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Thread: How often should you tighten/change spokes?

  1. #1
    Calculating jrwjr_eng's Avatar
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    How often should you tighten/change spokes?

    My question is prompted because on 3 different wheelsets now, after a few hundred miles of riding normal XC stuff I hear a pinging noise from the the wheels caused by loose spokes.

    I get the trust spoke tool and go to work. Usually I fine that the rim is pretty straight, but to get any tension on the spoke I have to take it out of true. Anyway in a few rides I have to start doing it all over again. After awhile I am off to the LBS to get them rebuild. There is no noticable damage to the spokes from chain suck.

    Is it the nipple prep loosing it grip? The spoke streching, thus the wrong gauge? (I am 200+ lbs) The rims on a stand still round except for where I have to crank to spoke in, but I usually run of of threads before anyway.

    What going on here? Too soft of rims? Thanks in advance of the info and fat jokes are welcome, just be prepared to back them up scrawny arse.
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  2. #2
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    to answer the question in the subject. spokes should be checked for proper tension bi annually. this assumes, that they were handbuilt AND that care and time was taken to build them.

    depending on the use, they might need to be checked as often as quarterly.

    here's a rule of thumb used by most wheelbuilders as far as spokes are concerned: sokes and nipples last the life of the rim. so once the rime gets a massive flat spot or gets a groove in it from the brake pads, or the eyelets start to pull through the roof, time for new spokes and nipples.

    typically, the anal retentive builders will also change the hub shell if they change the lacing pattern (heads in pulling vs heads out pulling or cross pattern).

    ----------------------------

    the loose spoke problem could be cause for concern. when a spoke is loose AND is ridden loose, it rubs against the flange of the hub shell. the rubbing over the distance of one ride will heat the spoke up (heat caused by the friction between the spoke and hub flange). the metal will become brittle from the heat and eventually break.

    wheels that have been ridden with loose spokes should have all the spokes and nipples replaced......and possibly the hub shell as well, IF, the hub shell is NOT forged.

    typicall, and depending on the material, a forged shell can withstand high heat better than a cast shell.

    ------------------------------

    if the wheels are loosening after being rebuilt, it's possible that there is either inscufficient tension in the spokes OR that the wheel is not being stress relieved OR both.

    stress reliveing a wheel happend after the spokes are brought up to an initial tension in the build process. this stress relieving step will place loads similar to the loads placed on the wheel when ridden. so it's kinda like getting to ride the wheel before it's being built. any fault in the build, after a few relieveing cycels will cause the wheel to go out of true. typically, some anal retentive builders will relive a wheel as many as 10 - 20 times during a build.

    that way, the wheel can be mounted, once it's done being built, and then ridden, and not having to straighten the wheel after a few rides.

    the catch is that sometimes, rims, from the factory, aren't totally round and true so the builder has to work with the rim to get it round and true using the spoke's tension. if it's way wacked, then it might not be possible to build a wheel that will "stand".

    ---------------------------

    preping nipples is one of those long standing debates.....here's a list of a few of the most common methods for lubing or preping nipples : DT Spoke freeze, Wheelsmith Spokeprep, Linseed oil, Tri FLow, Phil's Tenacious oil, nothing, some brand of grease.............

    but most builder will use what works best. as for the spoke prep formula....this is basically an aerobic setting agent....air is removed and the liquid takes on a solid (more like plastic) form. but, still soft enough so that if the wheel nees subsequent truing....there is no problem.

    ----------------------------

    spoke do stretch a bit but usually only about half to one whole milimeter.

    again, this is why the stress relieveing process is so important since the spokes can be stretched BEFORE the wheels is ridden.

    ---------------------------------

    what rims (brand and model) do you have on each wheelset?

    what hub (brand and model)?

    what spoke gauges and lacing patterns are on each wheel?

    i see you weigh 200+. do you race? how often? what brand and model of bike do you ride as the main bike? as the training bike? would you consider yourself a smooth rider or a bit agressive.....or a lot agressive?

    if you can answer all of these i can try and point you in the right direction as to what the problem might be.

    it might be somethign as simple as the stress relief issue or something more along the lines of......maybe the rim is too light for you.

  3. #3
    Calculating jrwjr_eng's Avatar
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    I have to go home to get the exact data you are requesting, and I have wondered about the rims being to light.

    Bike setup is 2000 C'dale jekyll 900sl pretty much stock junk Coda components.

    Build #1 - To be posted

    Build #2
    Hubs: CODA Expert Front Disc Hub, CODA Expert Rear Disc Hub
    Rims: Coda Expert Disc
    Spokes: Stock?

