Wheel/Rim/Hub Inspection

Spin each wheel and check for wobble (technically speaking, how “true” they are). Look for lateral (side to side) and radial (hop) movement. While you’re doing this, look for any unusual tire wear, cracking/dry-rot, etc.

Grab the spokes as you rotate the wheel to check for broken spokes.

Ensure rim sidewalls are not excessively worn if the bicycle has rim brakes. If the rim is not welded at the seam, inspect each seam to ensure integrity. While you’re focusing on rims, look at the rim at the spoke nipples. Some older rims can develop or .

Wiggle the wheels side to side to see if there’s play. If there is, at a minimum this means the cone nuts on the hub are not adjusted properly.

Ideally you remove the wheels from the frame and spin the wheel axles with your fingers. If it’s not smooth (rumbling, noisy, etc), you should assume that there’s possible damage to either the cones (more common) or the hub races (less common). Cones can be replaced if they’re worn/damaged. If the hub races are damaged you’ll be replacing the wheel.