Which way to turn the spokes on a bicycle

Force applied

After completing the work, you need to check the tension of the spokes. To do this, it is recommended to use a special tool. an analog or digital meter. In any case, the tension on the rear wheel spokes requires more force than the front.

Algorithm of action depending on the type of bicycle spokes

In order to figure out how to properly tighten the knitting needles, you need to familiarize yourself with their main types.

These parts vary in length and thickness. The thicker the spoke, the more strength and weight it has.

The thickness of the spokes should be adjusted according to the type of bike. For extreme riding, you need the most durable and thick parts, and for everyday riding in urban conditions, thinner options are suitable.

By type, the head is distinguished by straight and bent knitting needles. Most bicycles use curved bicycles. They have the lowest cost. Straight spokes, typical of expensive branded bicycle models, are flat, as well as cylindrical with butted. that is, tapering towards the middle. The advantages of this design are strength, resistance to stress and reduced product weight.

Wheel spokes are adjusted in several steps.

Pneumatic tires are a game changer

Inventor / Developer: John Boyd Dunlop

which, turn, spokes, bicycle

Source: Geni / Wikimedia Commons

In 1888, Irish inventor John Boyd Dunlop came up with the clever idea of ​​filling rubber tires with air to provide a smoother ride than existing solid rubber tires.

Like all important inventions, Dunlop’s invention was born of a problem very close to his heart. His son was ordered by a doctor to ride a bike to help with a bad cold.

Dunlop noticed that his son’s trip was very uncomfortable and decided to make his trip easier. He fitted canvas tires glued with liquid rubber onto his bike. he quickly patented this.

His invention soon found the help of the famous cyclist Willie Hume, who was the first to use his tires for racing. The rest is history.

Birth of Velocipede / Boneshaker

Inventor / Developer: Pierre and Ernest Michaux / Michaux Company

The bike was a two-wheeled bicycle with cranks on its front wheel, which consisted of a combination of a wooden frame with metal tires, making it very uncomfortable to ride the cobbled streets.

It was invented in France sometime in the 1860s and was first produced by Michaux between 1867 and 1869. Velocipede will lose popularity soon after.

Because of this design, it quickly earned the nickname “Boneshaker”. a name that will stand the test of time.

Bicycles are physics in action

Let’s summarize briefly with a simple diagram that shows all of these different elements of loop science in action:

What is required

Before tightening the spokes on a bicycle at home, you need to prepare the following tools:

  • Spoke wrench, which must be selected in accordance with the size of the nipples and the diameter of the spokes;
  • Special machine for aligning and straightening spokes. If this tool is not available, you can simply set the bike up.
  • Zonometer. a tool for aligning the wheel rim with respect to the hub.
  • Bicycle spoke tension meter.

The first bike could be Chinese.

Back in 2010, a Chinese historian created a recreation of what he believed could have been invented 2,500 years ago by Chinese inventor Lu Ban, which is believed to be a large wooden device with intricate mechanisms and pedals to make it move, and technically speaking, it was a tricycle.

His findings have yet to be verified and accepted by his peers, but it’s definitely an interesting device.

How to correctly install and / or tighten the spokes on a bicycle

No matter how the statement of bicycle masters sounds, but the problem with installing / replacing and tightening the spokes on a bicycle wheel is the most common problem when customers contact service points. But for experienced cyclists, such statistics are not at all surprising. thin spokes have a great influence on the dynamics of the bike, and the quality of riding, and on the safety of the bike.

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In order to tighten the spokes, a special tool is used. a spoke wrench. The bicycle parts under consideration are installed and tightened by twisting the nipple, while the main point in the process is the uniform tension of all the spokes. this serves as a guarantee of even distribution of the load on the wheel rim.

In general, bicycle wheel lacing can be done in different ways, but the most popular and reliable are radial and cross. At home, experienced cyclists often make a three-cross spoke setting, that is, the spokes in the wheel intersect three times with each other.


Self-tensioning of the knitting needles is a rather difficult job that takes a lot of time. It is especially difficult for people who perform the procedure for the first time. To successfully solve the problem, it is necessary to prepare special tools, without them it will not be possible to repair the wheels. The following tools are required:

  • Spoke key. Used for untwisting or twisting nipples. Spoke sizes and bindings vary by bike model. The tool must exactly match the parameters of the elements, otherwise the work will not work.
  • Wheel straightening and aligning machine. If there is no such device, you can adjust the spokes by turning the bike upside down.
  • Zontometer. Serves to center the rims in relation to the hub.
  • Needle tension meter.
  • Dismantling wrench set.
  • Screwdriver.

When inspecting the wheels on a bicycle, tighten the loosened spokes. Recommended values ​​apply for different models. On the front wheels, the tension force should be lower than on the rear.

Spoke wrench Wheel straightening and aligning machine Zonometer Spoke tension gauge

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.

Silver Zhaben’s electric bike without spokes

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.

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.
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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.

Turn the spoke wrench this direction to tighten.

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

Surprisingly enough, the spokes are called one of the most frequently repaired rover parts. Indeed, these subtle details largely determine the dynamics of the bike, the quality and safety of riding.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

How To True A Bicycle Wheel

Adjusting the umbrella

The defect manifests itself in the displacement of the rim to the side, an uneven position in relation to the center of the hub. The risk of deformation depends on the design of the frame, the shape of the brakes. Sometimes these problems arise due to improper wheel assembly.

To fix the “umbrella” it is necessary to tighten the knitting needles on one side, loosen. on the other. The procedure is similar to the elimination of the “eight”. The only difference is that during the straightening process it is necessary to maintain uniform tension of the elements along the entire circumference.

Correction of “figure eight”, “ellipse”, adjustment of the “umbrella” may be required not only for beginners, but also for experienced athletes. To understand how to tighten the spokes on a bicycle, you need to follow the detailed step-by-step instructions. All manipulations should be performed with great care to maintain the integrity of the rim. After completion, it is imperative to carry out adjustment to identify the remaining defects.