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Old 06-24-10, 01:11 PM   #1
Scott1
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Question about a loose spoke

Hi all -

I've done about 200 miles on my new bike (Specialized Sectuer Sport) and on my ride home yesterday I noticed that one of the spokes was a little loose on my rear tyre - just enough to rub against the spoke it crosses and make a creaking noise.

I've got my bike scheduled for its first servicing, but that's not until July 10th, and they can't move it up. The guy at the bike shop said I shouldn't ride it at all with a loose spoke (which I agree with), however he also said that I would probably do more damage if I tried to tighten it myself.

Is that good advice, or is it reasonable to try to tighten my own spoke for a relatively short term fix?

Thanks!
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Old 06-24-10, 01:31 PM   #2
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Whaddya mean they can't move it up? It's loose because it wasn't properly tensioned in the first place.

It's not hard to tighten, but you can strip the nipple rather easily if you don't have the proper tools and/or aren't careful.
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Old 06-24-10, 01:37 PM   #3
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That's insane. Truing up the wheel, even with a quick retension, should take no more than 10 minutes. Adjustment periods, whether 30, 60 days or whatever are for adjustments needed during that time, not just at the shop's convenience. And yes, previous poster is correct - one spoke would not loosen if wheel had been properly prepped.

If you use the properly sized wrench for the nipple, and tighten it no more by feel than those next to it you will cause no harm. If you tighten if that amount and the wheel is not true there is another problem and you need to get it to the shop.
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Old 06-24-10, 01:43 PM   #4
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To be fair, the guy did say that if I brought it in before the 10th they could try to fit in the wheel fix for me, the problem is that the bike shop is 20 miles away and I can only take my bike on the train for 10 of those miles, I have to ride the other 10 (I live in London, don't have a car, so driving it over isn't an option). If I can't ride it with a loose spoke or tighten it myself without breaking it, I'm a bit stuffed...

He also said that "normal wear and tear like loose spokes" isn't covered in the intial tune-up...sounds like I need to speak to the manager about that...
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Old 06-24-10, 02:12 PM   #5
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To be fair, the guy did say that if I brought it in before the 10th they could try to fit in the wheel fix for me, the problem is that the bike shop is 20 miles away and I can only take my bike on the train for 10 of those miles, I have to ride the other 10 (I live in London, don't have a car, so driving it over isn't an option). If I can't ride it with a loose spoke or tighten it myself without breaking it, I'm a bit stuffed...

He also said that "normal wear and tear like loose spokes" isn't covered in the intial tune-up...sounds like I need to speak to the manager about that...
Loose spokes isn't "normal wear and tear", a properly built wheel will stay in true throughout normal use for pretty much ever.
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Old 06-24-10, 02:47 PM   #6
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Is the rim out of true where that spoke is loose? If it is, tightening the spoke yourself might be a good idea. If the rim is very true where that spoke is loose that means wheel may be tensioned improperly and will require more attention.

But if any of this seems daunting to you in the slightest, it would be best just to keep annoying the bike shop until they fix it on your schedule, or threaten to take your business elsewhere (that threat really seems to work with business owners).
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Old 06-24-10, 03:53 PM   #7
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I can guarantee you that most shops don't/can't do a thorough check of every wheel on every bike to insure proper tension. The wheel was not properly prepped but you can't blame the shop for that. They depend on the manufacturer for all but final truing.

That being said if a problem of this nature develops it is indeed the shops responsibilty to correct.
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Old 06-29-10, 04:40 AM   #8
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Quick follow-up on the spoke issue - after further poking and prodding of the wheel it appeared that quite a few spokes on one side were loose. I decided that rather than try to fix it myself, I just took the wheel off and brought it in to the shop - the retensioned it in 15 minutes, no questions asked and no charge - talked to someone other than the guy who wanted to charge me for it...

Thanks for all the advice!
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Old 06-29-10, 05:21 AM   #9
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I just took the wheel off and brought it in to the shop - the retensioned it in 15 minutes, no questions asked and no charge - talked to someone other than the guy who wanted to charge me for it...

Thanks for all the advice!
<Fellow Londoner> Where's the shop?
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Old 06-29-10, 05:30 AM   #10
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Sigma Cycle in Hampton Wick - they've been fantastic every time I've been in, other than that one guy - maybe he was having a bad day...
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Old 06-29-10, 05:48 AM   #11
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Ah, that'd be about 17 miles from me.

There's also this guy http://www.yogarup.com/wheels/ in South London who's very helpful via email. I was going to get some wheels built by him but it ended up being a fair bit cheaper to go with a mail order company. Arup's site looks good and his wheel building charges are a lot lower than any of my nearby local bike shops so if I might go to him for repairs.
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