Spoke Tension


Senior Member
Without the aid of any tool/aid, how does one tell that the spokes on a wheel are tensioned correctly.

On squeezing two spokes at a time i can tell that the front wheel spokes are a lot tighter than that for the rear wheel.

The wheel is very slightly out of true, not enough to warrant taking it to a shop to correct alignment.

is it time to tighten every spoke on the wheel?

does it have a significant effect on the performance of the ride?


Fixed wheel fanatic.
Don't tighten all the spokes. just the ones to bring it to true.
It won't affect the performance of the ride at all.

My understanding is that spokes are within normal tension over a wide range. Consider that the same wheel would need to be under enough tension whether ridden on by a 10st rider or a 16st rider, not to mention the forces that hitting a pothole might add.
Tensions should be pretty equal between spokes on the same wheel. Give them a pluck with a finger nail, they should sound roughly the same pitch.
If the rim has taken a bash, then all bets are off, a distortion in the roundness of the rim will affect tension of spokes as the rim is pulled back into shape.
Giving the spokes a tweak to bring the rim into true won't have an adverse affect unless the spokes are under too much tension to start with (very unlikely) or the rim is fubar.
Caveat - I'm no expert, just a guy who's built a couple of wheels!
ps the rear will may be under more tension due to the dishing needed to account for the cassette.
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