quick and easy ways to faster wheels

Lets assume you have made the wise choice of spoked bicycle wheels for the car, here are some things to make them faster.

1. True them, or get a bike shop to do it. Remove hop and wobble.

2. If hub uses the old cone type bearing races, wash out grease and use oil for lubrication, then adjust them.

3. Research tire choice. hey, I’m just sayin’….

4. Psst… some say a little talc on inner tube makes the tire run faster.

5. Consider wheel covers. I think we were the only team to cover our spokes last year, (wrongo, Ed.). I bet more will do it this year. Its a no-brainer.

6. Wheel alignment – they all have to be pointed in the same direction. Setting aside steering complications, all four wheel’s axles should be perpendicular to the car’s centerline. Here is a simple set-up to check alignment (and also allows toe-in measurement, if you want).

Find a nice flat working area, concrete floor garage is good. Strike a line on the floor, this will be an important reference line. Rest the car on some supports so that the wheels are off the ground (no need, Ed.). Align the center point marks on the car (didn’t I mention you should transfer that construction centerline to the outside of the car at some point?) directly over the reference line on the floor. You can use a plumb bob for that. Now string some fishing line between between jack stands or similar heavy objects, see the diagram. You want the fishing lines to be equal distance from the centerline, and parallel. Also the line should be axle height.


Now using a machinist’s ruler, you can measure from the wheel rim to the fishing line. Measure from two points on each rim, 180 degrees apart, ie 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock. The two measurements should be the same if the plane of the rim is parallel to the centerline of the car (assuming rim is not bent).

Well that pretty well covers the obvious, I’m not going to say anymore about wheels. Esoteric discussions will have to wait until after the race.

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