58. How to Tension Wheel Spokes
Learn how to properly tension the spokes in a wheel.
In this video, we'll learn how to properly tension the spokes in a wheel. Spoke tension is important to ensure your wheels are strong, reliable and long lasting.
Spokes that are too loose will continue to loosen and require constant wheel truing. Spokes that are too tight will cause damage to the rim, spoke nipples and hub flanges. All of the spokes in the wheel should have approximately the same average tension.
For this job you'll need a wheel truing stand, an appropriately sized spoke wrench and a spoke tension meter. Park Tool makes a simple and affordable tension meter called the TM-1. Check the links beside this video for places you can order this tool online.
To find out what tension your spokes require, you'll first need to measure the diameter of your spokes. The Park TM-1 tension meter comes with a handy spoke diameter gauge. Use this gauge to find the smallest slot your spokes fit into. If your spokes are butted and have multiple diameters, measure the smallest diameter on the length of the spoke.
Using the tension meter's included conversion chart, find your spoke diameter and then locate the tension you want to use. Spoke tension requirements will vary depending on the type of rim you have. Lighter rims require less tension, while heavier rims can handle more tension. If you're unsure, check with the manufacturer of your rim. For this exercise we'll be tensioning our spokes to 107 kilograms force (kgf), which equals 24 on the spoke tension meter.
Holding the tension meter horizontally, squeeze the handle and place the spoke between the posts as shown. Then release the handles. Now check the reading on the meter's scale. You can cross reference this number with the conversion chart to see how many kilograms force your spoke has. As you can see, the tension on our spoke is far too low. Now measure all of the spokes on your wheel, one side at a time. They should all have approximately the same average tension. Due to imperfections in the hub and rim, the tension will rarely be exactly the same for all spokes. A difference of 20% between spokes is acceptable.
On front wheels the tension should be equal on both sides. On rear wheels the tension will be higher on the right side, or drive side of the wheel. Therefore proper spoke tension should be measured on both sides, but set to the right side spokes of rear wheels.
To increase the tension, turn all of the spokes around the entire wheel 1/4 counter clockwise and then measure again. Repeat this step until your spoke tension is within range all the way around. Then true your wheel as explained in the video titled "How to True a Wheel".
So today I got a flat tire (unrelated, it was a nail, extracted, repaired. All good) and when I pulled over to try to find what caused it, I noticed that my rim was rubbing the brakes the way it does when it's out of true because of a broken spoke.
The spoke is fine. It's the RIM that's been damaged, and that has damaged my calm some. I took it to my usual bike shop, guys are pros, figured they'd have an answer, no such luck. They gave me vague language about how it "looked like it h... Read more >>
We have a hand me down bike which has been in the family for 30+ years. It's original ower is now in her fourties!!! I'm attached to this bike because the memories I have with my dad riding it.
It has rusted underneath the chrome coating it had so it now all pitted.
I was wondering, can I respray the paint back onto the rim?... Read more >>
I have a very annoying creaky/rubby noise that I cant shift although I have narrowed it down to the rear wheel and not the bike.
I have a Giant Propel Advanced SL 0 Aero Race Road Bike 2016 3 months old and 1,000 miles with the SLR 0 Aero wheels 55mm.
The noise noise only happens (always takes 10 mins to warm up) when I'm seated and putting some power down uphill or on the flats. Now I know its not the BB as I have put my friends Mavic rear wheel on my bike and my SLR r/wheel on his Scott and he gets the same noise on his bike. He's 60kg and... Read more >>
Someone just gave me a 32" cruiser bike. Yes, it's a boxstore bike, but they were kind enough to give it to me and I appreciate their generosity. The back tire has a gash in it, and I'm having a hard time finding a replacement. I'm contemplating downsizing the wheel set to a more common size. Seems like it will work as the bike is very simple: single speed, coaster brake. Spatial reasoning isn't my forte so sometimes I look at things like this thinking they will work, only to find out I'm mistaken. What do I need to think through on such a swap? Thanks in advance!!!... Read more >>
I have a 1997 Giant Ferrago. Great bike, bulletproof. I was changing the rear tube, and doing a bit of lube to both wheels. When all was said and done, I had a left over spring that I think came off the bike. But where?
