Wheel tensioning

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chillyuk

Guest
Due to finances I am forced to ride budget wheels (700x38c tyres). I have done 1200 miles since buying the rear wheel new. Cleaning the bike the other day I noticed a few of the spokes were a bit slack compared to others. The wheel is still running true. Is this a case for the LBS to tighten everything up before things get worse; is it something an LBS will actually do.

Don't suggest DIY:sad: I want to ride on a wheel not a 50p piece shape.
 
Well first, honestly, learn to true the wheel, it's not so hard and will save you money which, if you're running on budget wheels, is probably something you want to do.

Secondly, I ran budget wheels for years, including ones I rebuilt and yes the first one I rebuilt was not round, perfectly true but not round. If spokes are loose I tend to take a rather pragmatic view, it being, if it ain't broke don't fix it. Cheaper wheels won't retain an even tension after a few hundred miles but if they are true and round then leave it. Alternatively, learning to true, means finding a loose spoke and giving it a half or quarter turn to tension it and then checking the wheel. It may save it breaking or going out of true, depends how loose it is.
 

ASC1951

Guru
Location
Yorkshire
chillyuk said:
Don't suggest DIY:sad: I want to ride on a wheel not a 50p piece shape.
It's not that difficult, chilly, honestly. All you need is as spoke key and the 'tensioning and truing' bit in this http://www.sheldonbrown.com/wheelbuild.html I'm with Crackle, if some spokes have less tension but the wheel is still true, I leave them alone; if any are actually loose, I just tighten them up a touch to stop that.

It's certainly worth having ago at tensioning loose spokes. If you get it wrong and have to take it to the LBS, you aren't any worse off.
 
OP
C

chillyuk

Guest
accountantpete said:
The non-drive side spokes of a rear wheel have less tension than the drive side.
I am in my 60's, and been riding on and off since my preteen days, and I never knew that! I am being serious, not sarky:smile: Never too old to learn.

What ASC1951 said about have a go then if/when I cock it up take the wheel to the LBS does make sense.

Perhaps I will wait until this glorious weather breaks and I don't need the bike for a couple of days then have a go.
 

PpPete

Guru
Location
Chandler's Ford
I can only echo the sentiments above....

Been riding on and off for years - never so much as touched a spoke key until passed 50.... and yes I started off by turning it the wrong way....

Then a couple of years ago decided to start building my own wheels from scratch - really isn't that difficult, and you can spread the cost of hub, rim spokes over a period of time.
 
OP
C

chillyuk

Guest
Just an update:

I went out this morning and the wheel was worse than ever so didn't go far. When I got home I decided to ring the LBS and book it in for a look. Before doing so I removed the wheel, and found that the axle was very tight, almost too stiff to spin by hand. Somehow the hub looked OK, I was expecting a deep groove, but it was fine. I have reset the bearings. When I went round the wheel and checked each spoke, only about three were overly loose. I tightened these to remove the slack but not enough to deform the wheel. Back in to the bike, and on a short test ride all seems OK. I will have a pootle down to High Beach in the morning and give it a good test.

By the way, it is a good idea to reconnect the brake cable after refitting the wheel before going out on a test ride!!
 
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