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Trying to tighten spokes, makin a real mess of things... HELP!

Discussion in 'The Shop' started by Corksil, May 10, 2010.

  1. Corksil

    Corksil Chimp

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    Hey, first post in like.... 5 years :S

    I've been getting back into riding and I get my bike out to find that my rims are warped and some spokes are way too tight while others aren't even barely tight.

    I googled "how to tighten spokes" and did some reading and figured it was simple and I could handle it, being a mechanic.

    4 hours later, my rims are even further from being round, I'm gettin irritated, and very frustrated by my lack of ability to accomplish such a simple task. I have Mavic rims I think, 26 inch. It's a specialized 2004 enduro I believe.

    Any tips? The main thing I'm wondering is ..... are the spoke reverse thread? because that would explain all my time disappearing and getting them in worse shape than they were before I started.

    And also, can you tighten spokes with the tires and tubes still on? At one point I was thinking I had to take the tube/tire off and hold something on the edge of the rim while I turned the spoke with pliers.

    Atleast I didn't strip anything, but this is rly bugging me. Thanks for any replies!
     

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  2. fatnslow

    fatnslow Chimp

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    First of all, please, please, please go buy a spoke wrench from your friendly local bike shop!

    Truing wheels is a finicky business. The basic concept is dead simple, but the execution takes a lot of practice and patience. It's also much, much easier on a truing stand than on the bike, especially if you're just learning, as you can more easily see the small changes you make to the shape of the wheel.

    Spoke nipples aren't reverse threaded, but when you're turning them, it seems that way because you're turning them from the bottom, not the top like you would a regular nut or bolt. With the spoke pointing at you, it's lefty-loosey righty-tighty. Imagine the tire/tube/rim-strip not being there - if you were to turn the top of the nipple with a screw driver, the threading is normal... It's hard to describe - I hope that helps.

    The main thing to keep in mind is that when you tighten or loosen a spoke, you're not only pulling the rim side to side, you're also pulling it out of round, by changing spoke tension in relation to the spokes on the opposite side of the wheel. To avoid this, always loosen every other spoke the same amount you tighten the others. For example, if your wheel is has a hop to the left, figure out the rough beginning and end of the hop, and in that area, loosen the left pulling spokes and tighten the right pulling spokes.

    You also want to work in very small increments - a quarter turn at a time, a half turn at most. Start with the side to side hops, doing every other spoke as described above. Once you're relatively happy with the side to side aspect, you can work on up and down hops by tighening all spokes in an area, and loosening the spookes opposite them on the wheel.

    Hope this helps. Check out http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tooltips/truing.html for some tips, also.

    Good luck!

    -Josh
     
    #2 -   May 10, 2010
    Last edited: May 10, 2010
  3. ultraNoob

    ultraNoob Yoshinoya Destroyer

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    If you don't wanna pony up the $$ for a truing stand, you can always go ghetto like me. I use zip ties on both seat stays (rear wheel), or both tubes of the fork lowers. I trim and rotate the excess part of the zip tie to barely touch the hoop. From an grease monkey's standpoint... it gets it close enough.

    Follow fatnslow's or sheldon browns instructions and you'll be in good shape. Good luck!
     
  4. BIGHITR

    BIGHITR WINNING!

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    Pliers? DOL!

    I'm down with Ultranoober! Go ghetto.

    Zip ties = Bikers Duct Tape
     
    #4 -   May 10, 2010
    Last edited: May 10, 2010
  5. gonefirefightin

    gonefirefightin free wieners

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    I am willing to bet your wheels are going to need to be dished since they may be so out of funk now.....

    go to a shop.
     
  6. Corksil

    Corksil Chimp

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    I have successfully pulled my rims back to straight. They are about a 16th out of round now, which is doable for my quality tolerances. Thanks for the help guys, couldn't have done it without ya.

    Yes, I did get a spoke wrench, it made things much easier. I tried the cable tie trick, but finally settled on holding a sharpie against the fork, pointed at the rim (where rim brakes would rub) and spinning the tire. This would make a mark along the rim where it was out of round and wobbling. Adjust the spokes, use a different color sharpie and do it again. Now you have two lines to work with, different colors even :D When you're done, use acetone, rubbing alcohol, or another solvent to wipe away the sharpie marks.

    Then you can check it with the cable tie method when you're done.
     
  7. w00dy

    w00dy In heaven there is no beer

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    I like the marker technique. Very innovative.
     
  8. $tinkle

    $tinkle Expert on blowing

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    while we're on this, i broke a spoke in a race wednesday, and have a training ride tomorrow, & another race next wednesday. all that to say i don't have time to take it to a shop, so i went to my lbs w/ the broken spoke (drive side, of course) & found what i believe to be the closest match.

    upon installing it, i noticed that when tensioned the spoke is ever so slightly above the nipple, yet below the rim (where the tape will sit). the others are *not* above the nipple, so i'm wondering if i got the wrong length. it's maybe a mm difference - 3 threads or so above the nipple.

    so the Q is: under pressure on a tecky descent, should i expect problems? i'm not exactly smooth & i'm a clyde, so it will see constant abuse, i'm sure. and if this is going to be a problem, is there a trailside fix, like dremel the spoke down to be flush w/ the nip?
     
    #8 -   Jun 4, 2010
  9. HAB

    HAB Chelsea from Seattle

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    Not a problem, so long as there's enough thread to tension the spoke properly. Sounds like you grabbed one that's a mm or two too long, but no biggie.
     
    #9 -   Jun 4, 2010
  10. $tinkle

    $tinkle Expert on blowing

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    sweet
    thx.
     
  11. Steve Chase BMX

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    When looking down at the spoke, tire on the ground, spoke and nipple pointing toward the ground - turning the nipple with a spoke wrench CLOCKWISE (righty) LOOSENS..

    When workng with a spoke with the tire up, or the spoke and nipple pointing towards the sky turning the nipple CLOCKWISE TIGHTENS.

    Of this there can be no debate.

    Tightening pulls rim towards side that spoke attahes to the hub and lossening relaxes the rim.
     
  12. Kevin

    Kevin Turbo Monkey

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    I know this thread is older then my grandma, but i think you should try uploading a photo. :dirol: