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New wheel, spokes loosening?

Old 10-23-14, 02:28 PM
  #1  
Jarrett2
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New wheel, spokes loosening?

So I bought a new wheelset about 250 miles ago. Performance Bike sells a Mavic Open Sport/32h/105 wheelset for what seems to be a very reasonable price, so I grabbed them. I went for 32h as I'm around 260. This week, I noticed that my rear wheel was a little bit out of true. Not so much that the rim was touching the brake pads, but just enough that if you watched closely, you could see it while spinning. I checked the spokes and found a couple of spokes that were looser than the others.

I watched a few videos on YouTube about truing wheels and gave it a try. I adjusted the rear brake to where the pad touched on one side and spun the rear wheel slowly in each direction until it showed me where the rim started touching at each point. Then I tightened the spokes in that section on the opposite side of the out of true spot. This is where the loose spokes were.

It took a couple of full turns to get them to match the perceived tension of the ones ahead and behind it on the same side. The other, tighter spokes in that section, I just did a half turn on each. Once I did that, the wheel now appears to be true again to my eye. Not leaning in on either side, but rather spinning straight inside the rear brake pads. And all of the spokes on that (non drive) side seem to have roughly the same tension. (I also noticed the spokes on the drive side were tighter, I assume that is normal)

So my question, is it normal for spokes to loosen like that in the first 250 miles and need a tightening to maintain true?

Or is that a sign of a greater issue?

Did the process I followed solve my problem or create more?
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Old 10-23-14, 02:30 PM
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This is a pretty common problem with what I am assuming was a factory built wheel. I would suggest having a wheel builder at your LBS properly true and tension your wheel.
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Old 10-23-14, 02:48 PM
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+1 What you did was return the wheel to the tension it was before, or perhaps a bit looser. As the initial inadequate tension was what caused the problem you need to get it tensioned properly.
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Old 10-23-14, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by brad0383 View Post
This is a pretty common problem with what I am assuming was a factory built wheel. I would suggest having a wheel builder at your LBS properly true and tension your wheel.
+1. Factory built wheels are notorious for having improper/uneven tensions, despite being initially true. It's easy to get a wheel true without paying much attention to tensions, but improper tensions will ensure a wheel won't stay true. Any decent LBS mechanic should be able to de-tension all the spokes and re-tension/true for a modest fee. Then you'll have a very robust wheelset that should stay true for a long time.
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Old 10-23-14, 07:45 PM
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I bought a CHEAP front wheel for a CL flipper, since the wheel was much less than the parts cost for me to build it.

Every other spoke was about 1/2 the proper tension. The "tight" ones were about where they should have been.
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Old 10-23-14, 08:14 PM
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The Mavic Open Sport is a relatively flexible rim which is hard to get aligned with large tension variation, so I expect that the issue wasn't uneven tension as much as overly low tension. Possibly this was complicated by a spoke/nipple lube that didn't provide traction or stickiness and allowed the nipple to turn when the tension was eased at the bottom of the cycle.

You might do well to have the overall tension increased, but IMO with your weight at 260 this wheel may not be the best choice. Other factors may (usually are) too much spoke for the rim which makes it nearly impossible to get left spoke tension high enough without over stressing the rim with excessive tension on the right.

I'd have a shop take the tension up a notch, then add a drop of adhesive between the nipple and rim of all left side spokes, and spin the wheel in to drive it to the nipple seat area.

Hopefully this wheel can be made to serve you well, but if not look for a stouter rim and lighter spokes (especially on the left) next time around.

BTW- one thing that might help with what you have now is a wider tire -- if there's enough frame clearance. More air spreads load better and reduces the tension swings under load. I'm not talking about a miracle here, but you need all the help you can get.
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Old 10-23-14, 11:02 PM
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I've had good luck with Open Sport rims because of the extra Al. in them. 32 spokes is pushing it for a 260 pound rider plus 20+ pounds for the bike.
For someone like the OP I would build a wheel with 36 double butted spokes.
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Old 10-24-14, 02:20 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
then add a drop of adhesive between the nipple and rim of all left side spokes, and spin the wheel in to drive it to the nipple seat area.
I'm going to do this. What specific product do you recommend, Francis? Also, I greased each of the spoke holes (including the NDS). Would the adhesive still work, or should I unlace and degrease the NDS? Thanks
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Old 10-24-14, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by davidad View Post
I've had good luck with Open Sport rims because of the extra Al. in them. 32 spokes is pushing it for a 260 pound rider plus 20+ pounds for the bike.
For someone like the OP I would build a wheel with 36 double butted spokes.
I am heavier than the OP, there is no reason a properly tensioned 32h wheel would have any issues.
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Old 10-24-14, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Jarrett2 View Post
So my question, is it normal for spokes to loosen like that in the first 250 miles and need a tightening to maintain true?
Properly built wheels NEVER loosen. Unfortunately machine built wheels are rarely done right because that would cut into the profit margins more than warranty returns from heavier riders.

