Wheel building - spoke lengths

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Waruik0, Feb 24, 2019.

  1. Waruik0

    Waruik0 New Member

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    Hello,

    I am building a set of road wheels for the first time. Not looking to save a few buck by doing it myself because the dollars don't pencil out. Rather I'm doing it because it interests me and I am up for a fun (and quite possibly frustrating) challenge.

    I need some feed back regarding spoke length for my build. First off, these are the components I am using.

    Easton R90-SL Rims (24F/28R)
    DT Swiss 350 Straight Pull Hubs
    Sapim CX Ray or Pillar 1420 Spokes (going with bladed for better building with SP hubs)

    Of the straight pull spoke calculators out there, I've found that I can use the DT Swiss spoke calculator and the Wheelpro spoke calculator. After inputting my hub info and rim ERD that I measured myself (to bottom of nipple head slot), the Results are as follows assuming use of 12mm nipples:

    DT Swiss Calculated/Recommended Spoke Lengths (assumed DT Aerolites and DT standard brass 2.0 / 12mm nipples):
    Front - 281.4mm/280mm (L&R)
    Rear - 296.3mm Left; 295.6mm Right/295mm (L&R)

    Wheelpro Calculated Lengths (No recommended lengths)
    Front - 281mm (L&R)
    Rear - 296.1mm Left; 295.1mm Right

    These are the questions I have:
    1. Given the calculated lengths between the two calculators are within an acceptable range of each other, are the DT recommended lengths ok since the recommended lengths are more than 1mm less than the calculated lengths?

    2. Does the DT calculator factor in other variables to generate recommended spoke lengths such as nipple/spoke type, spoke stretch under tension, etc.?

    3. Unrelated to spoke length, does anybody have experience with using Pillar spokes that they can share in regards to performance and quality?

    Thanks in advance and sharing any advice you can with a noob wheel builder! :)
     


  2. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Always Round DOWN the calculated spoke length to the largest whole number ... a spoke that is 1mm shorter than the calculated length is 'okay' ...

    I'm not familiar with Pillar spokes ...
    I recommend straight 14g DT spokes ... a lot of people prefer double-butted spokes (Sapim).

    I think that DT's nipples are less robust than OTHER brands ... it's usually not an issue.

    PARK finally came out with a Spoke Wrench which make deformation of DT nipples less likely by partially grasping the 4th side of the nipple ... I don't have one, but I recommend it if you are planning on using DT spokes & haven't bought your Spoke Wrench(es), yet.
    If you don't have a METRIC tape measure, consider buying one ...

    If you have the extra funds, consider buying a PARK TENSIOMETER.





     
  3. Waruik0

    Waruik0 New Member

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    Thanks for you feedback. I have a metric tape and Park tensiometer. I’ll have to look at the new Park wrench you mentioned.

    Do you think a dish tool would also be good to have?

    anks
     
  4. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    A dishing tool may be a good thing to have, but I have never used one ...

    AND, I have always simply used my truing stand -- removing & re-inserting the wheel to ensure that it is centered -- perhaps, THAT is slower ... I don't know.

    The 'feelers' on the truing stand I generally use are NOT self-centering ...

    My fancy-schmancy truing stand (not a Park) has self-centering 'feelers' but needs to be assembled & disassembled (otherwise it takes up a LOT of space); so, I typically don't bother to use it.​
     
  5. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    BTW ...

    If you/(anyone) opt(s) to use a dishing tool, I recall reading ONE person's recounting that he didn't realize that on one (some?) of his wheels the amount of axle exposed beyond the locknuts was NOT equal which resulted in the rim(s) being offset from the central plane of hub ...

    So, using a dishing tool can have pitfalls. ​


     
  6. BrianNystrom

    BrianNystrom Member

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    While this is fine with brass nipples, with aluminum nipples you want spokes that are long enough to fill the slot to the top. The reason is that the spoke helps to support the sides of the head so they won't deform toward the center of the slot and potentially crack. If you're using hex aluminum nipples, it's not an issue since there's no slot.

    They make quality spokes, like DT and Sapim. I don't think there's much to choose between these brands. I typically use Sapim because I can get them cheaper and in either black or silver.


    I don't understand why anyone would use straight-gauge spokes. They're heavier and less elastic, which makes them more prone to fatigue. The only advantage to them is that they're less expensive than butted spokes.

    There are several brands that make similar spoke wrenches and they do work well. The one downside is that you have to put the wrench on the spoke first, then slide it down onto the nipple, rather than just pushing it onto the nipple directly as you do with a typical slotted spoke wrench. This makes it a bit slower to do the initial tensioning, but I always switch to the "4-sided" style for final tensioning and truing. If you are only buying one spoke wrench, get the 4-sided style.


    That and a metric steel rule at least 12" long. Another option is a spoke ruler/gauge.

    The Park is probably the best low-priced tensiometer on the market, but it's not an especially great tool. It's one of the only Park tools I own that's somewhat disappointing, but it works well enough. I'm surprised that Park hasn't made something better.

    If you're only going to build one set of wheels, I would pass on buying a tensiometer. You can get a good idea of whether your spokes are tight enough by comparing them to another good set of wheels. Ideal tension is a range, not an absolute number, so you have some leeway without sacrificing performance or durability. OTOH, if you plan to be building more wheels, make the investment.
     
  7. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Without looking, I reckon that the head of the nipple must be about 2mm thick ... regardless, as long as the threaded end of the spoke extends beyond the edge of the rim's inner circumference and/or the rim's eyelet-or-washer then it should be long enough.

    Aluminum nipples? They are certainly good for weight weenies OR for people who want nipples which are anodized in this-or-that color so that they don't have to lace crepe paper through their spokes.


