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    Climbers Apprentice vesteroid's Avatar
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    Question for the wheel gurus

    I have a set of the aluminum power tap pro wheels. Two times in 1300 miles they have gone a little out of true. Now I have to admit I have not babied these wheels and in fact have hit a few holes so hard I was amazed I didn't seriously damage them.

    On my last long ride, I started hearing pinging out of the rear wheel. It seems to be a constant noise at a specific spot in the wheel rotation. I had a hard time telling if it was a noise from the wheel, or maybe the bb, but I believe it's the wheel as it seemed to be much more constant with the rotation of the wheel vs the crank.

    I have a new bike shop that I am hoping to make my new home and I took it in to their wheel guru yesterday.

    I explained the above and asked if he thought he should just remove all the tension from all the spokes, and start over so to speak, and buildit back up right.

    He says no, that caused more problems...he just wants to (increase the tension to even all the way around). He said if he did the other way he wanted all new spokes and new rims. I balked when I heard that as is simply don't believe the rims are in need of replacement.


    I also wonder about the increase tension all the way around comment....isn't there a specified tension they should all be set? And if so how would just increasing them all to the highest current one work?

    Maybe I am over thinking this, so wanted to ask here prior to cutting this kid loose on my wheels

  2. #2
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vesteroid View Post
    I have a set of the aluminum power tap pro wheels. Two times in 1300 miles they have gone a little out of true. Now I have to admit I have not babied these wheels and in fact have hit a few holes so hard I was amazed I didn't seriously damage them.

    On my last long ride, I started hearing pinging out of the rear wheel. It seems to be a constant noise at a specific spot in the wheel rotation. I had a hard time telling if it was a noise from the wheel, or maybe the bb, but I believe it's the wheel as it seemed to be much more constant with the rotation of the wheel vs the crank.

    I have a new bike shop that I am hoping to make my new home and I took it in to their wheel guru yesterday.

    I explained the above and asked if he thought he should just remove all the tension from all the spokes, and start over so to speak, and buildit back up right.

    He says no, that caused more problems...he just wants to (increase the tension to even all the way around). He said if he did the other way he wanted all new spokes and new rims. I balked when I heard that as is simply don't believe the rims are in need of replacement.


    I also wonder about the increase tension all the way around comment....isn't there a specified tension they should all be set? And if so how would just increasing them all to the highest current one work?

    Maybe I am over thinking this, so wanted to ask here prior to cutting this kid loose on my wheels
    Before you start adjusting tension, you should find the source of the pinging. Pinging usually means a loose spoke but a loose spoke can be caused by many things. Inspect the wheel for cracks around the spoke holes first. A cracked rim releases tension on the spoke. If the rims aren't cracked on the outside, take the tire and rim strip off and inspect the inside of the wheel. Wheels can crack inside the rim between the spoke holes. This will also release tension although it's usually accompanied by big trueness issues. If the rim is cracked anywhere, it has to be replaced.

    Your wheel guy is right that reducing tension and rebuilding it isn't that good an idea. A wheel will more than a few miles on it has reached an equilibrium of sorts and disturbing the equilibrium may cause more problems than it fixes. This is what happens with multiple spoke breaks. You don't correct the problem but only cause new ones.
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    I'm not a wheel guru, but here is my .02. I don't think bottom brackets ping, so most likely a spoke in the wheel. There's no specified tension for spokes. Tension doesn't mean equal tension in all spokes, sometimes depending on lacing pattern and/or hub flange design there's more tension on the spokes on the drive side than the non drive side. You do want same tension in all spokes on the same side of the wheel though. Those are the things that experienced wheel builders bring to the table.

    I agree partially with the advise from the LBS guy. If rebuilding a wheel i wouldn't reuse spokes/nipples. The rim, after careful inspection could work again though, but at that point, labor cost being the same, the extra $ for a new rim is not much and kind of makes sense.

