Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Bicycle Mechanics
Reload this Page >

Spoke tension?

Notices
Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

Spoke tension?

Old 12-03-22, 10:37 AM
  #1  
carlom0
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 14
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Spoke tension?

Could you please tell me what would be the correct spoke tension for a Specialized Cross trail bicycle?
Thank you.
carlom0 is online now  
Old 12-03-22, 12:24 PM
  #2  
Andrew R Stewart 
Senior Member
 
Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 16,950

Bikes: Stewart S&S coupled sport tourer, Stewart Sunday light, Stewart Commuting, Stewart Touring, Co Motion Tandem, Stewart 3-Spd, Stewart Track, Fuji Finest, Mongoose Tomac ATB, GT Bravado ATB, JCP Folder, Stewart 650B ATB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3722 Post(s)
Liked 2,763 Times in 1,720 Posts
Which set of spokes? Most rim braked bike ft wheels have the same tension for both sides of the wheel. Rears, and disk ft wheels usually have a dish which requires one side's spokes to be higher tensioned than the other side's. Also its the rim that generally "controls" the spoke tension maximum. So what rim?

Questions like this one often suggests there's some issue or concern about the current condition. Are there issues or problems we don't yet know of? Are the wheels straight, true, dished or other? Are you breaking spokes?

With so little info mentioned there's little we can be specific with. Andy
__________________
AndrewRStewart
Andrew R Stewart is online now  
Old 12-03-22, 01:14 PM
  #3  
FBinNY 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Posts: 36,711

Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter

Mentioned: 131 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4746 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 736 Times in 460 Posts
The whole tension issue is overhyped.

It's actually fairly simple.

There's a minimum tension, such that spokes never go slack when the rim deflects.

There's a maximum tension which is something below 80% of the yield strength, leaving room for the added service load. This is also subject to what the rim can take.

Any tension that meets these conditions is correct. As a rough general rule I try to keep tensions in the 50-110kgf range.

Of its not quite that simple because both condition s depend on spoke gauge with thiner spokes calling for lower tensions.

That said. The OP begs the question. Why are you asking? Unless you have a problem like the wheel being out of true, or an obviously slack spoke, I suggest that you follow rule #1 --- Don't fix what ain't broke.

OTOH- If it's simply a desire to learn, keep in mind that simple answers on forums are only a starting place because the devil is in the details.
FBinNY is offline  
Likes For FBinNY:
Old 12-03-22, 08:27 PM
  #4  
carlom0
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 14
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
spoke tension

Thanks for answering me. They are rim brakes and the rims are running straight and true. My question is because the spokes do not all feel like they have the same tension. Some feel tight and have a higher pitch when plucked and some feel looser with a lower pitch.
carlom0 is online now  
Old 12-03-22, 08:39 PM
  #5  
FBinNY 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Posts: 36,711

Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter

Mentioned: 131 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4746 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 736 Times in 460 Posts
OK

Even tension is important, but not critically so.

If you were headed on a long tour, you might have someone check them out, and possibly get the tension more even.

Otherwise, unless you have wheel trueing skills, I suggest leaving bad enough alone until the wheels need trying anyway.
__________________
FB
Chain-L site

An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

“Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.
FBinNY is offline  
Old 12-03-22, 09:23 PM
  #6  
Andrew R Stewart 
Senior Member
 
Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 16,950

Bikes: Stewart S&S coupled sport tourer, Stewart Sunday light, Stewart Commuting, Stewart Touring, Co Motion Tandem, Stewart 3-Spd, Stewart Track, Fuji Finest, Mongoose Tomac ATB, GT Bravado ATB, JCP Folder, Stewart 650B ATB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3722 Post(s)
Liked 2,763 Times in 1,720 Posts
No description as to which spokes seem tight or less so. Again, on a bike there will be a variation of spoke tensions due to wheel design and placement. Can you be more specific as to which wheel and side you checked the tension?

