How to tighten the spokes on a bicycle wheel

Step Three. Tensioning the Spokes

This step is considered final and easy to complete. You just need to make sure that the nipples are screwed in the same number of turns. If the needles are short, then this can be determined by the number of visible “steps” of the thread in the nipples

After all the steps are completed, you need to install the wheel with the dialed spokes on a special machine or any other device (you can use a bicycle for this). It is in this position that all the irregularities will be visible. the skew of the wheel in any direction can be corrected by adjusting the twist of the nipples. In most cases, half a turn is sufficient to align the wheel. Please note that such a check must be carried out twice. when the wheel is horizontal and when it is vertical.

A bicycle without spokes and a central axle in wheels

Is a bicycle without spokes in wheels possible? Yes, recent developments offer rover models that are not designed to use the familiar wheel with a tire, axle, rim and spokes. They are surprising not only in that they actually challenge the statement about putting sticks in wheels and that the wheel cannot be invented. It turns out that we owe the “discovery” of such an element without using the central axis to an Italian named Franco Sbarro, and today you can see prototypes and working models of almost any type of transport using such wheels, including rovers.

For bikes, the spokeless wheel design is a very large bearing, while the inner part of the wheel remains stationary as it moves. In theory, such a wheel model should be superior to a conventional wheel due to its lightness, lower center of gravity and increased stability. And what is the amazing appearance of such a detail! However, such wheels are very expensive and technologically complex to manufacture. In addition, problems with protection from dirt, fastening of parts and the ability to equip with brakes need to be addressed. Also, while there are difficulties when passing bends.

Nevertheless, the idea of ​​a bicycle without spokes appealed to Sylvain Gerbert, a Frenchman, who in 2013 presented an interesting model of an electric bike equipped with just such wheels. Called Synapse, the concept features electric motor-driven power transmission to the rims and an unusual frame-to-wheel connection. Of course, questions arise as to whether the wheels are securely fastened and whether it is possible to overcome road obstacles on such a rover, but wheels without spokes have already begun.

Sequence of work

Initially, you should dismantle the wheel and install it in a special device that allows you to balance it. If you are unable to locate such a device, simply turn the bike over and place it on the handlebars and seat without removing the wheels. To check how the spokes are tensioned, we make a swinging motion. Thus, it is necessary to check all the elements, the deviation of the free stroke should not exceed 2 mm.

Each problematic part should be marked with, for example, a piece of electrical tape.

Using a special wrench, tighten the loosened elements to the required level, everyone needs equal tension. Tensioning these structural elements on a bicycle should be the same length, in order to understand whether you did it correctly, it is enough to count the number of threads remaining after tensioning the nipples.

If you do not initially set the nipple tension at the same level, you will not be able to get a reliable picture of the curvature of the rim.

After full stretching, most likely, a figure-eight curvature of the rim will appear, horizontal beating may appear. To eliminate these problems, we use a special centering device. If there is no device, it is necessary to determine the boundaries of the curvature with the help of chalk, for which we fix the chalk so that when the wheel turns, a trace remains on its rim. Thus, we find the peak of the deviation, with which we will have to work in the future.

If you find a hump on the right side on the width of four spokes, tighten two of them by half a turn at the left flange. Give two more pieces at the right flange half a turn. Thus, we achieve the alignment of the rim to the left. If there are not four, but three knitting needles on the hump, pull the first one half a turn, and release two by a quarter.

By following these steps sequentially, you can eliminate the horizontal curvature in the form of a figure eight.

To start debugging the rim and eliminate the vertical runout (ellipse), it is enough to reapply the chalk, but this time we move it from the edge of the wheel to the center, determining the strongest deviation as a result. The strongest deviation, determined as a result of the shallow check, is eliminated by tensioning the nipples where the bushing hole is. When there are three knitting needles in the place of the problem, we tighten the middle one half a turn, and lower the outer ones by a quarter. With an even number of parts in the center of the curvature, all are tightened by half a turn.

