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Spoke Washers(12 posts)

Spoke Washersflybyvine
Nov 22, 2001 1:48 AM
I was reading the Art of Wheelbuilding last night (thinking of building my first wheel) and he explains that washers should be used on hubs where there is some play between the spoke head and the hub.

Why is it then that I cannot find them for sale anywhere ? Is thsi practice followed out there ?

I ask because I have just dropped a wheel off after the second broken spoke in 3 months. The problem may be to do with spoke head play as the hub has been rebuilt a few times and I notice they have swapped the direction of the spokes at least once (I can see indents pulling in the opposite direction).

As you can expect I am not that impressed with teh wheel building expertise of my LBS but I still need them until I can teach myself to do it.

re: Spoke WashersTJeanloz
Nov 22, 2001 7:23 AM
Your LBS should be able to get you spoke washers. I understand that DT spokes require them since about 1999 (I'm a Wheelsmith man myself), when DT changed their elbow/head design a tiny bit to better facilitate machine-lacing.

So the simple answer is that yes, good wheelbuilders do use them, and they are available through bike shop channels.
Nov 22, 2001 9:41 AM
DT did indeed change things up, and they are available from LBS with a good wheelbuilder.
re: Spoke Washersflybyvine
Nov 22, 2001 9:18 PM
IO read the article suggested below which said that DT needed washers even in new situations due to the change in bend - pretty drastic. When you say that Wheelsmith don't need them I assume that you mean when with new hubs.

In my case, I have older (well not that old but used) hubs that have some play in them (in the spoke hole). In this situation I beleive I should use washers even with wheelsmith spokes (mainly due to the stupid change of spoke direction done when I changed a rim about 6 months ago).
re: Spoke WashersTJeanloz
Nov 23, 2001 7:27 AM
In this case, relacing in a different pattern on an old hub, using spoke washers is not absolutely necessary, but is probably a good idea.
re: Spoke WashersDA
Nov 23, 2001 9:11 AM
I thought relacing a different pattern on an old hub wasn't recommeneded?
It isn't...TJeanloz
Nov 24, 2001 9:14 AM
Relacing a different pattern on an old hub isn't ideal, but it can be done safely- and the addition of washers improves it a little bit.
re: Spoke WashersKen
Nov 22, 2001 7:43 AM
Peter White, an expert wheel builder, has an article you might be interested in.
Nov 23, 2001 10:02 PM
I just purchased some DT aerospeeds to build up some wheels, I picked them up this morning and while I was thumbing through them I noticed that they had different length elbows. Now I read this and I'm really pissed, I've got 54 250mm aerospeeds and 20 of them have the long elbow, I will NEVER buy DT spokes again after this( I like Wheelsmiths butting better anyways). The kicker is these are pricey spokes to begin with and to have to deal with something like this is ridiculous.
re: Spoke Washersnee Spoke Wrench
Nov 22, 2001 7:56 AM
That book was written long before 1999 so I'd suspect it might refer to something else. My guess would be that it has to do with steel hub shells. Their flanges are about half the thickness of aluminum hubs so standard spokes are obviously going to fit a bit loosely. Course nobody uses them so spoke washers aren't commonly found.

Which spokes are breaking? My bet, knowing nothing about either you or your bike, is it's left side spokes on the rear wheel. This has become an epidemic since the advent of 8 and 9 speed cassettes because they often just don't have enough tension. Mechanics often simply replace the broken spoke and retrue the wheel. This returns the wheel to the same condition it was in previously. That is to say, a wheel that is going to be prone to breaking spokes. Whenever I replace a broken spoke, I always check the spoke tension on the whole wheel.

Another strong possibility would be related to changing the direction of the spokes relative to the hub. All of the wheelbuilding advice I have read says not to do this. I assume the old divots wear the spokes and cause them to break. Considering the cost of a new hub relative repair costs and the inconvenience of breaking spokes, it may be time for a replacement.
re: Spoke Washersflybyvine
Nov 22, 2001 5:38 PM
Correct on which spokes are breaking - left rear. I have already had a go at them wrt lack of tension in the wheel generally. Second time around they got it right but ping there goes another spoke.

I was not impressed when I noticed the change in spoke direction as the divots are quite noticable. I am not too keen on changing the hub however as it is 12 month old Record 10 !!!

Do you think that rebuilding with spoke washers would help with the divots ?

Dependsnee Spoke Wrench
Nov 23, 2001 5:34 PM
You have to identify the exact cause of your spokes breaking before you can solve it.

If the cause of your broken spokes is the longer elbow on some newer DT spokes, then relacing the wheel using spoke washers will probably fix it.

If your spokes don't have the longer elbow and are being abraided by the old divots, I would suspect that adding spoke washers will just create a new bend in the spoke that will make it even more prone to breaking.