I am using rim that is not bent, i screw each spoke nipples at equal distance from point when spoke thread is covered by nipple until spokes are tense.

i get perfectly laterally true wheel, however tension on some spokes comes out different than others some are around 30 kgf (300 N) more.

Why this happens?

When i start to set similar tension for each spoke rim goes out of lateral true and then i spend hours trying to true it while keeping every spoke tension equal which never works out because there's still individual spokes that that needs to be ~20 kgf (200 N) more tense than others in order to have rim laterally true, what's wrong here?

P.S. I am not worried about radial truing because rim is double wall it never gets bent radially.

  • Are your spokes new or reused ?
    – Criggie
    Commented May 29, 2021 at 6:46
  • 1
    i am using new spokes
    – LilBro
    Commented May 29, 2021 at 6:50
  • 1
    The correct question would be to ask if the rim is new or reused. Spoke reuse is of no concern. Spoke is just a tensioned wire and the properties of steel don't change by using them.
    – juhist
    Commented May 29, 2021 at 7:46
  • When equalizing spoke tension, use a pattern that distributes the changes equally around the wheel. I always skip six spokes on 36 spoke wheels, so that I only adjust five spokes in each revolution of the wheel (5x every 7th spoke = 35, which is one less than the wheel). If you don't do this properly, your changes at one spoke will change the tension of the other spokes, causing more dramatic changes on those. This has the tendency to cause your wheel to go heavily out of true while equalizing. Commented May 29, 2021 at 8:26
  • cmaster - reinstate monica very valuable advice thank you! I also noticed when i go around spoke by spoke then when i finish all 36 and start second pass to control - spoke tension is not what i just set for some spokes! It probably has to do with say tightening spokes on 12 o clock position of rim and this also tightens spokes on the same side at 6 o clock position because it pulls the hub towards that spoke thus making tension on opposite side of the hub greater by some degree.
    – LilBro
    Commented May 29, 2021 at 17:53

1 Answer 1


The rim is probably not made by the very best of rim manufacturers.

I have found that I can create a radially and laterally true wheel where the variation of spoke tensions is around 150-200 N. I use DT Swiss TK 540 rims. DT Swiss is a well-known reputable rim manufacturer and makes high quality rims.

I suspect your rim has not been built to such a high precision.

I think 300 N variation might still be barely acceptable for low-weight riders not riding hard on narrow high pressure tires, especially if you tension the spokes such that the average spoke tension is according to the manufacturer's spec and not such that the maximum spoke tension is according to the manufacturer's spec. Also spoke count helps -- anything below 36, and low tension variation becomes more critical.

For me, I weigh over 100 kg and ride hard on narrow high pressure tires. 300 N variation in spoke tensions would be way too much for me because the loosest spoke would repeatedly go slack and the nipple would self-unscrew, destroying the wheelbuild.

  • True rim is not the most expensive one. I weight 80kg but i like narrow rims with high pressure also.
    – LilBro
    Commented May 29, 2021 at 17:47

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