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After correcting the misalignment of the rim, it is recommended to re-check the tension of all elements, and, if necessary, bring their tension to the desired level.

The second step is editing

To carry it out, you need some tool. a spoke wrench and a screwdriver. And you need to do the work in strict accordance with the step-by-step instructions:

  • Lubricate the connection points with the nipples on the wheel parts and the threaded part of the spokes.
  • If there is a recessed entrance on the flange only on one side, then the spokes must be installed from the opposite side.
  • Nine spokes are installed in the flange. this is done through one hole, that is, there should be a free “niche” between the spokes.
  • If the work is carried out with the rear wheel, then the spokes are mounted to the right of the hub.
  • We find the same located on the right side of the valve inlet on the rim, place a spoke in it and twist the nipple, making 2 turns.
  • From the first installed spoke, we count 4 inputs clockwise and mount the second spoke and also twist the nipple with two turns.
    Note:the sleeve with the threaded part must be located to the one who carries out the work.
  • In the process of installing the spokes, you need to check the correct operation. the spokes should connect the rim to the right with the hub flange, and there should be three free entrances between the installed spokes.

The subsequent spokes are installed according to the same principle, and then the wheel must be turned towards you with the opposite side and the spokes must be installed in the order indicated above. Installation is started with the key spoke, which is located to the left of the valve inlet.

Note: when all the spokes are installed, you need to align the nipples to the same twist depth. That is why it is recommended to make 2 turns in each case so as not to make a mistake, and it will be easier to regulate them at the end of the work.

How to tighten the spokes on a bicycle

Fitting the spokes of a bicycle wheel

Adjusting the spokes on a bicycle is carried out in several stages. All work can be done at home if the necessary tools are available.


Initial adjustment phase

Do not forget that the tightening of the spokes on a bicycle is carried out with the camera and tire removed, so as not to damage them during operation. Before starting to tighten the knitting needles, their nipples must be wrapped to the same depth. Note that nipples come in three basic sizes (3.22 mm, 3.3 mm and 3.45 mm) and for ease of use the key must fit exactly to the nipple. Otherwise, the key will slip. There is also such a subtlety that if the needles are short, then after tightening the nipples, the threads are visible at the same level, if they are long, then the outgoing end of the spoke is set at the level that the nipple splines reach. Evenly wrapped nipples greatly simplify the adjustment process.

Then screw the nipples from the valve hole, each one turn. The spokes are then checked for tension. If the tension is insufficient, then you can make another turn. the main thing is not to overdo it in this matter. If the turnover is superfluous, then when passing the second half of the wheel rim, it may be difficult to tighten the next nipples. In this case, adjusting the bicycle wheel with the spokes requires a reverse stroke, that is, you should perform a reverse rotation at each twisted nipple.

Further adjustment of the spokes on the bicycle, if possible, should proceed in the following direction. the assembled wheel must be installed on a special centering device, with the help of which irregularities are eliminated. If this is not possible, the wheel is mounted on a bicycle, which turns the wheels upside down. After that, the wheel to be installed must be carefully inspected. First, the loose knitting needles are determined. The method of determination is quite simple. for this you need to step with your fingers towards the spoke, the amplitude of the vibration should be 1–2 mm. If it is larger, then the problem needles are tightened.

Radial runout (ellipse, egg)

To edit the eight, popularly called the “egg” is somewhat more difficult.

First of all, remove the tire to make sure the curve is the rim and not the rubber, as is often the case.

On an upside down bike, spin the wheel, and with an object on top, mark with chalk the area of ​​the rim that lifts this object. Try to localize the very center, the main spoke.

Now you have to follow three directions at the same time: start to loosen the tension, starting with the center spoke, pull the adjacent two spokes exactly the same number of revolutions so that there is no eight, and pull the spokes at the opposite end of the wheel to prevent an egg from appearing elsewhere.

