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
Hello everyone im looking to upgrade my brakes on a project bike that I'm doing, it currently has traditional lock bolt brake calipers can you upgrade to new style and how to do so? Kris....Read more
I bought a Schwinn Signature Sport Hybrid 21 Speed by mail (first mistake) and it came with the rear wheel off and derailleur off with the chain twisted with 2 loops. The derailleur is inside out and I have tried everything to untwist this thing with no luck. I can't find a "master link" in the chain anywhere. Any ideas or help would be appreciated. Supposed to be a Christmas present. &n...Read more
Hello ) I was wondering if any of you also fill up your bathtub or a large bucket with water in order to look for a leak in a flat inner tube? That's how I do it ... other methods our there? Holiday greetings...Read more
Ciao. Is it normal to have small metallic pieces stuck within brake pads? How do they appear there? Is it from the rims and braking or did I get them from "the street"?...Read more
As the title states, what feels like my pedal is creaking when Im on the downstroke on my left side. I say my pedal but based on what I have diagnosed so far I’m not sure if that’s it? I can feel the creak happening in my pedal though. I’ve looked into this and done a few preliminary things to see what could possibly be the problem. So far what I have done is: Removed the pedal, regreas...Read more
Hi, everyone! I'd like to ask you about your opinion on whether or not this is just a deep scratch (scuff?) on the paint or a crack on the frame of my aluminium road bike (please see photos below). For context, the area shown on the photos would be the seat tube, right about where it is joined by the seat stays. I already did the "coin soundcheck" test to help me diagnose the problem but I'm still...Read more
I recently changed the cassette on my MTB and ever since doing so the gears seem to be slipping when I put the power down how do any of you suggest adjusting it it changes perfectly and peddles fine until I really try to lay it down on the trials thanks in advance Alan 👍...Read more
Hello Everyone, I have a Gravity road bike and I don't know what type of crank remover will work on my bike? There is an Allen type of bolt that I can take off fairly easily, but inside there looks to be a spline type nut. Lately every revolution of the pedals I can hear a clicking sound and it seems to be coming from inside the crank and I wanted to see if there is any lubricant in there? I ap...Read more
Good morning! I purchased a new mountain bike a few weeks ago and picked up a frame adapter so I could put it on my trunk rack. The problem is that the front wheel is really low. A hitch mount is in the future but for now I figured I would just remove the wheel. My question is whether I should pick up a disk spacer or could I just use a chunk of cardboard? Not traveling all that far but don't wan...Read more
I've tried searching for YouTube assistance but to no avail. Cycled to the shops this morning and the gears weren't functioning, had a look and something has gone horribly wrong. It's as though the chain is suddenly inches longer than it should be and it isn't holding any tension unless the derailleur sits all the way back (image attached) almost so the chain is touching itself as it travels throu...Read more
My Apollo feud rear gear set was trashed when the bike was loaned ,the click on lock on was damaged how can I fix it please so I can be mobile again.thank you...Read more
I'm a newbie but I'm planning to remove the front derailleur off of my 3x8 GT Agressor Pro. Could I get some pros and cons of doing this and what I should next if I remove it? Thanks ...Read more
hi. i sometimes have a weird grinding sound but this only happens in shift 1 and never in 2 or 3 and most of the time it happens when after a traffic light stop. 1/9 of the time orso. but quickly goes back to the normal sound after i stop pedalling and pedal again. my question is: do you think its a planetairy gear problem inside the hub . i need a cone wrench to open the hub to look tomorow. ...Read more
Hi Folks, I hope someone on here will be able to give me a steer. I'm trying to upgrade my wifes old Marin Bear Valley SE (1995) but I'm really struggling to work out what Shimano replacement parts I need. The current spec is:- https://www.bikepedia.com/QuickBike/BikeSpecs.aspx?item=32407 Crankset Shimano STX-RC, 22/32/42 teeth - ideally I'll replace the chainrings Cassette Shimano 7-speed, 11 - 2...Read more
Hi I bought these SRAM force 1 brakes and they seem to be really unusual. Has anybody ever seen a hose like this? I need to shorten it to run it through the frame but I'm baffled by these hose ends. These were sold as "pre-bled", which I didn't notice until I had them. How can I shorten these hose ends? IMG-2735.jpg (Size: 54.74 KB / Downloads: 41) IMG-2736.jpg (Si...Read more