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Old Skool
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am in the process of shaking down a LeMond Poprad I just bought from eBay. The bike has really low miles and everything is in really good shape. The wheels are Bontrager Select, 20 spoke radial on the front. The wheels are true and round and the spoke tension appears even and correct. I am experiencing a ticking sound coming from the front wheel whenever it is subjected to lateral loads. I first noticed it when riding out of the saddle. The bike is quiet when I am in the saddle. I weigh 185.

I have been able to reproduce the same noise when I am not pedaling by standing and shifting my body to one side and leaning the frame to the opposite side while riding a straight line. This puts a large lateral load on the wheels. While loaded like this the front wheel makes a rapid ticking sound the frequency of which is clearly related to the bike's speed. What I think is happening is that the spokes are going slack and then reseating against the rim as the wheel turns thus creating the noise. My questions are as follows:

  1. Has anybody else experienced this problem?
  2. Do folks think I have correctly diagnosed the source of the noise? Is there something that I am missing?
  3. What do I do about it? Is it just a matter of lubing the nipples where they meet the rim? Do I need to increase the spoke tension? Am I too heavy for this wheel?

Thank you in advance for your help.
 

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i hope someone knows, as i just started noticing a "ticking" noise when i am out of the saddle. i hadn't really tracked it down, but the side to side thing makes sense, and i felt it was coming from the front of the bike. i have a lemond tourmalet, also bonti select wheelset. i wiegh 120 lbs and i still get it, so i dont think its a weight issue.
 

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Old Skool
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Noise positively located

The culprit is definitely the Bontrager Select front wheel.

As a test, I put on another set of wheels, 32 spoke 3 cross front and rear, to verify that the noise was coming from the front wheel. The bike was noise free. I consider this proof that the front wheel is the source of the noise.
 

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Wheel noises

Since you have narrowed it down to the wheels, things to try are a drop of lube on each spoke at the nipple (to be sure the threads are lubed), a drop of lube at each spoke crossing, a drop of lube on each spoke nipple where it enters the rim, clean and lube the QR skewers, lube on the QR skewer cam, lube on the face of each lock nut where it would touch the dropout, and higher QR force.
 

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Cat 6 rider
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Stogaguy said:
I am in the process of shaking down a LeMond Poprad I just bought from eBay. The bike has really low miles and everything is in really good shape. The wheels are Bontrager Select, 20 spoke radial on the front. The wheels are true and round and the spoke tension appears even and correct. I am experiencing a ticking sound coming from the front wheel whenever it is subjected to lateral loads. I first noticed it when riding out of the saddle. The bike is quiet when I am in the saddle. I weigh 185.

I have been able to reproduce the same noise when I am not pedaling by standing and shifting my body to one side and leaning the frame to the opposite side while riding a straight line. This puts a large lateral load on the wheels. While loaded like this the front wheel makes a rapid ticking sound the frequency of which is clearly related to the bike's speed. What I think is happening is that the spokes are going slack and then reseating against the rim as the wheel turns thus creating the noise. My questions are as follows:

  1. Has anybody else experienced this problem?
  2. Do folks think I have correctly diagnosed the source of the noise? Is there something that I am missing?
  3. What do I do about it? Is it just a matter of lubing the nipples where they meet the rim? Do I need to increase the spoke tension? Am I too heavy for this wheel?

Thank you in advance for your help.
I had something similar with a rear wheel once. It turned out to be ONE spoke that was a bit too loose, even though it had, by hand feel and plucking, about the same tension as the others (no tensionometer). To see if this is your problem put a reflector on the wheel- wear a mask if you wouldn't be caught dead with a reflector. Start by getting it to tick at the slowest speed possible. Have someone watch you, or watch your shadow (don't run into the curb or a car while doing this) and note the position of the reflector when it ticks. If it's in the same place every time you may just have one loose spoke- it'll probably be at the bottom, or spinning towards the bottom as the tension comes off it. After determining roughly which spoke it was I was actually able to reproduce the tick by putting weight on the wheel, and adding and taking tension away with my hand. A quarter turn of the nipple stopped it, and didn't affect the true of the wheel.

And if by some chance the reflector stops it from ticking, you've probably put it on or braced it on, the offending spoke and tightened it.

One other thing, human stereo hearing is great for determining left and right, but if a sound is above or below you, especially if it's also in front or behind you, the accuracy of sound location falls dramatically. Even knowing this I spent about a week looking for a rattle at the front of my bike. It turned out to be a new water bottle in the carrier mounted behind the saddle. Also, children are much better at pinpointing sounds than adults, so if you've got a pair of young ears try them.
 

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I am not aero
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Do you have a computer?

I have a 2005 Lemond with the same wheels and am the same weight. Early on I noticed a similar tick. Turned out that the large lateral load from getting out of the saddle was flexing the wheel enough that the computer magnet was brushing the fork pickup. No problems since allowing the magnet a little extra space.
 

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Old Skool
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Update

Thank you all for your input. I have ruled some things out and have a follow-up question.

It is not the computer magnet, the ticking frequency is a lot higher than the rate of rotation of the wheel.

It is not a single spoke, once again the frequency of the tick is wrong.

I have lubed the junction of the nipples and the rim with Triflow with no effect. However, I will retry this and lube the nipple threads at the same time.

I am starting to lean toward low spoke tension. Does anyone have experience increasing the overall tension on Bonti Select front wheels? If so, how did it work out? I am thinking that I'll start with a quarter turn all the way around and see what the impact is. Perhaps the professional wheel builders in the community can give an opinion here.

Thanks again for your help.
 

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its def not from the computer magnet (mine) because my comp is a rear wheel one (and it has cadence) and when i switched the front wheel the tick stopped.

im gonna try lube, tension, qr, etc.....

thanks thusfar
 

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Old Skool
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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Problem Solved

The wheel is now quiet no matter how I load it, so the problem appears to be solved. I lubed the nipples with Triflow both at the junction with the rim and where the spoke enters the nipple. Then I took the tension up a half-turn all the way around (in two quarter-turn passes). Once I got a spoke key on the nipples, I was surprised at how little tension was on the spokes. This is not what I was expecting in such a low spoke count wheel.

I am thinking about increasing the tension in the rear wheel as well, just on general principals. However, the little voice in my head is screaming at me to leave well enough alone.
 
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