Spoke Maintenance

I recently bought a Torker DX and I’ve noticed that the spokes make a funny “clink” noise when I ride, hop, and idle. None of the spokes seem very loose or bent, so I’m not sure what to do. Any ideas?

I had the exact same experience and took it back to the LBS where I bought it. They took it to the back and when the came out with it they said they tighted everything. It’s been fine ever since.

I think they just tightened the cranks and pedals, but since I didn’t have a chance to watch, I can’t say for sure.

The sound that you are hearing is the spokes. Wheels that are machine built are tensioned but not stress relieved. This creates a wheel that has areas of high tension and areas of lower tension With hand built wheels, the rim is twisted and spokes squeezed together during the building process. The goal is to have all of the spokes with even tension on them when the wheel is completed.

What you are hearing is the wheel stress relieving itself while you are riding. Your wheel will probably be a lot less true after this stress relieving takes place. You may want to take it to a LBS for a final truing.

It’s interesting that your title is Spoke Maintenance. Seems you already had an idea what the problem was.

I just got my onza yesterday and the same thing is happening (spokes clink). I bought it from UDC so could i just go to a local bike store and have them fix it?

Ride it for awhile and then check the spoke tension my plucking each one to see if they all have a similar tone. If there is a difference, you should have it taken care of.
You should be able to go to a decent bike shop and have them fix it for you.

Re: Spoke Maintenance

“One on one” <One.on.one@NoEmail.Message.Poster.at.Unicyclist.com> writes:

> The sound that you are hearing is the spokes.

I wouldn’t be so confident making that diagnosis. Yes, the noise
could be loose spokes, but it could also be a loose crank or pedal.
I’d make sure everything is tight.

> Wheels that are machine
> built are tensioned but not stress relieved.

You might call them tensioned :slight_smile: but it isn’t proper tension. Well
built wheels are held together by friction. The nipples can’t untwist
because they are held tightly against the rim. Machine built wheels
use spoke prep or other adhesives to keep the nipple from unscrewing
because there isn’t enough tension to keep them from going slack while
riding. For example, as you pedal forward the torque on the hub adds
tension to some spokes and reduces tensino in others. You don’t want
any spokes to lose all tension, but that can happen.

“Stress relieving” is the process of bending the spokes to fit the
holes in the hub they pass through. This is done by applying very
high tension to the spokes before final truing.

> This creates a wheel that
> has areas of high tension and areas of lower tension

Sort of. Spokes which have not bee “stress relieved” will bend to fit
themselves to the hub as you ride, resulting in lower tension and an
out of true wheel. On a unicycle, the spokes opposite the crank get
more tension and loosen more than those on the crank side, so the
wheel will develop a wobble from side to side as you spin it (not to
be confused with the wobble due to the mass of the cranks and pedals).

Anyway, the machine build wheel isn’t necessarily built with areas of
varying tension, but ges that way after riding on it.

> What you are hearing is the wheel stress relieving itself while you are
> riding.

I don’t think so. The motion due to stress relieving is very small,
and in any case diminishes as the spokes come to better fit the hub.
Noisy spokes are loose spokes. Too little tension rather than
lack of stres relieving is the cause of spoke noise.

> Your wheel will probably be a lot less true after this stress
> relieving takes place. You may want to take it to a LBS for a final
> truing.

Right on.

I always tension and stress relieve machine built wheels (though I’m
thinking of making a exception for the 12" wheels on my 23 year old
son’s new bicycle). A bike shop will charge something like $10 to do
the work. Try to find a good wheelbuilder and say it is OK to true it
in place since unicycle wheels don’t fit in bicycle truing stands.
While you’re at it, torque the crank bolts to 40 ft-lbs, make sure the
pedals are tighht, and check (but don’t overtighten) the bearing
holders.

Ken

Re: Spoke Maintenance

Ken Cline <ken.cline@cs.cmu.edu> writes:

> I always tension and stress relieve machine built wheels (though I’m
> thinking of making a exception for the 12" wheels on my 23 year old
> son’s new bicycle)

Yikes! That’s 3 year old, not 23. I’ll let readers deal with myy
other typos.

Really, can’t you fit a uni wheel and hub in a bike truing stand? I’m not sure how the interface is normally, but couldn’t you just rest the bearings where the skewer is supposed to go otherwise?