More spokes or bigger spokes for a stronger wheel?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by [email protected], Dec 29, 2005.

  1. I was pretty sure my next 700c rear wheel was going to be a Velocity
    36H fusion with 14-15-14 db spokes on both sides. Speaking with a
    wheelbuilder, he suggested I consider 32H with some 2.3mm tapering to
    2.0 all the way to the nipple (pretty much MTB downhill spokes) on the
    drive side, and 14-15-14 db on the non-drive side.

    Interesting thought. It seems that the weight differences will be
    minimal.

    Anyone have any experience with this? I'm more concerned with torque
    strength than impact strength.

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
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  2. Ron Ruff

    Ron Ruff Guest

    [email protected] wrote:
    > I was pretty sure my next 700c rear wheel was going to be a Velocity
    > 36H fusion with 14-15-14 db spokes on both sides. Speaking with a
    > wheelbuilder, he suggested I consider 32H with some 2.3mm tapering to
    > 2.0 all the way to the nipple (pretty much MTB downhill spokes) on the
    > drive side, and 14-15-14 db on the non-drive side.


    I'll toss ya a bone until the real experts respond...

    The idea of using stiffer spokes on the drive side makes sense, and
    butting is also a good idea, but if I was you I'd lean towards lighter
    spokes and more of them. A common failure mode is rim cracking at the
    eyelets, and heavier spokes tend to make this more likely. Light spokes
    (1.6 or 1.5 mm center sections; 16 or 17g) are "strong enough" to
    achieve the tension that the rim is capable of (usually 100kg).

    ..Another common failure mode is spoke fatigue from spokes going
    *slack*, rather than being too tight. Again, heavier spokes are more
    likely to exhibit this behaviour, because for a given tension load it
    takes less relative motion for them to lose tension.

    Wheel stiffness is higher with thick spokes... but tests have shown
    that the effect is very small. Personally I'm interested in wheel
    strength, but I think stiffness is pretty irrelevant, anyway.

    So... lighter spokes are of course weaker all by themselves... but
    oddly once you put them into a wheel, the entire unit may have a longer
    fatigue life. The biggest problem with light spokes is that it is
    tougher to build with them, since they twist so easily.

    BTW, if you are interested in competing with these wheels, you can
    realize a small speed boost (couple 10ths of a mph) by using oval
    spokes. Wheelsmith AE15s are the only ones I know of that are
    reasonably priced (<$1 each). They start life as 15/16g db spokes. You
    could put 14/15 db spokes on the drive side, and AE15s elsewhere...
    it's what I'd do, anyway.
     
  3. Art Harris

    Art Harris Guest

    Mike wrote:

    > I was pretty sure my next 700c rear wheel was going to be a Velocity

    36H fusion with 14-15-14 db spokes on both sides. Speaking with a
    wheelbuilder, he suggested I consider 32H with some 2.3mm tapering to
    2.0 all the way to the nipple (pretty much MTB downhill spokes) on the
    drive side, and 14-15-14 db on the non-drive side.


    The first consideration when choosing components for a wheel is your
    own weight and type of riding. A 150 lb recreational cyclist riding
    easy on smooth roads has different requirements than a 250 lb cyclist
    riding on bad roads, or a racer. So we need to know more about you.

    That said, your initial choice (36h Velocity Fusion with 14-15-14
    spokes) sounds fine. I'm kinda leary of the 2.3 mm spokes.

    Using thinner spokes, and more of them, allows loads to be shared among
    more spokes. That's a good thing. It reduces the chance of a spoke
    going slack when subjected to a locally hard impact. When a spoke goes
    slack, the nipple can turn and the wheel will go out of true.

    On a typical 9/10 speed rear wheel, the left side spokes will have only
    about half the tension of the right side spokes. Using thinner spokes
    on the left side will make them less likely to go slack. Depending on
    your weight, you might want something like 36 spokes with 14-15-14 on
    the right, and 15-16-15 on the left.

