Spokes coming loose!

Discussion in 'Bicycle Mechanics and Repairs' started by shippers, 18 Apr 2010.

  1. shippers

    shippers Senior Member

    Sunny Wakefield

    unusual problem which you can probably guess from the title.
    Spesh Secteur Sport. Did a 50 miler on Wednesday with rattley noise towards the end and found 2 loose spoke. Stripped the wheel down and got Halfords to tighten them back up. (Free, wahey! Also explains the photos in the gallery with the M+'s on.)

    Anyway, did a 35 miler today and came home with a loose spoke. Never happened to me before. Any ideas why it's happening?
    All on roads, some are a bit rough. I'm heavy. Tyres properly inflated...
  2. Sam Kennedy

    Sam Kennedy New Member

    I think that may be your problem, try taking the wheel to a decent bike shop, Halfords don't really have the best reputation for fixing mechanical problems :

    However it does sound like something could be up with the wheels, a good bike shop should be able to tell you what's wrong.
  3. OP

    shippers Senior Member

    Sunny Wakefield
    Not convinced it's the same spoke this time. I'll bob to the lbs and have a natter. The bike is from Evans- they're usually quite good too.

    Ta though Sam
  4. xpc316e

    xpc316e Senior Member

    Check the rim very carefully for hairline cracks - if a crack is present, this would give you the symptoms you describe.
  5. accountantpete

    accountantpete Legendary Member

    Spokes are held in place through tension - I suspect the builder hasn't properly tensioned them.

    If you are happy with them - and under-tensioned wheels are more comfy - then get some threadlocker.
  6. 02GF74

    02GF74 Über Member

    how loose is loose?

    are the spokes tensioned properly? how heavy is heavy? (more then 15 stone)

    is it front or rear wheel? how many spokes per wheel?
    is wheel new?
    is it the same spokes? (mark with paint, tape, other)

    what width tyres and what psi?
    are spoke nipples aluminium? have the threads stripped?
  7. Nick_B

    Nick_B New Member

    I had this problem when my bike was new. Got the wheels trued by LBS and threadlocked (glue on the threads where the spokes tighten). Touch wood they've been fine for 18 months or so now.
  8. OP

    shippers Senior Member

    Sunny Wakefield
    The bike is about 6 weeks old, but has had more miles put on than most 6 week old bikes would- probably 7 or 8 hundred.
    I'm just over 16 stone at the moment.

    The spokes are loose enough that I can wiggle them about- the end that goes into the rim can be tightened up by hand to an extent, so really quite loose!

    The first time it happened- 2 spokes, this time only 1. Both times only on the front wheel. I don't think this spoke came loose last time but I didn't mark it.

    Do we think it's going to be a trip back to Evans then chaps?

    Thanks again
  9. actonblue

    actonblue Über Member

    They have not equalised the spoke tension i.e. even though the wheel is trued some spokes are over tensioned and others are under tensioned. The under tensioned spokes will eventually unwind themselves when ridden.
    Experienced wheelbuilders check for tension either with pitch or use a tensionometer.
    Like the above advice take your wheels to a reputable wheelbuilder.
    I have a friend who had no end of problems with a set of wheels on his specialized bike,
    I do not think that they take too much care with some of their wheel sets.
  10. arallsopp

    arallsopp Post of The Year 2009 winner

    Bromley, Kent
    Whichever way you tackle it, mark the loose spoke now and that way when you get around to resolving things, you'll have a better idea if it happens again.

    I've ridden thousands of miles (about 8) on a very very loose spoked front wheel. Kept meaning to check it, and only recently did it go out of true. Scared the hell out of me when it did, so off to the LBS it went :tongue:
  11. actonblue

    actonblue Über Member

    Your wheels must have been sufficently tensioned to prevent them from unwinding.
    If a wheel is built correctly you should not have to touch them for many many miles.
    I have a rear wheel that only needed a little tweak after nearly 10,000 miles.

    Its that final bit of tweaking that makes hand built wheels worth it.
  12. jimboalee

    jimboalee New Member

    Please, please tell us you HAVEN'T sprayed the rim and nipples with WD40 or another releasing oil.... :laugh:
  13. OP

    shippers Senior Member

    Sunny Wakefield
    Noooo, no WD40.

    Thanks for all the advice there chaps. Had them tightened up again- we'll see how we go.
    27 miles today, no problems.

    With regards actonblue's handbuilt wheels- they'll cost a fair few quid, I'd imagine. (Unless you can build them yourself) and sadly I'm always skint!
  14. actonblue

    actonblue Über Member

    Hand built wheels are worth the money and they are in some cases not much more than factory built wheels. In the long wrong you will save yourself money because you won't have to get them trued and therefore your steed won't be off the road.

    Check out Spa cycles or Merlin cycles to see how much it would cost to get them built.

    If your current wheels have been tensioned by a good builder then I do not think you will have any problems from now on. Like I have said before it is that little extra bit of
    work that makes all the difference.


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