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  1. #1
    Chubby super biker bdinger's Avatar
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    Terminally loose spokes?

    Greetings all,
    Recently I pulled the trigger and purchased a more road-ish bike, a Trek 7.3 FX. So far, very amazingly happy with it. It's fast fast fast, rides nicely, and is great as a commuter. However, one thing I'm not so happy with is the wheelset. I don't know if it's my gigantic butt, or if it's just a matter of "these things happen" but I'm starting to get annoyed at them.

    On the rear wheel it seems there are always one or two spokes coming loose. Let's just say that the spoke wrench was an EXCELLENT investment, I've been getting quite a bit of use out of it, and figuring out how tight I can go before being "too tight" and throwing the wheel out of true.

    Anyway, how often should I expect to be doing this? The bike is barely at 100 miles yet, and it seems I've tightened spokes three or four times. On my MTB, I've never touched one of them, and put it through the ringer for 700 + miles.

  2. #2
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    If I had to guess I would say spoke tension is not enough. A bike shop will have the tool used to measure spoke tension. Or you can buy one, Park TM-1 Tensionometer. Sheldon brown and park tool also have info on their sites. FWIW similar spokes should make the same tone when struck. The problem on the rear wheel is different spokes get different tensions.
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  3. #3
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    With less then 100m I would take it back to the store and ask them to retension the whole wheel. My experience is that stock rear wheels don't work well with clydes and you are better off getting a hand built rear wheel. I have had good luck ordering from Colorado Cyclist an Ultegra hub and Mavic Open Pro wheel. For now, I would get the shop to try and fix it and if you continue to have problems get a new rear wheel.

  4. #4
    staring at the mountains superdex's Avatar
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    I bought some wheels from Neuvation last summer, and the rear wheel was undertensioned -- I tightened it up a bit, but without knowing proper feel, I knew it wasn't enough and sure as snot it wasn't. So I took the wheel into a shop and asked them to check it out. Ten minutes later the wheel is suhweet and perfectly true. (Props to Poison Spider in Moab). Get thee to a shop--

  5. #5
    big ring MIN's Avatar
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    Can you use Locktite on spokes?

  6. #6
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MIN
    Can you use Locktite on spokes?
    I wouldn't suggest that, it screws up your ability to retension spokes later!
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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  7. #7
    big ring MIN's Avatar
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    Yes, but there are varying strenths. There's gotta to be a mild formula for spokes.

  8. #8
    Perma-Clyde (51)'s Avatar
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    I'd take it back. I'm much larger than you and I got 2,000 miles out of my stock wheels (Trek 7200) before a spoke popped. Got another 2,000 out of it after it was respoked. Now I am almost 1,000 miles into my second respoke (which I had one spoke come unscrewed on).

    Whoever built it did a poor job.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member masi61's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe
    I wouldn't suggest that, it screws up your ability to retension spokes later!
    No it doesn't. Medium strength BLUe is what my LBS uses on custom wheels all the time.It holds but releases without issues with your wrench. Be aware though, the loctite is just insurance and there is no substitute for a good destress,tension and true job at your LBS. It doesn't take long and its an inexpensive procedure.

  10. #10
    Spit out the back tinrobot's Avatar
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    Return the wheel or rebuild it.

    Sometimes just retensioning a few spokes puts pressure on the other spokes and causes them to go out of whack. I once had a wheel that kept popping spokes. Every time the LBS would replace a spoke, another would pop. I finally had them rebuild the whole wheel from scratch and it's been solid ever since.

  11. #11
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    I had the same problem with the rear wheel on my giant and the LBS guys said they'd rebuild it and threadlock the nipples. Said that it is a common problem with several of their bigger riders riding stock wheels and that the threadlock should help the problem.

    Paul

  12. #12
    Folsom Prison Blues Kid-Cycle's Avatar
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    I had the same problem with my Mavic OP's on Ultegra hubs (making adjustments myself) and I finally took the rear wheel to a LBS who went through and retentioned the wheel and added blue locktite at the end of the process and I've not had a problems since.

    Unless you want to become proficient at building wheels I don't think it is worth your time and going through the learning curve to become good at it. But if it is something you think you will enjoy then I say go for it. I've played around with some of my wheels and I can get them true in the rotational plane but not so sure they are radially true when I am finished.
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    Had the same problem on my older Trek hybrid a couple of years ago - spokes loose or breaking. They rebuilt the wheels with larger spokes. Never had a problem after that.

  14. #14
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    The spokes will not loosen like this on a properly built wheel, even with a clyde rider. The use of Wheelsmith spoke prep and proper spoke tension eliminates such problems.

    Either rebuild the wheel properly or true the wheel and put a small amount of clear nail polish at the point the spoke enters the nipple on the problem spokes. Nail polish will keep the nipple from unwinding, yet it will allow retrueing if needed.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Terrierman's Avatar
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    Loctite Blue. Great stuff.
    It's all downhill from here. Except the parts that are uphill.

