Tom has a trusted Trek touring bike, which is 12 years old, and he is worried that the wheels need replacing? He needs to have a good look at the rims on the wheels to see if they are excessively worn or damaged in any way. We give him some pointers as to what to look for.
Question: I know this is kinda basic, but…I have 12 year old Trek Touring Bike.
Would age by itself be a good (for safety) reason to replace the wheels? The wheels are in good condition, true and good shape. I know I can replace them with lighter weight wheels, but is a higher priority because of their age or can I wait until the end of the season? Thanks.
Twelve years is a long time for wheels to last for. However, you are probably a light rider and a careful one who looks after his equipment. If you are not rough with your bike, you can expect to get many years of trustworthy use from them. Thirteen years is a long time for the life of a set of wheels.
Here is what you should be looking for to make sure that your wheels are safe:
First the rims…
Feel along the braking surface to see if there are any grooves that have worn due to grit that may have got caught in the brake blocks or any cracks in the side of the rim.
Feel how thick the rim is, it may have worn to dangerous thinness. Usually, the top edge of the rim is still the same thickness as when it was new. Therefore, run your finger up and down the side of the rim, from top to bottom, to feel for wear.
On the top surface of the rim, look for cracks around the spoke holes. This is caused by the tension of the spokes keeping the rim straight.
Watch the video below for some genius tips to check the wear on the rim.
Now to the spokes…
Have you had many spokes break recently? If not, they are probably OK. As spokes get worn, it’s normal for them to break at the head, the end at the hub. If you are having lots of spokes break, then they are getting worn.
Look at the hubs for cracks…
Especially around the spoke holes and on the inside of the flanges, well anywhere. Are the bearings stiff, or are they nice and smooth, or as normal for old wheels, they could be loose?
If you have any of these problems then its time for new wheels, otherwise you should get a few more miles out of them. Good luck, you might need it with 12-year-old wheels.