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I'm working on a bike which needs a couple of fixes, but the truing process is a new world for me. And I want to give long life for the wheel.

I have a 26" wheel with 32 plain gauge spokes (aluminum steel). And it needs some truing but I want to know the right spoke tension. After I went over a few videos I figured out that the easy way for me would be using an app such as CheckSpoke. You set the spoke length and diameter and then pluck the spoke and it shows a reading in Hz and N.

What should the readings shows for good tension on DS and NDS?

I'm truing a rear wheel with a cassette.

  • The answer depends on the rim, and some manufacturers do publish recommendations. Which one do you have? – ojs Jun 25 '18 at 20:51
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    The only really true answer is "enough, but not too much". Prior to maybe 1990 few folks bothered to measure tension in any quantitative fashion, and the wheels didn't fall apart. – Daniel R Hicks Jun 25 '18 at 21:53
  • Depending on how old/beaten up the wheel is, you may never get it perfectly true. As long as the rim runs true and the spokes don't make ting-thunk sounds when tapped then its probably fine. If you demand perfection, then a new wheel might be a better use of your time. – Criggie Jun 26 '18 at 1:38
  • The same as the other spokes. If one has far more tension (high ping tone) it will snap soon. You are trying to get the wheel straight, and keep spoke tension (tone) fairly even. As Criggie says, once the rim metal has an actual deformation, you can't get this to happen. Then you can (perhaps) true your wheel, but it won't stay true and/or spokes keep breaking. Also after X km, the spokes will just start to break so regularly, that respoke or new wheel is needed. This is >10,000km in my experience. – Henry Crun Jun 26 '18 at 2:08
  • Decent quality spokes are quite tough and will pull through the rim instead of breaking. In my experience 10000km sounds quite low. – ojs Jun 26 '18 at 11:52
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Some manufacturers have published recommended spoke tensions for their rims. For two examples, Mavic recommends 70 to 90 kg (700 to 900 N) in front and drive side rear and Velocity claims 110 to 130 kg (1100 to 1300 N). Non-drive side tension should be set so that drive side is at recommended tension and the rim is centered.

For high spoke count road wheels there is a workaround where you increase the tension until the wheel turns slightly taco shaped and then back off until it is true. This works for narrow rings like Open Pro, but can result in excessive tension for smaller and stiffer MTB rims.

  • Didn't knew about the non-drive side tension. Maybe you know what is the suggested tension for AlexRrims ? – Jords Fjords Jun 26 '18 at 14:45
  • Quick Google search didn't turn up anything about Alex rims. My guess would be that lowest numbers from Mavic are high enough and wouldn't try more. – ojs Jun 26 '18 at 14:57

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