If you subscribe to the Islandix newsletter, you’ve seen this already. It’s the Abbey Bike Tools truing stand. Major wow factor! Machined in Bend, Oregon this stand is designed to hold center so you can track dish continuously. It’s a limited batch release and you can get yours bundled with Islandix tools for quantitative truing. Read more at Bike Rumor.
Wheel Analytics expansion kits were announced in March. The main use case is truing and tensioning at the same time.
Software version 1.2.4 offers improvements for these workflows. A default tensio port can now be configured, which is helpful when a dedicated port is available. And extra logic has been added to manage foot pedal input. Now foot pedal signals will be directed only to the window with focus.
Usage is straightforward. On any windowing system simply open two windows and position them as you like. Mac OS has a feature called Split View, that makes it easy to tile windows and run them full screen. On Windows there’s a comparable feature called Snap.
Top wheelbuilders are picky about their tools — their tools need to work as hard as they do. That describes Islandix customers generally but Wheelworks of New Zealand takes it a step further with in-house customization. This look at the Wheelworks workstation is an inspiring read.
This video shows how Wheel Analytics can track wheel centering, also called dish. First the tool takes samples from both sides of the wheel using cues from the foot pedal. Then the visualization calculates dish at the same time as lateral and radial alignment. In the example above dish error is 0.10mm, which is a great result. In all it takes about 35 seconds to measure dish accurately and quantitatively. From this point the wheel can be adjusted and dish will be automatically recalculated without further setup (calibration stability depends on the truing stand).
In normal use perfect dish means a dish error of 0.00mm. If you’re building wheels with offset dish, then perfect dish could be some positive value. Cannondale Ai wheels, for example, have 6mm offset dish. Wheel Analytics accommodates these wheels seamlessly and is the only truing tool that can measure such wheels without adapters.
For your convenience indicator tips are available with Wheel Analytics. You don’t need to buy indicators to buy indicator tips.
Many were tested before coming up with this kit. Mitutoyo tips are the gold standard and these are just as good. Possibly better if you appreciate the large-diameter knurled locknut on the lateral probe.
Note: Islandix tips are for indicators with M2.5 threads, which is the standard for indicators in most of the world outside America. Indicators offered in the Islandix online shop are all M2.5-threaded.
The Islandix WA-1 controller has two ports because that’s the most common configuration — one port for the lateral indicator and one port for radial. It’s the least expensive to produce, which makes transistor truing available to the most workshops.
If you want to true a disc rotor, you need to borrow one of the ports. If you want to compute tension statistics with your tensiometer, you need to borrow one of the ports. Normally this is no big deal.
Even so sometimes the busiest workshops want more than two. Instead of offering separate electronics with three ports and four ports, the Islandix solution is to deploy multiple WA-1 tools — as many as you like, when your needs require. The included USB power supply supports up to three already. And now there’s a splitter cable that lets two controllers share one foot pedal. Sharing a pedal keeps your workbench simple and organized.
Currently a Wheel Analytics expansion kit is $299 CAD (approx. $219 USD, €209 EUR). It includes a WA-1 controller, foot pedal sharing adapter and USB cable. Includes worldwide airmail with tracking or upgrade to DHL for $19.
The ability to build a workstation with more than two ports is a customer-requested feature and that’s why it exists. We also think it’s perfectly reasonable to use a tensiometer without a cable and without software most of the time — and this is the best way to get started. If you only need the extra port at the end of the build, swapping isn’t too onerous. If you find yourself swapping often, the expansion kit may be for you.
The Target Plot is a unified visualization of lateral and radial alignment, which helps reasoning about both dimensions at once. From version 1.2.2 it can track wheel centering too (the term centering is used because it translates better than the word dish).
How does it work? Wheel Analytics needs to learn the ideal/centered position of the rim. This can be established two ways, either (i) using a single lateral reference as you would with the Centrimaster v-block or (ii) checking two lateral references by flipping the wheel in the stand. The second method is universal so it’s the default and discussed here.
Initiate setup with the ‘c’ key on the keyboard or click/tap the scale in the bottom corner of the Target Plot. A dialog opens waiting for the first lateral reference. Rotate the wheel so the valve hole is at the lateral indicator and press the left foot pedal to record lateral position. Flip the wheel in the stand, rotate to the valve hole and press the foot pedal to record again. That’s it. Now when you snapshot the visualization, direction and magnitude of any centering error is displayed.
A good proxy for the accuracy of this method is the repeatability of position when you remove and re-install a wheel in the truing stand. Technique plays a role — tighten the wheel in the truing stand to the same degree with the same force every time. Do not overtighten. Better truing stands do a better job of resisting twist and deflection, which improves accuracy. More will be written on this topic in a future article.
The image at the top of this article depicts a real wheel built in the Islandix lab. With a bit of luck the wheel landed 0.01mm off center to the left. The wheel was built using a Park Tool TS-2.2 and Wheel Analytics 1.2.2. This result was externally verified with a digital dishing gauge.
The free spoke tension graphing tool I’ve hosted online since 2013 has been re-homed to islandix.com/radar. Please update your bookmarks.
This tool is also available with Wheel Analytics under the name Tension Radar. When used with the Islandix ecosystem, you are independent of the cloud (functions without internet access). It works with your Islandix FP-2 foot pedal and supports custom tensiometer calibrations.