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Wheel Build - Spoke Opinions wanted(14 posts)

Wheel Build - Spoke Opinions wantedB2
Jan 13, 2004 9:22 AM
I'm in the process of building a new wheelset for my commuter/touring bike. My plan is to use 36H 3x spoking throughout. In addition, my understanding is that DB spokes will make for a stronger wheel that straight gauge so I was planning on using 14/15 DB spokes.

I find I can purchase the Wheelsmith DB spokes 30% cheaper than DT. The only thing is that they have a 2.0/1.7/2.0 profile. My goal is to build a VERY strong wheelset and weight is not really a concern. Should I get the DT spokes at 2.0/1.8/2.0 or go with the wheelsmith spokes.

If money is no option...niteschaos
Jan 13, 2004 9:37 AM
go with Sapem X-rays. I have read that they scored the highest of all spokes on the fatigue test, and by a large margin. They are the spokes used by many pro teams when they do races like Paris-Rubiux (can't spell right now).
Sapim CX-Rays, Wheelsmith AE15, Windup, Touring…..B2
Jan 13, 2004 11:11 AM
I just finished building another wheelset with the CX-Rays last week. They are very nice, but as noted above are expensive. I am on a bit of budget on this wheelset so the CX-Rays are not an option. However along the same lines is a similar Wheelsmith spoke that is quite reasonably priced ($0.59/each), the AE15. The profile for the AE15's is 1.8 x (2.2x1.2) x 1.8 versus the 2.0 x (2.3x0.9) x 2.0 for the CX-Rays.

But here we go again... The AE15's have a 1.8mm diameter at the head in lieu of 2.0mm. As intriguing as the AE15's sound, if I throw loaded touring into the equation, they sound suspect to me. Anyone else think this logic is correct? If this is not a legitimate concern, I would certainly consider using the AE15's.

Getting back to the original Wheelsmith DB spoke (2.0x1.7x2.0). The only downside to the narrower waist that I can see is more potential for windup if you need to true the wheel a year later after things have "set up". Given the fact that 1.7mm really isn't all that skinny, I suspect this isn't really much of an issue anyway. Would anyone else agree with this?

As I mentioned above, I would like the wheels to have the capability of handling loaded touring as well. I have purchased the Velocity Dyad rims which seem well suited for this application and I would like to use appropriate spokes as well. What is the biggest issue in spoke selection when considering loaded touring?... Spoke diameter at the head?

Thank you for all the recommendations so far,
you'd be O'kcyclopathic
Jan 18, 2004 1:50 PM
I've build many wheels with WS DB spokes, and they've held up pretty well. No problem with wind up, esp if you use brass nipples and grease them in eyelets. A pair of abused 32 radial/half radial/x3 MTB wheels got through 2 seasons w/o truing, riding rocky trails with many pinch flats.

36 x3 should be plenty, I had build 36 x4 tandem disk wheels and they're rock solid, used by 350lbs team. If you wanna overkill get WS DH13, they're 2.3mm at J-bent and only 9g more per wheel then standard 14G.

forgive me why Dyad? Dyad is a tandem rim, and at 24mm it is too wide to use with regular road tires. You'll have pinch flats unless you run 32mm /or at least 28mm/ tires.
Currently using 700x35'sB2
Jan 18, 2004 3:47 PM
but may switch to 700 x 32's and definitely not less than 28's. Problem is that my commuter route has some nasty sections in the road and you can't see the potholes in the dark. One night I hit a pothole and flatted both tires. Of course it's dark and raining and I've got one spare tube. Finally got everything patched up and rode a few miles further only to have the patch fail. I was so peeved I rode the next two miles on the rim, stopped at a Tavern ordered a pitcher of beer and called my wife. Since I swithched to 35's I've never had a problem.

I've never heard Dyads advertised as Tandem rims before. They're almost always noted as "Touring" rims though.

