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".
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 ??
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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 >>
Question for you cycle experts. Would tubeless tyres fit on a magnesium alloy wheel? Please see link below of 26" magnesium alloy wheels that i am interested in.
Thank you... Read more >>
How can I remove the hub end caps from my front wheel? The wheel is a 2014 TBC Revolution Trail 27.5 with 32 spokes. I tried pulling them off by hand and with a pair of pliers but was unsuccessful.
The reason I'm doing this is because I noticed movement when I grip the wheel and move it side to side. I suspect the hub bearings and would like to remove the caps to have closer look and possible replace the bearings.
Here are some pictures of the wheel and hub:
Hello to everyone,
I'm new to the forum and I want to congratulate with all of you for your excellent work! Now we can go to the serious stuff:
I'm not an expert of bikes and I'm trying to fix my old TREK. The freehub is broken so I decided to replace it. It was not easy but, finally, I removed it from the bike. Now I have two questions:
1) I'm not sure I removed it correctly because the back of the freehub is different from what I can see online
2) if I removed it correctly, can someone tell me what kind of freehub is this? I want to buy the replacement <... Read more >>
I have a road bike with a Shimano Tiagra, 12-25T cassette. I have a freewheel that should provide higher power on top gears. How would I go about removing the cassette and hub and installing the freewheel?
What exactly is needed? Is it possible
Will swapping the cassette... Read more >>
The rear wheels seems to fit fine. The spacing was perfect. Both wheels are off of different Raleighs. The rear brakes need changing. The bent 27" forks are being replaced with 26" forks. I serviced the bottom bracket and put a single chain drive and new peddles on as well. I think it will work but until it's finished, you never know for sure. There will be 4 or 5 pics. Will change the drop bars to flat bars, put a comfort seat on and see where it goes from there. If anyone has any advice I am interested in hearing it.
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I have a fairly nice Raleigh with a bad 27" front wheel. Too far gone for truing. I have a nice spare 26" wheel set.
Can I replace the 27"wheels with 26" wheels. I'm thinking the brakes pads would need to be move 1/2 inch and as the replacement rear 26" wheel is a 3 speed Shimano hub, their would be no dersillers to set up. Am I missing anything that would derail my plan?... Read more >>
I picked up Nishiki Custom Sport with what I think is a Shimano 600 freewheel. Odd set up. The freewheel has the axel bearings were the freewheel removal tool would normally go. the only adjustment on the free wheel side is a single nut which goes up against the bearing seal. I wondering if I am missing a part or is that the way it is supposed to be? anyone familiar with this setup?... Read more >>
Recently the front wheel on my 2012 Specialized Sirrus Sport became wobbly. I'm the kind of guy who would normally just take this to the shop to get trued by a professional, but I'm planning a long bike trip this Fall and decided I need to learn how to keep my wheels true myself. I went down to the bicycle dealer and bought two things: a triangle-shaped spoke wrench that fits three size nipples (0, 1, 2), and a $100 truing stand. I wanted to do this right.
I was not expecting the problem I ran into: I could fit the wrench (size 2) onto about 2/3rds of the spoke nipples, bu... Read more >>