Spoke Tension After Minor Impact

Lovacott

Über Member
On the way home from work the other night, my rear wheel ran over a small rock in the road and I ended up with a snakebite puncture.

I swapped out the tube roadside and continued home with no issue.

Since then, I have had a pinging noise from the back wheel area which I haven't been able to isolate.

It happens whether or not the bike is under load and whether coasting or climbing a hill.

I've got the whole back end stripped down, freewheel off, axle and bearings out and everything looks good (no worn or misshapen bearings, axle is straight).

However, I did a pinch test on my spokes and where they cross over, I can move them between thumb and forefinger without too much effort. One of the crossovers pings when I squeeze it (the rest of them rub over eachother with little if any noise). I won't know if this is the cause of the noise until I put the bike back together and test ride it, but it sounds very similar.

I can cure the spoke ping with a little grease, but would it be better to simply tighten every spoke by (say) a quarter turn?
 
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weareHKR

Senior Member
Yes you can give it a quarter turn, but you also should check the wheel is running true after adjustment.
If not you'll need to adjust a few more, probably on both sides, depending on the spoke configuration (std or offset) plenty of tutorials on YouTube if you get stuck.
It's one of my favourite jobs on bikes, very satisfying when you finally see it running true. 👍
 
OP
Lovacott

Lovacott

Über Member
Yes you can give it a quarter turn, but you also should check the wheel is running true after adjustment.
If not you'll need to adjust a few more, probably on both sides, depending on the spoke configuration (std or offset) plenty of tutorials on YouTube if you get stuck.
It's one of my favourite jobs on bikes, very satisfying when you finally see it running true. 👍
The wheel is perfectly true at the moment but the spokes seem looser than I would expect.

I was thinking that a quarter turn all around would reduce any rubbing where the spoke cross?
 

weareHKR

Senior Member
The wheel is perfectly true at the moment but the spokes seem looser than I would expect.
I was thinking that a quarter turn all around would reduce any rubbing where the spoke cross?
No problem giving them a quarter of a turn, just make sure you turn them all the correct way, then check & make sure it's stayed true... :training:
 

Globalti

Legendary Member
Be aware that the drive side spokes should be considerably tighter than the non-drive side thanks to the dish of the wheel. You'll see that the rim is central on the axle but the RH spokes depart from behind the freehub so closer to the centre and hence flatter.

Just pinging the spokes will tell you if one is badly loose. Put some light oil on the threads then tighten each spoke by an eighth of a turn using the correct spoke key. Hold the spoke in your fingers as you do so to check the nipple isn't seized on and you are just twisting the spoke. If you do find spokes twisting, adjust the nipple by what feels like the right amount then back off to adjust the spoke. If all that works and the wheel remains true you could check the rim is still central by making a very simple dishing gauge out of a length of batten the same length as the diameter of the wheel with a small bolt or a screw through each end. Place the batten on the axle end then adjust the screws so they just contact the rim then test the other side to see how it compares.
 
OP
Lovacott

Lovacott

Über Member
Be aware that the drive side spokes should be considerably tighter than the non-drive side thanks to the dish of the wheel. You'll see that the rim is central on the axle but the RH spokes depart from behind the freehub so closer to the centre and hence flatter.

Just pinging the spokes will tell you if one is badly loose. Put some light oil on the threads then tighten each spoke by an eighth of a turn using the correct spoke key. Hold the spoke in your fingers as you do so to check the nipple isn't seized on and you are just twisting the spoke. If you do find spokes twisting, adjust the nipple by what feels like the right amount then back off to adjust the spoke. If all that works and the wheel remains true you could check the rim is still central by making a very simple dishing gauge out of a length of batten the same length as the diameter of the wheel with a small bolt or a screw through each end. Place the batten on the axle end then adjust the screws so they just contact the rim then test the other side to see how it compares.
The drive side spokes are tighter and the wheel is true but as it is an MTB wheel, the rim is pretty rigid on its own anyway (I had a racer years ago where spoke tension was critical but the wide rimmed MTB seems to be almost immune).

By pinching adjacent spokes, I can pretty much gauge the loose from the tight and I don't want to splash out on a tension meter to fix a ten quid wheel (a new wheel would be cheaper).

Everything was fine until I hit the rock the other day (it was quite a jolt). The wheel was in perfect alignment beforehand and it still is now. I'm only looking to get rid of the ping noise I get which I think is coming from a couple of loose spokes.

Looking at my sons five year old MTB, his spokes are almost welded together by surface corrosion and dirt and I'm wondering if the impact with the rock simply broke the bonds on my bike and created the ping?

The ping sound is pretty unnerving because it sounds like a stay weld has snapped or something and I keep getting off my bike mid commute to check that nothing has fallen off.

I'm devoting Saturday to sorting this thing out.
 

Globalti

Legendary Member
Stop worrying about it and adopt the Land Rover solution, carry on until the noise becomes unbearable.

New wheels often make tinging plinking noises until they settle down. It is spokes rubbing where they cross.
 
OP
Lovacott

Lovacott

Über Member
Stop worrying about it and adopt the Land Rover solution, carry on until the noise becomes unbearable.
New wheels often make tinging plinking noises until they settle down. It is spokes rubbing where they cross.
I've put the bike back together and just done a little test ride around town with no odd noises.

I've tightened all of the spokes by 1/4 of a turn and they all felt about the same as I tightened them apart from the one where I was getting the pinging noise. It was pretty loose in comparison to the others.

Learning all the time.
 

Globalti

Legendary Member
Good. Is there any sign at all of a ding in the rim when you spin it?
 
OP
Lovacott

Lovacott

Über Member
Good. Is there any sign at all of a ding in the rim when you spin it?
Nothing at all. It's a pretty rigid 27.5 x 2.10 mountain bike wheel so I suppose a few spoke tension differences wouldn't have that much of an impact on the overall wheel shape?

I tightened a few spokes on my old thin wheeled Raleigh racer many years ago and turned a very slightly wobbly wheel into a satellite dish in five minutes.

It's always amazed me how a few bits of tensioned wire can keep a thin metal ring straight and true.
 
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