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I just built my first wheel following the excellent ebook from Roger Musson. The build turned out great, but as hard as I tried, I couldn't master the technique to eliminate the spoke twist. I've definitely ended up with a lot of spokes twisted from tightening, a few spokes twisted from loosening (in the final truing) and a few spokes that are fine (when I got Roger's technique right).

I know that the twist can release when I first ride the wheel, but I used Wheelsmith spoke prep (instead of light oil that Roger Musson recommended), so I'm wondering if the spoke prep will keep the spokes twisted.

Can anyone recommend a technique to remove the twist? I think I read something about adding a piece of tape to see the twist, turning the spoke wrench one way to full twist, the other way to full twist and finally turning to the central neutral point between those extremes. I'm happy to take the time to do this or any other technique that might be suggested.

  • when you talk about twisting, my gut feel is that you've got everything too tight. (How) did you measure/judge spoke tension? – PeteH Mar 27 '15 at 14:35
  • I used the Park Tools tensiometer (TM-1), so I'm fairly confident that I have good, even tension (around 125 KgF for the disc side of a Stan's Grail front wheel). I'm using Wheelsmith DB14 double butted spokes and from what I read, spoke twist is pretty normal in the final tensioning. – Ben Mills Mar 27 '15 at 14:41
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There are two things I generally do to help eliminate most of the twist.

  1. When tightening spokes, get in the habit of slightly overturning and then turning back. (i.e. If I want to tighten a spoke 1/2 turn, I'll do 3/4 and 1/4 back. )

  2. At regular intervals once the wheel is "close", take the wheel out of the stand and place the wheel vertically on a soft surface like a piece of carpet or wood. Lean your full body weight on the on the top of the rim. Turn the wheel slightly and repeat until you've done at least one revolution of the wheel. This simulates the load the wheel will encounter during the first ride. You should hear the same kind of pings. It's important that whatever you put the wheel on is softer than the rim material, you don't want to put any dings or dents in the rim.

Neither of these techniques is perfect, most wheels I've built require a bit of initial tweaking after the first week or so. But they will get you much closer.

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Can anyone recommend a technique to remove the twist?

@FredTheMagicWonderDog's answer is spot on but I thought I'd add a small thing.

After trueing a wheel, I like to grab and squeeze the parallel spokes on either side of the wheel. This increases the tension on those spokes, often causing them to untwist. You can tell it works because you will hear a "ting" type of noise as the spokes move a bit. This implies that the spoke loosed a bit and might need some more attention.

This page explains it well.

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