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"There are no bad boys, just bad ..."

lawrence said:
I bought a new 27 speed Shimano 105 bike this year. Up to now I haven't been serious and have been riding a Schwinn 10 speed around the neighborhood. I've trued my wheels in the past, since I was a "kid" and I've gotten pretty good at it. BUT how do you determine how tight the spokes should be? I've always tap them with a screwdriver and expect to hear a ping rather than a clud. Other than buying a tensioner, is this a satisfactory way? On my new bike, should I use this tapping method to check for spoke tension? and then if it clunks, tighten it? A previous post said under tension spokes break.
If I can paraphrase Father Flanagan (founder of Boys Town): There are no bad wheels, just bad wheel builds. The integrity and durability of a wheel may depend more on the quality of the build than on the components, and its never too late to improve the build quality. Correcting the spoke line, re-tensioning and stress relief can all be done on wheels at any point in their life, and can improve the quality of a wheel that was poorly built to begin with.

Like rruff says, the machine built wheels that come as standard equipment on mass produced bikes can often be improved with just a little work. If you don't have tensiometer, you can often get a good idea of proper tension by comparing the tone of a plucked spoke to that of another similar wheel that you know has proper tension.
 
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