... Read more >>
I just tuned my '76 Schwinn cruiser up for spring, and after riding as far as my daughter's bus stop my rear wheel has shifted over far enough that the tire is hard against the frame. So I readjust, tighten it back down, and in the same time my wheel has shifted again. It's gone as tight as it can. I'm wondering if the mounting brackets of the fender are causing the nut to slip. Perhaps moving them to the inside of the frame would help? Any suggestions?
Edit: It only seems to be the drive side that slips. The chain is loose and the tire presses against the non-drive side under the... Read more >>
So I have this lovely ti tourer with shimano xtr hbm960 hubs, and I am hoping to service these hubs. I see a metal cap on both ends of the hubs both front and back and the metal cap has a space that looks like I can put a flat head screw driver into to pry it off, it has no flats like the other cones I've dealt with. Can't find how to on the internet. Has anyone dealt with these hubs?
http://imgur.com/0uLqgOw... Read more >>
I have a 1987 Cannondale racing road bike that I have been using to ride on crushed stone and paved trails. The wheels have worn out and need replacing. I was wondering if I could get a slightly wider wheel that could support a wider tire. The crushed stone makes control a bit hard at times. I am looking for more stability from the bike.
I like the feel of the bike and am very comfortable with the road set up. I would rather not have to buy a new bike.
golfguy826... Read more >>
I was wondering if someone could recommend to me which removal tool is needed to remove this freewheel? I recently broke a couple spokes and the freewheel needs to be removed to access the hole to put a new spoke in. I put the ruler there to measure the diameter of the space, it's about 35mm-ish. I was looking at park tools freewheel recommendation site, but don't see one that would necessarily match. Would the FR-6 or FR-8 work? Thanks!
The bi... Read more >>
I got this from Consumer Reports. It effects disc equipped bicycles from 1998 -2015. Including major brands like Cannondale, Dimondback and Specialized.
The quick release wheel lever can come open and get jammed against the disc brake.
To see if your bike is effected go to: quickrelease-recall.com... Read more >>
Hi, I'm having some trouble reattaching my daughter's rear wheel to the frame after fixing her flat. It's a 20" wheel, single speed, with linear pull brakes. I have it reinstalled and with what seems to be a good tension on the chain, but it's rubbing the brakes and it's a real chore to pedal.
I had to go through this just last week when my son did the same with his. It was a learning curve (lots of youtube help) but I got it right on the third try. But he has horizontal forks where the axle goes on, so it seemed to be just a matter of getting it the right distance and holding it ... Read more >>
Just bought a new pair of 700c hybrid wheelset with an inside rim width of 19mm. I have tried to fit schwalbe 700 x 40c tyres on them but the tyres just pop out from the rim when inflated. It seems to be a loose fit. Somebody please advise.
Thanks... Read more >>
I bought a wheel set of Mavic Crossroc. The rear hub came with a 12 X 135 set up, but I need to a 12 X 142 mm so I got some adaptors and I have disassembled the hub but I can't figure out how to remove the actual end cap on the axle. Do I have to remove them, if yes how ? If no do the 142 mm just slides over these caps ??
Thanks... Read more >>
I removed my rear wheels on my single drive ancient Miami Sun trike, right rear bolts to bearing, left wheel has a nut on end of shaft ... I had the wheels trued, and tubes and tires replaced ... tires are .25 wider than original. Now when I try to ride it is quite a bit harder to pedal. Is there a proper tightness for the rear wheel axle nut ? or is the wider tire the culprit ? I just assume I did something slightly wrong ... Thanks... Read more >>
I need some advice on whether to repair or replace my rear wheel. I have a decent single speed road bike that a friend built together for me. I let another friend borrow it, and he decided it was a good idea to ride 6 miles on a flat (lessen learned not to let people borrow your stuff). So in doing so, he busted a spoke, and bent the rim. I removed the busted spoke and got a new tube. Its rideable but the wheel wobbles a bit, not terrible but enough to be annoying. Im not an experienced mechanic so I was wondering if this is something that is worth taking to a bike shop... Read more >>