The second I got myself a truing stand, everyone and his brother asked me if I could re-true their wheels. I usually use the opportunity to collect a bunch of wheel projects from my friends (and their brothers…and sisters…), invite a couple of them over, watch a football game, have some wine & cheese and a late night wheelbuilding/truing session.

So far so good.

Little did I know one of my friend’s sister’s best friend would bring in dis ride here to one of those sessions:


Shimano WH-R550 is the name and I took a quick look at it thinking: Piece of cake. So the evening rolls on, cheeseboard is almost emptied and people are inspecting their fresh builds. I put the wheel in the stand, reach for my nipple wrench and take a first closer look:

WTF, nipples are an odd size and hard if not impossible to reach with a regular wrench. For the first time in my life I had a slight sympathy for all those bike shop owners and mechanics who usually bitch and moan if approached with one of them system wheels. So I tried a couple of whacky moves to get the nipples turning but ended up calling it a day. I now had two options:

Consult the mighty internet and listen to funny but lousy youtube tutorials telling me

“it’s actually quite easy once you get the right tools”…


go to a local bike shop and ask for the right tools right away (I already had my magic, bladed-spoke-holder). Luckily we do have some connections so I visited one of my MTB-buddies at the local bike store. I showed him a picture of the wheel, he opened one of his magic drawers and handed me this:


Wow, a mint condition Shimano vintage spoke wrench with built-in spokeholder! Never mind you’d need two of them to do the job so the combo-mode is kind of useless and dear lord, who the hell is supposed to be able to use it anyway?! I mean look at the size, dis ride here custom tool is smaller than my pinky, good luck trying to build up some leverage here. By that time I hadn’t even realized how fucking hard it would be to actually reach the nipples. Without completely removing the cassette you’d have to reach them from the inside and the non-drive side wasn’t easy either because the cross pattern only allowed for a quarter of a turn before you touched a spoke.


Still, I managed to get the job done, my friend’s sister’s best friend is riding around knowing that his wheel has been “professionaly trued” and I enjoy the luxury of having a special tool without having the hussle of having to use it ever again. I imagine the guy who invented this tool only did it to dis every single (self-proclaimed) bike mechanic in the entire world…

About Trulli

TrulliOlder, bolder, none the wiser. The experienced side of disridehere.