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Loose Spokes(4 posts)

Loose Spokesphilg
Apr 30, 2001 6:30 AM
My spokes keep coming loose! It used to happen quite a lot on my old cheapy wheels and I just kept re-tightening them, but I'm not a wheelbuilder and the rim just got more and more out of true.

When I bought some new wheels by a good builder I thought the problem would go away, but it hasn't. Most of the time it's the non-drive side rear and occasionaly I've found spokes almost completely unwound, but sometimes I do find loose fronts also.

What's going on? Is this normal? I'm a lightweight at 143lbs. I know when some are loose as I can hear the rear mech pinging them when I climb out of the saddle.
re: Loose Spokesfuzzybunnies
Apr 30, 2001 7:49 AM
At your weight loosening spokes shouldn't be much of a problem, even if the wheels were built by an incompetent. The non drive will go out a little more if they were straight pull but still shouldn't be much of a problem. The fact that you had the same trouble with 2 sets of wheels means you may want to look at you're riding style, and how often you hit little things in the road. Heavier guys tend to notice when they hit things more often so they ride with a little more finess, as a result we usually see the smaller guys who tend to plow through things in to get thier wheels fixed more often. The loose front spokes would make this the more obvious answer. I haven't had to adjust a single front spoke in over a year using straight pull revolution spokes and I weight a fair bit more that you. It's usually very difficult to send a front wheel out unless you're hitting things. TTFN
re: Loose Spokesgrz mnky
Apr 30, 2001 12:50 PM
Well Fuzzy pointed to some sources that are more controlled by the rider. However, I think there are some that need to be looked at in terms of the wheel. I used to have some wheels that would loosen and finally the guys at Wheelsmith gave me a little insight. The spoke tension is often not well controlled on a machine built wheel and even though you're not a heavy weight you can get some of them to go loose just by some hard climbing. Once a few start to get loose the whole thing snow balls and before you know it the entire wheel is loose.

Typically linseed oil or some kind of spoke prep is used that will act as a locking mechanism to keep the spoke from unwinding. DT is now making a nipple that actually has a dab of a loctite substance applied inside the threads, but is still adjustable at a later time (www.dtswiss.com). Another way to keep spokes from unwinding is to lightly crimp the nipples with a pair of dikes once the truing is complete (saw the guys at Wheelsmith do this). You need to have enough friction to keep the spoke set, but not so much that it may not be adjusted in the future. One must be carefull b/c this can lead to spoke windup (twist left in the spoke) which then assists the nipple in loosening. Me thinks you need to find a better wheel builder who is familiar with all of these tricks and may have a few of his/her own. I ride a lot of marginal mountain roads and have no longer problems with spokes becoming loose.
re: Loose Spokesphilg
May 1, 2001 3:35 AM
Thanks for the info guys. I do quite a lot of hard climbing, out of the saddle, and this is when I notice it most. Cheers.