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Articles about Bicycle Wheels
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by Sheldon "Round" Brown
and John "Clinchers" Allen
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Tires Everything you need to know about bicycle tires

This article covers all aspects of bicycle tires, construction, tread design, inflation, etc.

If you prefer the British spelling, see

Inner tubes Valve types, tips and tricks, quality and reliability

The care and feeding of inner tubes.

Flats If you would rather ride than walk home.

How to repair a flat tire.

Tire Repair Tools and SuppliesTo fix a flat during a ride, and also, for the home workshop

A small toolkit will get you riding again.

Tire Sizing Does the tire fit?

Bicycle tires come in a bewildering variety of sizes. To make matters worse, in the early days of cycling, every country that manufactured bicycles developed its own system of marking the sizes. These different national sizing schemes created a situation in which the same size tire would be known by different numbers in different countries. Even worse, different-sized tires that were not interchangeable with one another were often marked with the same numbers! A newer international tire-sizing system has resolved this problem. Learn how to read tire sizes and find out which tires and rims are compatible with each other.

Tire Size Cribsheet A quick reference

You could print this out and hang it on the shop wall.

"26-Inch" Bicycle Tires There are five different "26-inch" sizes!

... and if that isn't confusing enough, one of them is also called "27-five". Know where you might find these sizes used, which rims and tires are compatible and which are not.

Tire Rotation Should you rotate your tires?

This seems like a good idea at first, but you really shouldn't do it! This short article explains why.

Spoke Divider

Spoke Divider

Rim Sizing How to measure rims

Understanding the different national systems for rim sizes, how they came to be, and how they relate to the consistent and reliable ETRTO-ISO system.

650B Conversions for Road Bikes Make room for fenders, and get a smoother ride.

Many road bikes these days have such tight clearances that full fenders can't be installed. Replacing the wheels with the 650B size can solve this problem. The wider 650B tire can run at lower pressure and go smoother -- without a speed penalty.

Wheelbuilding You can learn to build your own wheels!

This article provides all you need to know to build your own bicycle wheels. A knowledge of wheelbuilding can be invaluable to any cyclist who wishes to do his or her own maintenance and repair.

Building wheels from scratch is the best way to learn the craft of wheel truing, to get the feel for how a wheel responds to spoke adjustments. It is much easier to learn this with new, un-damaged parts than to start right in trying to repair damaged wheels.

Measuring Hubs and Rims for Spoke Length Get it right!

Make sure that the spokes you buy for your wheelbuilding job will be the right length. Detailed instructions for measurement are here.

Damon Rinard's Spocalc Now that you have measured the rim and hub,
it's time to calculate spoke length.

This spoke length calculator is tried and true. It runs under Microsoft Excel, OpenOffice or LibreOffice, and so, under Windows, MacOS or Linux. The article includes a list of links to other online spoke calculators including ones which run on iOS and Android smartphones.

Check spoke tension by ear No need for a tensiometer!

It is possible to check that wheels are at the right level of tension by the musical pitch of the spokes, when plucked. The correct pitch depends on the spoke length but not on the spoke gauge!

Torque and Spoke Tension Hub brakes and pedaling transmit torque through spokes...

How can those skinny spokes withstand the huge torque from a disc brake?

Special Spoking for Large Hubs Less cross, better build

Very large hubs such as electric-bike hub motors produce excessive spoke angles with ordinary crossed spoking patterns. There are patterns which avoid the problem.

Servicing Cup-and-Cone Hubs The bearings need to be adjusted -- get it right!

This article examines the workings of conventional bicycle hubs and explains the tools and techniques involved in servicing them.

It also describes a special tool I invented to facilitate bearing adjustment on quick-release can make your own from junk parts.

Shimano Cassettes For the intermediate/advanced cyclist.

Most new bicycles of good quality use Shimano "Freehubs" for the rear hub, the heart of the gear shifting system. This article explains why, and lists the available Shimano and Shimano-compatible clusters. If you want to customize your gearing to fit your riding style and terrain, this will show your options.

Multi-Speed Internal-Gear Hubs For the commuter or utility cyclist.

Derailers are not the only option for multi-speed bicycles. Remember 3-speeds? Now you can have a 7, 8, 9, 11 or even 14-speed hub with the same easy, reliable internal gearing.

This page lists the different makes and models of hubs, and offers information on installing and maintaining them.

Sheldon Brown's Bicycle Glossary For all cyclists.

An encyclopedic listing of bicycle lore, technical data and opinions.

Spoke Divider

Spoke Divider

Articles by Sheldon Brown and Others

Reports of the demise of this Web site are greatly exaggerated! We at thank Harris Cyclery for its support over the years. Harris Cyclery has closed, but we keep going. Keep visiting the site for new and updated articles, and news about possible new affilations.

Copyright © 1995, 2008 Sheldon Brown

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Last Updated: by John Allen