Spokes

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
OK so on to the spoke question.

I broke another spoke this weekend so I'm thinking to myself, maybe I should pick up a few so that when this happens I have a handful so I can swap a new one in, in no time. As anyone who has looked at spokes online can tell you, there's a zillion to chose from. How to make sense of it. My first step was to go to Universal Cycles:

http://www.universalcycles.com/shopping/index.php?category=779

Those are just the DT Swiss ones, which are already on my bike. So with all those choices I go to Sheldon Brown to help me out:

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gloss_sp-ss.html#spoke

I guess the first thing is that I don't know what the numbers mean. The spoke diameter is listed as 2.0/1.8/2.0. Well which is is? 2.0 or 1.8?

For reasons I don't know I boil it down to Competition and Revolution. The Revolution is 1.5, I have 1.8. So obviously if I wanted to go nuts I could slowly change out all the 1.8s with 1.5s. But if I'm breaking the 1.8s...is that a good idea?

So what I'm asking is, can anyone make sense of all this? What are the 3 numbers? Should I always work to lower the weight of the bike? The Super Comp are more expensive, but heavier than the Revolution. Why?
 

ytc100

New Member
OK so on to the spoke question.

I broke another spoke this weekend so I'm thinking to myself, maybe I should pick up a few so that when this happens I have a handful so I can swap a new one in, in no time. As anyone who has looked at spokes online can tell you, there's a zillion to chose from. How to make sense of it. My first step was to go to Universal Cycles:

http://www.universalcycles.com/shopping/index.php?category=779

Those are just the DT Swiss ones, which are already on my bike. So with all those choices I go to Sheldon Brown to help me out:

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gloss_sp-ss.html#spoke

I guess the first thing is that I don't know what the numbers mean. The spoke diameter is listed as 2.0/1.8/2.0. Well which is is? 2.0 or 1.8?

For reasons I don't know I boil it down to Competition and Revolution. The Revolution is 1.5, I have 1.8. So obviously if I wanted to go nuts I could slowly change out all the 1.8s with 1.5s. But if I'm breaking the 1.8s...is that a good idea?

So what I'm asking is, can anyone make sense of all this? What are the 3 numbers? Should I always work to lower the weight of the bike? The Super Comp are more expensive, but heavier than the Revolution. Why?

The numbers refer to the gauge (thickness) of the spoke. When you see 2.0, 1.8, 2.0 you are looking at a double butted spoke. The ends will be thicker than the middle. This saves weight but allows the spoke to have strength where it needs it the most (on the ends). Numbers like 2.0, 1.7, 1.8 refer to a triple butted spoke. That's right, three different thicknesses - I think they are more expensive (Super Comps) because they are more difficult to produce.
I wouldn't go nuts using 2.0, 1.5, 2.0 as they are very light weight and not suited for all wheel building applications. You could do the non-drive side of your rear wheel and probably the non-disc side of your front wheel with them and use 2.0, 1.8, 2.0 for the rest. I typically build my wheels with all 2.0, 1.7, 2.0 which are made by wheelsmith as they are a tiny bit lighter than the DT spokes.

Here is some info from a site I buy my spokes from. Terrific prices and very fast shipping:
http://oddsandendos.safeshopper.com/11/cat11.htm?894


You'll also need the correct length spoke within a couple of mm which is easy to measure if you have an existing wheel. Otherwise I've used this with great success:
http://sheldonbrown.com/rinard/spocalc.htm
A lot of existing hubs and rims are already included and most manufacturers supply the necessary measurements if you're buying new stuff and building a wheel from scratch or rebuilding an existing wheel with new parts.

How are you breaking spokes?

Disclaimer: I have built three sets of wheels all of which have performed beyond my expectations however, I am not an authority on wheel building by any means.
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Wow, great information, thanks a lot. It makes sense now, double and triple butted and 2 or 3 numbers.

Interesting I've been considering a wheelset from oddsandendos. And I've considered building one up myself as if I don't have enough to do with my free time.