    Let him fix the issue with his suggestion, simple and nothing to replace, may give you a nice surprise and get another couple thousand miles on the wheel. When/if it pings again, and the spokes are nearing higher limit on tension (no more room for his approach) then you have a great excuse for having it rebuilt, basically a new wheel!!

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    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    As long as the increased tension is withing specifications (there's a range depending on the spokes used) and he get the wheel true with evenly tensioned spokes (again, drive side will have higher tension than NDS etc) you should be OK. Trouble usually rears its head when the tech only focuses on the trouble spot and gets that straight again without considering spoke tension, because uneven spoke tensions will lead to future problems.

    Caveat: I am NOT a wheel expert but I did read The Bicycle Wheel by Jobst Brandt.

  5. #5
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Acquaspin View Post
    There's no specified tension for spokes.
    You lost me on this one. You just turn the spokes a few times then say, "that should be good"?


    As far as the ping, I myself would loosen the spokes a tad before adding tension. That will release any spokes that are currently binding. The ping is caused by binding spokes. I've had shop builders adjust my wheels only to add the ping by binding spokes. I've had to loosen them a bit to release the bind, then readjust.

    That is the reason I add the marker to the spoke while adjusting. I can visually tell if the spoke binds.
    Last edited by Mr. Beanz; 08-17-12 at 11:31 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vesteroid View Post
    On my last long ride, I started hearing pinging out of the rear wheel. It seems to be a constant noise at a specific spot in the wheel rotation. I had a hard time telling if it was a noise from the wheel, or maybe the bb, but I believe it's the wheel as it seemed to be much more constant with the rotation of the wheel vs the crank.
    If the ping happens only when you're pedaling, it's a drive-train issue. If it happens while you're coasting, it's likely a wheel-related issue.

    If it's a wheel issue, it doesn't have to be a spoke issue, however. A steady, rhythmic pinging is often something on the wheel hitting the frame or something on the frame hitting the wheel (ex: speedometer magnets, reflectors, etc). In my experience, spokes that ping more than once or twice usually break in pretty short order... or at least cause the wheel to go out of true by a noticeable amount. I couldn't tell from your post: are your wheels still true?

    He says no, that caused more problems...he just wants to (increase the tension to even all the way around). He said if he did the other way he wanted all new spokes and new rims. I balked when I heard that as is simply don't believe the rims are in need of replacement.
    I agree with cyccommute: I would try to find the source of the problem before going very far. Should be pretty easy to figure out if it's a loose spoke. Your wheel guy is right, however: you want the spoke tension to be even all the way around the wheel for similar types of spokes (ex: all drive-side spokes should be at one tension, all non-drive spokes should be at a different tension).

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    As far as the ping, I myself would loosen the spokes a tad before adding tension. That will release any spokes that are currently binding. The ping is caused by binding spokes. I've had shop builders adjust my wheels only to add the ping by binding spokes. I've had to loosen them a bit to release the bind, then readjust.
    In my experience, there's usually only one ping (per spoke) as the tension is released. It sounds like the OP is experiencing repeated pinging. Unless the wheel was recently serviced and the tech allowed the spokes to wind-up or bind, I'm not sure this explains the problem...

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    Vesteroid: I'm going to refer back to the advice I gave in this thread when you first bought those wheels:

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...=#post14170312


    Quote Originally Posted by paisan View Post
    I have a Powertap wheel, I got a good deal on a set of the factory built sets that come laced to A23's. The factory build was crap, the spokes were nowhere close to evenly tensioned and I was getting loose spokes and/or having to retrue them after everyride. I eventually got tired of dealing with it and rebuilt the wheels myself, now i have no more problems. Because of this I do not recommend anyone buying the factory builds directly from Cycleops unless they have wheel building experience. If you're going to have to pay a wheel builder to rebuild a factory set, you might as well get it done right from start.
    In other words, have those wheels retensioned. Once I did that to mine i haven't had to touch it in the 1500+ miles I've put on them since.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    You lost me on this one. You just turn the spokes a few times then say, "that should be good"?
    Just that spoke tension is a range, not a specific number to shoot for. Two wheels, same components (hubs, rims, spokes,nipples), you can have both wheels well built, round and true, but with a different spoke tension, say one is 200# drive side and 195# non drive side, and the other 210# drive side and 200# non drive side. I just pulled the tension numbers out of my hat, but you get the idea.

