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have you heard your wheel to sing lately?(5 posts)

have you heard your wheel to sing lately?cyclopathic
Mar 13, 2003 12:35 PM
© 1987, 1997 John S. Allen

Correct spoke tension is essential in order for a wheel to be strong and durable. An instrument for measuring spoke tension, the tensiometer, is available to wheelbuilders. However, unless you are musically tone-deaf, there is another instrument which does the job faster and easier: a musical pitch pipe - or a piano or church organ, or whatever other well-tuned musical instrument you happen to have in your workshop.

Like the strings of a guitar or harp, bicycle spokes ring when plucked. The resulting musical pitch is higher if a spoke is tighter, and the optimum pitch does not depend on the thickness of the spoke. To know what the musical pitch should be, all you need to know is the approximate spoke length and whether you will be using plain-gauge spokes or butted spokes, which are effectively shorter since their ends are thicker. At the end of this article is a table of optimum musical pitches. You may go there now in case you only need to look up a pitch and spoke length. Please read the rest of the article first if you haven't done that already. You may also read a scientific explanation of how spoke tension relates to musical pitch.

Check spoke tension on a wheel which is reasonably true. On a radially-spoked wheel or one whose spokes are not laced, you can pluck one spoke at a time. If spokes are laced, pluck them where they cross. You will be listening to the sound of two spokes at once.

read the rest at
no, but I've heard the fat lady sing...Akirasho
Mar 13, 2003 5:03 PM
... being an amateur fiddle player... I know a thing or two about pluckin'...

Be the bike.
Yes!Humma Hah
Mar 13, 2003 5:22 PM
... although in my case, its the tread on the rear balloon tire on the cruiser humming. I let the pressure get down over the winter, and finally got my air compressor set back up and charged the tires back up to 60 psi where I like 'em.

Really makes that tread musical.
no, but my Open Pros make a nice little click (nm)tarwheel
Mar 14, 2003 4:56 AM
no, but my Open Pros make a nice little click (nm)spuncrazy
Mar 14, 2003 6:19 AM
A drop of whitelightning at the nipple/rim interface made the click on mine go away