One could bring their bike to a shop for their more expert opinions if concerns continue. Andy
__________________
AndrewRStewart
Andrew R Stewart is online now  
Old 12-04-22, 02:08 AM
  #7  
maddog34
Senior Member
 
maddog34's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: NW Oregon
Posts: 1,514

Bikes: !982 Trek 930R Custom, Diamondback ascent with SERIOUS updates, Fuji Team Pro CF and a '09 Comencal Meta 5.5

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 613 Post(s)
Liked 55 Times in 44 Posts
Loose spokes can happen from break-in of wheel sets, a curb strike, a pothole, or running over that yapping poodle the old neighbors with the Cool Studebaker think is their long-dead son... or just neglect. you have chosen NOT to neglect your wheels.... GOOD!

tip #1..:instead of "plucking"spokes, strike them with a screwdriver handle... using two at once creates A Bicyclophone! (Radial lacing works best for this)

check for any extra-loose spokes... bring up their tensions to an OK level first... then go around the wheel to look for any other extra-loose ones... then watch,read, and learn... enjoy!

https://www.parktool.com/en-us/blog/...on-measurement

there are many more excellent Vids on how to do this... unfortunately, there are also some really lousy vids.... Sigh.

Tip#2.. Remove the Tire and tube before you do anything truing-wise.(shop guys do quicky tunes with the tires still on)

work slowly and carefully... one spoke won't solve every problem... and you'll discover that changing one spoke can alter the tension on a completely different area of the wheel.... You can do more by loosening a really tight one than tightening two kinda loose ones, as far as moving the wobbles that you just introduced to your once fairly straight wheel....

(Top Secret tip time!) A big warp to the right will usually have two satellite warps of smaller amounts to the left... work the big warp first...

tip #3... if the wheel is warped more than about an inch out of true, you will usually not get it straight with just spoke-tightening/loosening.

biggest mistake i see is folks wanting to just tighten the holy crap out of one spoke and never even try to loosen one opposite or use adjacent spokes.... followed by rounded off nipples, snapped spokes, and the occasional hack job by twisting sharp angles into spokes to "tighten it up!"...

now.. i recommend Learning on a Cheapo wheel that looks like garbage first... You DO have a truing stand and/or CENTERING GAUGE, correct? And raunchy Wheel Bearings make the task just that much tougher....... they need your love too, ya know!

Last edited by maddog34; 12-04-22 at 02:51 AM.
maddog34 is offline  
Old 12-04-22, 09:52 AM
  #8  
KerryIrons
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 526
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 258 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 280 Times in 167 Posts
Originally Posted by carlom0 View Post
Thanks for answering me. They are rim brakes and the rims are running straight and true. My question is because the spokes do not all feel like they have the same tension. Some feel tight and have a higher pitch when plucked and some feel looser with a lower pitch.

Yes, spokes will always show tension differences as you go around the wheel whether front or rear wheel. But simply saying "feel looser with a lower pitch" tells us virtually nothing. You have asked a quantitative question (how much spoke tension) and given qualitative descriptions of your concerns. Very hard to discern what to suggest.
KerryIrons is offline  
Old 12-04-22, 10:51 AM
  #9  
mrrabbit 
Senior Member
 
mrrabbit's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: San Jose, California
Posts: 3,496

Bikes: 2001 Tommasini Sintesi w/ Campagnolo Daytona 10 Speed

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 140 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 31 Times in 26 Posts
Originally Posted by carlom0 View Post
Could you please tell me what would be the correct spoke tension for a Specialized Cross trail bicycle?
Thank you.
If it's the 2016 model with basic 32 hole wheels and rim brakes...

90-95 KGF for front wheel would be a good ballpark.
100-110 KGF rear drive side would be a good ballpark.

Close relative tension spoke to spoke on each side of a wheel is the most important.

Once you start getting quite a few spokes hitting the 95 and 110 target, time to finish off the wheel.

If it stays put true, tension and dish-wise after a stress relief cycle, you're good to go.

=8-|
__________________
5000+ wheels built since 1984...