    Art Harris
     
  4. [email protected] wrote:
    > I was pretty sure my next 700c rear wheel was going to be a Velocity
    > 36H fusion with 14-15-14 db spokes on both sides. Speaking with a
    > wheelbuilder, he suggested I consider 32H with some 2.3mm tapering to
    > 2.0 all the way to the nipple (pretty much MTB downhill spokes) on the
    > drive side, and 14-15-14 db on the non-drive side.
    >
    > Interesting thought. It seems that the weight differences will be
    > minimal.


    How about 'alpine' spokes in 36? Why is this wheelbuilder worrying you
    about 30 grams or so?

    More spokes is the answer, not fat spokes, I'm distressed this
    'wheelbuilder' would even suggest such a thing. 36, 14/15 all around is
    the answer...not some mixing 'scheme' that will buy you nothing.
    >
    > Anyone have any experience with this? I'm more concerned with torque
    > strength than impact strength.
    >
    > Thanks,
    > Mike
     
  5. jim beam

    jim beam Guest

    [email protected] wrote:
    > I was pretty sure my next 700c rear wheel was going to be a Velocity
    > 36H fusion with 14-15-14 db spokes on both sides. Speaking with a
    > wheelbuilder, he suggested I consider 32H with some 2.3mm tapering to
    > 2.0 all the way to the nipple (pretty much MTB downhill spokes) on the
    > drive side, and 14-15-14 db on the non-drive side.
    >
    > Interesting thought. It seems that the weight differences will be
    > minimal.
    >
    > Anyone have any experience with this? I'm more concerned with torque
    > strength than impact strength.
    >
    > Thanks,
    > Mike
    >


    it'll have some benefit for fatigue strength, [/if/ the spoke elbow
    offset suits the hub flange thickness] and it'll be stiffer. but it
    won't affect impact strength, that's the rim's problem. and torque
    strength with any spoke is well in excess of any load you can generate.

    what kind of riding is it for? increased stiffness may be a benefit if
    your bike shimmies.
     
  6. Paul Kopit

    Paul Kopit Guest

    On 29 Dec 2005 21:19:49 -0800, [email protected] wrote:

    >Speaking with a
    >wheelbuilder, he suggested I consider 32H with some 2.3mm tapering to
    >2.0 all the way to the nipple (pretty much MTB downhill spokes) on the
    >drive side, and 14-15-14 db on the non-drive side.


    The spoke holes on road hubs are usually not wide enough to properly
    hold a 2.3 mm wire.
     
  7. Someone

    Someone Guest

    Qui si parla Campagnolo aka Peter Chisholm wrote:
    > ...
    > More spokes is the answer, not fat spokes, I'm distressed this
    > 'wheelbuilder' would even suggest such a thing. 36, 14/15 all around is
    > the answer...not some mixing 'scheme' that will buy you nothing.


    I have two bicycles with ISO 305-mm (16-inch fractional) wheels. Is 36
    1.8-mm (15 gauge) spokes enough for this wheel size?

    --
    Tom Sherman - Fox River Valley
     
  8. jtaylor

    jtaylor Guest

    "Someone" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >
    > Qui si parla Campagnolo aka Peter Chisholm wrote:
    > > ...
    > > More spokes is the answer, not fat spokes, I'm distressed this
    > > 'wheelbuilder' would even suggest such a thing. 36, 14/15 all around is
    > > the answer...not some mixing 'scheme' that will buy you nothing.

    >
    > I have two bicycles with ISO 305-mm (16-inch fractional) wheels. Is 36
    > 1.8-mm (15 gauge) spokes enough for this wheel size?
    >


    I have one of those as well. It used to have 349 rims, but they were steel
    and I wanted 305's. The 305's I could get locally were cheap, but 20-hole.
    That should indicate the number of spoke that would be adequate. I have
    some 298 rim wheels, they are 28 rear and 20 front.

    To use the 305's I had to get the old holes welded shut and drill new 36
    ones (had to do this as the hubs I wished to use were 36's).
     
