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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On the rear wheel of my road/commuter bike, about 200-300 miles ago, I found some very lose spokes- threads were showing. But the wheel wasnt badly out of true. So I tightened them back up and did a little trueing to get things evened out. But I dont know anything about proper spoke tension.

Recently I've been feeling some strange vibrations in the pedals, but couldnt find anything wrong. Today I noticed noise that sounded like spokes crackling/slipping at the crosses. The nondrive side spokes seem to lack tension badly, but again, not out of true. Also, the dish seemed normal and the drive side feels ok, and there seems to be more noise when I crank down on the drive side pedal vs nondrive.

So I gave them all about 3/4 turn, then gave all the drive-side about 1/4 turn, but the dish is still pulling to the nondrive side. The problem seems better, but not fixed.

Should I add more tension to both sides and maybe get it back to proper dish? Has anyone had a problem like this? Do I need to get this to a mechanic before putting more miles on it?

Its a mid-quality machine built wheelset, 3x spokes, less than 2k miles, but about 9 years old.
 

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I had an issue with a front wheel crackling when I would really mash down.

I lubed up the nipples and the crosses and the noise still persisted.

I dropped it by a shop and they tightened them up and all was good; the difference was like night and day, like they added pressure to my tires!

Admittedly, I knew nothing ab spoke tension either.
 

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rob_co2 said:
On the rear wheel of my road/commuter bike, about 200-300 miles ago, I found some very lose spokes- threads were showing. But the wheel wasnt badly out of true. So I tightened them back up and did a little trueing to get things evened out. But I dont know anything about proper spoke tension.

Recently I've been feeling some strange vibrations in the pedals, but couldnt find anything wrong. Today I noticed noise that sounded like spokes crackling/slipping at the crosses. The nondrive side spokes seem to lack tension badly, but again, not out of true. Also, the dish seemed normal and the drive side feels ok, and there seems to be more noise when I crank down on the drive side pedal vs nondrive.

So I gave them all about 3/4 turn, then gave all the drive-side about 1/4 turn, but the dish is still pulling to the nondrive side. The problem seems better, but not fixed.

Should I add more tension to both sides and maybe get it back to proper dish? Has anyone had a problem like this? Do I need to get this to a mechanic before putting more miles on it?

Its a mid-quality machine built wheelset, 3x spokes, less than 2k miles, but about 9 years old.
Because of the dish, the drive side spokes have to be much tighter than the non drive side. No way around it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I know drive side has to be tighter, but I just dont know how tight is too tight. The wheels havent been trued before, so I assume its safe to go several turns?
 

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rob_co2 said:
I assume its safe to go several turns?
That's too much of an assumption. No-one here can say. I'd be going in 1/4 turn increments until I judged that the wheel had enough tension. But then I have the experience. Others depend on a tension measurement with a tensiometer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I added as much tension to the drive side as I felt was safe. And as much tension to nondrive without having the tire touch the frame. Spokes feel a lot tighter, but the noise and feel are still there. I'm pretty scared to ride it hard.

Do spokes ever stretch/weaken and need replacing?? Even though there havent been any dings to the rim?

Could extreme temperatures cause this? I dont love my road bike as much as mtbs, so it lives on the porch. Porch is closed in, so its not exposed to rain or sun, but temps have been over 100 for last few weeks, and winter get cold. Maybe extreme temp change made them brittle?
 

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rob_co2 said:
I added as much tension to the drive side as I felt was safe. And as much tension to nondrive without having the tire touch the frame. Spokes feel a lot tighter, but the noise and feel are still there. I'm pretty scared to ride it hard.

Do spokes ever stretch/weaken and need replacing?? Even though there havent been any dings to the rim?

Could extreme temperatures cause this? I dont love my road bike as much as mtbs, so it lives on the porch. Porch is closed in, so its not exposed to rain or sun, but temps have been over 100 for last few weeks, and winter get cold. Maybe extreme temp change made them brittle?
That is NOT how to tension/dish a wheel. The rim must be centered between the axle locknuts for the bike to handle properly. The non drive side spokes are going to be whatever tension they need to be with the wheel dished correctly. sometimes this means they will feel very soft. Not an issue of the spokes stretching, being old, or brittle.

Wheels do need to be rebuilt if the spokes fatigue and start breaking or will not stay true and/or the rim is damaged..
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
shiggy said:
That is NOT how to tension/dish a wheel. The rim must be centered between the axle locknuts for the bike to handle properly. The non drive side spokes are going to be whatever tension they need to be with the wheel dished correctly. sometimes this means they will feel very soft. Not an issue of the spokes stretching, being old, or brittle.

Wheels do need to be rebuilt if the spokes fatigue and start breaking or will not stay true and/or the rim is damaged..
How much are we talking about here? Judging by the chainstays, the dish was about .5cm off center this morning on my commute and I didnt feel any handling difference. I tightened some more, its about .25cm off now. With the extra tension it seems be slightly less noise, and only in a few cogs, where the most torque is produced.

Never broke a spoke, never damaged or had to true the rim. Would anything cause cause the spokes to loosen? Heat/Cold? Lots of torque from intervals?
 

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I would run through a wheelbuilding guide to get an idea of what's involved in getting correct spoke tension, dish, etc. I like Sheldon Brown's.

I have only ever handbuilt 3 wheels in my life, so blind leading the blind here, but without knowing the process I don't think I would be messing with it too much.
 
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