Disclaimer:

1. I do not claim to be an expert in bicycle mechanics despite my experience.
2. I like anyone will comment in other areas.
3. I do not own the preexisting concepts of DISH and ERD.
4. I will provide information as I always have to others that I believe will help them protect themselves from unscrupulous mechanics.
5. My all time favorite book is:

Kahane, Howard. Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric: The Use of Reason in Everyday Life
mrrabbit is offline  
Old 12-06-22, 02:49 PM
  #10  
dsbrantjr
Senior Member
 
dsbrantjr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Roswell, GA
Posts: 8,297

Bikes: '93 Trek 750, '92 Schwinn Crisscross, '93 Mongoose Alta

Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1427 Post(s)
Liked 1,059 Times in 708 Posts
Originally Posted by carlom0 View Post
... the rims are running straight and true...
Never Fix A Running Piece!
dsbrantjr is offline  
Likes For dsbrantjr:
Old 12-06-22, 03:30 PM
  #11  
zandoval 
Senior Member
 
zandoval's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Bastrop Texas
Posts: 3,554

Bikes: Univega, Peu P6, Peu PR-10, Ted Williams, Peu UO-8, Peu UO-18 Mixte, Peu Dolomites

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 606 Post(s)
Liked 945 Times in 614 Posts
When I first got my spoke tension meter I thought I was going to get my wheels straight, true, and within accurate specs. Ha... Maybe on a brand new wheel tolerances can be of smaller increments, but on my old beat up wheel sets there is just no way. My best use for my spoke tension meter is just getting into the ball park and that's good enough for me. Once I am in the ball park its a matter of a half turn here, or there, on this side or that. And then, like some kind of magic trick I find a true wheel. Then it's Happy Happy, Joy Joy...

As to the OP: Most likely the only way to get your true reading is to take "your meter" over to a brand new bike of the same manufacture with its same exact wheel set then take measurements. That is the front wheel and then the rear noting drive and non drive side measurements. Also be aware that these measurements are with your meter and may not match others exactly.
__________________
No matter where your at... There you are... Δf:=f(1/2)-f(-1/2)
zandoval is offline  
Old 12-06-22, 05:11 PM
  #12  
Lombard
Sock Puppet
 
Lombard's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2022
Location: Planet Earth
Posts: 852

Bikes: 2014 Cannondale Synapse Carbon, 2017 Jamis Renegade Exploit and too many others to mention.

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 528 Post(s)
Liked 451 Times in 306 Posts
Originally Posted by carlom0 View Post
Thanks for answering me. They are rim brakes and the rims are running straight and true. My question is because the spokes do not all feel like they have the same tension. Some feel tight and have a higher pitch when plucked and some feel looser with a lower pitch.
When you say some feel tighter and some feel looser, do you mean spokes on the same side of a wheel? I gather you know that drive side spokes on an 11-speed freehub will have about twice as much tension as non-drive side spokes, correct?
Lombard is offline  
Old 12-06-22, 05:35 PM
  #13  
Koyote
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 6,522
Mentioned: 35 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5940 Post(s)
Liked 9,003 Times in 3,894 Posts
Originally Posted by carlom0 View Post
Thanks for answering me. They are rim brakes and the rims are running straight and true. My question is because the spokes do not all feel like they have the same tension. Some feel tight and have a higher pitch when plucked and some feel looser with a lower pitch.
I highlighted the key part of your post.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Koyote is online now  
Likes For Koyote:
Old 12-06-22, 05:53 PM
  #14  
Iride01 
more daylight today!
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 12,181

Bikes: Tarmac Disc Comp Di2 - 2020

Mentioned: 43 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4993 Post(s)
Liked 3,500 Times in 2,427 Posts
I use to adjust spokes myself. I could always get a wheel back into true by tightening and loosening various spokes. However I eventually realized that I could have some spokes excessively tight and others loose and wobbly. And the wheel being perfectly true.

So not wanting to learn all the in's and out's of wheel building I just started taking my wheels to the bike shop whenever I had a concern.

