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Tightening spokes?

Discussion in 'Maintenance and Servicing' started by Fa1c0n, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. Hey,

    Seems pretty simple to do. Tightening the spokes...
    But few questions:
    1. Do I NEED to put the bike on a jack to do this, or can I have it sitting on the ground?
    2. Any tips or tricks?
    3. How bad can I fcuk it up?
    4. Anyone know where to get a bike jack for 250-300kg from cheap?

  2. *cough* Bump *cough*
  3. You can pull the wheel out of shape is probably the worst that can happen. I think pull the wheel off to do this on the bench. That way you can check it for spoke tension and wheel trueness.

  4. Yeah.... I don't think I am that capable. Maybe I should get the stand.
  5. It depends what you want to do. If you need to true up a distorted wheel some skill is involved. A number of people have told me over the years that it's easy but I don't believe them :D.

    On the other hand, if all you want to do is ensure that all your spokes go 'ping' rather than 'clonk' you'd have to be pretty hamfisted to do any serious damage. Well, I haven't managed it yet, anyway, and I've had pretty extensive experience with the Ural, given what a hard time an outfit gives its wheels.

    First off, it won't make much difference whether the wheel is on or off the ground. The preload on a properly tightened spoke is much greater than any additional tension resulting from the weight of the bike on the wheel. However, you'll be turning the wheel quite a lot for access so having it up in the air makes life easier.

    Theory says that every spoke should have the same note when pinged with a screwdriver or similar instrument. My ear ain't that good so I just go for reasonable uniformity and no clonks. So far it's working.

    Go slowly. Unless a spoke is obviously loose and wobbly you shouldn't ever be going more than a quarter turn on the nipple at a time and an eighth is safer until you acquire the 'feel' for what the spokes are doing.

    Changing the tension on an individual spoke will affect other spokes and so it's an iterative process. What I do is ping each spoke in turn. Any that clonk or are seriously flat in their ping get a tweak, then I continue on round. After I've been round once I'll go round again doing the same but any needing attention will probably only require half or quarter of a tweak this time. I'll then ping them all again but I haven't yet needed to adjust any third time round.

    Result: the Ural's wheels are all still true and, having settled down from new, require much less attention than they did when new.

    Give it a go. It's really not that frightening once you get into it, even with a tin ear like mine. If, by some freak mischance, you do manage to put a warp in a wheel, well, getting a wheel trued professionally isn't the most expensive rescue operation on a bike part 'cos it's really, really unlikely that you'll actually damage any of the parts.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. the only thing I'd add is that you might want to get the wheel rebalanced after just as a check.
  7. I think best to put the bike on a paddock stand so you can spin the wheel to check for true.

    To be honest, I reckon you should take it somewhere... I tried to do spokes on a pushbike once. It's difficult once it literally goes pear shaped. Not only left and right, but up and down. Adjusting spoke is an art-form all it's own.

    With that pushbike wheel... ended up taking it to a bike shop. Job done.
  8. I was planning on doing 1/8th turns on every second spoke all the way around. Then doing the other spokes.
    Repeat this till they are all correct.
    Doing this should prevent warping the wheel right?

    I am not going to be able to put it on a paddock stand, its 300kg of HD... I will need a hydrolic jack.

    What method did you use to fcuk it up? Cause Ill make sure to not do that.

  9. You can try and 'twang" the spokes to hear if they sort of sound the same, and that may get you in the ballpark.

    As for my fcuking it up, the wheel because eccentric around the axle, depsite best efforts to keep it all true. Then you got the headache of the side to side true as well.

    I guess here if you're only tightening up a couple of loose spokes, you might be ok. As I said, twang the spoke and see if you can get it to sound similar to the others.

    The only thing is though, the spokes become loose for a reason... maybe the rim is out of true.

    No harm in you sussing it out though.
  10. I imagine that motorcycle spokes are similar to pushbike spokes, so found this warning:
    • When using a spoke wrench, remember to turn the wrench the opposite direction from normal. To tighten, turn left! To loosen, turn right! This is because you're working from the underside of the screw.
    • Take care! It's easy to make your wheels more out of true (out of alignment) than they were originally.
  11. Thanks guys for the tips guys.
    It is just part of a service, I am not replacing any spokes or tightening loose ones.
    The manual tells me to tighten the spokes so that is the plan....
  12. Falcon, it's actually quite easy if you've got some patience. If possible get the weight off the wheels so that they are all under equal tension all the way around the circumference.
    If you mark the rim with a crayon it's easy to see your start point, or you can use chalk on the tyre to mark each spoke as you adjust it. You will feel the tension difference in any that are particularly off.

    I'd start by loosening every second spoke on each side by one full turn, alternating sides as you go, and then retightening each one half a turn.
    As you tighten each one you'll feel any that don't have the same amount of tension. Just do an extra half turn as needed to ensure that they are all even.
    You should finish by adding a quarter turn to all of them to lock them down.

    If you do over tighten any then it will pull that side out of true by shortening the spoke. If you loosen any too much then they can push the opposite side out of true by lengthening them.

    To finish and check your work just use the chalk again on the rim to see if the wheel is running true. Use the forks or fender to support the chalk and when the wheel's spinning quickly you pick up any high points with the chalk.

    Best of luck.

  13. Oh man! That is a really great guide!
    Thanks mate!