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 $140 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 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.

Annual report 2021

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

Read more →

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.

Transcription of video

Update: the user interface in this demo has been revised considerably.

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.

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, starting at the valve hole and continuing 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. As a special request please contact us here for sales and support (we do not use social media every day and some weeks not at all).


Refitting a tensio to work with Wheel Analytics can be pretty easy. In this video we’ll refit a typical tool, this one imported from Asia but similar to tensiometers from a dozen or more manufacturers. This particular tool is well-constructed with a ball bearing pivot. The factory dial indicator is its weakness but we’ll replace it with a digital upgrade.

The indicator is released by loosening a single set screw on the back of the tool. With the indicator removed, the stem is measured. There are two common sizes — 9.5mm (3/8″) and 8mm (5/16″) — and this tool uses the latter. Mitutoyo 543-781B features an 8mm stem so it’s a direct replacement. Insert into the bore and secure with the same screw. Job done.

Compatible indicators are commonly available in most global markets or available direct from Islandix.

Power up

Wheel Analytics includes a USB power supply with three ports when only one is needed. Wall sockets can be a precious commodity so this supply is ready for triple duty. Power a tablet, which might be used with Wheel Analytics at the same time. Or charge your phone. The WA-1 is a low-power instrument and will work happily with any of the ports. Save the higher current port for heavy-draw rechargeable devices. Select US-style, EU-style or UK-style plug at checkout.

Update: AU-style power adapters now available.