    Build #3 - Rebuild Build #2 at LBS
    Hubs: In great shape.
    Rims: 1 flat spot but was able to keep round.
    Spokes: 14 gauge; manufacture = ? To be posted

    Thanks for you help on this...

    If I change hubs I have to get a new brake system, If I get a new break system, I would also want a new crankset/bottom bracket, chain and cassette. So I can easily tie in $1500 to this bike or invest in another nonexistant hardtail that have been coveting. Then I say to myself I still need to keep a FSR too and I reinvest the $60 to get the existing wheelset rebuilt.
    (This logic got me a new bike, out of my wife last time on a broken rear derailure and a bent hanger. I told her the frame was screwed up and it would cost $$$. I then replace the derailure for $30 and let her ride it.) But I feel much better now.
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  4. #4
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    a new bike? new bikes are alway fun. get one.
    here's what you need to do for a hassle free purchase.

    get a scale (digital if you wish), weigh your head, weigh your wife's head. if your head weighs more, you can use that to your advantage. if her head weighs more, then read on........

    -------------------------

    the CODA hubs are fine hubs. just make sure to spin the wheel in your hands (without the QR) and make sure your bearings are still running smooth ever once in a while.

    if they aren't smooth, you can get them from CDale or a dealer.

    -------------------------

    as for the whole brake, cranks, BB, brake, chain, cassette.....you can do it for under $1500 no problem.

    again, you don't really need new hubs unless you're not happy with the current ones (or you just want new ones).

    ---------------------------

    $60 for a rebuild and spokes is kinda steep. if you can't talk them down, see if they can provide free truings for the life of the rim. that works out way better.

    if they wanna charge $60, he should have some serious credentials/certification or build a set that needs truing no more than three times a year.

    --------------------------

    Build #2

    look at the head of the spoke on this build and let me know if you see any of these letters:

    DT
    W
    N

    make sure it's either W or N because the N sometimes looks like a W.

    --------------------------

    a few other questions to add to the list.

    the broken spoke issue.....does it happen on the front or rear wheel?

    what kinda fork on that Jekyll?

    -------------------------------

    also, don't forget these Q's as well. these are just as important, if not more, than the ones about the parts.


    i see you weigh 200+. do you race? how often? what brand and model of bike do you ride as the main bike? as the training bike? would you consider yourself a smooth rider or a bit agressive.....or a lot agressive?

  5. #5
    Calculating jrwjr_eng's Avatar
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    Answers to random Q's:
    I have not raced yet, but I am thinking about a few in the spring to see if I can have fun with it. Oh and maybe finish too. The Jekyll is the one and only ride, and I have mentioned my lusting for others through. I would consider myself an aggressive rider but not extreme. I do most technical stuff up or down but do not wrench the bike for speed or look for big hits. I general take the smooth lines.

    On to Spokes:
    The spokes have not broken with out help from chain suck, but a little tune on the derailure fixes that up. They have come loose on the front after a while, but on the rear wheel loose spokes appear all the time and do not stay when re-tightened.

    Setup:
    It is the Headshock setup: Fatty Ultra DL
    Here is the factroy Model

    Build #1 - Raleigh M-60 Stock
    Hubs: Shimano Alivio HB - MC12
    Rims: Vuelenta Rodi
    Spokes: 14 gauge
    Manufacturer = DT
    Nipples: Alloy
    Lacing: 2x ???

    Build #2
    Hubs: CODA Expert Front Disc Hub, CODA Expert Rear Disc Hub
    Rims: Coda Expert Disc
    Spokes: Stock?

    Build #3 - Rebuild Build #2 at LBS for $32.88
    Hubs: In great shape.
    Rims: 1 flat spot but was able to keep round.
    Spokes: 14 gauge; Silver
    Manufacturer = DT(overlapping)
    Nipples: Alloy
    Lacing: 2x ???


    My wife's head is lighter than mine, and her bike is too and she has learned a lot about MTB in the last year, I need more than a bigger Brain pan to defeat her. I am working on it though. She just recently ran over her front wheel leaving the parking lot. Only a bent skewer, but she went home and looked through all the catalogs for a wheelset and had a cow over $200. It will be good for something later.

    Side note: If my crankset and bottom bracket(stock) have made more noise (after regular pro maintenance) than an old lady falling down stairs, would you say it is time to upgrade?

    ....this is so exciting I had to do it in my boxer briefs this morning!!!!
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  6. #6
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    well, from your riding style it doesn't seem as though you should be breaking spokes at random.