  9. daveornee

    daveornee New Member

    Joined:
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    I use Sapim Strong with 2.3 mm diameter at hub end, DT Alpine III (aslo 2.3 mm at hub), and in the past Wheelsmith 13/14 DH spokes. They all fit fine in the Shimano, Phil Wood, Campagnolo, Edco, Suntour, Specialized, etc. hubs I have used.
    The only advantage I can think of for 32H is more readily available hubs and rims. With Velocity Fusion, this is not an issue. If you are looking for a Dura Ace FH-7700 in 36H it certainly may be an issue.
    I think 36 spokes is worth it.
    I disagree with Peter Chisholm about mixing spoke guages. As another responder already mentioned, the drive side spokes carry most of the load in the rear wheel. You will get a slight additional margin of strength by having the left spokes with thinner middle sections. The thinner middle sections on the left side spokes keeps them from going slack and thus no longer supporting the rim... also allowing for nipple "back-off".. and further degrading the wheel perfomance.
    Sapim Strong spokes are difficult to find in most lengths. I have also experienced "long neck" Alpine III DT spokes.
    I have had mixed results with Wheelsmith 13/14 DB spokes and no longer use them. We still ride a 26" wheeled tandem with the WS DH spokes without any problems.
     
  10. john

    john Guest

    Paul Kopit wrote:
    > On 29 Dec 2005 21:19:49 -0800, [email protected] wrote:
    >
    > >Speaking with a
    > >wheelbuilder, he suggested I consider 32H with some 2.3mm tapering to
    > >2.0 all the way to the nipple (pretty much MTB downhill spokes) on the
    > >drive side, and 14-15-14 db on the non-drive side.

    >
    > The spoke holes on road hubs are usually not wide enough to properly
    > hold a 2.3 mm wire.


    What happens? Is it impossible to get the "J" bend through the spoke
    hole? Or does the bevel @ the head not seat, causing the spoke to stick
    out at an angle away from the rim? Or something else? Many hub spoke
    holes are, unfortunately IMHO, larger than 2.3mm.
     
  11. Chalo

    Chalo Guest

    [email protected] wrote:
    >
    > I was pretty sure my next 700c rear wheel was going to be a Velocity
    > 36H fusion with 14-15-14 db spokes on both sides. Speaking with a
    > wheelbuilder, he suggested I consider 32H with some 2.3mm tapering to
    > 2.0 all the way to the nipple (pretty much MTB downhill spokes) on the
    > drive side, and 14-15-14 db on the non-drive side.
    >
    > Anyone have any experience with this? I'm more concerned with torque
    > strength than impact strength.


    I have had much better results from high counts of thin spokes than
    from smaller numbers of thicker spokes. That said, I think torque
    strength is unlikely to be an issue for you in any way.

    I have a set of wheels on one of my regular bikes with 48 spokes of
    15/16ga. per wheel. The rims are not unusual, but that set of wheels
    has given me better service so far than *any* 36 spoke wheels I have
    ever used. I have chronic problems with lateral straightness when I
    use 36 spoke wheels, but these 48 spoke wheels have proved boringly
    reliable in that regard. This is despite the fact that they have about
    15% less total spoke cross-section than 36 spoke wheels with straight
    14ga. spokes.

    It's my conviction that high spoke count improves a wheel's resistance
    to bending under lateral loads, since the wheel has more points of
    lateral support and contains smaller latent bending stresses.

    For what it's worth, I am now using a 36 spoke wheel in a place (rear
    wheel for my electric-assist commuter) where a 48 spoke wheel failed to
    survive. I was able to find a stronger, heavier rim in 36 hole than I
    was in 48 hole, and the lower spoke count allowed me to switch to a
    dishless gearhub instead of a dished cassette hub. So there are
    specific circumstances in which a lower spoke count wheel could be as
    strong or stronger than a higher spoke count wheel for the same general
    application.

    For a given hub and rim, however, a higher spoke count will almost
    without exception yield a stronger and more reliable wheel, regardless
    of the spoke gauge used.

    Chalo Colina
     
  12. Werehatrack

    Werehatrack Guest

    On 29 Dec 2005 21:19:49 -0800, [email protected] wrote:

    >I was pretty sure my next 700c rear wheel was going to be a Velocity
    >36H fusion with 14-15-14 db spokes on both sides. Speaking with a
    >wheelbuilder, he suggested I consider 32H with some 2.3mm tapering to
    >2.0 all the way to the nipple (pretty much MTB downhill spokes) on the
    >drive side, and 14-15-14 db on the non-drive side.
    >
    >Interesting thought. It seems that the weight differences will be
    >minimal.
    >
    >Anyone have any experience with this? I'm more concerned with torque
    >strength than impact strength.


