Wheel offset and spokes creaking question

I have read a good bit hear trying to find a good answer but not sure, so I will ask directly. I have a Nimbus 24 Muni, no brake but brake capable. I have an issue with the spokes creaking when I’m applying torque in pedaling mostly. Also I can see the hub is not centered. I took it to my LBS and they said they checked all the spokes and made sure they were within specs but it still creaks, a lot. Before I took it to the LBS I had checked and found every spoke on the right side was what I considered loose, I tightened them and just used the old finger pull and tap for sound method as well as making sure it was in true as I went along. the creaking got much better but never stopped. The spokes feel plenty tight now but as I’m getting more into Muni and getting a little better I want to make sure it is in good shape.
So here is my questions, is it important to have the hub centered or should it be a little offset for the brake rotor.

You should have the rim centred on the hub. There should be no reason for any offset for spoke clearance for the brake rotor/calliper, especially for a smaller wheel like at 24" where the angle of the spokes is greater and hence give you more clearance for the calliper (if I am understanding your reason for offset correctly. ). The spoke tension on either side will be different but that is normal.

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The rim should be centered in the frame. The spokes on the disc-side of the hub will be tighter (and a little shorter) than the spokes on the non disc-side. The spoke tension should be even, meaning the disc-side spoke tension should be similar, and the non disc-side spokes should be similar.

The creaking could also come from other sources. Check out How to troubleshoot strange noises: creaks, squeaks, clicks, or ticks


Yes, this is maybe a better way of putting it. It is the same as saying it should be centred on the hub when you take the centre of the hub as half way between the bearings – but I suppose someone could interpret the centre of the hub as being half way between the flanges.


Thanks for the quick responses, so it looks like I’m going to be buying a spoke tension check tool and working to get my rim centered in the frame and with the hub. I’m 99.9 percent sure it’s the spokes making the noise because I can hold the uni sideways leaning over the seat and apply a little side pressure downward and they will creak in certain positions then I can flip it around and do the same and it will creak again. so how much tighter should the rotor side be than the other side. also I’m guessing I should be doing this with either the tire off or at least no air in it

Creaking during pedaling is usually caused by slightly loose cranks, especially with square taper axles. Pedal bearings are also often the culprit.

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I center the wheel in the frame, then tighten the spokes so that the left is not “too tight”. The difference in spoke tension between the sides just is whatever ends up happening to achieve that.
With a spoke tension tool, you’d figure out some maximum spoke tension for the left side and then right side also just ends up being what it is to achieve a centered wheel.

If you are measuring spoke tension, yes, you should do it without air in the tire. I’d probably take it off, because it is a bit distracting while truing. (For a quick onceover on a wheel where I only even out spoke tension, I keep the tire on and inflated).

One note I’d make is that if your wheel is in acceptable spoke tensions (I’ll assume the LBS got them there), but still creaks from the spokes, cleaning and adding a bit of grease where the spokes cross can help. There is always going to be some small movement between spokes, corrosion and/or grit between them can lead to noise.


I’ve found that with ISIS cranks when they are ever so slightly loose, as in you can’t feel or see the movement but the bolt can be cranked a bit tighter, they will creak under pressure. Sometimes thinner spacers are the solution if the bolt is already good and tight. The first time I encountered this I chased all the spokes around with grease and tensioning and nothing worked until I tried the cranks.

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Thanks for all the great responses, I am sure it is the spokes as I can make it do it by leaning on it over the seat and pushing down at a slight angle. I’m going to buy a spoke tension check tool and practice using it on a little 20 inch I have that I know needs some truing, once I feel confident I will tackle my 24 wheel. Big question is can riding it with the rim more to one side mess up the hub or rim


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You can pinch the spokes together to see if the spokes are loose and feel the tension on them before buying a tension meter.

If they feel the same chances are it’s probably not the spokes, if the spokes feel different tensions and I have seen a few unicycle wheel that the spokes have no tension on what so ever.

I don’t think a spoke tension meter will fit on your 20” wheel as there isn’t enough spoke spare. I have a Parktool TM1 and it doesn’t fit on my 20” but just fits on my 24”

If the hub is not centred over the rim you still can ride it

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I do have a pretty decent grasp on the workings and such, I’m guessing it has been offset since I bought it but the creaking became more noticeable the more I’m riding muni and in My mind at least, getting better, I was just concerned it was going to be the lead into a catastrophic failure. I know all the spokes are currently tight and within proper specs as it sits now. I had adjusted them and then took it to the LBS to have them look it over and check the tension correctly. Thanks for pointing out the checking tool wouldn’t fit on the 20, I didn’t know that.