The new version of Park’s beloved TS-2, the powder coated TS-2.2p, is like a giant bumbling Smurf that will continue to draw the regular shops of the world down the road of continuing to provide extremely poor wheel builds and horribly inaccurate truing for years to come. In case you can’t tell, I am not a fan.
Unfortunately I wasn’t surprised. I might have also let a huge bias sit on my shoulder while unpacking this rotten blueberry.
The Park TS series of truing stands have been the industry standard for years. The main reason is they seemed to last, did a “decent” job at making a wheel true, and weren’t so expensive as to break the bank. The TS-3 stands were the end all and were usually seen at the better shops throughout the land but alas the cast base became too expensive for Park to justify continuing to make with such a low demand at such a “high price” (~$300). At least that is what I was told many years ago by a Park representative.
They had really been kicking butt with the TS-2. This conglomeration of cut steel channel, threaded rods and cheap thrust bearings and springs allowed the uneducated user (and educated ones for that matter) the ability to quickly put a myriad of wheels into the stand without having to reinvent the….”settings”. With the turns of a few handles the stand could quickly perform like slightly more precision set of brake pads on a frame allowing the user to take out hops and sways. Perfect for a shop. Not so great, it turns out, for a wheelbuilder.
The biggest achilles heel of the TS-2 series, in my experience, has been issues of accuracy and repeatability due to the nature of the construction and design of the stand. Like most, I felt like the TS-2 was the tops and I strived to own one for years as I came up through the sport. These issues can be easily overcome with come basic knowledge and correct instrumentation. In fact the general robust nature of the construction and low price has made them the staple here at PSIMET simply from lack of alternatives and working knowledge of the shortcomings.
In my opinion the chromed TS-2(.2) that we have all come to use and love can be an incredibly effective tool in the hands of someone who knows how to use it in much the same way a guitar that is constantly going out of tune can play a great piece of music if used by a good musician. Unfortunately it isn’t as simple as adding indicators to the setup either. To continue the guitar bit – it’s like adding tuning keys. If you don’t know how to use them correctly then it’s still going to sound like crap.
A lot of the issues have to do with the design of the centering of the uprights and the adjustment of the OLD for different hub widths. The preload on the screw is supposed to help eliminate the backlash in the setup but often times it doesn’t do it enough or effectively. The centering gauge that they came out with to help users center their setup seems to fall into an OLD range between 100 and 130 and in my experience tends to assure the user that you won’t be center at either. Going into most shops you can simply ask when the last time they adjusted the center of the stand or even grab the upright and look for play in it.
So it does a bad job at holding hubs in a repeatable fashion in different OLD settings. The center of the calipers is greatly effected over time and will change as a result of any backlash in the system. This all occurs on the basic Chromed version of the stand that we know and love.
Park has now decided that it is harder and harder to find consistent, high quality, repeatable pricing chroming for their needs. Moving forward they decided to offer the TS-2.2 in a powdercoat version… The TS-2.2p. The “p” obviously stands for “poop”…I mean “powdercoat”.
Most of you are most likely familiar with paint in general and maybe even powdercoating specifically. Having dabbled with some powdercaoting on spokes and hubs over the years, and with previous experience in the process at an industrial level in careers past, I myself I have developed a familiarity with the process and products. As much as one would like to think it’s similar to a plating or another type of electrolytic coating it is in fact just paint. Paint.
The problem I have with it, apart from the electrifying use of Park blue, is the coating of the already compromised bearing surfaces in a layer of slightly more durable paint. Right at the axle “v”‘s and the thrust bearing surfaces that are charged with removing the backlash in the system.
I have no doubt that these stands could easily be just as effective at doing a great job of building wheels with the correct instrumentation and/or in the right hands. Especially true once the powdercoat…err…paint has worn off of those surfaces allowing for a little better repeatability. Just make sure you cover the exposed metal in oil now as it won’t resist the oxidation that will come.
Probably the best part of the TS-2.2p is that now it is actually the best tool for me to use for the singular purpose I bought it for – tubular gluing only. It will make a perfect wheel holder for my near constant barrage of gluing in my new space set aside specifically for the purpose. After all, coat racks are also a tool of sorts.