I was able to get the spoke length from the old spoke and a Park Tools ruler, which has an insert for just this purpose. It came out to just about 255 so if it were new and straight it would be 256.

I break spokes just riding. This is the second one and I don't know exactly where it happened. This one might have been the 20 mph log I stacked it on Sunday. It was a fast downhill and a tree had fallen in a place I wasn't expecting it. But it might not have been. Basically just riding a park I've ridden 25 times in the past 2 years.

Or maybe I have that damn rebound so fast that it kicks back into any old inanimate object and pops away! :)
 

ytc100

New Member
Wow, great information, thanks a lot. It makes sense now, double and triple butted and 2 or 3 numbers.

Interesting I've been considering a wheelset from oddsandendos. And I've considered building one up myself as if I don't have enough to do with my free time.

I was able to get the spoke length from the old spoke and a Park Tools ruler, which has an insert for just this purpose. It came out to just about 255 so if it were new and straight it would be 256.

I break spokes just riding. This is the second one and I don't know exactly where it happened. This one might have been the 20 mph log I stacked it on Sunday. It was a fast downhill and a tree had fallen in a place I wasn't expecting it. But it might not have been. Basically just riding a park I've ridden 25 times in the past 2 years.

Or maybe I have that damn rebound so fast that it kicks back into any old inanimate object and pops away! :)

Glad I could help.

Breaking spokes just from riding and not getting anything caught in your wheel is a sign of an unevenly tensioned wheel. Some spoke are too tight leaving others too loose. The loose ones wiggle around a little and eventually fatigue at the elbow and break. It shouldn't happen to a properly built wheel no matter how hard you bounce your tire off of inanimate objects.
Your wheel sounds like a candidate for at least a proper re-tensioning.
 
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Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
It's certainly possible it's something banging away at the spokes. I tend to ride and ask questions later. I often hear plenty of banging away especially if I'm in loose areas, which there are several in Chimney Rock. And given the weather lately, there are plenty of branches laying about as well.

Having said that I'll put it on the trueing stand tonight or tomorrow and check out the tensioning across the board.

Also I ordered from the oddsandendos place. You're right, really great prices there.
 

jdog

Shop: Halter's Cycles
Shop Keep
yuk-

In my experience there is no saving a wheel once you begin to break spokes.

When you break 1 or 2 spokes in a wheel the remaining spoke have to work that much harder to cover for the broken spokes. This stress only sets the other guys up to fail sooner.

In most cases I would recommend at the very least partially unwinding the entire wheel, then replace the broke spokes.

Next slowly bring the wheel back up to tension in 1/4 turns of the nipples.

Pay more attention to roundness than trueness since keeping the wheel round has a greater affect on tension than trueness does.

This might sound hard and honestly it isn't super easy. There is a lot going on at once. Roundness, tension, Dish, Trueness.

This is all made worse or impossible if the rim itself happens to be bent. If it is bent you will have to over-tension some spokes to make up for the bend in the rim. yuk. This can only end badly.

If you have a ton of time on your hands the very best bet is to completely unwind the spoke out of the hub and set the rim on a glass table to see if it lies flat. If the rim is not flat to begin with then you are basically f'd anyway.

Enjoy.

j
 

anrothar

entirely thrilled
i've used dt champions(straight guage, 2.0) on every wheel i've ever built for myself(about 10 sets). i've broken one spoke in the ten years i've been using my own wheels, and that was on a trials bike, the wheel of which i bent to a 30 degree angle and straightened by putting it between two logs and jumping on it. the spoke broke a few months later. a few of the wheels shit the bed due to hubs/rims failing. a couple of them i sold with the bike they were on, and i assume they are still in use. i still have five of them(sets, f&r). i'm considering tripple butted for my next wheelset for the weight savings, strength. the dt alpine III, which is a wider diameter at the head/shoulder, drops down to 1.8 in the middle, then back to 2.0 at the threads. it's designed with downhill and loaded touring in mind.
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
In my experience there is no saving a wheel once you begin to break spokes.