It seems very difficult (it is) and only experience is needed here. You need to understand that you will not wind up anything particularly terrible, and you can always start all over again, loosening, and then evenly pulling all the knitting needles.

tighten, spokes, bicycle, wheel

Just like in the case of the figure eight. after straightening the eggs, you need to “seat” the knitting needles, pressing on them with all your weight.

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Lateral runout

If you have an ordinary figure eight, that is, lateral runout, then there is no need to remove the tire. Just turn the bike upside down and sit next to it, the process will be long.

The first step is to determine the degree of curvature of the rim. If you have vibrake, then everything is simple. bring them to the minimum distance so that the rim only slightly touches the shoe in the most protruding place. Scrolling the wheel, you will immediately see in which direction the rim led.

If the brakes are disc brakes, then put something like a screwdriver or a handle on the feathers and bring it to the rim. At this stage, we just look at how much the curvature is and in which direction.

Take the chalk, and resting your hand on the feathers, lean it firmly against the most protruding section of the rim. Rotate slowly, making sure that the hand with the chalk is still. Thus, it turns out that in the place of the greatest curvature, the chalk trace is most pronounced, losing strength and completely disappearing to the edges of the figure eight.

Determine the center of the figure eight, and find the most central spoke. If the rim is pulled to the right, then this spoke will attach to the right side of the hub, and vice versa.

Logic dictates that the side in which the rim has gone should be weakened. This is correct, but the trick is that the opposite side must be pulled simultaneously with exactly the same amount of effort. If you do not do this, then the rim may lead in a radial direction, and it will be more difficult to straighten it.

How To True A Wheel

On each side of the center knitting needle (we have the right one, since the figure eight is right), two knitting needles will be left. Pull them exactly the same number of turns.

Move on to the edges of the figure eight (just do not confuse which knitting needles you have already touched). But with each new “layer” of spokes, reduce the number of revolutions. If, for example, you started with a half turn, then you can finish with 1/8.

Now spin the wheel, press the chalk again and see what happens. It won’t work very well at first. If you overdid it, then the figure eight can take the opposite direction, it can also split into two small eights.

Keep up the good work until you have captured everything. For disc brakes, you can not try too much: minor eights can only influence the opinion of aesthetes. On vibrating racks, you need to bring the rim to perfect condition.

When, after all, after a long time you managed to achieve your goal, remove the wheel from the frame, remove the eccentric and lay it on the floor, flat. Leaning the sleeve on the floor, grab the rim with both hands and push with all your weight on the wheel. Then grab another place on the rim and repeat. Then flip the wheel and start over.

You can hear a crackling. do not be alarmed, the spokes are shrinking. After such a procedure, you need to check again for eights, and if something manifests itself, then again correct and “seat”.

How to change a broken spoke

The spokes tend to break, so when going on a hike, even if it is completely asphalt, it makes sense to take spare heels with you. Please note that if the spoke breaks on the side from which the cassette is installed, then it will have to be removed. This means that you must have at least a special slotted and adjustable wrench. The whip, if anything, can be replaced with a rag.

To change a spoke, you have to remove the tire. Also remove the rim tape (which protects the tube from the spoke holes in the rim). Pull the broken spoke up.

Slide a new spoke through the spoke hole on the hub. To pull it to the hole in the rim, you will have to bend it thoroughly. no panic, this is essentially a wire, again it will become straight under tension.

Study the knitting pattern, your new one should fit exactly the same. repeat the same algorithm as on the other knitting needles.

Insert the nipple from above, screw it into the spoke thread, tighten. If several are broken, then carry out similar work.

Align the eights and shrink the spokes.

If the spokes constantly fly out, and even on the one hand, then the matter here may be (except for overload) that some spokes are strongly tightened and take on more load.

We need a tensometer, a device that measures the tension of the spokes, it is in any bicycle workshop. If you are in the field, then release all the spokes, and begin to pull them evenly (to the touch).

