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  1. #1
    SpecOps-27 Emerson's Avatar
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    Rear wheel pinging

    Hi all,

    I have a new bike, and I've noticed as I pedal uphill the rear wheel makes gentle pinging sounds, almost as if someone were tapping the spokes with something. There is nothing hitting the spokes that I can see. These are Bontrager Select 700c wheels on a Surly Crosscheck.

    I don't know if it is related, but my front wheel seems to shudder a fair amount when braking--more than I think it did at first.

    I don't know much about wheels. Are these simply breaking in a bit, or are they coming out of true under my 200+ lbs? Or worse, are they about to do something weird like suddenly fail and introduce me to the road in a far too intimate manner?

    Any ideas? Thanks.

  2. #2
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    A first guess would be that the spokes on the drive side might be rubbing as you climb. A second guess would be under-tensioned spokes. I would think that any spoke twist (from wheel building) would have been relieved by now.

    My wife once borrowed a bike. As I followed her, I noticed it was making pinging noises. We stopped and I found that the spokes on the rear wheel were so loose that essentially the hub was being suspended from the upper spokes. The lower ones were almost totally untensioned. I pulled out my spoke wrench (always carry one when I ride) and tensioned & trued the wheel.

    Wheels, if well built (tensioned and stressed relieved), should not need any braking in. Mine never have.

    I'll leave the front wheel issue for someone else, except it sounds more like a brake issue and separate from the rear wheel. The Select is aluminum rim, I think?
    Mike Sakarias
    Juneau Alaska

  3. #3
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Sounds like loose spokes. Or your rim was taco'd and was straightened through truing. Even though the wheel looks straight, the release in tension at the contact-patch causes the tweaked rim to flex sideways a little as the bent section rolls under.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Deanster04's Avatar
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    Take it to your LBS where you bought the bike and have them check it over. Bontrager are prebuilt and should not really need tensioning. If you are more than 200 lbs you might think about a different wheel set with a standard 3X spoke lacing pattern. The sound of pinging is probably, as already pointed out, the spokes just rubbing together. For the wheel to be stress relieving it would happen on your first ride then go away. For the shuddering check to be sure that the brake is tightly mounted. Take an SOS pad and gently wipe around the braking surface. Could be some gunk on the brake surface. If the wheels come out of true you would see a wobble as the wheel spun past the brakes.

  5. #5
    Senior Member oldillini's Avatar
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    If you rear derailleur is out of adjustment, you may be clipping a spoke(s) with the cage when in biggest cog. Had this problem once with the long cage of a triple.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Deanster04's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldillini
    If you rear derailleur is out of adjustment, you may be clipping a spoke(s) with the cage when in biggest cog. Had this problem once with the long cage of a triple.
    Good call. Didn't even think of that. Easy to check.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Matt Gaunt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldillini
    If you rear derailleur is out of adjustment, you may be clipping a spoke(s) with the cage when in biggest cog. Had this problem once with the long cage of a triple.
    +1. My mate once ignored that pinging sound and then on a challenge ride totalled his rear wheel as the mech shifted straight through several of the drive side spokes. One new mech, 4 new spokes and a ruined day all from being complacent.
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  8. #8
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Usually a sign of loose spokes.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom
    Usually a sign of loose spokes.
    +1
    New machine built wheels commonly have loose spokes and need re-tensioning and truing. The dealer should do this for you with the first tuneup.

    Al

  10. #10
    = cyclist's tan rat_factory's Avatar
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    take the wheel back to your LBS and get the spokes tensioned.
    as far as the shuddering when you brake, and after the wheel is tensioned, it might be a loose headset. get this fixed ASAP as letting it go even a little bit can lead to indexed steering aka brinneling. once this happens you wont be able to ride hands free and you'll need another headset or at least new races/bearings.
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  11. #11
    TWilkins
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    Had a similar sound while doing hard standing climbs. Swore it was from the rear, but finally found that I had enough flex of either the front wheel or fork that my computer magnet was clipping the fork. Only did it when climbing, so it was a devil to find. Only managed to solve it after I rode on wet roads, then the magnet scrapped the dirt off the fork.

    Drove me crazy for two months looking for that stinking "ping"! Looked for the usual loose spokes and RD clipping spokes, but never thought to check the magnet!

  12. #12
    Slave of the road nuovorecord's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Gaunt
    +1. My mate once ignored that pinging sound and then on a challenge ride totalled his rear wheel as the mech shifted straight through several of the drive side spokes. One new mech, 4 new spokes and a ruined day all from being complacent.
    I'll go you one better. When this happened to me, I managed to totally trash the dropout/derailleur hanger, destroy the derailleur, and crater the rear wheel. Plus, in losing control of the bike, I smashed my 'nads against the stem, just to add injury to insult.

    Lesson learned...
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  13. #13
    Hardtail WorldWind's Avatar
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    Assuming your wheel has 28 or more spokes.

    Remove it from the bike.
    Check for obviously loose spokes. If no…
    Hold wheel at chest height with tire towards you. Grasp middle of parallel spokes above hub (2 or 3 apart) on one side of wheel with one hand and same on other side of wheel with other hand and squeeze hard. Move forward to next set on each side and repeat until all pares have been stretched this way.

    This will seat all the spokes into their holes in the hub.

    Return wheel to bike and go ride. This process should quiet your new wheel.

  14. #14
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    Also, it's worth noting that if a newly-built wheel has spoke wind-up and/or hasn't had the spokes stress-relieved, it'll ping every so often for the first few rides to "break in." I'd still recommend you bring it by your LBS. Or follow WorldWind's well-explained advice.

  15. #15
    Senior Member onbike 1939's Avatar
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    I've had the same thing but in my case the spoke tension was fine. The problem was where the spokes crossed each other they were sticking slightly and caused them to ping with each pedal stroke. A squirt of WD40 at these points cured it.

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