TS-2Di Truing Stand Hack

After 5 years of use, my Park Dial Indicators (Park TS-2Di) started to show their age. They no longer moved smoothly across the range, but jerky and the dial shaft would stick. This would cause incorrect roundness or trueness readings. I had to replace them.  When I started looking into precision dial indicators, a Japanese brand Mitutoyo kept coming up in reference to a solid, high quality dial indicator brand.  I had been over to Ryan Kereliuk’s shop (spokeservice.ca) to check out his Morizumi SCT spoke cutting and threading machine that he’s had for awhile now, purchased from Ric at Wheel Fanatyk. Ryan and I share some common interests, including both being in the information technology industry and both having a passion for building quality hand built wheels using quality tools and repeatable, quantified methods. When I was there, I noticed he had hacked his 2Di dial indicator mounts, replacing the low-quality Park dial indicators with high precision digital dial indicators from Mitutoyo.

Like a tachometer or speedometer in a vehicle, I knew I wanted to stay with analog dial indicators over modern digital, as I can visually compare the rate of movement from one measurement to another, and better predict the adjustments required. Digital just doesn’t allow for that interpolative intuition.

After a bit of research online, I settled on the Mitotoyo 2048S dial indicator. It’s minimum measure was 0.01mm – the same as the Park Tool, and the unit is manufactured with the quality and precision of a fine mechanical watch.   The back plate has the same bolt mount point that the Park dial indicators have, so replacing the 2Di indicators would be relatively easy.

In order to let the new dial indicator reach the rim for roundness, while simultaneously allowing the trueness dial indicator to align to the rim, I had to fabricate a custom extension rod from 1/2″ aluminum rod stock. The Park dial indictor used for roundness measurements had a bulky extension and roller glide that provided the necessary reach. I think this extension is what shortened the life of the dial indicator as it added extra weight to the indicator’s plunger springs and likely caused inaccuracies too.

The end result is a dial indicator solution that retains the best of the Park Tool 2Di indicator set – the mounting hardware, but adds the precision and durability of the Mitotoyo 2048S dial indicators.




Crikey, there’s creaking!

If you’ve ever experienced creaking on a modern bicycle, determining cause can be very difficult. If you suspect that your wheels are the cause of the annoying creaking sounds, you’ll want to first confirm that suspicion then try these steps to cure the creaking issue.

The first step in confirming your suspicion of the wheels causing the noise: try replacing them with another set of wheels. If you don’t have a second set of wheels,  borrow some from a friend or pop into your local bike shop and borrow a set. Be sure that the second set isn’t known to creak.

Once you’ve confirmed that your wheels are the culprit, try the following:

  • Check the skewers. Often times with higher end titanium skewers, the source of the creaking is the skewers. This may be due to skewers set too loose, or may be too dry. Lubricate the skewers at the wheel contact points and lubricate the frame dropouts. A lightweight lithium grease will do. Reinstall the wheels and check for creaking.
  • It wasn’t the skewers. So, next remove the wheels and lubricate with a dry lubricant or very lightweight lubricant, the spokes as they cross each other. This is a particularly common area of creaking on most modern wheels with higher spoke tension, and is most commonly a source of creaking on black spokes due to the oxidization process used to blacken the spoke. It is also a more common source of creaking with aero bladed spokes.
  • It wasn’t the spokes crossing. Okay, so now you’ll want to determine if the creaking is only the rear wheel. If so, then the next place to check is the cassette. Often times cassettes are mounted at much too low torque. The recommended torque setting for Shimano Cassette lock-ring is between 30 and 50 Nm. I’ve seen cassettes installed that can be spun off by hand.  Check that your cassette is tight, but before doing so, remove it and lightly lubricate the spider and cassette free hub contact points. The aluminum on aluminum can be a source of creaking.
  • Not the cassette? Okay, so now it is time to carefully inspect the rim. The source of the creaking may be at the nipple contact point with the rim. Check for cracking of the rim, cracking of alloy nipples.  Lubricate the nipple-rim contact point by dripping lightweight lubricant in between the nipple and rim and spin the wheel. Wipe off excess. Test ride.
  • Rims and nipples okay?  So, now start looking at the hubs. Check for too much free play –  the ability to wiggle the wheel back and forth when tightly mounted on the frame. If there is a lot of free play the bearings  may be worn and may be allowing creaking at the axles.   Have your local bike shop service the hubs.
  • Still have creaking? Have an experienced wheel builder inspect the wheels to ensure that tension is correct and that the rims and hubs are not in need of repair.


Finally, do remember that like any other mechanical part of your bicycle, wheels need TLC and regular servicing and inspection.  I highly suggest a quick inspection of your wheels as a regular service routine after your regular bike wash up. When you’re re-lubing your chain and other bits, take the time to re-lube contact points on your wheels and generally inspect for loose or damaged spokes, rim cracks, brake track wear, and wearing or worn bearings.  Even the most expensive wheels on the market are not maintenance free, and often higher end product requires more TLC than the cheaper stuff.