When you break 1 or 2 spokes in a wheel the remaining spoke have to work that much harder to cover for the broken spokes. This stress only sets the other guys up to fail sooner.

In most cases I would recommend at the very least partially unwinding the entire wheel, then replace the broke spokes.

Next slowly bring the wheel back up to tension in 1/4 turns of the nipples.

Pay more attention to roundness than trueness since keeping the wheel round has a greater affect on tension than trueness does.

This might sound hard and honestly it isn't super easy. There is a lot going on at once. Roundness, tension, Dish, Trueness.

This is all made worse or impossible if the rim itself happens to be bent. If it is bent you will have to over-tension some spokes to make up for the bend in the rim. yuk. This can only end badly.

If you have a ton of time on your hands the very best bet is to completely unwind the spoke out of the hub and set the rim on a glass table to see if it lies flat. If the rim is not flat to begin with then you are basically f'd anyway.

Enjoy.

j

Thanks for the feedback J, much appreciated. Maybe over the winter I will do that, as I need to repack the hubs at some point also so it might be a good opportunity to overhaul the thing. But 10 days before the Allamuchy race I'm just going to make it work. I'm considering another wheelset from the site ytc mentioned as well as tubeless. So who knows what happens. But thanks for the input.

i've used dt champions(straight guage, 2.0) on every wheel i've ever built for myself(about 10 sets). i've broken one spoke in the ten years i've been using my own wheels, and that was on a trials bike, the wheel of which i bent to a 30 degree angle and straightened by putting it between two logs and jumping on it. the spoke broke a few months later. a few of the wheels shit the bed due to hubs/rims failing. a couple of them i sold with the bike they were on, and i assume they are still in use. i still have five of them(sets, f&r). i'm considering tripple butted for my next wheelset for the weight savings, strength. the dt alpine III, which is a wider diameter at the head/shoulder, drops down to 1.8 in the middle, then back to 2.0 at the threads. it's designed with downhill and loaded touring in mind.

Good stuff Sean, thanks for the additions. I actually ended up stealing a spoke from a wheel in the basement to get the job done for now. I ordered some Wheelsmith spokes so I have some for next time. I may try to build a set of wheels this winter. I'm sure I'll post all about it if/when I do.
 

Frank

Sasquatch
my 2 cents

I agree with Sean, DT 14ga Champions all the way. I have used them on all of my bikes, that I have built wheels for, and they are awesome. 2 of them being DH rigs that supported my huge arse so you can depend on DT.
 

ArmyOfNone

Well-Known Member
I wish i knew how to work on a wheel. I understand how to do it...but its the doing it that is tough. But it has also taken me about 4 hours to completely break down and reassemble my SS sooooo there is much to be said there.
 

Frank

Sasquatch
I wish i knew how to work on a wheel. I understand how to do it...but its the doing it that is tough. But it has also taken me about 4 hours to completely break down and reassemble my SS sooooo there is much to be said there.

I've been using Zinns book (Zinn and the art of MTB maint.) for my wheel building. It shows how to build a nice 3 cross wheel, and explains it well. Give her a try.
Not to take away from the pros who really know how to do it, but I'm a do-it-yourselfer at heart.
 
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ArmyOfNone

Well-Known Member
hmm...i may take a look at that. I am at the shop enough that I have seen all these fun things done many times. I just actually need to do it. But thanks for the reco :)
 

Shaggz

A strong 7
I've been using Zinns book (Zinn and the art of MTB maint.) for my wheel building. It shows how to build a nice 3 cross wheel, and explains it well. Give her a try.
Not to take away from the pros who really know how to do it, but I'm a do-it-yourselfer at heart.
have you used the park blue book? if so, how does it compare to zinns?
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Anything you could ever think to ask has been asked on MTBR somewhere, IMO. Half of it is also documented with pics.
 
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