tightening spokes with no torque wrench

i dont have a spoke torque wrench and do not have the means to buy one right now. i do have a normal spoke wrench though. do they need to be pretty tight or what? i rotated a few on my XR just a little and they seem pretty loose. not finger loose but not hard to turn at all. any help appreciated.

No problem. Depending on how many spokes you have will depend on how many spokes you skip as you go around the wheel. Go around the wheel giving each spoke a 1/4 turn until all spokes are tight. The spokes should be tight to the point right before you have to start giving a little force.

Persoannly, I think the torque wrend for spokes is totally useless for the average guy, because average guys get dirt and corrosion on the threads of the nipples and spokes, making the torque wrench useless. Go to a reliable motorcycle shop and get a tech to show you proper tightness on a bike on the floor or in the shop, so you can get a feel for it. Service manuals and lots of other sources (magazines) will give you procedures for tightening. Make sure you have the proper size spoke wrench, and I often apply a little PB blaster to the threads to try to keep corrosion at bay.

I have the torque wrench and rpt 50 is right on the money. Unless the spokes are in pristine condition, forget about getting an accurate reading. I used it on the brand new bike and it was wonderful. Once its been washed a few times.......forget it.

Many suggest going to by the "sound" of the spokes. Take a steel wrench or screwdriver and tap it to each spoke. If it tings nicely, it's tight. If it's a dull sound, it is not tight.

I just go by feel. Just don't crank them down to the point they will strip. Also, be sure to follow the "every 3" method for tightening.

every 3" method

every 3rd spoke???

Many suggest going to by the "sound" of the spokes. Take a steel wrench or screwdriver and tap it to each spoke. If it tings nicely, it's tight. If it's a dull sound, it is not tight.

That's what I do. Motorcycle wheels aren't rocket science. I used to build ultra-lightweight racing bicycle wheels, which actually requires some skill. On a motorcycle wheel, I just get the spokes to all sound about the same. I check them whenever I change a tire. If they have all worked loose, then tap on someone else's spokes to get an idea of how they should sound.

I spend about 5 mins/year on spoke tightening, for 5000+ miles of backwoods trailriding and racing.

every 3" method

every 3rd spoke???

You tighten one spoke, count 3 spokes and tighten the third. Repeat several times until you're hit every spoke. I think the every 3 depends on how many spokes you have though?

You tighten one spoke, count 3 spokes and tighten the third. Repeat several times until you're hit every spoke. I think the every 3 depends on how many spokes you have though?

This is correct. If your spokes are T, u, v, W, x, y, Z. You tighten the capitalized letters. Be sure you have a starting point (ex: spoke just past valve stem). Your counting may return you to the exact same spoke that you first tightened. If that happens, move one more over and start counting again. You should do this 3 times to hit every spoke.

If counting correctly, some wheels will land you on the spoke just past your starting point. If so, just keep going until you've gone around 3 times.

It takes forever because you shouldn't tighten spokes more than 1/4 turn each time. And if some spokes are already tight, maintain your proper counting method (just don't tighten that spoke). If you have 5-6 spokes that need tightened in different areas of the wheel, you may have to go around 20+ times to hit them all. You can cheat but it is not recommended.

This method helps to keep the wheel true.

Good info...

Additionally to help keep the rim true - I use a marker and hold it tight against my Forks (Horizontal), just barely away from the wheel. I then spin my wheel... if the wheel is off the it will brush against the marker indicating where I need to "straighten". :confused:

Good luck!

You have to be careful that you don't over do it. It's real easy to get them too tight. This makes for a weaker wheel. When I got my current bike I found out the previous owner had over tightened when the spokes started breaking. I had to loosen them a bit and I have not had problems for the last several years.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now