It so happens that the rim is very curved, and in order to straighten the figure eight, you have to tighten the spokes of one side strongly. they fly out when a certain load threshold is exceeded. Then you better put up with some eight.

I hope that these simple tips will help my readers not to give up in front of eights, and to correct them on their own. The main thing here is experience. The more often you do this, the faster and more accurately you do.

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How to edit eights on wheels and change spokes

Among novice cyclists (and not so much) there is an opinion that editing eights is something bordering on magic, and an ordinary person does not need to do this.

How to fix a broken or loose spoke

When my first collapsing 100lb bike started to hit the rim of the vibrake with the rim of the eights because of the eights, I had to do something.

All agreed in one opinion: a specialist should rule the eights, otherwise “it will be worse”. What could be worse, when everything was already very bad for me, I did not understand. Therefore, I bought a key for the knitting needles, sat down on the Internet and began to put into practice the instructions I read.

The most surprising thing for me was that I straightened the eights. The very first time. And I hope with this article to prove to my readers-novice cycling enthusiasts that it is not at all difficult. I don’t mean to say that I became a wheeled guru. On the contrary, I do not know how to assemble wheels from scratch. experience and flair are needed here.

Let’s start. Of course, you do not have a wheel assembly stand, so you only need a spoke wrench and chalk from the tool. Do not try to twist the spokes nipples with pliers. you will tear off the edges.

Editing “Umbrella

There is also such a concept. “umbrella”. Look, most likely your wheel rim is not perfectly in the middle of the hub, but offset to one side. This is called an “umbrella”. The values ​​of this displacement depend on the type of brakes and the design of the frame.

You need to edit the “umbrella” in the same way as the eights. pull the knitting needles on one side, and loosen the knitting needles on the other side by the same force. Only here, in contrast to the editing of eights, the effort should not fade, but remain even along the entire circumference.

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Just the other day I straightened the eight for the first time. It seems to have worked out, probably today I will go to check how and what.

In the sense that it could be that the rim seems to have straightened, but after manipulating the spokes, some of them are tightened too loosely or too tightly?

Ivan, all you can do is try the knitting needles with your hands: if there are no dangling needles, then everything is in order.

Hey Prickly, Spoke wheels from scratch is a useful skill, although not very practical, if you need it every five years.

VeloValera, regarding the replacement of pads on hydraulics, there is no material for the article. You take off the wheel, squeeze the pad tongues and pull them out of the caliper. Then you take new ones, insert them into the spring (it should also be new) and carefully push the structure back. You can try, it’s very simple. nothing can be broken.

Thanks for the article, Victor. To the collection of repair manuals! 🙂

Good afternoon, Victor, the question of editing eights did not arise for me yet, except in childhood, but even then I did not do it myself, but asked someone from my acquaintances who understood this. But for the future, it seems to me, it will be very useful, to be able to cope with these problems, ideally I want to learn how to spoke wheels from scratch, if you deal with this, then editing the eights, I think, will not cause any difficulties. Any skill is 5% theory and 95% practice. I have already reviewed a bunch of videos on the topic of setting up and repairing a bicycle, in theory I can do everything, but in practice I haven’t checked it yet, there was no need, and it’s thankless to go into something that already works well))
I think to master the lacing, when (rather, even if) I am going to change the V-breaks to disk hydraulics, the bushings will have to be changed. Eights, too, so to speak, as they become available. Setting the switches is the same story.
Although I had a little experience in setting up, I set up the switches for my friend’s child, but it was a long time ago (I didn’t have my bike then), without a theoretical part (I did it based on intuition and considerable experience in auto repair), and, of course, without practice.

“The more often you do this, the faster and more accurately you do it.” )) I would not like to do this often. But, I think, in any case, I will have to, sooner or later, so thanks for the theory. Now I would like to read how to change the pads on disc hydraulics, and approximately with what frequency. Thanks for the site