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.
What You’ll Need
Measure Spoke Diameter
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.
Find Required Spoke Tension
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.
Measure Current Spoke Tension
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.
Spoke Tension – Front and Rear Wheels
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“.
- Park Tool TM-1 Spoke Tension Meter
- Park Tool SBC-1 Spoke, Bearing, and Cotter Gauge
- Park Tool TS-8 Home Truing Stand
- Park Tool TS-2.2 Home Truing Stand
- Park Tool SW Spoke Wrenches
- Park Tool SW-7 Triple Spoke Wrench
Discuss this topic in the Bicycle Repairs and Mechanics Forum
Has anyone used this for pedals and/ or bottom bracket? Is it any good? I have sounds coming from pedals & BB. 20210528_174952.jpg (Size: 37.76 KB / Downloads: 34) ...Read more
I was hoping to buy a Centaur Power Torque crank for my GT Transeo 5.0 build. The shell is 73mm though and I got a message back from them yesterday stating none of their cranks will fit this size Bottom Bracket shell. Be aware—as some retailers list that it is 68/73mm. ezgif-3-3e4fd7bb285f.png (Size: 88.74 KB / Downloads: 8) ...Read more
Hi guys! I have a used 2007 Fuji Roubaix and it has been creaking/clicking when I'm putting a heavier load on it (could be high or low gear/any gear,) but as long as I'm pedalling really hard (straining on the pedals) it's pretty pronounced from the middle of the bike by the peddles, straight down under the seat. I think it's probably the bottom bracket that's dried out, because I had the peddles...Read more
Just wondering about the possibility of upgrading only the front brake of an Apex 1 mechanical grupo to hydraulic. I figure the front brake does way more and it would save a ton of $$. What I'm wondering about is if the left hydraulic brake lever/hood would have a different shape compared to the mechanical brake right shifter. Anyone know exactly how different they are and if it would f...Read more
Hey. I recently built a gravel bike out of an old mtb and it has been going amazing for the first 200km. Today out of nowhere I noticed It was pulling to my right when I was braking particularly with the front brake. It's a cantilever braking system and I am running 42mm tires on a 700c wheelset. It's a steel frame and forks look fine (at leaset true to the eye). I did tighten the headset befor...Read more
So i have bent my drive side crank on my Devinci Kobain 2020 with a SAMOX 170 B148 30T crankset and SAMOX PF BB92 bottom bracket. Will my BB be compatible with shimano crankset and can I replace only my driveside crankarm? I attatched some images that may help 20210612_221824.jpg (Size: 42.25 KB / Downloads: 5) 20210612_221737.jpg (Size: 45.18 KB / Downloads: 5) ...Read more
So I'm repairing a bike that's equipped with Shimano "Light Action" front derailleurs. It looks to me like the gear shifter has 10 settings from low to high. But the front derailed has 3 gears like a regular bike. Any position other than 1, 5 or 10 on the handle and it just rattles and skips. Am I missing something? Thanks in advance....Read more
Long story short. I have a road bike that suddenly makes noise when I put pressure on the pedals. Doesn't matter if I sit or stand or if I keep my hand on the wheel or not. It's there. And become worse when more pressure is applied. Man I tried everything from front to back. I greased the front wheel plus the quick release. The fork bearings I maintanced a month ago. but did it just for sake of...Read more
Recently bought a new CAAD 13 and found that sticky metal plate in packaging with spare parts/bolts. Wondered what it was, searched the internet. Found Shimano manuals which state it's mandatory to use this one if bolt is touching the frame of a bike. CAAD 13 has front derailleur mounting point welded to its frame so actually now support bolt is screwed into painted aluminum surface with glossy fi...Read more
Hello everybody! Im new to the forum and I think bikes are what make people happy . Anyways im currently converging my panasonic sport 1000 to 700c. Ask me why im just dumb haha, love the frame for some odd reason but eventually wanna get a new frame. Currently on the bike I have a full tiagra groupset (besides brakes, have longer arm brakes) the only problem i am having is with the holes for t...Read more
A friend who often stops over to go for a ride showed up tonight with another guy I hadn't seen in years who just bought a new bike. It was a full suspension Mongoose from Walmart. They asked me to adjust the derailleurs and brakes. It had V-brakes and the arms were stamped steel. They flexed so much I couldn't get them to skid the wheels without rubbing the out of true wheels. I finally found a c...Read more
So I'm finishing up a build on a 90's GT Outpost Trail. I took the set from 7 speed up to 10 speed. I got a Zee rear derailleur and a SLX iSpec B Shifter. So I get into tuning the derailleur, and at first I can't get it to shift down into the lowest gear. I realize the integrated hanger probably needs to be pulled out and realigned. So I take the wheel off, do some fine adjusting, and sure enou...Read more
Hello, I need to replace my speed shift, the old one got broke, but my bike is quite old, this type of shifter is't available anymore, but can't i simply order a speed shifter with the same gear posisions that also has a cable to the derailleur ? I'm dutch, I hope my english is understandable, Thanks in advance, Laurens...Read more
Does anyone know the thread pitch for FSA Modular cranks? I had an issue with a faulty installation using a Cannondale Spider. Despite using the same direct mount profile, the spider was not contoured to the crank properly. This caused the lockring to jump crossthreaded during the fastening process, and stripped out the lockring thread. Note this incompatibility for Cannondale spiders to preven...Read more
I have a Specialized Sirrus 6.0 on order. It comes with tubeless tires. I’m thinking of having my dealer pull the tubes during setup and put in the sealant. Other than not worrying about flats, are the tubeless setups lighter and what’s the negatives?...Read more