How To Tighten Your Spokes

A quick hit wrenching tip on spoke-tightening.

Sean Klinger

Spokes are so often forgotten and overlooked, yet there are so many of them that there is a good chance one or two are beginning to work loose and could cause a problem. To illustrate how important it is to check your spokes for tightness, pretty much every professional race mechanic checks every single spoke every time the bike comes off the track.

But you can’t just go wrenching on your spokes willy-nilly or the wheel will come out of true. To make sure you tighten the right amount we suggest using a spoke torque wrench set at about 48 inch-pounds. To make sure you tighten the right way, follow this pattern:

  1. Start at the rim lock and tighten the first spoke.
  2. Then skip two nipples and tighten the third.
  3. Follow this pattern all the way around the rim three times and you'll have hit each spoke.

Checking the spokes is especially important after each moto or ride on a new wheel.