And you know what? They don't charge very much to true and adjust them. In fact if they don't need anything I've had them give them back to me for no charge at all. Despite me watching them spend at least fifteen minutes of their time with them.
Iride01 is offline  
Old 12-07-22, 05:23 PM
  #15  
carlom0
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 14
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Spoke tension?

The spokes on both of our bicycles had uneven tension from the time I bought them new from a dealer several years ago. maybe I'm making an issue over nothing, that's why I asked just in case there was a problem. Thanks for your input.
carlom0 is online now  
Old 12-07-22, 10:59 PM
  #16  
FBinNY 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Posts: 36,711

Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter

Mentioned: 131 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4746 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 736 Times in 460 Posts
Originally Posted by carlom0 View Post
The spokes on both of our bicycles had uneven tension from the time I bought them new from a dealer several years ago. maybe I'm making an issue over nothing, that's why I asked just in case there was a problem. Thanks for your input.
Bicycle or wheel quality has to be considered in the context of planned use.

There's no denying that they could be better, and maybe last longer, which might matter if you were planning an extended loaded tour. But otherwise, odds are these will be more than adequate for your CNN purposes.
__________________
FB
Chain-L site

An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

“Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.
FBinNY is offline  
Old 12-08-22, 06:38 AM
  #17  
Lombard
Sock Puppet
 
Lombard's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2022
Location: Planet Earth
Posts: 852

Bikes: 2014 Cannondale Synapse Carbon, 2017 Jamis Renegade Exploit and too many others to mention.

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 528 Post(s)
Liked 451 Times in 306 Posts
Originally Posted by carlom0 View Post
The spokes on both of our bicycles had uneven tension from the time I bought them new from a dealer several years ago. maybe I'm making an issue over nothing, that's why I asked just in case there was a problem. Thanks for your input.
The question is how uneven are they? Is their tension more than 20% off from each other?
Lombard is offline  
Old 12-13-22, 11:52 PM
  #18  
LeeG
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 5,069
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 111 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 44 Times in 35 Posts
Originally Posted by carlom0 View Post
The spokes on both of our bicycles had uneven tension from the time I bought them new from a dealer several years ago. maybe I'm making an issue over nothing, that's why I asked just in case there was a problem. Thanks for your input.
It’s easy to discern differences in tension between spokes without it indicating that rhe wheel is incorrectly built.
LeeG is offline  
Old 12-14-22, 08:08 AM
  #19  
pdlamb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: northern Deep South
Posts: 8,027

Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2160 Post(s)
Liked 1,384 Times in 881 Posts
Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
It’s easy to discern differences in tension between spokes without it indicating that rhe wheel is incorrectly built.
I'd want to know the magnitude of the differences before I'd say there's no indication that the wheel is incorrectly built. If the spoke tension variation is more than 5-10% on a front wheel or drive-side rear wheel, there's a problem. NDS rear spoke tension may vary more, but if there's a 30-50% (or more) variation, especially on a new wheel, that should have been addressed and corrected during the build.
pdlamb is offline  
Likes For pdlamb:
Old 12-14-22, 08:17 AM
  #20  
Lombard
Sock Puppet
 
Lombard's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2022
Location: Planet Earth
Posts: 852

Bikes: 2014 Cannondale Synapse Carbon, 2017 Jamis Renegade Exploit and too many others to mention.

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 528 Post(s)
Liked 451 Times in 306 Posts
Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
I'd want to know the magnitude of the differences before I'd say there's no indication that the wheel is incorrectly built. If the spoke tension variation is more than 5-10% on a front wheel or drive-side rear wheel, there's a problem. NDS rear spoke tension may vary more, but if there's a 30-50% (or more) variation, especially on a new wheel, that should have been addressed and corrected during the build.
30% is a football field! I would argue it is actually more important for NDS spoke tensions to be even, otherwise you have spokes possibly going slack while riding.
Lombard is offline  
Old 12-15-22, 03:24 PM
  #21  
Yan 
Senior Member
 
Yan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 2,395
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1001 Post(s)
Liked 243 Times in 160 Posts
120 kgf.
Yan is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.