Gluing tubular cyclocross tires in 10 easy steps

So many people have ideas and opinions on gluing tubular cyclocross tires. Stu Thorne from Cyclocrossworld.com has a great video on YouTube showing how it’s done.  His method works well and here are the steps that i’ve found to work well, similar to the video:

You’ll Need

  • Tubular cement. I recommend Mastik One from Vittoria.
  • “Belgian Tape” such as CXTape.
  • ‘Flux’ or “Acid” utility brushes for spreading the cement.
  • Rubber or nitrile shop gloves.
  • Shop apron, or some shirt/pants you don’t care about too much.
  • Tubular cyclocross tires. My current fave is the Schwalbe Rocket Ron.
  • Tubular wheel set, such as the CrossRock CX carbon tubular wheelset.
  • Patience.



Step 1: Stretch the tires.
Stretch the tubular tires for at least 48 hours before attempting to glue them on the rim. To speed up the process, use tubular rims that are not the rims you are mounting them on. This way you can go onto the next two steps, and throw the coat of cement on the base tape at step 3, instead of waiting here before getting the rim glued. If you don’t have any other tubular rims, then you’ll wait for the tires to stretch before proceeding to the next step. Stretch the tire onto the rim and inflate to 60 psi.

Step 2: Apply first coat – tire and rim.
After stretching the tires, remove tires from the rims and apply one thin coat of tubular cement, such as Vittoria Mastik One, onto the cotton backing tape, and one thin coat to the rim bed. Use a ‘flux’ brush, available at any dollar store or hardware store. It’s a small cheap brush with a tin handle. Squeeze the tin at the brush end with pliers or a bench vise to help prevent the hairs from pulling. Discard the brush once you have applied the coat to rim and tire’s base tape. Inflate the tire just enough for it to twist exposing the base tape. Grab the tire in the middle with one hand making a shape of an 8. With the other hand, apply the glue to the base tape. Be sure to cover all the areas of the base tape.

Step 3: Apply tape and second coat.
12 hours later, or longer, you will now apply a second thin coat of cement to the rim and tire. Wait 5 to 10 minutes and apply the ‘Belgian rim tape’ to the rim over the second coat. I use CXTape rim tape. Start at the valve hole, about 1 to 2cm away from it, and start by first peeling back the plastic off the tape, Press down on the tape keeping it centered as you go. It works best if you mount the wheel onto a truing stand.  Continue peeling back the tape cover as you work around the wheel. Stop 1 to 2cm away from the valve hole. Cut to length.

Step 4:  4 hours later apply third coat onto rim.
4 hours later, apply third coat of cement over top of the Belgian tape. Wait 5 to 10 minutes, and prepare to mount the tire onto the rim.

Step 5:  Mount the tire.
Wait 5 to 10 minutes after applying the last coat on the rim, and prepare to mount the tire onto the rim. Deflate the tire so it has only 5 to 10psi. It should hold its shape, but you should be able to squish it easily. Too much pressure will make mounting the tire more difficult. Too little and it flops about. Start at the valve hole. Press the tire onto the rim at the vale hole. Pay attention to center the base tape directly over, and align the valve to it points toward the center fo the wheel. Get this straight. Pull back and redo if the valve enters on an angle. Now, pulling on both sides of the tire, work your way around the wheel on both side simultaneously.  push the tire into the bed as you go. It helps to bend at the waist and press the tire at the valve into your abdomen and as you’ll need leverage to flop the tire onto the rim at the side opposite the valve. Work quickly, but don’t panic. It will be tough to install for some brands, even after ‘stretching’ ahead of time. Do not pull on the tire with levers, or a screwdriver.That risks damaging the tube and/or tire.

Step 6:  Get the tire straight.
Right after you have the tire on, without yet inflating, lift the tire and reset where ever it does not look centred on the rim. Balance the amount of base tape showing on both sides. Once that looks pretty good, inflate the tire to about 25-35 psi.

Step 7:  Work the tire.
With the tire  inflated to approximately 35psi  spin the wheel on the truing stand or by grasping the hub on the sides with your hands. Check for wobbles and using your hand ‘knead’ the tire to take out the bumps. It won’t ever be perfect, but even it out as best you can.

Step 8: Seat the tire.
Next, inflate the tire to about 55-60psi and beginning with the valve at the bottom nearest, the floor, place the wheel on the floor and press down on the wheel, rocking it back and forth, then rotate the wheel a little bit, and press down again. Repeat this, applying your weight onto the wheel, until you’ve gone all the way round the wheel.

Step 9: Let it cure.
You do not want to ride the wheel right away. The cement needs time to set. Hang the wheel on a hook or set it aside and let it cure for at least 24 hours before use. Leave about 60 psi in the tire.

Step 10: Install your wheels.
Install your wheels onto your bike and go grab that beer or bacon hand up!