  10. #10
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Acquaspin View Post
    Just that spoke tension is a range, not a specific number to shoot for. Two wheels, same components (hubs, rims, spokes,nipples), you can have both wheels well built, round and true, but with a different spoke tension, say one is 200# drive side and 195# non drive side, and the other 210# drive side and 200# non drive side. I just pulled the tension numbers out of my hat, but you get the idea.
    Ah, ok.

  11. #11
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    In my experience, there's usually only one ping (per spoke) as the tension is released. It sounds like the OP is experiencing repeated pinging. Unless the wheel was recently serviced and the tech allowed the spokes to wind-up or bind, I'm not sure this explains the problem...
    In my experience, if the spokes does not release, the ping continues. I have had wheels with repeated pings after having them serviced at the LBS. Binding spokes don't always release during use. Big reason why I started building my own.

    He does say in his post that the wheels have gone out of true a couple times. I was wondering the same thing, did he just have them recently serviced?

    Another thought, I once had a ping and thought it was the spokes (left pedal up consistent ping). Turns out I had just repaired a rear flat. Somehow the lock ring on the cassette worked loose. I retightened it then the noise was gone. THis one drove me crazy trying to find it.

    So now whenever I repair a rear flat, I always add a little pressure with the lockring tool to see if it has worked loose.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    In my experience, if the spokes does not release, the ping continues. I have had wheels with repeated pings after having them serviced at the LBS. Binding spokes don't always release during use. Big reason why I started building my own.
    I see your point: if the wheel builder winds the spoke up like a spring, it might take quite a while for all of the built-up tension to release. Luckily, I've never encountered a wheel builder who was that incompetent!

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    No "Guru" here, but will contribute my .02 all the same.

    Agree with the others about identifying the root cause of both the "ping" and the loss of true before attempting to solve.

    Is it in fact a "ping"? Or, more of a "click"?

    Pings are most frequently spoke bind that issues that correct themselves in the first ride of a recently service wheel. But, potentially at the consequence of even tension, if that tension was achieved through spoke wind up.

    Clicks can come from rim eyelets, nipples or the rim joint and can continue indefinately.

    I don't disagree with the retruing/retensioning of the entire wheel. BUT, some thread locks/preps have a limited service life with regard to how many times they can be disturbed and still function. It might be necessary to actually unbuild the wheel and reprep the spokes. In which case it would be beneficial to know up front if you need to replace the rim or not.

    If the click is rim joint related, it is not impossible to contiue to ride on that rim for some time without safety concerncs. But, I would find that difficult to do.

    I would add more, but, have to go meet the other fat, old men for our Saturday Morning Mutual Distruction.
    Birth Certificate, Passport, Marriage License Driver's License and Residency Permit all say I'm a Fred. I guess there's no denying it.

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    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    So now whenever I repair a rear flat, I always add a little pressure with the lockring tool to see if it has worked loose.
    Interesting! I'll have to try that.

    I have to say though that it's unlikely that a spoke noise would happen at the same point in your pedal stroke, especially if you use more than one gear.

    i have a very faint clicking somewhere in my drive train that I can only hear when I go through a tunnel or when I have my head sideways... can't find it for the life of me on the stand either. The clicking appears to be in the rear and the bike and is crank position specific. Weird! I guess I'll be checking the lockring today.

