It can happen all too easily and quickly … slam, bam … and I ain’t talking about heading off for the moon. I am talking about damage occurring to our wheels by hitting a bad bump or hole. It happened to me this Spring riding along on city/county streets and roads. Pot holes are everywhere and hard to avoid, especially when riding a trike with three wheels all tracking their own separate path. With traffic alongside and sometimes parked cars on the other one doesn’t have the luxury of steering out and over to the side to avoid hitting such bad pavement. I have two front wheels with pronounced flat spots on them. What’s a guy to do? New wheels are not cheap and it is something that can happen more than once. To continually replace damaged wheels would be a rich man’s game. There is hope as long as the damage isn’t too severe.
Like so many things we can do an online search for help and information. First if we have the money we can have a LBS (Local Bike Shop) make the repair for us if they offer that servoce. There are special tools to use to make such repairs. I try to do as much of my own repair and maintenance work on my trike as I can. I rarely need to take my trike to a shop as I can do most everything myself.
How do you fix a flat spot on a wheel you ask? It is not as difficult as one might think. Probably the most helpful information I have come across is the website of the late Sheldon Brown. He is well known and respected as a gold mine of information about bicycle repair and maintenance. HERE is his article on this subject. Most of the way down the page you will find his instruction on how to remove flat spots on wheels.
The tools needed are simple enough … a spoke wrench, a strong fence post (or something such), and some sort of a strong strap. After removing the flat spot as much as you can the wheel will need to be trued. HERE is Sheldon’t article on truing wheels.
There are other ways to go about this. Another of them is to simply stand on the flat spot and physically pull the rim back out removing the flat spot. One needs to be careful however as other damage can happen to the wheel. Above a person is using a hydraulic bottle jack to push the flat spot out. Notice he has in place a block of wood on the base of the jack and a curved piece of metal on the top … both to help prevent damage to the wheel components.
Here is a helpful video covering this subject and more …
Like many subjects there are a “blue million” videos available about wheel truing.
Here are some articles I have written:
Of course, the best advise is to try to avoid riding places where this damage can occur. It is no fun riding on rims with flat spots and it is no fun trying to fix them either. But hey, like something else we all know about … IT happens! And when it does we have to deal with it if we want to ENJOY THE RIDE and …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’