On backorder

Wheel Analytics is backordered. Dozens of components go into the manufacture of WA-1 controllers and one is having availability problems. More are anticipated in September but that’s distant enough to warrant skepticism — it could be sooner or later. In the meantime various sub-assemblies are being manufactured in order to be responsive when parts become available.

To be notified of re-supply please use the online contact form. Or if you prefer, the site will continue accepting orders. Backorders are eligible for a 100% refund at any time prior to shipment. The advantage of placing a backorder is priority access to tools, which will be allocated in the order of payment. Backorders are offered at the price of previous batches, which will be difficult to maintain in this inflationary environment.

Truing in 2D

The Target Plot is a visualization that combines lateral and radial alignment in one view. That’s useful because it helps us reason about wheels in a smarter way compared to dealing with one dimension at a time. For example fixing lateral alignment may help or hurt radial alignment as a side effect. We can increase efficiency by preferring adjustments with helpful side effects and mitigating harmful ones as they happen.

To steer wheelbuilders in this direction there’s an AI function that relates the visualization to steps required to improve the wheel. How does it work?

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Announcing 1.1

This week Islandix reached a new milestone. After six patches, Wheel Analytics has graduated to version 1.1. We’re happy with the software and gratified by your feedback.

The 1.1 series will continue this work, adding one new visualization. As thanks for your support Islandix welcomes all existing customers to this series without charge. It’s available now through the Update tab on your Wheel Analytics tool. For everyone else, Wheel Analytics is in stock.

Starting with 1.1.1, the tool is capable of checking for software updates automatically. Enable this feature by selecting Check for updates on the Settings tab. When an update becomes available, a banner is presented on the main screen — download and install with a single click.

Smart money setup

Photo courtesy of Sean Lerner

Wheel Analytics is a kit for adding visualization to your truing stand. It looks a little different from one installation to the next as each workbench has its own character.

The photo above is the workbench at Eastern Wheelworks , a shop owned and operated by Sean Lerner in La Grande, Oregon. Sean is a specialist offering wheelbuilds and suspension service in house. At Eastern you’ll get service advice from the same person who turns the wrenches, which is a model worth supporting.

A setup like his gets you into visualization for the smallest investment.

Sean took Wheel Analytics without indicators, opting to source his own from iGaging. He transferred the tips from his Park Tool analog indicators, saving quite a few dollars for a few minutes’ work. Since a pair of iGaging indicators can be had for as little as $125 USD, this is a cost-effective setup. If I could offer a deal like that without losing my shirt, I certainly would.

Sean bought a new computer for his wheelbuilding bench. He’s using the Raspberry Pi 400, a tiny all-in-one system that retails for $100 and offers plenty of power for fronting Wheel Analytics. That price includes everything — keyboard, mouse, power, storage, wireless and operating system — everything minus the monitor. Any HDMI monitor will work and Sean has chosen a large one. Large screens are great because they let you absorb visualizations without losing sight of the wheel. You can mount the display further away without sacrificing legibility.

Have a picture of your workbench? Tag Islandix on social media.

Annual report 2021

What follows is a retrospective on the first anniversary of this blog. How we got here, how it’s going and next steps.

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Tensio demo

This is a quick demo of Live Tensio. With no extra effort you get primary metrics for tension range and balance. Control by foot pedal means the relationship between your hands and the wheel is unchanged.

This is Live Tensio, part of Islandix Wheel Analytics. In version 1.0.6 Live Tensio gets a performance upgrade. Here I’m surveying wheel tension to decide what services should be recommended to the owner. I’m working quickly so the screen moves fast. The top area shows live tension as I work my way around the wheel. Values are displayed in kilograms but it works in Newtons too. Each time I tap the left foot pedal, it records the current reading for the left side of the wheel. Live Tensio automatically calculates min, max and average tension as I go. The distribution of tension values is visualized in a bar graph for each side of the wheel. Each horizontal tick represents 5% deviation. Use the graph to recall tension for any given spoke. Hover with the mouse or tap a touchscreen for more information. It turns out this wheel’s in rough shape and the customer will need a re-tensioning service.

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New software

Wheel Analytics doesn’t check for software updates so you might not know what you’re missing. The WA-1 doesn’t connect to the internet at all but perhaps worth a rethink in this case.

Software version 1.0.5 was released this week. There are a few improvements but a couple worth mentioning. Truing visualizations now zoom to use available screen space automatically. Bigger is better. And all visualizations have improved printable versions for saving or sharing. This is a free update available via the Update tab on your Wheel Analytics tool.

Version 1.0.6 is tentatively complete but still under test. It won’t deliver any new features but expect better responsiveness with less memory usage. The changes are most noticeable in Live Tensio, which becomes the real-time tool it was meant to be.

Manual online

Did you know the Wheel Analytics manual is available online? The first half covers installation and configuration. The second half is all about wheelbuilding with color diagrams that unpack each visualization in detail. Feedback is welcomed on documentation just as much as on the tools themselves. Please email if you have any comments or questions.

True from the joint

If you true bicycle wheels using indicators, dial or digital, you’ll know the joint area can be problematic on some rims. A little twist or bump can wreak havoc, sending your instrument to the moon if only for a moment. It’s possible to work around this problem.

Normally truing is oriented from the valve hole. That’s to say start at the valve hole and continue around the wheel until returning to the valve hole again. It’s nothing special other than being a signpost to indicate you’ve covered the whole wheel. Instead start at the joint. Begin scanning immediately after the joint and continue around the wheel until returning to the point immediately before the joint. This factors out hyperlocal distortion at the seam. If you need to make the joint more conspicuous, apply a little piece of masking tape to establish your own signpost.

Islandix on Insta

Islandix is low-key on the social media front but check out Instagram . IG gets used for highlights, behind-the-scenes stuff and less serious amusements.