    Not that it matters, but I did not know that anyone other than MAVIC used torx-type nipples.​

    From MY recollection, the oft-cited recommendation for double-butted spokes was first uttered prior to the advent of DT 's stainless steel spokes becoming readily available ... that is, I believe the suggestion was first made when the spokes were THINNER, glorified coat hanger wire ... at least, on vintage French wheelsets ... unquestionably, double-butting of the marginally thinner gauge, regular-steel spokes would have been a good thing ...

    The first time I laced a set of wheels with DT spokes I thought "... these are fat spokes."

    Yes, I still have the wheelset, somewhere (NISI rims on a pair of Avocet hubs).
    If a straight 14 gauge spoke breaks from fatigue, then the wheel probably was not tensioned properly ... and, a double-butted 14-15-14 spoke would break under the same circumstances if one presumes that the wheel was somehow trued in the same manner with similarly unequal spoke tension.
    As far as WHY anyone would choose a straight 14g over a 14-15-14 double-butted spoke on a wheel laced with the same spoke count ...

    A wheel laced properly with the 14g spokes will be laterally stiffer than a similar wheel laced with 14-15-14 double-butted spokes ...

    THAT doesn't matter for toddling around town ...

    But, it can make a difference on some mountain road descents.


     
  8. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    BTW ...

    It's much less of a factor with low spoke count wheels, but you do NOT want the valve stem to emerge within a cluster of four spokes ...
     
  9. BrianNystrom

    BrianNystrom Member

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    I think you missed the point. With brass nipples, the length isn't especially critical, but with alloy nipples, you want the spoke to extend to the top of the slot in the nipple.


    I've been using alloy nipples since the '70's and they work great. Many commercial wheels use them as well. Yes, brass nipples are more forgiving and marginally easier to build with, but I've had have no issues with alloy.

    I don't know about Torx, but there are several types of hex-head nipples on the market. Some are strictly internal and others protrude thought the rim like a traditional nipple and have flats for a standard spoke wrench. I actually built with internal hex nipples back in the '70's, but haven't used them since.

    I've never heard that before.

    The first time I laced a set of wheels with DT spokes I thought "... these are fat spokes." Yes, I still have the wheelset, somewhere (NISI rims on a pair of Avocet hubs).[/QUOTE]
    I have a set of wheels with Avocet hubs, but unfortunately, the rear axle is broken. Someday I may have to break down and make a new one. If you're interested in any Nisi tubular rims, I have one or two kicking around, along with a bunch of other NOS rims.

    Perhaps, but not necessarily. Remember, it's the rim that dictates the limit of spoke tension. In a wheel with a robust rim, you can apply enough tension to a 14ga straight spoke to prevent fatigue. Used with a light rim, you may not be able to.

    Not true. The additional elasticity of of the butted spoke helps to compensate for lower than optimum tension, to a degree. So it's entirely possible that a wheel that wheel that suffers from spoke breakage with straight gauge will actually be more durable with butted and/or lighter gauge spokes.

    Sure, though I haven't seen any data indicating how much. The stiffness of the rim would be a much bigger factor if your goal is to build a stiff wheel.

    Empirically, that seems to make sense, but a bicycle wheel is not heavily side-loaded when cornering. The primary force on the wheel is still radial. Where side loads are encountered most are when sprinting, climbing out of the saddle and when the wheel is skidding sideways...and in various crash scenarios.
     
  10. BrianNystrom

    BrianNystrom Member

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    If you mean that you don't want the valve stem to be in-between two spokes that are crossing each other, that's correct. You want it to be between spokes and are nearly parallel to each other. That's "Wheelbuilding 101".
     
  11. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    It may be "Wheelbuilding 101" but I've seen a lot of wheels which were not laced properly ...

    ... which were on bikes prepped at a bike shop.​
     
  12. BrianNystrom

    BrianNystrom Member

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    Well, perhaps you've got a local shop with an incompetent wheel builder, as I can't say I've ever seen any machine-built wheels with that issue.
     
  13. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    No doubt ...

    But, there are incompetent wheel builders all across the nation ... it isn't just local-to-me shops ... ​

    BTW. I'm still mulling over a recent picture of Campagnolo wheel where the valve stem was embedded within the cluster of three spokes rather than free-standing ... presuming it wasn't the post-production effort of a graphic artist, maybe THAT's the way it has always been and I just had not noticed it before.

    I guess different people stabilize the valve stem & pump head differently ...

    One person whom I know apparently had NEVER used his frame pump before (vs. using a floor pump at home) because he recounted (complained about) how he and managed to break a (threaded) presta stem when he was inflating the replacement tube ...

    I think it is safe to say that he probably didn't stablize the valve stem in any conceivable manner.

    I presume that he has learned how to hold his wheel when using a frame pump because he hasn't complained since that one incident.​
     
  14. BrianNystrom

    BrianNystrom Member

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    OK.​

    Considering that the spokes are essentially parallel, I don't see where it cause a problem.

    OK, but why are you going off on a tangent?
     
  15. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Spoke lacing is both functional & aesthetic ...

    THAT's something the OP/others need to know.
    How a person prefers to stablize the wheel when using a frame pump MAY-or-may-not be a factor ...

    Typically, you want to ensure that the valve stem does not emerge within a cluster of spokes ...

    I presume that some people at Campagnolo must have deduced that having some spokes to grasp are better than having none.



     
  16. BrianNystrom

    BrianNystrom Member

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  17. BrianNystrom

    BrianNystrom Member

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    You're a new member and you immediately SPAM the forum?
     
  18. GabyModa

    GabyModa New Member

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    Very usefull information, thank you.
     
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