    You won't be able to tell the difference between them on torque
    strength. The important difference in my personal opinion is in
    reliability and durability. While certain deep-v rims are somewhat
    more resistant to getting dinged or bent than many of the lighter
    36-spoke wheels (and those with counts close to that number), there
    are also high-count rims that are quite sturdy...and in general,
    getting a rim dinged isn't likely to be a common problem for you in
    the future if you've been avoiding it so far, barring a change of
    terrain or riding habits. On the other hand, one place where having a
    higher spoke count is decidedly beneficial is in the event of a spoke
    failure. With a spoke failure on a high-spoke-count wheel, it's
    likely that you will need to do no more than secure the broken end in
    order to continue to your desitnation. With a 24-spoke (or less)
    wheel, it's quite possible that you will be on foot if a spoke breaks.
    *Sometimes* it's possible to release enough tension from adjacent
    spokes to permit the wheel to turn in such a situation, but sometimes
    it's not.

    Unless you're in the class of rider where the miniscule difference in
    aerodynamic drag from the lower spoke count is significant, there's no
    reason except fashion for choosing a low-spoke-count wheel. If you're
    building for strength, I'd say to go with the higher spoke count.
    --
    Typoes are a feature, not a bug.
    Some gardening required to reply via email.
    Words processed in a facility that contains nuts.
     
  13. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    daveornee wrote:
    ......
    > I have also experienced "long neck" Alpine III DT spokes.


    As with DT Competition, was a later version made with shorter elbows?

    I have Alpine III spokes in two 36h rear wheels (right side, 3x): wheels
    built and components bought at different times, but both hubs are modern
    Campagnolo. With my Chorus hub, the spokes fit quite flush against the
    flange as normal. But with my Veloce hub, the necks (or elbows?) are
    definitely too long. Could this be due to different hubs, different
    spokes, or what? (Difficult to tell by looking at the built wheels now).

    Anyway, it would be interesting to know if fatigue resistance is equal to
    that of thinner Competition spokes despite the "long neck" factor (and not
    using washers). I'd be grateful for an answer to help decide if I should
    fit different spokes (or washers?) in my potentially dodgy wheel.

    FWIW, I've had no problems with these so far. I did previously have a
    Sapim Strong break (before doing as many miles as current ones have done),
    but those spokes probably weren't stress relieved. That was in the days
    before I knew about stress relieving!

    ~PB
     
  14. Thanks everyone for the replies. It's looking like sticking with a
    14-15-14 both sides, 36H is the way to go.

    So torque doesn't play into wheel wear at all? I'm climbing a lot of
    20%+ hills riding right at my VO2 max. That leaves my front wheel
    barely touching the ground, with nearly all of my 187 lbs of weight on
    the rear. I thought that much power with all that weight on it would be
    a durability issue.

    -Mike

    jim beam wrote:
    > [email protected] wrote:
    > > I was pretty sure my next 700c rear wheel was going to be a Velocity
    > > 36H fusion with 14-15-14 db spokes on both sides. Speaking with a
    > > wheelbuilder, he suggested I consider 32H with some 2.3mm tapering to
    > > 2.0 all the way to the nipple (pretty much MTB downhill spokes) on the
    > > drive side, and 14-15-14 db on the non-drive side.
    > >
    > > Interesting thought. It seems that the weight differences will be
    > > minimal.
    > >
    > > Anyone have any experience with this? I'm more concerned with torque
    > > strength than impact strength.
    > >
    > > Thanks,
    > > Mike
    > >

    >
    > it'll have some benefit for fatigue strength, [/if/ the spoke elbow
    > offset suits the hub flange thickness] and it'll be stiffer. but it
    > won't affect impact strength, that's the rim's problem. and torque
    > strength with any spoke is well in excess of any load you can generate.
    >
    > what kind of riding is it for? increased stiffness may be a benefit if
    > your bike shimmies.
     