    --------------------------

    the spokes and chain suck.

    you've got an XTR rear der. right? ok, so if you do then you'll want to pick up a small tube of blue lock tite. not red or green but blue.

    for some weird reason, every once in a while, an XTRs limit screws aren't held in place by the black colar as they should be. over bumpy terrain the limit screws can back out. as far as the limit screw is concerned this is no good since it can throw the chain into the spokes.

    get a flat head screwdriver and remove the lower of the two limit screws on the rear der. one drop of the blue lock tite and let it sit for a minute. reinstall the screw and adjust the limit screw properly.

    that should prevet the chain suck if, in this case, the limit screw is backing out.

    one other thing is the CODA expert hubs. they are of the high/lo flange design so care has to be taken when building to get the tension right. typically the disc side or the non-driveside (if you don't have disks) is pretty low tension. not good since that disc is going to put some major loads on those spokes. but you can't run the tension higher because that'll move the rim laterally too far to the NDS (non drive side). and you can't tighten the DS to copensate because at that point the tension for the DS is already ideal or close to it.

    running the tension higher will yeild a wheel that is unstable and hard to true.

    if this all is the case then it could be a build issue.

    also, once chain suck on the rear der occurs, and the spokes are damaged, they should all be replaced. once they are damaged, it's only a matter of time 'til they break.

    when in doubt, throw it out.

    ----------------------------

    build #1 seems to have good parts but i'm not sure of the rim. might be a single walled rim. if so, a double walled would be ideal.

    build #2, the issue here could be the build. those hi/low flange hubs can be tricky.

    build #3, again, it could be the build method.

    the only tricky wheel might be the one with the CODA hubs.

    -----------------------

    bummer on the brain issue.

    ------------------------

    as for the cranks, there were some tolerance problems with SOME CODA cranks. you may want to have the shop call Cdale and give them the model number off the back arm of the crank.

    as for the maintenance, they might not have used enough grease for the BB threads.

    also, if you're 200 lbs, i wouldn't use grease but anti seize. it lasts longer and won't thin out and cause creaks.

    you may want to request they clean all that out and replace the grease with anti seize on the BB threads. ask that they clean the threads with a tooth brush. sometimes tehy'll just wipe the excess but in this case, that'll be short cut. no good.

    as for upgrades, you can if you want, but this might be a tolerance issue with the cranks, or insuficient grease on the BB threads.

    but if this is the case, it'll happen with any cranks.

    also, check to make sure the pedals aren't loose.

    -----------------------

    do your boxer breifs have pleats?

  7. #7
    Calculating jrwjr_eng's Avatar
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    Thanks for all of the info.

    I beleive that you are right with the Hi/Lo Flange on the code hub build being tricky. But I am stuck with it so, I have come to terms with that and resolved to have them trued by Pros when needed.

    I do have and XTR rear der but chain such has usually occured after the bike lands in the right side thus changing the drive line by bending the hanger. Usually noticable by ghost shifting and chains jumping to the granny ring in the front. I have this issue under control.

    And of course I replace/rebuild after every chain suck issue and they loose spoke issues seams to be separate from chain suck.

    -------------------------
    Thanks again for the top quaility info....man I bet you never have to buy <your choice of drinks here> where ever you go. You can count on one from me someday.
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  8. #8
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    no prob.

    if you need it rebuilt, ask that they use DT Spokefreeze. that seems to hold nipples really well.

    also, call around and see who the mechanics in your area get their wheels built by. that'll be your guy/girl.

    as for the chainsuck, also have the pivots checekd to make sure they're tight. rear end sway causes chain suck and poor shifting.

    also, replace the hanger as soon as it gets bent. have a few back ups on hand. and carry one with you along with the right hex wrench to change it out.

    also, ask the current wheelbuilder if he's been detensioning the spokes. if he says no or looks puzzled consider finding a builder who does.

    if he says yes, then ask him to detension the wheel at least 10 times before the final true.

    ----------------------------------

    i eat a lot.....i have a hollow leg.....but this forum allows for the disemination of information...and that's always a good thing.

    no prob.....if you happen to get to the 24 hours of rocky hill....look for me to get free Yukon Jack. i'll be the one with the Yukon Jack.

  9. #9
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    I will atleast be there to Volunteer for the Rockyhill 24, so I shall stop by for the mighty Yukon with a little 7up and coaster to slammmm that icy crap together. <The fizzing to cool to feel sliding down.>

    Thanks!!
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    maybe you're thinking of that Yukon Jack Perma Frost Schnapps?

    this is Yukon Jack "Unleaded".

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