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 Post subject: Loose spokes
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 7:44 am 
Retro Guru

Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:28 am
Posts: 300
Location: Fife
I bought a nice but tired Raleigh Royal at the weekend. When had a go at riding it the front wheel was creaking quite badly, which I quickly discovered was caused by all of the spokes being loose.

The first question is how would that happen? The rim seems to run fairly true, I don't think it's the result of a crash.

The second question is can I fix it myself? I've never tried to true a wheel since my first attempt went horribly wrong in the 80s. I was planning to work my way round doing quarter turns on all spokes until there's a bit of tension on them all. I'm not sure how I would progress from there though, particularly if the rim starts to go out of shape. I know there are plenty of guides and videos out there, what's a good one?

I am fairly competent mechanically, I just have a blind spot when it comes to wheels. Is now the time to tackle that or should I just pay somebody to sort it out for me?


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 Post subject: Re: Loose spokes
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 8:39 pm 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
retrobike rider / Gold Trader

Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2009 10:30 pm
Posts: 1255
Location: Desk
Get a spoke key and try and get some light tension in the wheel by watching / reading a guide or by buying a nice book.

(I bought this one: http://www.wheelpro.co.uk/wheelbuilding/book.php)

Essentially once the front wheel has a light and similar tension in the spokes (rear wheel is different but thats why you bought the book watched the video eh?), they can be tightened carefully as you go around the wheel (as you said, quarter or less turns really). The thing to remember is you probably need a fair amount of tension in the spokes but the actual trueing process is quite subtle and trying to wind 2-3 turns into the spoke(s) because you think you are going to pull save time or pull the wheel straight will cause problems and you have to back off the tensions and try again. Also check the wheel is round!

I have built about 5 sets of wheels (I think, so quite the novice) and then I just took them to the bike shop to see if the wheel-builder there was happy with them, so it still cost me money but I got satisfaction from building them and felt happy they had been verified as OK, not much adjustment required.

All that said, probably not so expensive at the LBS, but I think its quite enjoyable and if building new you get to choose the bits you like.


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 Post subject: Re: Loose spokes
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 8:54 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:09 pm
Posts: 554
Location: cheshire
just for your info its less than £10 neer me at most the shops to get wheels trued so if you realy feel unsafe get a shop do it but if you dont mind have ago, its somthing i would like to learn


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 Post subject: Re: Loose spokes
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 11:56 pm 
Old School Grand Master
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Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2011 8:41 pm
Posts: 8247
Location: Cumbria
Just my 2 pence :) if the wheel is a few years old then the nipples tend to corrode / stick to the spokes. During adjustment the spokes twist rather than the nipples tightening the spokes....... either the spokes break or the nipples make jumping sounds when tightening and are not making smooth adjustments..... not the easiest thing.

On this occasion I'd get the wheels sorted by a local LBS and practice on new / newer wheels :)

Shaun


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 Post subject: Re: Loose spokes
PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 12:04 am 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
retrobike rider / Gold Trader

Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2009 10:30 pm
Posts: 1255
Location: Desk
Midlife wrote:
Just my 2 pence :) if the wheel is a few years old then the nipples tend to corrode / stick to the spokes. During adjustment the spokes twist rather than the nipples tightening the spokes....... either the spokes break or the nipples make jumping sounds when tightening and are not making smooth adjustments..... not the easiest thing.

On this occasion I'd get the wheels sorted by a local LBS and practice on new / newer wheels :)

Shaun


The above is true also, however this afternoon just before I posted, someone was moaning about their wheel and it was really no tension at all, but I had a look and they did tighten nicely, looked an oldish wheel, but if it was made with a little oil on the threads they can be ok to work with. Most of the spokes you could tighten with your fingers!

My first attempts back in the day were terrible, if the spokes are older non stainless, they will probably be like above, i.e. terrible and just twist, depends on the state of them.


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 Post subject: Re: Loose spokes
PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:40 am 
Retro Guru

Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:28 am
Posts: 300
Location: Fife
I'm optimistic about the nipples being free because they must have unscrewed themselves (I know there are other possibilities but I'm choosing to ignore them), the wheels are much newer than the bike.

Having said that I think I will take Shaun's advice and get a shop to do it, I have another wheel needing done so I'll take them together. I might try to get hold of some BSO wheels to practice on, then it doesn't matter if I go wrong.


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 Post subject: Re: Loose spokes
PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:33 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2011 10:00 pm
Posts: 523
Location: Ely. UK
Midlife wrote:
Just my 2 pence :) if the wheel is a few years old then the nipples tend to corrode / stick to the spokes. During adjustment the spokes twist rather than the nipples tightening the spokes....... either the spokes break or the nipples make jumping sounds when tightening and are not making smooth adjustments..... not the easiest thing.

On this occasion I'd get the wheels sorted by a local LBS and practice on new / newer wheels :)

Shaun


+1

I've had limited success by spraying a release agent onto the nipples from inside the wheel. Something like plusgas will work well.
Take a spoke key (Park tools make good ones) and turn the nipple after the spraying. It might work.


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 Post subject: Re: Loose spokes
PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:52 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2010 7:07 pm
Posts: 1324
Location: Cotswolds
The bend in the spoke where it goes through the hub has probably straightened out a bit, usually because the hub flange is too thin or the holes too large, typically on mass produced bikes to make wheel building faster.
Get a short spoke key and find something to grip the spoke as near to the spoke key as possible, to give a better chance of turning the spoke nipple rather than just winding up the spoke. Also some light lubrication but from the hub side of the rim.


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 Post subject: Re: Loose spokes
PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:49 am 
Retro Guru

Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:28 am
Posts: 300
Location: Fife
Thanks for all the replies. Despite saying I was going to let a shop do it I decided to have a go myself yesterday. Most of the spokes adjusted with the snapping sound that was mentioned above, some moved smoothly and a couple broke.

I've ordered a full set of stainless spokes- if I'm feeling brave I might strip the wheel right down and take the opportunity to clean it properly, or I might chicken out and replace them one at a time. The Bike Station in Perth do workshop evenings on a Wednesday, It may be worth taking it along there to do it under their supervision.


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