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Bike spokes moving

Old 03-26-20, 12:40 PM
  #1  
venomx
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Bike spokes moving

Some of my spokes have a tiny bit of movement when moving them left to right gently, is this normal?

Would something like this be good to tighten them?
https://www.decathlon.co.uk/bike-spoke-nipple-wrench-id_8350527.html
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Old 03-26-20, 01:00 PM
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In my experience those kind of nipple wrenches are best at rounding off the nipples you are trying to tighten. Park Tool and others make very nice wrenches to fit a single nipple size well.
And, if you go tightening spokes willy-nilly you risk putting your wheel out of true.
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Old 03-26-20, 01:17 PM
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Bill Kapaun
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Agree about the spoke wrench. Get a 1 size fits properly wrench. Especially true when dealing with older wheels where the spokes/nipples may have some corrosion, causing them to bind.

You can do a simple "pluck a spoke and listen to the tone" test.
On a conventional front wheel, they should all sound the same.
On a wheel with dish (cassette and/or disc brake) they should all sound the same on THAT side.

I'll guess it's the rear NDS spokes?
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Old 03-26-20, 01:41 PM
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Exactly what kind of movement are you talking about?
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Old 03-26-20, 01:42 PM
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dsbrantjr got it. Go to a bike shop (well that what I would say any other time) with a wheel and buy the Park wrench that fits your spokes. (The different colored handles indicate different sized. Black now is the most common (Swiss DT spokes and many others) but the old French spokes took a green wrench and Japanese the red. There are a couple of other colors. A bike shop will have the wrenches and can try them on, then sell you the right one. Online? See if you can determine what brand spokes you've got. Park certainly can sell you the right on if they know. They probably have a web pade re: spokes and wrenches and if not, I;d contact them.

Now, loose spokes are bad. But again as dsbrantjr said, tightening spokes with no plan can lead to many other problems. You are entering the realm of wheel truing; very closely related to wheel building, Not rocket science, a really good skill to have that will serve you well for years, but it needs to be approached with respect or you can quite effectively kill wheels. Get a wheelbuilding book or find good online lessons. (Jobst Brandt's book on wheelbuilding is consider the sacred bible but Robert Wright's book "Building Bicycle Wheels" is far more approachable and will get you just as good a wheel. Both are probably out of print but easy to find online.

Or take your wheels to a bike mechanic and pay him to do it. (Caution - since you have been riding on these loose spokes, you have introduced fatigue cycles into them and higher stresses into the surrounding spokes. They may well start popping heads or breaking at the start of the threads at random after the truing. This may not be the mechanic's (or you if you do it) poor workmanship. It may be worth replacing spokes as they break or it may be time for a new wheel. (Or this wheel may roll on anther few thousand miles with om issues at all. I've seen all three scenarios.) Regardless of who does the work - get three more spokes (and have the wrench). If more than three spokes break, time to start with fresh spokes. Probably a good time for a new rim also.

One more point - before you do anything, look for tiny cracks at the spoke holes in the rim. If you see them it's new rim time. it's probably safe to ride these a little longer but be looking for the next rim(s) and spokes or wheels. Rebuilding wheels with cracked rims is pointless. Tightening the spokes is like tightening guitar strings on a guitar with broken pegs. Maybe you can get through tonight's gig, but this isn't going to work for very long.

Ben
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Old 03-27-20, 01:24 AM
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Great thank you guys
By movement I mean they bend a tiny bit if I move them around with my fingers
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Old 03-27-20, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by venomx View Post
By movement I mean they bend a tiny bit if I move them around with my fingers
Even properly tensioned spokes will "move" with finger pressure. That you say "some" spokes move suggests that others do not, and that sounds like some may be too loose.
The quickest way to tell if your spoke tension is anywhere near the correct range is to tap the spokes lightly one at a time with a hard object such as the plastic handle of a screwdriver. The sound made by the spokes should be "musical", that is to say it should sound like a note. If the sound is more like a "thud" then your tension is too low. As mentioned above, this puts you into wheel-truing territory. Seek help as needed.
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Old 03-27-20, 09:46 PM
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When you squeeze a parallel pair, they should move about 2 mm.
If they can move without digging in your skin, they are too loose. They will then usually make crinkle sound too.
When too tight the pling will be higher than the highest piano note.

Last edited by GamblerGORD53; 04-01-20 at 12:26 PM.
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Old 03-29-20, 09:42 AM
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First question you need to ask is do all the spokes move more or less the same.
​​​​Is the wheel buckled or running out of true.
You can then decide if you need to do anything.
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Old 03-29-20, 09:58 AM
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Yes, all spokes will move some, and they should be pretty much equal. If you didn't know this then mucking around with a spoke wrench might mean trouble.

Are these wheels on a bike bought new several months old now? Did you take it back for that free tune up like they told you too? Even if it's not a wheel on a new bike, bike shops don't charge much for truing your wheels which will take care of more than just tightening a spoke or two. And which tightening a few spokes yourself might give you an out of true and out of round wheel.
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Old 03-29-20, 10:08 AM
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Spoke wrenches in the inept hands can result in expensive follow up. A boss I had years ago told me a story of one of his early competitors. He (the competitor) would give a free spoke wrench away with each new bike. He would tell his customers that he couldn't warranty wheels given the conditions the local roads were in (and we all love dissing our road works departments don't we). But as he was giving the customer a spoke wrench they could fix any out of true wheels that developed. needless to say he also had a fairly high wheel straightening service change and did a LOT of simple undoing of what the customer had done in trying to fix a out of true wheel. Andy
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Old 03-29-20, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by sweeks View Post
... As mentioned above, this puts you into wheel-truing territory. Seek help as needed.
+1 (and hilarious!) Once into messing with wheel spokes, you are venturing into a different realm where we may fall into traps that require professional (or very understanding) help.

First, the obvious. "I tightened this spoke and this happened over here." We've all been there whether we admitted it and sought help or just muddled along and built a poor wheel or accepted defeat, loosened all the spokes and started over. (Often by far the best approach but it does require swallowing pride.)

Second, after years of building wheel after wheel and loving it, going to that psychologist or relations therapist to save the marriage.

Ben
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Old 03-29-20, 03:03 PM
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A spoke wrench in inexperienced hands is a weapon of mass destruction and a possible hospital stay.
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