How to tighten the spokes on a bicycle wheel

How to install and tighten spokes on a bicycle: guidelines and tips

To tighten the spokes, you need a tool called a spoke wrench. By twisting the nipple, these parts are installed and tightened. In this case, the main point is the uniformity of the tension of the spokes, which guarantees the correct distribution of the load.

The spacing of the wheel can be different, but the key ones are cross and radial. The most common and convenient is called a three-cross: this means a triple intersection of each of the parts.

How to Tighten Your Bicycle Spokes

Spoke adjustment on a bicycle can be divided into several steps, including preparing, installing parts or padding the wheel, and tensioning the spokes. All stages can be done at home with patience, skills and free time, or you can entrust the rover to the master.

The first step is to determine the length of the bike parts. The front wheel, which is considered more technically simple, is described as having the same length of parts on both sides. As for the rear, it is distinguished by different lengths due to the difference in the inclination of the bicycle spokes. This is due to the requirements for wheel alignment and the presence of speeds. To calculate the length of the parts you are looking for, online calculators are often used, where it is enough to enter data on the dimensions of other parts and get the result.

The second, mounting, step requires a rim, spokes, bushing, oil, a spoke wrench and a screwdriver. The sequence of correct actions is as follows:

  • Thoroughly lubricate the nipple connection points on the wheel parts and the threaded part of the spare parts, which guarantees a good tension of the spokes.
  • If there are deepened entrances on the flange only from one side, you need to install the spokes from the side opposite to the grooves.
  • Flange accepts nine parts with one unoccupied entry between each.
  • On the rear wheel, spare parts are placed to the right of the hub.
  • On the rim, among the entrances located on the right hand, you need to find the one located on the right side of the valve entrance and place the first spoke in it, then screw the nipple by making two turns.
  • Starting from the first spoke, four inputs are counted clockwise, the second spoke is installed and the nipple is screwed in the same way. The threaded part of the sleeve is turned towards you.
  • The installation progress must be monitored: if everything goes right, then the spokes connect the rim on the right with the hub flange, also on the right, while there are three unoccupied holes between the spare parts.
  • The next seven parts are fixed in the same way, by installing in every fourth rim hole.
  • Now you need to turn the wheel on the opposite side and install 9 spokes in turn, mounting them in the flange located on the left hand. In this case, you need to start with the key spoke, which is located to the left of the valve inlet. After putting it on, install the remaining eight knitting needles in the same way as on the previous side.
  • Inspection of the wheel should show that pairs of unoccupied entries alternate with pairs of nipple entries along the entire length of the rim. To secure the nipples, turn them two times.
  • The stage of installing tensioning parts, whose heads are located on the back of the flange. One of the spokes is threaded into the flange hole, and the bicycle hub is twisted in such a way that the direction of the already mounted parts is close to the tangent to the flanges.
  • When installing the first tensioning parts, pay attention to their installation in the rim holes that are closer to the required flange. The remaining spare parts with a tension element are recruited in the same way. If they do not reach the nipple inputs, you need to loosen the nipples of the already inserted spokes one turn.
  • When the installation of all the spokes is complete, it is necessary to screw the nipples to the same depth.
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Finally, the third step involves the tension of the spokes, which must be uniform, for which the nipples are twisted at the same level. If the parts are short, then the same number of threads should be visible after tightening. For long spare parts, the outgoing end is aligned with the slot of the nipples.

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After that, each nipple must be screwed in the direction from the valve hole one turn and the parts must be checked for tension. If it is weak, then turn the nipple again, without achieving an excessively tight tension. If you have coped with the rim by 75%, and it has become almost impossible to tighten the nipple, then this signals an extra second revolution. You can cope with this situation by unscrewing the nipple one turn back.

Finally, it is necessary to put the desired wheel on a special machine or, in the absence of one, on the rover itself: this is how you can identify the irregularities of the spare part. Pay attention to whether irregularities are conspicuous. With the horizontal nature of the unevenness, if the rim is shifted to the right side into four parts: two of them look at the left, and two. at the right flange, the left nipples are twisted ¼ turn and a similar, ¼ turn, the nipples are weakened from the right side. If this method did not help get rid of the unevenness, then you need to find the most uneven place on the left and tighten it.

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To correct vertical irregularities, it is necessary to find the place of the rim as far from the hub as possible. This is required to maximize the tension of the part in that place, which will improve the parameters of wheel rigidity and additionally move the rim to the hub.

In addition, when tensioning the spare parts, they are also used to seat them. To this end, forcefully press on the spokes where they intersect, then turn the wheel and repeat the procedure in order to shrink all the spare parts in this way. Usually, with a successful procedure, the spokes emit characteristic sounds.

Often, it is better to rely on professionals to replace and tension spokes on a bicycle in order to be sure of the result. Unfortunately, sometimes improper repairs can only exacerbate problems and even lead to “eight” wheels, so if you have the slightest doubts, it is better to give the rover to the bike workshop.

How to tighten the spokes on a bicycle

Useful to pay attention

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Elimination of horizontal and vertical irregularities

In the case when horizontal unevenness (“figure eight“) prevails with the right displacement (hump) of the rim by about 4 spokes (when two of them look at the left flange, and two at the right), then the left nipples are pulled up by a quarter of a turn, and the right ones. are weakened by the same amount. If the hump consists of three spokes: one to the left flange, two to the right, then the first is pulled half a turn, and the other two are also loosened by half a turn. If the irregularities are not eliminated in this way, then the worst left irregularity is selected. and this place is stretched.

Vertical bumps, called ellipses, are handled in a slightly different way. On the rim, a place is searched for, the farthest from the bushing, and stretched according to this pattern. If the area found consists of two knitting needles, then they are both pulled up by half a turn, and if out of three, then the middle of them is also pulled up by half a turn, and the two extreme ones. by only a quarter of a turn. This method increases the stiffness of the wheel.

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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.