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I am on a road bike and when I descend quickly going downhill and lean severely into tight turns I almost feel a ringing crunchiness type feeling and it seems like one spoke is receiving more stress than the others. It only happens when I am turning left as well... Not sure how to explain it further but wondering if anyone could diagnose what is going on from this amount of information.

  • Can you describe "ringing crunchiness type feeling" more? Are there sounds associated with it? Or is it really something tactile? – dlu Jul 21 '15 at 18:44
  • I think it's more of a tactile feeling now that I consider it - like the crunchiness is coming through in the form of odd periodic (periodic is why I assumed it might be a spoke issue) vibration. – maxwell Jul 21 '15 at 21:27
  • It could be a loose spoke. If the thread in the nipple is stripped then the spoke will move when there's more load, and the two sets of treads make a grinding, zipping sound/feeling. – andy256 Jul 22 '15 at 0:53
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I once noticed something similar to this when climbing up a hill. The "grinding" sound was coming from a couple loose spokes.

For a complete diagnosis you will need to provide more information and I can update my answer from there.

First step, check the tensions of your spokes. Are there any obviously loose spokes? Tighten any loose spokes you might find.

Second step, figure out which wheel is giving you the grinding sound. Do you have a second wheelset? If so, Replace the back wheel, go on a ride, see if the noise is present, if it is, then the problem wheel is the front, otherwise you can assume that the problem wheel is the rear wheel.

Third step, check the spoke tension on the problem wheel again. I assume that you do not have a tensiometer. Use a credit card and pluck the spokes. They each should make a similar tone. Higher pitches means higher spoke tension. Lower pitches means lower spoke tension. If the problem wheel is the rear wheel, then the drive side tone/tension will be higher, and the non-drive side will be lower.

  • I'll check my spokes when I get home and post my findings – maxwell Jul 21 '15 at 21:28
  • Were you able to check out your spoke tension? – Jared Menard Jul 23 '15 at 0:32
  • Yes - there was one loose spoke - I haven't tightened it yet or got to try it with the spoke tensioned, I think I need to get one of those spoke tools – maxwell Jul 23 '15 at 15:24
  • Use a spoke wrench. Make sure you use the right size (snug fit), otherwise you will strip the nipple, and have to replace the nipple along with the rim tape. – Jared Menard Jul 23 '15 at 15:43
  • I assume that it is a road bike. If it is, your nipples are probably size 0 (14g). Stop by your LBS to double check and buy the right sized spoke wrench. You could also buy a set of wrenches off of amazon for about $12. If you are careful, and have a good adjustable wrench, you might be able to use that, but I've never done that and you will risk stripping the nipple. – Jared Menard Jul 23 '15 at 15:46

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