Very slight rattle

I have a very slight rattle when I bounce my unicycle, which I do before every ride. I have eliminated the seat and pedals. I checked the bearing holders, etc. I haven’t checked the cranks (this is my first uni with cotterless cranks) but it’s not a creak while I pedal.

I rebuilt the pedals thinking the cheap pedals were maybe dry and I was hearing the bearings but that wasn’t it. That leaves spokes.

I’m assuming that my 26" club road uni has machine built wheels. I’ve always ‘heard’ that machine built wheels start life a little loose. Any harm in going around and giving all the spokes a 1/4 or 1/2 turn?

I would not recommend blindly tightening each spoke without first getting an idea how tight they are and if they are all about the same. You can plunk each spoke and note the tone, either by ear or with a free tone meter on your smart phone. It is easy to find out if there are any looser spokes or if they are all about the same.

As a normal maintenance procedure I check the tone of each spoke every so often. I use a finger nail or something like a guitar pick to get the clearest tone. When I find any that are lower tone/looser, I give them a little turn till they are all about the same again.

You can also buy a spoke tension gauge but I don’t believe they are much better then checking the tone.


Do you check the true of the wheel while doing this? I’d be worried about pulling my wheel out of true going by tension alone on spokes that are a little looser than others. I know how to true rims I’m just trying to avoid a full true job cause I screwed up a pretty decent true job already.

It depends on if you have a brake and if so what kind of brake. Mostly I’m concerned about very loose spokes and I’m not concerned about a little wheel wobble because I use a disk brake or no brake. If you use rim brakes, wheel wobble would be of more concern but even then if you have any very loose spokes, tightening them would likely not be a problem. Just go around your wheel and pluck the spokes to see what you find. If there are a bunch of loose ones, maybe it is time for a trip to your LBS if you do not want to mess with it. It is not hard to true a wheel and it can be done with the wheel on the uni.


I got it all sorted. I did go around and give each spoke a twist and let the ones that seemed to turn easily go a little further. The most was maybe a 1/4 turn.

I used zip ties on the frame and some chalk and trued the wheel and it’s a good stiff wheel now with no rattles.