How tight should 14G spokes be on an Airfoil?

I just took my new Nimbus 36" Deluxe out of its box and put it together. I noticed that the spokes seem quite loose, looser than on any well built bike wheel I have ever seen. I can twist the wheel (with relation to cranks) without much effort

How tight should the spokes be? I don’t have a spoke tension reading thingy so about what pitch/note should I be getting from the spokes if plucked?

Over all I am quite disappointed in the wheel build, the rim is about 2mm out of round and 3mm out of true and on average 2mm to the right on the top of the frame, I have not checked if the frame is square yet. I don’t think that this would have happened during shipping (especially the out of round part). UDC (USA) brags up their wheel building but i have built wheels truer rounder with more even tension at home using only a spoke wrench, and a zip tie for reference.

After spending over a thousand dollars on getting this Unicycle it is quite disappointing to have a poor wheel-build. (it also didn’t come with two sets of petals as advertised. If i would have known this I would have ordered some new petals for my 27" while ordering. :angry: )

Any help from people who have the 14-gage spokes on a 36" wheel would be appreciated.


I am by no means an expert but I have built an airfoil with the 14g spokes. If I squeeze two spokes together just above where they cross the crossing point moves about 1 cm towards the outside of the wheel, I’ve put over 100 miles on this wheel since I built it and it feels fine and is responsive. You certainly should not be able to rotate the rim relative to the hub, and I managed to get my rim truer than that despite it being my first ever wheel build, and not having any kind of trueing jig, just a spoke key.

Contact and tell them about the looseness of the spokes and the missing pedals; they’ll make it right.

I got my Nimbus 36 Deluxe less than a month ago and my spokes are quite tight and I got two sets of pedals with it.


I built a 36" wheel with 14g spokes with the air foil rim. My spokes are very tight, about as tight as I was able to make them with the spoke wrench. There shouldn’t be any play as you describe. If you were to ride the wheel as it is now, you’ll end up with broken spokes from the movement in the hub.

I definitely agree, tell them you aren’t pleased. They will make it right.

A friend of mine had ship him a completely untensioned wheel. He was quite wobbly on the trail that day. They’ll fix it for you, but it’ll probably be a hassle to deal with, so you might want to try fixing it yourself.

There’s not a particular tone you should be looking for, but the feel of tension in the wheel should be similar to other well-built wheels, allowing for the fact that longer spokes will have a lower tone and more flexibility than shorter spokes. When you grasp parallel pairs of spokes and squeeze, there should be a good amount of tension pushing back on your hands.

spoke tension on 14 g spokes

I had similar experience with poorly build 36er wheel from UDC. The tension was low and it needed a lot of work to bring it into rideable condition. I think the guy at Kovachi was drunk or having a bad day. Looks like the wheel I’d have built as a 10 year old. I’d call them, to let them know what you got - and then find the best wheel builder in your area and have them true it in the frame - or learn to do it yourself. There is a spoke tension meter available, but not sure if that is really necessary. I found the biggest issue with the 36er wheels is spoke wind-up or twist because the spokes are so long. Otherwise, it’s no more challenging than a bike wheel.
If things really go south, send it back and get a wheel from U-Turn. I hear they are the best, the Ferrari of the uni-wheel builders

Then there are the quality control problems with the Airfoil rims and the poor brake performance because of the powder coating, but thats a story for another day.

Sounds like I am not alone. I will fix it myself, it cost me over $200 to ship it here so i am not shipping it back to get fixed. I have built half a dozen wheels myself so the only thing that I was not real sure about was how tight the spokes should be.

I guess i will just tighten it to about the same tension as a mountain bike wheel.

As for the tone thing it is a great way at checking how uniform your spoke tightness is. If they all play the same note your wheel is uniformly tensioned.

I don’t think that i will bother asking UDC for the petals as it will probably cost me a few bucks to get over the boarder even if they do pay shipping.

Thanks for all the advice