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Looking for a good Spoke Tension Meter

VelonutterVelonutter Posts: 2,437 Lives Here
edited January 2014 in Road buying advice
I've been looking for a while and didn't know whether to bite the bullet and just buy a Park Tool TM1 or to invest in something like this

I'm enjoy building wheels and like the challenge of getting them perfect, has anyone got any other suggestions?

I don't want to spend stupid money but don't mind up to £150 if there are true benefits.

Ta for any help.


  • I may be a minority of one but that doesn't prevent me from being right.
  • hypsterhypster Posts: 1,229
    As you may already know there are two steps in the wheel build that a tensiometer will help with

    1. Relative spoke tension
    2. Ultimate spoke tension

    In my experience (I own a Park TM-1) and from what I have read on various forums, the Park TM-1 generally over reads by quite a significant amount even from new. In my case my TM-1 reads 137 kg when the spoke is at 100 kg and 164kg at 120kg. I know this because I built a tensiometer calibration device to check my TM-1.

    Now this is not a problem when you are checking relative spoke tensions because obviously all the tensions will be out by the same amount. However, when using the tensiometer to check ultimate tension it can be massively important because on the rear wheel for instance, the over reading TM-1 will lead to the DS spokes being under tensioned and the NDS spokes may well be too low and loosen when the wheel is ridden.

    Having said all that I think the TM-1 is good value for money and if you have the ability to check it against a more reliable source then you will have an idea of how much it is out and make allowances when you build your wheels.

    I don't know how good the Icetoolz tensiometer is you reference but I wouldn't assume just because it is three times the price of the Park it is necessarily still going to be that accurate. The only way you will be sure of that is if you calibrate it against a known source.
  • VelonutterVelonutter Posts: 2,437 Lives Here

    Cheers for that, but as that is more expensive than the Icetoolz/Xpert one, is it better as with postage and import tax it will nearer £250

    Ta for that Hypster, I hadn't considered the two tension figures or that the TM1 could be out that much, as I build mostly 11 speed wheels sets and the occasional track wheel, it needs to be fairly accurate.

    So what meter would you recommend Hypster?
  • dennisndennisn Posts: 10,601
    I use the Park tool and have built a fair amount of wheels with it without issue. These wheels have been strictly for myself, with the exception of a few wheels from friends needing re-truing and re -tensioning. IF I was building wheels for sale I would most likely get a top shelf gauge, but for the home builder the Park Tool seems to work just fine.
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • When I bought the DT Swiss, I calibrated the Park Tool one against it... the difference was not massive as someone mentions, I would say it was over reading by 10-15%

    I think for the money it is a nice piece of kit and would not recommend anything more than that unless you need to build special spokes (CX Ray for instance give no reading on the Park) or you are into tools
    left the forum March 2023
  • VelonutterVelonutter Posts: 2,437 Lives Here
    Thanks Monty and Ugo, most of my own wheels are built with the CX-Ray so it is interesting what you say about the Park tool.
  • on-yer-bikeon-yer-bike Posts: 2,974
    (CX Ray for instance give no reading on the Park) or you are into tools
    Why is this? They are listed in the conversion tables.
  • sungodsungod Posts: 16,055
    park tool lists cx ray as a spoke the tm-1 tool is calibrated for and publishes a conversion table for various spoke types/sizes/materials (many more on this table than the card in the tm-1 box)

    no idea about absolute accuracy, but the tm-1 is consistent on cx ray spokes, it does need care to hold it in correct position wrt to the spoke, i use it on my cx ray spoked wheels, it does the job well enough

    for info see... ... easurement ... 10a642.pdf
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • You can measure a CX Ray, but only when it reaches a certain tension. On the NDS of the rear wheel you are unlikey to reach 700 N or so... unless you have an asymmetric rim or you have a 2:1 spoke ratio (Fulcrum/Shamal etc... )
    left the forum March 2023
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