  16. #16
    Chubby super biker bdinger's Avatar
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    I really want to throw the !@#!@$*&!(@$& wheel against a wall. Had a great ride yesterday, was blazing down the MUP until I started feeling a wobble. Sure enough, the rear wheel... AGAIN. Long story short I spent a half an hour on the side of the MUP trying to tighten spokes, to little success.

    I'm going to drop it off at the LBS and ask that they just rebuild the wheel. Either that, or see if I can just swap that bike for something else. It's loads of fun, but I can't stand it always being busted.

  17. #17
    Chubby super biker bdinger's Avatar
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    Oh, and I'll add that I would just buy a new rear wheel, but money isn't exactly flowing right now. New bike + new home + etc = suffering bank account. Starting to wonder why I didn't just buy some upgrades for my reliable-as-can-be MTB.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bdinger
    Starting to wonder why I didn't just buy some upgrades for my reliable-as-can-be MTB.
    Because you need the speed!

    I've gotten pretty proficient at truing wheels and replacing broken spokes, but that is over 15,000 miles. At the kind of mileage you have the bike shop should be able to help you out ... even swap out for a more sturdy rear wheel, if you don't have $ maybe they have a used rear that is more sturdy.

  19. #19
    Chubby super biker bdinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paniolo
    Because you need the speed!

    I've gotten pretty proficient at truing wheels and replacing broken spokes, but that is over 15,000 miles. At the kind of mileage you have the bike shop should be able to help you out ... even swap out for a more sturdy rear wheel, if you don't have $ maybe they have a used rear that is more sturdy.
    It's ironic that you post this, as I taught myself how to true a wheel on Monday afternoon. Seems to have worked! I've put 20 more miles on the thing, and it's as marginally wobbly as it was when I finished my "trueing"

    Thanks to sheldon brown's site, and remembering a little simple physics it wasn't too bad at all.

  20. #20
    not a role model JeffS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdinger
    Anyway, how often should I expect to be doing this? The bike is barely at 100 miles yet, and it seems I've tightened spokes three or four times. On my MTB, I've never touched one of them, and put it through the ringer for 700 + miles.
    If the spokes were properly tensioned this wouldn't be happening at all.

    If you bought the bike new, I'd take it back to the shop, expecting them to retension the rear wheel for me.

  21. #21
    Mad scientist w/a wrench
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    This is probably where a hybrid hater would say "I told you so" but I like hybrids just fine (as soon as my future wife gets her balance on the beater we bought last summer she'll probably be riding one)

    Curiously though, what brand rims did they throw on that one? I've put 650miles on my pilot and although I've had to do the occaisional bit of retruing, I attribute it more to the bumps than the wheels.
    Proudly wearing kit that doesn't match my frame color (or itself) since 2006.

  22. #22
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    Proper tire inflation can also be a factor--if you're not running your rear tire at its max rated PSI, give it a try.

  23. #23
    Perma-Clyde (51)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffS
    If the spokes were properly tensioned this wouldn't be happening at all.

    If you bought the bike new, I'd take it back to the shop, expecting them to retension the rear wheel for me.
    And expect them to do it for FREE. Did they not give you some kind of guarantee?
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  24. #24
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffS
    If the spokes were properly tensioned this wouldn't be happening at all.

    If you bought the bike new, I'd take it back to the shop, expecting them to retension the rear wheel for me.
    I have a clydesdale mate and he bought a Giant MTB several years ago. Bike was in the cheaper range but he had several spokes break in the the first couple of rides. The LBS got replacement wheels from Giant as the rim had become/ or was/ Oval when they went to replace the second broken spoke and it would not retrue. That second set of wheels were better but were still not that good. Second pair broke a spoke after a month and they were sent back again. Giant replaced them with a better set of wheels and they were OK.

    Giant treated my mate right, but I think this was mainly due to the shop.

    Spokes should not need retensioning very often- After a year of use possibly or if you knock them out of true. Get the shop to check the wheels under warranty as unless you have mistreated them- they should be able to do the job properly.
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  25. #25
    Junior Member jasonknight's Avatar
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    Right tension = good

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffS
    If the spokes were properly tensioned this wouldn't be happening at all.

    If you bought the bike new, I'd take it back to the shop, expecting them to retension the rear wheel for me.

    I've had similar problems, but with wheels I've built myself. (Noone to blame for poor product... who'm I gonna yell at? Jobst Brandt?) Learned wheelbuilding when I was 170lbs or so, and I gotta say, in my experience, making wheels for a larger person (me at 225lbs) is a different thing. Though I guess a good wheel for a heavy me would also be good for the lighter me.

    Proper tension was the key. If I didn't get the tension distributed well and high enough, some spokes would start to loosen. I'm not big on locktite; after the last round of retensioning (6+ months ago with only 10W30 on the threads), they're all staying put.


    jason

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