spoke tension

So, how tight should I have my spokes? I ride trials and streetand currently they only move a couple of millimeters but what do you guys think?

I tighten mine up as much as possible with one hand, I’ve only built a couple wheels, but I find they haven’t broke and held up better than wheels built at local bike shops.

Re: spoke tension

grawistkafn <grawistkafn@NoEmail.Message.Poster.at.Unicyclist.com> writes:

> So, how tight should I have my spokes? I ride trials and streetand
> currently they only move a couple of millimeters but what do you guys
> think?

Basically you want them good and tight, without breaking anything.
Tight spokes make for a strong wheel. Low tension allows the spokes
to flex, which can cause them to break due to fatigue. Also, low
tension wheels are more likely to go out of true.

One way to check is to go to a bike shop and compare your wheel with
others of the same size, assuming that the shop’s wheels are
undertensioned (unless they were hand built by someone competent).
Listen to the sound of the spokes when you pluck them, rather than
trying to accurately squeeze the spokes together.

Another way is to get tension infomation from the rim company, and
measure your tension with a spoke tensiometer. I don’t know if they
fit 19" wheels, though.

Assuming the rim is the weakest link in the wheel, you can keep
increasing the tension in all spokes 1/4 turn at a time until the rim
goes out of true while stress relieving the wheel, then back off 1/2
turn. That’s the advice from the book The Bicycle Wheel. I would
stop before the tension got ridiculously high, to prevent damage to
the nipples or the grommets in the rim.

Does that help?

Ken

Yes, thanks for your replies. I think I wil probably just leave them as they are now so that I dont mess anything up by accident.

my spokes rattle when i ride…does this mean they are too loose?..i didn’t even know they were adjustable

Re: spoke tension

Yes. If your spokes rattle, they are too loose.

You can tension, true, and stress-relieve them yourself. Get the
right size spoke wrench and follow Sheldon Brown’s instructions
[http://sheldonbrown.com/wheelbuild.html#tensioning].

Don’t worry about not having a truing stand - uni wheels don’t fit in
them anyway. The minimalist way to gauge the trueness of the wheel is
by using your thumb pressed against the frame, or piece of tape stuck
to it.

Ken

O god, guys spokes are the most important thing to a strong wheel. For optimum strength you want them as tight as they can be. If you can move them they aren’t tight enough. Mine move about 3 mm and even that is too much for my liking.

If you have tighter spokes it will make the wheel stay true for longer, your rim will be stronger, and there will generaly be less problems all around. It is also safer to be riding a stronger uni so keeping the spokes tight is always a good thing.

I used to think a cm wasn’t bad, that was until I bent my wheel so far over it wouldn’t turn anymore. I still didn’t think it was that bad but when I brought it to the bike shop to have the wheel rebuilt they told me my rim was bent, upon closer inspection I found that not only was the rim bent but the powdercoating had also cracked in other places there had been not enough support and it had bent in a bit then gone out again.

So treat your wheels with respect and tighten them up. A good spoke key is like 2 bucks, so it is alot cheaper than replacing a couple spokes.

Also don’t forget that a uni wheel takes alot of wierd forces that a bike wheel will never see, so they should be even tighter than a bike wheel if possible.

So you saying I sould tighten them up when they can move about 2mm? Only problem is that one of my nipples is stripped so I cant turn it. Should I just tighten all the others and leave that one?

Anyone???

You don’t want to have just one spoke loose; the wheel will come out of true if you ride it like that. Ideally, you should replace the stripped nipple.

Re: spoke tension

tholub <tholub@NoEmail.Message.Poster.at.Unicyclist.com> writes:

> You don’t want to have just one spoke loose; the wheel will come out of
> true if you ride it like that. Ideally, you should replace the
> stripped nipple.

Agreed. Replacing a stripped nipple is a good idea, since you can’t
true the wheel very well if you cannot adjust one of the spokes.

When replacing the stripped nipple, be sure to oil the threads.
Medium weight oil like motor oil is a good choice.

If you have trouble tightening the new nipple, chances are good the
tension in the spokes is on the high side. But if you need to turn a
reluctant spoke, you can try to push the wheel to the side in order to
release some of the spoke tension while turning the wrench.

Ken

Well if I where to get a nipple replace I would just have my LBS do it for me. Anyway, I just tightened ALL of my spokes 1/4 turn (I was able to turnthe stripped one) and now they only move the teensiest bit so I’ll just leave them as they are until I need to tighten again and then I’ll have it replaced.