Trueing/tightening spokes/wheels (do i need tensiometer?)

Hey,
My bike handles enduro and DH tracks (Transition Sentinel), but wheels don't have easy life :)
I thought recently i could help them a lot, by checking spokes' tension and adjusting them myself.
I can hear that they have different sound (when i ping them) so they have different tension... but what is correct i don't know...
so my question is, would it be easier to readjust my wheels with tensiometer ? (i know that great wheelbuilders don't need that thingy :P but i'm not so great)
would it extend my wheels' life? (for sure, running proper tension on all spokes would extend wheel life, right?)

How do you work on that?
(i'm quite technical person, but don't have experience with wheels)

Comments

  • steve_sordy
    steve_sordy Posts: 2,446
    "Getting the spoke tension right is a requirement for performance and longevity". That is the full extent of my wheel maintenance knowledge, apart from keeping the bearings up to scratch. I have always judged wheel building as an art form, because even machine-built wheels need a human touch to get them perfect. Personally I would hand over the job to someone who knows what they are doing and has the right kit to help them do it. They will be quick, and hence cheap. But if you are determined then there is probably good stuff on Sheldon Brown's website. Or Mr Google generally of course. ParkTool probably have a good guide as well.
  • mully79
    mully79 Posts: 904
    I just ping the spokes every once in a while to check there arent any loose ones.

    Note that you get a different tension ie sound on opposite sides of a rear wheel because the dish is different due to the cassette.
    The fronts should be similar from side to side.

    The gauge might be ok but if you've bent the rim at sometime even tension goes out the window.

    Note: Its easy to get in a mess if you struggle with righty tighty/lefty loosey when you're upside down !

    I usually use zip ties as im too tight to buy a proper jig but its good enough for me.
  • razorjack
    razorjack Posts: 97

    Personally I would hand over the job to someone who knows what they are doing and has the right kit to help them do it.

    well...i don't have a time to transport my wheel 1-2 times per month to a workshop and then wait few days for it ....
    That's why i want to start doing that myself

  • photonic69
    photonic69 Posts: 2,498
    Buy a cheapy knackered wheel off FB marketplace and practice on that. Nothing to lose.


    Sometimes. Maybe. Possibly.

  • david37
    david37 Posts: 1,313
    razorjack said:

    Personally I would hand over the job to someone who knows what they are doing and has the right kit to help them do it.

    well...i don't have a time to transport my wheel 1-2 times per month to a workshop and then wait few days for it ....
    That's why i want to start doing that myself

    a very little at a time when youre truing, it is far easier than it appears. until youve done it a few times then its one of those things you just do.

    For truing wheels, you dont need a meter. Or at least i never bother.
  • Ben6899
    Ben6899 Posts: 9,686
    Are the wheels straight?

    If so, I'd leave them well alone.
    Ben

    Bikes: Donhou DSS4 Custom | Condor Italia RC | Gios Megalite | Dolan Preffisio | Giant Bowery '76
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  • dennisn
    dennisn Posts: 10,601
    Buy a wheel building manual. Read it cover to cover. Then buy the tools you'll need. Don't even think about pinging spokes. Find out how to do it properly with a tension meter.
  • Ben6899 said:

    Are the wheels straight?

    If so, I'd leave them well alone.

    yeah, today maybe it's straight, but if i go to bikepark with some loose spokes, i can easily damage the wheel or snap some spokes.
  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 26,026
    dennisn said:

    Buy a wheel building manual. Read it cover to cover. Then buy the tools you'll need. Don't even think about pinging spokes. Find out how to do it properly with a tension meter.

    I bought a book and read it cover to cover.
    Here is what it says about tension meters.


    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • mully79
    mully79 Posts: 904
    Dont ride with loose spokes. last time i tried that i taco'd a wheel so bad it jammed in the frame and I crashed hard completely out of the blue.
  • paulbnix
    paulbnix Posts: 631
    edited August 2021
    Spokes can become loose over time and it is a good idea to check them occasionally to find any that are actually loose.

    I would use a decent spoke key, e.g a Spokey, and increase the tension until the ping is similar to adjacent spokes on the same side of the wheel.

    If the loose spoke was caused by the wheel rim being distorted then what you are doing is preserving the distortion not correcting it.

    If the rim distortion is acceptable then I would leave it alone.

    To correct it you need to increase/decrease the tension of a number of spokes either side of the rim distortion to pull it the other way and that is a more complex job if you don't have any wheel building skills.
  • steve_sordy
    steve_sordy Posts: 2,446
    razorjack said:

    .........well...i don't have a time to transport my wheel 1-2 times per month to a workshop and then wait few days for it ....
    That's why i want to start doing that myself

    I have just come back to this thread and seen the above sentence. That quote surprised me! What on earth are you doing to your bike that it needs the spokes re-tensioning every few weeks? I'm thinking lots of big jumps and covering proper rocky terrain at speed?

    Or maybe it is me that needs to ask what am I doing, such that I only need bent or damaged spoke replacing once every couple of years. In the last 13 years I reckon I've had about six spokes replaced and I've never had to get any re-tensioned (apart from those six).

    Ten out of ten though for wanting to learn how to do it yourself. :)
    But I can see why if it is a skill you will use every couple of weeks. I need it so rarely I can't be bothered to learn. :/
  • mully79
    mully79 Posts: 904
    @steve_sordy Throwing or trying to throw lots of mid air whips is just one of the ways too loosen spokes regularly due to the side loading on landing.
  • dennisn
    dennisn Posts: 10,601
    It can't hurt having one. Saves guess work.
  • mully79 said:

    @steve_sordy Throwing or trying to throw lots of mid air whips is just one of the ways too loosen spokes regularly due to the side loading on landing.

    That would do it! <3
  • dennisn
    dennisn Posts: 10,601
    pblakeney said:

    dennisn said:

    Buy a wheel building manual. Read it cover to cover. Then buy the tools you'll need. Don't even think about pinging spokes. Find out how to do it properly with a tension meter.

    I bought a book and read it cover to cover.
    Here is what it says about tension meters.


    No such thing as magic, but there is such a thing as very helpful tools that make a job both easier and more accurate.