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spoke tension

tseniortsenior Posts: 664
edited October 2010 in MTB workshop & tech
ok, so i had my first crack at trueing a donated wheel last night, i replaced all 9 outer drive side spokes (which had presumably been mangled by the chain coming off), No stand so i sat the wheel in an upside down frame to make all adjustments

first i replaced the damaged spokes and adjusted one at a time so that any lateral bend in the rim was minimal (or untill i saw no improvement anyway) then by tightening all the new spokes by varying ammounts managed to get the rim central in the frame and lateral movement in the rim down to around a mm or so; i then relieved the tension by squeezing spokes together and repeated (tightening some of the non-driveside spokes this time)untill I couldent get any further improvement (out by 1.5mm max), I dident loosen any spokes.

does this sound ok?

how do i know the tension is ok? sheldon brown suggests a tensiometer (dont have), by ear (erm well they ping with some slight variation in tone; dont have another rear wheel to compare them to) or tightening untill you are worried you may strip the threads (i think i'm a way off from this!)

any other tips? i have to ride with this on saturday.


  • Chunkers1980Chunkers1980 Posts: 8,035
    If its trueness is ok and you've not touched any of the other spokes, it's dished ok, then the spokes by difinition must be similar in tension (assuming the rim is round on its own).

    The ping test as you've done is prob the only way you can, just ping them again and listen for the sameish note - higher is tighter ect. If you do get a higher note, just slacken it off a 1/4 of a turn and repeat on the other side (one closest) by tightening 1/4 of a turn.

    You can also check for tight spokes by looking at the roundness - there will be a dip and the converse.
  • tseniortsenior Posts: 664
    cheers, it looks ok and i cant seem to get it any truer....the wheel has taken a bit of a battering judging by the state of the bearings and it was up to 5mm out when i started when i got it so will probbaly never be perfect.

    Its difficult to know when to stop though....i'll give it one last pinging, fit it and hope it survives the weekend (after a theft i'm hitting the trails on pub bike trying to keep up with my mates on tougher full sussers :roll: ), after which it should be back to light (road and xc) duties.
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