Tuesday Tip – Tightening Spokes

To many, taking the time to tighten your spokes may seem quite basic and lack any type of proper technique, but that’s not the case. If you don’t give your spokes some accurate attention, they can easily puncture your tube. And when you do take the time to tighten spokes, make sure you follow the correct pattern. No, you don’t just tighten each spoke as you go: spoke one, spoke two, and so on… You must tighten every third spoke and it’s crucial that the torque of each spoke be no more than half a turn at a time.

Tools required: Spoke torque wrench, and proper heads. Heads vary from bike to bike.

STEP 1 Start at the rim lock and call that spoke number one. The most important thing to remember when you’re maintaining a wheel is not to turn the spoke more than half of a turn. If you turn the spoke more than a half-turn than it’s easy to pull the spoke off to one side or the other. Always make sure you turn the spoke to proper tension; sometimes it’ll need torque and sometimes it won’t. Also, it’s a good idea to keep your hand on the last spoke that you’ve tightened, that way you don’t get lost.

STEP 2 Maintain the pattern of every three spokes. Start with spoke number one right next to the rim lock, then skip spokes two and three and go straight to spoke number four. You’ll want to continue this pattern, by going from spoke number four to spoke seven, spoke 10, and so on. Continue torquing every third spoke until you return to spoke number one.

STEP 3 After you’ve made it through each revolution of the tire, it’s important to spin the wheel a few times to make sure it has an even pull over it. Also, always place your hand on the same spot of any wrench, whether it’s a torque wrench or a standard wrench. If you do that you’ll always be consistent with your pull. Being consistent is the key to having a strong wheel.