Or is that a sign of a greater issue?
You don't have enough tension in the wheels. 105 kgf front and rear drive side would be a start with the rear non-drive side ending up at whatever fraction of that it takes to center the wheel.

Compensate for windup and stress relieve (squeeze parallel spokes on one side hard wearing gloves, twist them about eachother at the outer crossing using something softer like a brass drift/plastic screw driver handle/old left crank).

Don't trust your LBS to get this right.
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Old 10-24-14, 09:15 AM
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If you look at Mavic/Shimano wheels from Performance Bike as just a collection of parts that have an initial lacing, they're a pretty darn good deal. I know when I bought my OpenPro/Ultegra/Wheelsmith DB spoke wheelset from Performance for $199 6 years ago, they were about half what the parts alone would have cost me. I bought a second set just because I knew I'd never see those prices again. I tensioned, stress-relieved and trued them and they haven't needed to be touched in 10000 miles. I'll wear out the brake track before these puppies go out of true. They're 32 spoke and I weigh 250. If he's easy on his wheels, the OP should get similar performance from his.
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Old 10-24-14, 09:16 AM
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Drew must have a underpaying Bike Shop so cannot keep good help, in an expensive place to live.

most LBS should be able to help you with a little maintenance tension and truing .

I know the local, here, will.
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Old 10-24-14, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by brad0383 View Post
I am heavier than the OP, there is no reason a properly tensioned 32h wheel would have any issues.
That's my feeling too, unless the OP is running through pot holes etc.
I'm 240 and inadvertently dropped my rear wheel into an old fashioned sewer grate, which bounced my butt about 8-10" off the seat.
The wheel did have a little "wow"in it, but was totally rideable.
I was on vacation at the time and didn't get around to putting it on the truing stand for 2-3 weeks afterward.
A couple spokes were looser, and the rim had a slight physical "distortion", but I have no qualms about it.
It took about 10 minutes to get spoke tensions even again.
32 spoke Sun Rims M13II with 14/15 DB spokes DS & 15/16 DB NDS.
This was on a 135mm spaced wheel, which may have helped, since the spoke tension differential was more favorable. 110/77kgf.
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Old 10-25-14, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by brad0383 View Post
I am heavier than the OP, there is no reason a properly tensioned 32h wheel would have any issues.
I rebuilt a wheel for a 225 pound gym rat who destroyed the rim. It was a Performance wheel with an Open Pro rim and a Power Tap hub. I used a Sun CR18 rim for the third build and had to tension the drive side to 130K because he was breaking NDS nipples. The hub required more dish and therefore less tension on the NDS.

I still say that 36 spokes and a slightly heavier rim is best for someone that heavy.
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Old 10-25-14, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by ClarkinHawaii View Post
I'm going to do this. What specific product do you recommend, Francis? Also, I greased each of the spoke holes (including the NDS). Would the adhesive still work, or should I unlace and degrease the NDS? Thanks
My rule No. 1 is "don't fix what ain't broke". So if the wheel is OK now, there's certainly no reason to take it apart to try to make it more OK.

I doubt that any adhesive will work if you've greased the nipples, but the grease itself might be sticky enough to do the trick. Or you can thin a very thick, sticky grease (like water pump grease) with naphtha and apply it the way I described.

OTOH, if you continue to have problems with left nipples loosening, then you might try cleanin g the grease and spinning in an adhesive to bind the nipples to the rim. That said, the real solution is to address the underlying cause which is inadequate elongation of the spokes. Either increase tension on both sides, or if pushing the limits on the right, use a lighter DB spoke on the left.
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Old 10-26-14, 06:00 AM
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'Properly built wheels NEVER loosen'

I'd agree with that... to a point.

WHY people grease spoke threads.. easier to turn the nip?? Spokes do loosen over time.. hard riding that de-tensions spokes to the point of going slack during the wheel revolution. Grease only facilitates this loosening............

IME... 105 DS kgf is not high enough to prevent 'shaking loose' on most rear hubs.. given hard riding.. high mileage and a heavier rider... 180 lbs+ at 130 spacing.

"Wind up" spokes and newbie builders. Another recipe for a mess.. another guy's job to fix. Use the flavor that doesn't twist.
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