Understanding Spoke Tension: LIVE at Sea Otter 2018 – Tech Tuesday #105

Understanding Spoke Tension: LIVE at Sea Otter 2018 – Tech Tuesday #105


A couple of weeks ago, the Park Tool team took a trip
out to the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California, a four-day cycling festival that brings over
70,000 people to the historic Laguna Seca Bikeway – I mean, Raceway – to celebrate all things bicycle. We traveled out from Minnesota to join the
fun, show off our tools, and help attendees fix their bikes. While there, Truman and I led daily seminars
to educate people on some fundamental-yet-intimidating
maintenance topics. Here’s a clip from a talk on wheel truing: Truing is fun – you get to sit and you get to enjoy the
zen of the wheel, and it’s all beautiful – but when you ride the bike, it’s dynamic,
you’re doing things! You know what’s fun? When you ride hard,
you know what happens to your bones? They flex! How about this rim? Think of what happens when you ride, here. Is it the same? When you ride, what happens to the tire down here. We’ve seen it, what happens? It bows! What happens to the rim right here as we ride? What do you think? It flattens! It actually flattens a little bit here. What do you think about the spoke tension right here?
What’s going to happen? It’s going to drop. But then it goes up, the tension goes up. Every time it goes around and around,
the tension is changing. Every single ride. Okay, he’s my bike guy so I’ve gotta ask him:
How many times do your wheels go around in one ride? A lot! So every ride it’s going through a stress cycle. Metal hates change, right? We don’t want stress. So if we take a spoke and pull it up really tight, we come back to Sea Otter in 10,000 years,
that spoke is happy. What spokes hate is
tight-loose, tight-loose, tight-loose, the stress and the flexing of tight and loose
stress cycle – there’s only so many it can take. So literally think about how many times it
goes around. You’re going to see millions of times – millions
of stress cycles. Then what can happen? You actually harden the metal. It can BREAK. Baseball – pretty good game,
great game, America’s game – Three strikes in your wheel – guess what? It’s not just bad luck. It’s time for all new spokes.
You get three broken spokes. You have one broken spoke – let’s put one in.
Big deal. Easy to do. You break two spokes –
hmm… take note of that. Third broken spoke? It’s time.
Time to re-lace. Thanks for watching – if you’re looking for
more, you can find the full 22-minute talk on our YouTube channel in the Shop Talk playlist.

8 Replies to “Understanding Spoke Tension: LIVE at Sea Otter 2018 – Tech Tuesday #105”

  1. Прикольный мужичок, похож на нашего местного калдыря )) Калифорния это хорошо, у нас в России тоже лето начинается. Кто на шоссе, кто по бездорожью начинает катать. А я цепляю велосумки, палатку, металлоискатель и на поиск монет ) Удачи американские братья! Несколько ваших приспособлений у меня тоже есть, преобрёл с сайта Wiggle.com

  2. Very interesting points, and some which I hadn't really thought much about before . . . thanks & thumbs up!

  3. when relacing and building a wheel should I adjust the spoke tension with air in the tires or without the tire and tube. It seems to me that the tension is less when the tire is inflated, is that correct?

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