I have a reasonably new front wheel (about 1 to 2 years old) on a "urban" bike, and it suddenly started to make a typical "spoke noise" when I ride (the typical "pang" noise that you get when poking spokes), mainly when I brake I think but not only. The trigger for the appearance of the noise was a rainy day (I don't often cycle under the rain).

I've tightened the spokes of the wheel, but it had no apparent effect. The spokes do not seem especially more loose than those of the back wheel, which is of similar construction and much older. The back wheel makes no noise.

What is happening here ? Is it dangerous ? How can I fix that ?

  • I assume you have disc brakes? I have a similar “problem” on a rear wheel with rim brakes when I’m riding uphill in the easiest gear. I guess the torque somehow makes the spokes pling even though they are properly tensioned and settled. I don’t know if it’s really a problem, in my case they’ve survived thousands of kilometers without issue so far.
    – Michael
    Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 14:35
  • No I have rim brakes. Do I understand correctly that you have the issue even when you're not braking ? Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 14:53
  • @VincentFourmond If you free-spin the wheel, does the rim run true both horizontally and vertically? Not the tyre, the rim.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 22:17

1 Answer 1


It is probably not dangerous, but it does warrant investigation to see what the true cause of the noise is. It may reveal an issue upon further inspection.

Here are two possible noise abatement remedies to attempt:

  1. Add a small drop of oil to the spoke nipple where it enters/contacts the rim. Just a tiny amount. Do NOT put the oil drop where the spoke enters the spoke nipple (threaded section). Be cautious to not get oil or grease on the braking surface of the rim. If you do, be sure to wipe it off and clean the braking surface with some isopropyl/rubbing alcohol on a clean rag/towel.
  2. Add a small amount of oil/liquid grease at the points where spokes cross and contact another spoke. If the spokes are radially laced, there will be no spokes crossing another spoke.

Try these two ideas to see if the noise abates. You mentioned that the noise appeared after riding in wet conditions so it could be some after affect on either of the two locations after the water evaporated.

  • 2
    Oils near the rim risk contaminating the brake track. I'd be particularly cautious and miserly, and give the rim a clean before riding and again after the first ride.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 22:15
  • @Criggie I agree. I mentioned being miserly with oil there, but additional voices with that warning help convey the message with emphasis. I will add an additional, specific warning.
    – Ted Hohl
    Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 22:19
  • 1
    And while you're oiling the nipple/rim junction, look for cracks in the rim. They'll usually radiate outward from the spoke hole. Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 23:17
  • 1
    Thanks for the advice. I already did 2. without apparent effect, but I didn't think about 1. I need some time to apply it and check the results, but I'll report back here as soon as I have done. Commented Jun 17, 2022 at 5:19
  • 1
    Hmmm. I think 1. improved the situation a bit, but it's not a clear-cut effect. I will accept the answer nonetheless. Commented Jun 21, 2022 at 21:20

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