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Thread: Loose spoke

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    Senior Member rykoala's Avatar
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    Loose spoke

    This is on my MTB, 26" wheel, 36 spoke. I went up a curb the other day and wasn't paying attention and hit the rear HARD. The wheel is still fine, I think, and I can ride it and not know the difference. This morning though, I was inspecting it before my commute, pumping up the tires a tad, etc, and I noticed a loose spoke. It seems like the two spokes opposite of the loose spoke were VERY tight.

    Can this be solved easily by someone like me who has never trued up a wheel before?

  2. #2
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rykoala
    This is on my MTB, 26" wheel, 36 spoke. I went up a curb the other day and wasn't paying attention and hit the rear HARD. The wheel is still fine, I think, and I can ride it and not know the difference. This morning though, I was inspecting it before my commute, pumping up the tires a tad, etc, and I noticed a loose spoke. It seems like the two spokes opposite of the loose spoke were VERY tight.

    Can this be solved easily by someone like me who has never trued up a wheel before?
    If you want to learn how to true a wheel, you have to start somewhere. This is as good a place as any. Worst case is you'll get the wheel way out of line and have to pay an LBS to fix it anyway.

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    VegetarianBikeRider coney's Avatar
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    Hi,
    I know nothing about truing wheels, but adjusted mine enough to get the hump out of it so my brake didn't catch everytime the wheel went around. [there's a noise I make that accompanies what the wheel does, but you can't hear it over the internet. Sort of like "wom wom wom"]

    So what I did, knowing nothing...I put the bike upside down on the seat and handlbars. I sat on the floor with my spoke wrench, and put my finger almost touching the rim, steadying it on the brake. Then spinned the wheel around very slowly, until the rim hit my finger. At that place, is where you hve to play a bit with the spokes. Turn the spoke connecting the opposite side of the axle to that spot so your kind of tightening it to the other side. It doesn't take much of a turn to do this. Just don't go crazy with the wrench and you'll be fine. Then spin the tire again, with your thumb almost touching but not quite. See if the rim hits your finger when it comes around again.

    it's all trial and error, then the knowledge happens.

    If the spoke is just loose, all you have to do is tighten it a bit. Only a half turn or so should do it. Don't go crazy.

    My 2

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    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    A loose spoke on one side with very tight spokes on the other is a sign of a bent rim. Unfortunately, the only adequate repair is to replace the rim. If you try to true it by fussing with spoke tension you will find yourself having to tighten the already tight spokes even more while the loose spoke still remains loose.

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    Tom (ex)Builder twahl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coney
    So what I did, knowing nothing...I put the bike upside down on the seat and handlbars. I sat on the floor with my spoke wrench, and put my finger almost touching the rim, steadying it on the brake. Then spinned the wheel around very slowly, until the rim hit my finger.
    Something else that might be helpful: rather than using a finger, use that hand to steady a Sharpie pen very cloes to the rim on the "wide" side. When the area that is rubbing the brake comes around the pen will leave a mark.

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    Senior Member Avalanche325's Avatar
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    If it is not enough where you notice it, you should be able to adjust is out. Tighten your barrel adjuster on the brakes until it just starts to rub. Then adjust it out. Tighten the barrel adjuster down a click adn adjust again. Do this until you are at a pretty tight tolerance. You will need to check for radial true also. That is checking to see if the rim is still round.

    Hey, it's a MTB. It dosen't have to be perfect like a roadie.

    Read some of the wheel truing info either here or on the parktools web site.

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    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Avalanche325
    Hey, it's a MTB. It dosen't have to be perfect like a roadie.
    I never thought of that. Maybe that's why mountain bike shoes are designed to be easier to walk in.

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    Senior Member rykoala's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone. I'll leave it as-is, there is another wheel saved for this bike anyway, it just needs to be trued itself. I think I may invest in the strongest wheel I can get for the rear of this bike, though.... I am too heavy!

  9. #9
    put our Heads Together cerewa's Avatar
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    RyKo-- I just looked at your website. Nice, concise, and informative. Thumbs up.
    Some awesome folks who are working to give Haitians the ability to manage their safety and their lives:
    Haiti Partners

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    Senior Member rykoala's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cerewa
    RyKo-- I just looked at your website. Nice, concise, and informative. Thumbs up.
    Thank you! I appreciate the positive input.

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    My own worst nightmare
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    Quote Originally Posted by rykoala
    Thanks everyone. I'll leave it as-is, there is another wheel saved for this bike anyway, it just needs to be trued itself. I think I may invest in the strongest wheel I can get for the rear of this bike, though.... I am too heavy!
    The only thing you need to "invest in" is enough time to either to take curbs slowly, or to find a curb-cut or driveway or the like. Curbs are there to keep people from running vehicles (of any kind) up them at speed. If I jumped a curb in my Saturn at the speed at which you obviously took this curb, and bent a rim or a control arm or trailing arm, I wouldn't blame the weakness of the part or the weight.

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    Senior Member rykoala's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by madpogue
    The only thing you need to "invest in" is enough time to either to take curbs slowly, or to find a curb-cut or driveway or the like. Curbs are there to keep people from running vehicles (of any kind) up them at speed. If I jumped a curb in my Saturn at the speed at which you obviously took this curb, and bent a rim or a control arm or trailing arm, I wouldn't blame the weakness of the part or the weight.
    Thank you, Captain Obvious. I was actually going at a slow speed (< 5mph), but I didn't hop the rear wheel up properly (and in time) and I pay the price. I am learning my limitations, and asking for help not smart-a$$ remarks. And I didn't blame weight of the wheel I blamed my own weight, 315 lbs.

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    My own worst nightmare
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    Quote Originally Posted by rykoala
    Thank you, Captain Obvious. I was actually going at a slow speed (< 5mph), but I didn't hop the rear wheel up properly (and in time) and I pay the price. I am learning my limitations, and asking for help not smart-a$$ remarks. And I didn't blame weight of the wheel I blamed my own weight, 315 lbs.
    It wasn't meant to be smart-@ss, and your weight isn't really the issue. Bikes, being vehicles, aren't meant to be taken up curbs. I might gently climb a curb at, say, 2 MPH in order to get to a parking rack, but even at 140 lb, with 10-ish lb of cargo in a pannier, I wouldn't take one at 4-5 MPH. Honest question (i.e., not meant facetiously): were you going up this curb "mid-journey", or were you preparing to park?

    IOW, it's not about "your limitations", it's about the limitations of the terrain. A slow (as in SLOW) trundle up a curb to get to a parking spot is one thing. Hopping one as part of a "through" route is another, and indeed comes with a price.

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    Senior Member rykoala's Avatar
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    LOL its alright man this whole internet thing can remove notions from our words that would otherwise be caught by an inflection of tone or other gesture. No harm no foul

    I was preparing to park, going quite slow, 2 or 3 mph really, and I just didn't hop the bike up when I got the back wheel near the curb. I do it all the time, just with lots more care. I was being sloppy. Oh well. Another wheel bites the dust. Its the third. *sight* guess I need to learn how to build wheels. Buying a cheap rim might be the way to go, just so I can learn. Time to pick up a book on how to build wheels. I will save myself lots of money that way.

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