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    Fred, I agree with everything you said. Having the exact same wheelset I can say with 100% certainty that the wheels in question were built dry with no specific prep(i.e wheelsmith, or DT swiss loctite stuff). Mine also were delivered with tensions all over the place and I experienced the same pinging sound Vest is talking about. As a matter of fact, WFournier was with me on one of the first rides I had on that wheelset and he can attest that we spent a whole ride retensioning spokes and listening to what sounded like my wheel was falling apart. If his are even remotely similar to mine then what he's hearing is most likely the sound of spokes rubbing at the 3rd cross because the wheel was built soft.

    I rebuilt mine within the first 100 miles using the same spokes and nipples, I'm not sure how many miles he has on his but you are correct if hes been riding it for a significant amount of time he may want to consider new spokes and nipples.

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    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    I see your point: if the wheel builder winds the spoke up like a spring, it might take quite a while for all of the built-up tension to release. Luckily, I've never encountered a wheel builder who was that incompetent!


    I have! I think taking my bike to the LBS for the "free tuneups and adjustments" has cost me more than if I hadn't.

    Usually the snot nose kid handling the free adjustments.

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    Climbers Apprentice vesteroid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paisan View Post
    Vesteroid: I'm going to refer back to the advice I gave in this thread when you first bought those wheels:

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...=#post14170312




    In other words, have those wheels retensioned. Once I did that to mine i haven't had to touch it in the 1500+ miles I've put on them since.

    Buddy I was thinking of that post when I wrote this one. So you think I ought to let him totally rebuild them?

    So, maybe with c-X-ray spokes?

    I hate being without my wheels...I don't even have a back up set anymore...i put my other wheels on my cross check

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    If yours are anything like mine I would definately recommend a full de/retension. I'm not entirely sure that you would new spokes but without being able to inspect them it's hard to say. If I was you I would ask a wheelbuilder you trust to detension the wheels, inspect the spokes(replace as necessary) and then retension using new nipples. I say replace the spokes as necessary because the spokes that came with the wheels are DT Swiss Competitions. They are quality spokes to begin with, so the only reason to swap to the X-rays is if you wanted the aero qualities of the bladed spokes. The wheel came with good components it was just built poorly(at least mine was) but once I de/retensioned it all of my problems went away.

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    Climbers Apprentice vesteroid's Avatar
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    See that's what I wanted the twenty something wheel guy to do, bit he balked and said that causes more problems....maybe I just need to find a new wheel guy.

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    I know some old timers who wouldn't reuse spokes because they said the spoke elbows and heads would be deformed where it was laying against the hub. On the flip side, wheels get new rims laced all the time using the old spokes and new nipples. As long as the old spokes aren't completely removed all at once, kept in their current position and you keep the same lace pattern I personally don't see why there would be a problem since the spokes would be laying in the same spot as previously. Even two of the biggest names in wheel building (Jobst Brandt and Gerb Schraner) both say re-using old spokes is ok as long as they aren't damaged.

    But at the end of the day if you are comfortable with that wheel builder and you trust him to do a good job and he will guarantee his work maybe the cost of new spokes isn't so great after all.

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    Climbers Apprentice vesteroid's Avatar
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    I have a club ride out of his shop in the am (yeah, trying to hang with the b group again)

    I have to travel all week next week, will get him to rebuild them with c-X-ray and see if that solves it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigfred View Post
    I don't disagree with the retruing/retensioning of the entire wheel. BUT, some thread locks/preps have a limited service life with regard to how many times they can be disturbed and still function.
    Irrelevant. With proper tension the nipples aren't going to unscrew unless you bend the rim, even when you lubricate the spoke threads and rim sockets (I like anti-seize although a drop of 3-in-1 where the spoke enters the nipple and in the rim socket does fine when you're forced to service an idiot-built wheel which was not properly lubricated).

    Wheelsmith invented Spokeprep because their wheel building machines couldn't make the wheels tight enough to avoid warranty returns by heavier riders due to the nipples unscrewing and wheels going out of true. Paying some one to apply goop to spokes in batches was much less expensive than paying some one to get the wheels to a correct tension by hand.

