Spoke Tightness

Reply

  #1  
Old 10-07-14, 06:36 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,340
Spoke Tightness

After riding my new bike (Specialized Crosstrail) for a few miles, both the front and rear wheel are now out of true. Apparently they weren't de-stressed properly (if at all). I adjusted both of them and they are pretty good now, except I'm not sure if the spokes are too tight, too loose, or just right. Is there a rule of thumb for how much tension they should have? Also, I've heard that one side is typically tighter than the other. Is this correct and why? It took me a while to get them trued up, so I'm hesitant to screw with them again. On the other hand, I don't want to damage the wheel or create a dangerous situation.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 10-07-14, 06:43 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 43,017
It's been over 40 yrs since I trued a bicycle wheel but best I remember I made sure all were tight and then went tighter where needed to true it up.
 
  #3  
Old 10-07-14, 07:00 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,340
I mostly loosened spokes to correct lateral runout, but tightened a few as well. I lost track, so I'd like to know if they are tight enough. Guess I could take it back to the shop and have them check it, or get a tension meter, which is what the engineer in me is telling me to do.
 

Last edited by mossman; 10-07-14 at 07:56 AM.
  #4  
Old 10-07-14, 07:59 AM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 16,873
I could do a wheel well enough but certainly not as well as a good professional. I try not to go too tight but snug up all the spokes. Then tighten to true the wheel spreading the adjustment out over an area feathering out at the edges in tension. While working I tap the spokes to hear the tone they make. If I'm bored I'll work around the wheel to get them all to sound about the same. If I'm in a hurry I just try for no abrupt changes in sound.
 
  #5  
Old 10-07-14, 10:22 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,340
Sounds good to me. I ride it for a while and see how it goes. If it goes out of true again, I'll tighten things up and will likely get a tension meter just to be precise.
 
  #6  
Old 10-07-14, 01:09 PM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: New England
Posts: 9,801
"a tension meter" ? Isn't that what fingers are for?
There are some tricks, but with a little practice you can keep those wheels perfect. The most useful tool, which would be better than a tension meter, would be a truing stand and it wouldn't be difficult to fabricate one.
I have the "Park" and used for years, but saw with the search there are lots of options. The advantage of using a stand is you can watch for hop as well as true. Too much tightening in one area will create a low spot.

Start by lubricating the nipples, just a touch so it doesn't get on the rim. You want the nipple to turn onto the thread and not twist the spoke.

Always watch the valve stem and use it as a reference for what you are doing on different areas of the wheel.

If you ever broke a cluster side spoke you might have to remove that cluster to replace it. Pick up a few spare spokes and determine if a special tool is needed for the cluster.

Once you have the wheel as true as you want it, start at the valve and squeeze a pare of spokes on opposite side of the wheel. That increases the tension in one area of the wheel and relaxes the tension adjacent. You will probably hear some pinging and the relaxed spokes un-twist. When you tighten a spoke, get in the habit of backing off a quarter turn. You will feel it is just twist easing off and not the threads turning.

Once you get good working on a stand you will be able to work directly on the bike.

Bud
 
  #7  
Old 10-08-14, 07:20 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,340
Thanks for the tips. I trued the front and rear wheels while on the bike and it went pretty well. I flipped the bike upside down and used a small clamp to squeeze the brake levers incrementally until the wheels were as true as I could get them. I haven't taken it for a spin yet. If they go out of true again then I'll know the spokes aren't tight enough. If they stay in true, I'll assume they are good to go.
 
  #8  
Old 10-08-14, 07:38 AM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: New England
Posts: 9,801
Wheels on a bike that you ride will never stay true, the spokes are constantly under varying amounts of tension, flexing, and it only takes the slightest change to throw a wheel off. Thus the practice that will allow you to tweak a couple of spokes when needed.

The other advantage of occasionally moving to a truing stand is you will be adjusting to a constant reference. On the bike it is hard to tell if you are dishing a bit to the right or left.

If you ever take a spill or hit something that suddenly throws the wheel out of true, there is probably a bend in the rim that cannot be corrected using the spokes. Yes, the wheel can be brought back to being true, but the tensions will be way off and the integrity of the wheel poor.

Otherwise, enjoy. It looks like a great bike.
Bud
 
  #9  
Old 10-08-14, 07:47 AM
Gunguy45's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 20,785
Lacing and truing at least for M/C rims is an art. Prob not so much for bicycles except at the highest levels.

I know I've seen guys just spin a wheel that looked good and "ting" the spokes with a screwdriver, and they instantly knew what had to be done. I doubt it's that vital for a casual rider as long as the rim is true.
 
  #10  
Old 10-08-14, 09:04 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 43,017
Back when I was a kid I prided myself in being able to speed along on my 5 speed bike [40+mph] so I tried to keep my rims fairly true. I did it very low tech, I'd clamp something on both sides of the upside down bike [as a guage] and adjust the spokes as needed to get them to run true.
 
Reply


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:19 AM.