Thanks for the updates on your Denali! Sounds a lot like my reactions to mine when I first got it, especially the brakes. I found that Kool-Stop pads helped a lot, and dual pivot calipers helped even more. If it were me,
Anyway, as you may know, the stock front Denali wheel isn't quick release, so I have to unbolt it and bolt it back on every time I load it and unload it. Again, not a huge deal in itself, but over time this wrenching began to loosen the retaining nuts for the wheel bearings...
All the while I'm still dealing with spoke pings. Pretty frustrating.
Well, this past Wednesday, I do another retensioning, and ride out to meet the local group for the Wednesday night ride. Early in the ride there are no pings, and all seems well. But a few miles in, I start hearing pings that grow progressively worse, becoming loud exasperating creaks and pops that make my bike sound like it's about to break a spoke, and I'm feeling each noise through the handlebars. I assume it's more spoke problems, and halfway through the ride I split off and limp home. Even quitting early, the ride still ended up being 20 miles long.
Got the bike home and was pretty mad at it, til I discovered the wheel bearings were pretty loose. Tightened them up, checked spoke tension again, and rode again the next day only to find more pings. Pretty well lost at this point because I don't get how the spokes could still have uneven tension. Take the bike home, flip it over, and spin the front wheel...and it starts pinging. Definitely not a load induced ping, rather it seems to be coming from the front wheel bearing.
Took it apart, found lots of shiny specs and metal flakes in the grease, and the bearings were pitted and rough. Definitely trashed, no doubt from riding on them when the bearings were loose. I was afraid my races were going to be too which would mean new wheel (no sense in repairing the stock one, not cost effective) but after cleaning I found they were okay.
Put all new bearings and grease in, and while I was in there I took the time to convert the front wheel to quick release. Was an incredibly simple procedure.
Made sure to include the Vitesse logo to show it can be done.
So, as it turns out the past few days of wheel tensioning were pretty much unecessary, as it was the bearings making the noise...but it's nice to know that everything's fixed and that a mistake on my part didn't become expensive.