Thursday Tech Tip: How to make a truing stand

Yes I know its not even close to Thursday. Given that it is Turkey Day this Thursday, I doubted that most of you will be visiting the site since you’ll be enjoying the effects of tryptophan.

So here’s my latest How To. I’ll be showing you how to build your own truing stand with an old Thule wheel mount.

The first thing to do was to measure points on the mount where the exact rim positioning would be for 26″, 700c and 29er wheels. Once I had it marked, I drilled a few holes on both sides.
how to make a truing stand

I then inserted some 2″ long screws into the hole. This was for the 26″ wheel. I placed nuts on both sides of the screw to make sure I can get it tight and adjusted.

You’ll notice that I have one screw of the mount in place. I put that there to prevent it from moving. I used a C-clamp to hold the stand. I would have used both screws, but I wanted the option to remove the stand if I wasn’t using it.

You can see that it will fit front and rear wheels in either 26″ or 700c.
how to make a truing stand

700c wheel. A 29er wheel would have fit, but I didn’t have one handy in my garage. Notice the second set of screws on the stand. That’s for the larger wheels.

This stand has to be the cheapest option I have in getting a truing stand. Minoura makes a home mechanic stand for about $45-50…not a bad deal. But I had this wheel rack sitting in the garage unused, so I basically didn’t spend anything and it only took me about 10 minutes to build.

Now if I can just get my truing skills honed…

Thursday Tech Tip: Lubing your shifter cables

A few weeks ago, I tried out Lance’s super sweet Santa Cruz only to find out that the shifting was pretty bad. I had suggested that he try to lube his cables to see if that will help. So after finishing our after-ride breakfast, I showed him how to baby his cables. But the photos shown below are from my garage this morning.

First step is to shift to your biggest gear in the back.

Next is to make sure that you don’t spin the pedals, then down shift your shifter to the smallest gear.

Once you’ve down shifted, you’ll notice there is slack in the cable. Remove the housing from the cable guide. Then slide the housing to expose your cable.

Apply some lube on the cable. I’m using White Lighting just because I like it. Shimano makes a great cable lube called “Special Grease.” That stuff works like magic on cables. However, it’s pretty hard to find, you can try to see if your LBS can order it for you, but be ready to pay the price…a small tub that looks like a stack of 2 Oreo cookies is about $15.

Don’t forget to do the same thing through out the rest of the cable that the housing was covering, just slide and lube.

After you’ve lubed up your cables, go try it out. It should feel WAY better than before.

Thursday Tech Tip: Having a tough time shifting?

If you’re having to put way too much effort in going from gear to gear, then consider replacing your cable and housing.

First step is to get a derailleur cable and housing. Most bike shops sell a cable for about $3-$10 (depending on brand and type). Housing is around $2.00 per foot. Best thing to do before going to the shop is measure how much housing you need. Obviously the rear derailleur will need more, I usually guestimate about 3-3.5 feet of housing for my bikes.

Don’t forget to buy some cable ferrules. Usually derailleur cables are 4mm thick, so that means get a 4mm ferrule.

You’ll also need some caps to prevent your freshly cut cables from fraying. Those will run you about $.10 a piece.

All you’ll really need for tools is a good set of cable cutters like this one from

Other than that, just follow the routing of your old cable/housing, cut the housing to the same lengths as the old ones, place your ferrules at the end of each portion, add a bit of wax lubricant to the cable before inserting it, and you’re all set.

Thursday Tech Tip: How to tighten a threadless headset

First step is to loosen the pinch bolts on the side. Turn it counter clock wise. An easy rule to remember is, “Lefty Loosey, Righty Tighty.”

Then tighten the bolt on the top cap clock wise. But make sure you don’t ever tighten it or else it will compress the bearings making it hard to turn your handle bar.

Once you’ve got it at the right tension, simply tighten the pinch bolts and go out for a ride.