    You're _much_ better off achieving proper tension because low tension leaves a wheel more vulnerable to collapse (once the spokes go slack it becomes unsupported horizontally, can move side-ways, and once the bump passes it collapses as tension returns in that position. With more tension you can deflect the rim farther before that happens and absorb a proportionally larger bump). Speaking from personal experience it sucks when your front wheel collapses and you stop.
    Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 08-17-12 at 09:41 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vesteroid View Post
    I have a set of the aluminum power tap pro wheels. Two times in 1300 miles they have gone a little out of true. Now I have to admit I have not babied these wheels and in fact have hit a few holes so hard I was amazed I didn't seriously damage them.

    He says no, that caused more problems...he just wants to (increase the tension to even all the way around). He said if he did the other way he wanted all new spokes and new rims. I balked when I heard that as is simply don't believe the rims are in need of replacement.
    The right thing to do is to increase average tension to a reasonable number (110kgf drive side is good for almost any 32 spoke wheels with whatever the non-drive side needs to dish the wheel; although with deeper rims and lower spoke counts 120-130kgf isn't out of line) while making tension as even as it can get within a wheel side with it remaining acceptably true (you can tolerate a lot more radial run-out which is absorbed by the tires than lateral that affects brake pad clearance).

    Maybe I am over thinking this, so wanted to ask here prior to cutting this kid loose on my wheels
    You'd be better off learning something about wheels and taking care of the problem yourself.

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    vesteroid,

    Find a new wheel guy. My reasoning:

    The current guy is willing to, increase tension all around, but, not detension/retension without selling you new spokes and rims. There is no reason what so ever to refuse to reduce the tension on a reasonably new wheel and start over, when no warrantee is expected. We're not talking about relacing using used spokes or rim. We're talking about simply bringing the rim up to tension evenly, versus, trying to make right what may or may not have been right from the get go.

    Drew,

    I hear what you are saying.

    I only mention the limited service life of spoke prep, because, if it is being relied on, it eventually looses it's effectiveness if repeated broken loose during adjustments.

    My experience has been slightly different on the few rear wheels I've built or serviced. I have experienced that at 110-120kgf of drive side force you generally end up with non drive side loads of only 60kgf to establish correct dishing. While adequate for lighter riders, I've experienced repeated issues with non drive side nipples backing off at those tensions. Presumably, due to lateral rim movement during standing climbing. The solutions that I've found to work are:

    1. 1. Increase non drive tension and accept a millimeter or two of dishing to the left.
      2. Use some form of thread lock/goo.
      3. Increase drive side tension to 130-135kgf, which in turn brings non drive tensions up around 80 while also decreasing the possibility of the rim flexing laterally to the left.


    The one complication I've expereinced is that box section rims like MA3's and Open Pro's can't support 130kgf of tension. However, the 585's and Deep V's seem to have no problem supporting the higher tension solution. Keep in mind this experience is limited to the use of various shimano rear hubs that all have the same flange spacing +/- a few tenths of a millimeter, and the use of either all 14 ga straight, all 14/15 db or 14 straight drive spokes paired with 14/15 non drive spokes.

    YMMV
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigfred View Post
    There is no reason what so ever to refuse to reduce the tension on a reasonably new wheel and start over, when no warrantee is expected.
    I'm actually going to disagree with this... slightly.

    My first mountain bike came with light-duty wheels. During my first year of riding, I bashed them into and through all kinds of solid objects. When I finally got around to doing maintenance on the wheels, they were pretty far from true. Tension was pretty uneven all the way around the rim, so I figured I'd just detension everything and start over. As soon as I released the tension, the rim looked like a Mobius strip! I didn't have the money for a new rim, which was clearly what was needed, so I proceeded to retension and true the wheel. I eventually got it into rideable shape, but it was a battle that took hours.

    So if I was wrenching in a shop and a customer brought in a wheel of unknown origin, I too might be a little reluctant to detension it.

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