here

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  • It would help if you could describe about bit more about yourself and how you ride, what was happening when the wheel buckled (like did you hit something or where you cornering hard), and any symptoms you've noticed (for example, sounds from the wheel).
    – dlu
    Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 18:20
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    It sounds to me like you have broken a spoke. When a wheel becomes "untrue" you should immediately (as soon as you can get to a place where it can be serviced) have that tended to. Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 23:19
  • It is likely your wheel is not true, either because it happens or because you hit something hard or a spoke broke. All of these are relatively easy to fix, but handling wheels is one of the most complicated things you can do on your bike, and requires some specific tools, so I highly recommend you take it to a bike shop. They'll fix it in no time and it shouldn't be too expensive.
    – super
    Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 1:32
  • It’s mostly a matter of wheel building and rim used. Get a proper wheel for your weight and driving style from a professional wheel builder. Or learn to do it yourself.
    – Michael
    Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 8:58
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    Ouch! That would explain the out of true wheel… Sounds like a great opportunity to learn to build wheels. If you're patient, and follow Jobst Brandt's book it is not too hard – almost meditative, and the only tool you have to have is a spoke wrench.
    – dlu
    Commented Jun 27, 2015 at 18:09

2 Answers 2

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Start by checking the tension on the spokes of your wheel. To do this you'll need a spoke wrench that fits your spokes. There are lots of fancy tools for the job, but all you have to have is the spoke wrench.

Within reason, the tighter the better. Ideally what you will have is even tension on all of the spokes on one side of the wheel. There are fancy tensiometers to show you what you've got (and very effective and inexpensive apps for smart phones like Spoke Tension Gauge), or if you've got a good ear you can pluck the spokes like a guitar string and get an idea of how even the spoke tensions are by the pitch you hear.

This is especially important on the rear wheel where the gear cluster means that the hub isn't symmetrical and more tension is required on the drive side (right) spokes to keep the rim centered and true. If the drive side isn't tight enough, then the non-drive side will be too loose to support the rim adequately. One way you'll notice that the spokes are too loose is that you'll hear "pinging" noises from the wheel as you ride.

With disc brakes you can get away with a lot of wobble in the wheel, so I'd really encourage you to try it yourself before having a "pro" work on your wheel. It is fun and kind of meditative – just remember that everything affects everything else, and once the wheel is getting up to tension it makes sense to make balanced changes – tighten one spoke and loosen the spokes it pulls against.

If you want to know more about building and working on wheels, see if your library has The Bicycle Wheel by Jobst Brandt, Sheldon Brown also has posts on wheel building and truing and other repairs.

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The only way to really prevent buckling or taco-ing from happening is to avoid impacting potholes, curbs or other tall edges. If avoidance is impossible, try to shift weight off the wheel by leaning more forwards or back.

You can get beefier wheels with a higher spoke count to add strength to help absorb the blows.

Alternately you should purchase a spoke wrench and check the tension on the spokes to keep the wheels true; prevention is the best medicine.

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  • Although a 12-month-old rim damaged this way with a broken-out spoke hole should be a case for a warranty claim. But from the picture I think I can tell that those rims are rather low-spec as the spoke holes don't have eyelets which would minimize this kind of damage.
    – Carel
    Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 7:32
  • I'm not sure about the "no eyelets" == "low-spec" equation. My impression is that Velocity rims are of decent quality and at least the Dyad doesn't have eyelets. Same with the Trek Matrix touring rims of old (and the set on our tandem seems to be holding up quite well).
    – dlu
    Commented Jun 27, 2015 at 18:35
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    I agree with dlu above. I have raced cyclocross for four seasons on non-eyelet rims (Giant brand, Velocity, H plus Son) and they have held up to my abuse, and I am not a small guy. My 29er also doesn't have eyelets and I haven't broken them yet. I stand by my advice for higher spoke count, touring bikes and downhill bikes have more spokes to handle more load on rough trails and roads, also a stronger rim. I'd contact Raleigh to let them know; in this day and age that may trigger a recall on the rim.
    – Chris Lee
    Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 18:23

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