Silencing spokes?

OK, I finally figured out that it is definately my spokes making noise when I ride. It’s a horrible sound - really. Loud.

The spokes rub each other like crickets legs and “pluck” each other at their intersection. I am able to remedy the noise temporarily by splashing water on them. I even used heavy motor oil for temporary relief.

Though I have seen it done, I don’t want to wire them together.

My thought is that it would be best to re-coat the spokes with something. Should I spray paint them? Use rubber cement? Sand them a bit?

I think you could sand down any lumps the rubbing has created, and spray some silicone grease in there…

Or, you could try superglu-ing or loc-tite-ing the spokes together.

Either way, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Just take an Ipod or walkman along on rides so you can ignore it.

You may have posted this in another thread, but are the spokes tight?

I think the tightness contributes to the problem. . .
. . . but I don’t want to untighten them.

I’m really hoping someone can suggest some sort of coating that can be rubbed a lot and not wear through easily.

Re: Silencing spokes?

Too much tension is not the problem!

If the noise really is coming from your spokes, then one or more are
loose. A well tensioned wheel has effectively no spoke movement, so
there is no spoke noise. Applying a lubricant only treats the
symptom, not the problem.

When you pluck the spokes with a finger, do they all ring out with at
about the same pitch? If not there’s your problem. Most wheels are
at best adequately built by machines that cannot tension spokes enough
to them durable and hard riding. If your wheel has not been hand
tensioned and stress relieved, do so (or have it done) immediately.


I went to my local bikestore when I encountered the same problem. After some discussion and testing, the serviceman agreed that I had tightened the spokes just fine but that they still made an aweful sound. His suggestion, which worked very well, was to spray the intersection points between the spokes with teflon-spray. This can be bought at any serious bikestore (and I actually use it not only for my spokes, but for my entire bike, too).

he… i also just had dis problem, i just went to the bike shop and tightend them up, now ther better than new and don make a sound!

Re: Silencing spokes?

I found another possible cause of wheel noise, though not precisely
spoke-related. Nipple eyelets in the rim can rust, producing clicking
noises as the move under the varying forces that occur with use.
Here’s an archive with snippets from on the topic
[]. Jobst Brands, who wrote
those articles is author of “The Bicycle Wheel” and knows what he is
talking about.


I believe/hope that I misdiagnosed the problem.

When I thought the noise was coming from my spokes, I was able to temporarily silence the noise by splashing water on the spokes & wheel.

Today, I tried something new. First I sprayed the spokes with silicone spray. That temporary fix didn’t seem to work for more than 1/8 mile.

This time, I splashed water on the bearing holders - the noise was gone. Of course, it would soon come back and I would re-apply the water.

The loud noise is a pet-peeve for me. It made the 10 miles seem like 15. While I am chanting “I think I can” the uni is yelling “I think I can’t.” Not only that, I could “feel” the noise as a frame-twisting sensation through my seat on every pedal.

Anywise, when I got home, I could create the noise simply by grabbing the front and back of the seat and waggling the uni side to side.

I took the wheel off, smeared anti-seaze on the bearing and in the bearing holders, and on the screws that hold them on.

I put the wheel back on, tried the waggle test, and there was no noise. My guess is that the threads from the screw were rubbing on the bearing holder OR the bearings themselves were making noise rubbing around inside the bearing holder.

I’ll know if that was the (permanent) solution tomorrow.