  15. daveornee

    daveornee New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2003
    Messages:
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    The "bad" Alpine IIIs I had were long in the head to elbow dimension. I suspect that they would cause fatigue failure.
    Standard spoke washers don't clear the 2.3 mm section without enlargement. The ones I had wouldn't benefit much from the thin spoke washers I found.
     
  16. Ron Ruff

    Ron Ruff Guest

    [email protected] wrote:

    > So torque doesn't play into wheel wear at all? I'm climbing a lot of
    > 20%+ hills riding right at my VO2 max. That leaves my front wheel
    > barely touching the ground, with nearly all of my 187 lbs of weight on
    > the rear. I thought that much power with all that weight on it would be
    > a durability issue.
    >

    Unfortunately, we are all very low powered motors. Some people (pros
    even) are getting away with half as many lighter gauge spokes... you
    should be fine. I did the calculation awhile ago and torque added very
    little to spoke tension. Also, Jobst is a big guy who has reported
    climbing 30+% grades... and he uses 15/16g spokes. As I recall, he has
    gone 200,000 miles on some of those spokes... or was it 300,000?
     
  17. Someone wrote:
    > Qui si parla Campagnolo aka Peter Chisholm wrote:
    > > ...
    > > More spokes is the answer, not fat spokes, I'm distressed this
    > > 'wheelbuilder' would even suggest such a thing. 36, 14/15 all around is
    > > the answer...not some mixing 'scheme' that will buy you nothing.

    >
    > I have two bicycles with ISO 305-mm (16-inch fractional) wheels. Is 36
    > 1.8-mm (15 gauge) spokes enough for this wheel size?
    >
    > --
    > Tom Sherman - Fox River Valley


    Use 14/15 or 15/16..not straight gauge, is what I would recommend.
     
  18. Someone

    Someone Guest

    Qui si parla Campagnolo wrote:
    > Someone wrote:
    > > Qui si parla Campagnolo aka Peter Chisholm wrote:
    > > > ...
    > > > More spokes is the answer, not fat spokes, I'm distressed this
    > > > 'wheelbuilder' would even suggest such a thing. 36, 14/15 all around is
    > > > the answer...not some mixing 'scheme' that will buy you nothing.

    > >
    > > I have two bicycles with ISO 305-mm (16-inch fractional) wheels. Is 36
    > > 1.8-mm (15 gauge) spokes enough for this wheel size?
    > >
    > > --
    > > Tom Sherman - Fox River Valley

    >
    > Use 14/15 or 15/16..not straight gauge, is what I would recommend.


    Where does one find butted spokes for an ISO 305-mm wheel?

    --
    Tom Sherman - Fox River Valley
     
  19. M-gineering

    M-gineering Guest

    Qui si parla Campagnolo wrote:

    >>
    >>I have two bicycles with ISO 305-mm (16-inch fractional) wheels. Is 36
    >>1.8-mm (15 gauge) spokes enough for this wheel size?
    >>
    >>--
    >>Tom Sherman - Fox River Valley

    >
    >
    > Use 14/15 or 15/16..not straight gauge, is what I would recommend.
    >


    in 135mm spokelenght? That is a bit unusual isn't it?

    I'd try to use less spokes, or use spokenipples with a hexhead. You've
    no room to turn a decent spokekey

    --
    ---
    Marten Gerritsen

    INFOapestaartjeM-GINEERINGpuntNL
    www.m-gineering.nl
     
  20. jtaylor

    jtaylor Guest

    "Someone" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]

    > > > I have two bicycles with ISO 305-mm (16-inch fractional) wheels. Is 36
    > > > 1.8-mm (15 gauge) spokes enough for this wheel size?
    > > >
    > > > --
    > > > Tom Sherman - Fox River Valley

    > >
    > > Use 14/15 or 15/16..not straight gauge, is what I would recommend.

    >
    > Where does one find butted spokes for an ISO 305-mm wheel?
    >


    <aol on>

    Me too!

    <aol off>
     
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