Thanks for the reply. I went ahead and bought the Wheelsmith DB spokes. Both wheels will be 36H 3x. I think they should be pretty bomber.

double flat? that suckscyclopathic
Jan 19, 2004 7:36 AM
I have a nusty commute route, luckly had only 2 pinchflats in a year riding 26mm. Both were my fault I haven't checked the pressure before ride, must have been down to 70psi. Of cause it helps that I know the route well, I'm relatively light (140-145lbs), try to stay fluid/off saddle riding through potholes.

Mavic T-519/520, Velocity Dyad, Sun CR-18 and Rhyno Lite are most commonly used for tandem wheel building. And those are for strong tandem touring application not racing. If you check Velocity charts, Deep V and Dyad are the only rims they sell in 48/40H drilling.
re: Wheel Build - Spoke Opinions wantedChen2
Jan 13, 2004 9:49 AM
You should be fine either way. It's the ends of the spokes where the strength is needed. I put 36 Revolutions 3X on my commuter, probably wasted some money.
I doubt it matters much.Spoke Wrench
Jan 13, 2004 9:58 AM
How often do you see a spoke that has failed in the butted section? It looks to me like all spokes have more than enough tensile strength. The ones with real skinny center sections get progressively harder to tension because they wind up so easily but you'll never notice 0.1mm difference.

Depending on who you buy your spokes from, sometimes the cost difference is determined by the packaging - how many you have to buy. I hate those packages of 20.
Mixed gauge rear wheelEric_H
Jan 13, 2004 10:22 AM
This is my opinion, but I am a firm believer in building my rear wheels with DT 14/15/14 on the drive side (DS) and DT Revolution on the non-drive side (NDS), 3x, brass nipples.

The relative elasticity of the Revs on the NDS greatly reduces the unloading of the spokes as they pass through the bottom of the rotation. Therefore, the NDS spokes will have less changes in tension as the wheel rotates and this will keep the wheel true and strong and reduce spoke breakage on the NDS.

Since I have started building my wheels this way I have never had a problem with NDS spoke breakage or having them come loose. If you are set on Wheelsmith spokes, I believe they have a 14/15/14 and a 14/17/14.
Mixed gauge rear wheeleddie m
Jan 13, 2004 11:31 AM
Using a heavier spoke on the drive side is definitely a good idea. All 9s wheels should be built that way.
The only disadvantage of double butted spokes is that they wind up more, making tensioning more difficult. I think really heavily butted spokes are a mistake unless you are a more skilled builder than I. I mix straight guage and 14/15/14 on the rear, and all straight guage or all 14/15/14 on the front or fixed gear wheels (which have little or no dish).
Mixed gauge rear wheelMShaw
Jan 14, 2004 9:56 AM
I've been wondering about doing something like this. I haven't had to build a wheel lately to experiment...

Any of y'all in San Diego have a set built like this I can test ride?

Mixed gauge? half radial!cyclopathic
Jan 18, 2004 2:00 PM
problem with rear wheel the non-drive leading spokes do not have enough tension and get loose and break in J-bent, esp under heavier/stronger riders. Building half radial, heads out wheel solves this problem and reduces dishing. Of cause it wouldn't hurt to use lighter spokes on left side /as well as OCR rim, oversize flange hubs, etc/, but it won't be necessary.
DB stonger? no.sievers11
Jan 13, 2004 2:30 PM
Straight guage is always stronger, but here is the kicker, only if they are made of the same material...14 guage in stainless steel is fairly bomb proof. A 20-17-20 DB is technically the same strenght because the stress is at the ends not the middle, but there are other things in rocks scraps and dings that can compromise the integrity of a spoke.

Make sure...stainless steel and brass nipples.

WS make nice stuff.
I'll second the brass nipples.niteschaos
Jan 13, 2004 3:01 PM
After all the calculations at, you are better off going with the stronger nipples. I've hit some pretty rough stuff and stripped some Al nipples on another wheelset. My current wheelset is made by Colorado Cyclist and hasn't required me to do anything other than change the tires in the past 3000 miles.