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Old 02-26-06, 03:19 PM   #1
TallRider
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rebuild a wheel using old spokes?

I had a rear wheel built up with the Mavic MA40, where the rim cracked. (It was a double-eyeletted rim, too; MA40 had a great rep despite being hard-anodized version of the venerable MA2.) Since the rim cracked, I'm guessing the wheelbuild's spoke tension was too high. As such, I would also guess that the spokes are in fine shape to be used to rebuild the wheel (using a rim with similar effective rim diameter to the MA40). The reason being that when the rim cracks, it's usually from spoke tension being too high. Spokes usually fail at the bend from spoke tension being too low, and thus the wheel has some "play" that flexes the spokes slightly at the bend.

Is this a fair or safe assumption?
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Old 02-26-06, 03:30 PM   #2
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If you can do it using the "tape the new rim to the old rim" detension and swap spokes keeping pattern and position the same, go for it. If you have to take the wheel completely apart, you need to keep the spokes seperated based on orientation so you don't restress the bend differently.
For the second method, I would rather just use new spokes, it would be faster.
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Old 02-26-06, 03:47 PM   #3
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I took the wheel apart last summer when the rim cracked. I knew much less about bike mechanic stuff then. I just looked through the spokes, and I can't tell what their orientation was in the original wheel. Am I setting myself up for spoke failure if I rebuild with these spokes, then? I'm a pretty good wheelbuilder, where stressing spokes and equal tensioning is concerned, and building with these spokes would involve re-stressing them, but not repetatively stressing them (a.k.a. what happens in a wheelbuild with spoke tension too loose).

They're DT 14g (2.0mm) straight-gauge stainless, btw.

Last edited by TallRider; 02-26-06 at 04:25 PM.
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Old 02-26-06, 04:18 PM   #4
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The problem would be the different angle of the inside and outside spokes, if you mix them up you would bend them quite a bit at the hook when you tensioned the wheel back up. I have never done it myself to see what would happen, so I only have apocrypha to base that on.
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Old 02-26-06, 04:26 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info Chuck. I think I'll give it a shot, and see how things turn out.
PM me if you're ever in Chapel Hill for a ride. I live right by UNC campus.
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Old 02-26-06, 04:50 PM   #6
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One of our guys rides out there. Do you know Matt? Big guy rides a scream and like doubling staircases. A guy named Jason from the Cary store rides out there to.
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Old 02-26-06, 08:11 PM   #7
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Although I do agree with the Rev. (we're getting a fair number of men of the cloth in our forums), you may be OK using your old spokes, particularly if the wheel was still fairly new when the rim failed.

Ezek 25:17: "... Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children." I suppose lost children includes BikeForums members!
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Old 02-26-06, 11:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John E
Although I do agree with the Rev. (we're getting a fair number of men of the cloth in our forums), you may be OK using your old spokes, particularly if the wheel was still fairly new when the rim failed.
Ezek 25:17: "... Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children." I suppose lost children includes BikeForums members!
Uh, no. Ezekiel 25:17 reads "I will carry out great vengeance on them and punish them in my wrath. Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I take vengeance on them." My guess is that Rev.Chuck ain't a reverend; he works at a bike shop I think. The verse is interesting; it's from an oracle against Philistia. Chuck is either to highlight less-read parts of the bible, or to point out how God is mean. Or something else. Anyway, it's interesting.
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Old 02-27-06, 12:01 AM   #9
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Or he's seen pulp fiction...

Lemme know how the wheel turns out--I'm going to build a new wheel, and since its the same combo of rim and hub, I may as well use the old spokes...
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Old 02-27-06, 12:48 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by genericbikedude
Or he's seen pulp fiction...
Ah, that makes more sense. I've never seen the movie, but I know that some bible verse of that sort gets quoted in there, talking about wrath.

I'll fill y'all in on the wheel after riding it somewhat. 8/9 speed Shimano 105 freehub (will work with 10, too), 32 14g DT spokes used for the second build, and either Sun M13II or Mavic Open Sport. I'm pretty anal about wheelbuilding, and get spoke tension extremely well-equalized, so if the spokes break I'll know that I shouldn't have rebuilt with them. Worth a try though.
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Old 02-27-06, 05:52 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timcupery
I had a rear wheel built up with the Mavic MA40, where the rim cracked. (It was a double-eyeletted rim, too; MA40 had a great rep despite being hard-anodized version of the venerable MA2.) Since the rim cracked, I'm guessing the wheelbuild's spoke tension was too high. As such, I would also guess that the spokes are in fine shape to be used to rebuild the wheel (using a rim with similar effective rim diameter to the MA40). The reason being that when the rim cracks, it's usually from spoke tension being too high. Spokes usually fail at the bend from spoke tension being too low, and thus the wheel has some "play" that flexes the spokes slightly at the bend.

Is this a fair or safe assumption?
I've re-used old spokes on a couple of rims. Once, when I had a cracked rim, as in your case. Once, when I needed to replace a hub.

The first one is still going strong after about 6000 miles (rear wheel). The second one (front wheel) is only about a month old, but so far, so good.

I figure that the worst that may happen would be a broken spoke. Hasn't happened yet, though. If it did, and became chronic, I'd conclude that I'd made a poor decision.

BTW, I think Brandt says not to do this, but I'm not sure.

Bob
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Old 02-27-06, 06:02 AM   #12
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Everyone says not to do this...
I did, on a total beater wheel, two times. Switched the drive side and non-drive side spokes, rebuilt the wheel into a bumbike fixed wheel, rode it for a few weeks and then built it back. It works fine, though it has hardly been ridden since. Spokes are cheap, so do this only to beater wheels. A couple of spokes could snap, bending the rim out of true.
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Old 03-16-06, 11:07 AM   #13
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Interestingly, Jobst Brandt says it's okay to build a wheel with used spokes, as long as the spokes are high-quailty. He doesn't give any qualifications here, either. (I was reading The Bicycle Wheel last night before bed. Really.) It's on pgs 80-81 in the 3rd edition:
Quote:
Stainless steel spokes are more durable and reliable than plated spokes, but their main advantage is that they remain clean and bright and permit retruing after long exposure to weather. Plated spokes often rust solid into the spoke nipples. They eventually break at the nipple, either in use or when attempting to turn the nipple. On the other hand, good stainless steel spokes can and should be reused when a rim wears out or is damaged.
This makes me feel better, a fair bit, because I trust Jobst's engineering-mind on something like this.
My general take is that the build-with-new-spokes-every-time came up becacuse
(1) spokes are usually the cheapest part of the job
(2) if the wheel was poorly built before, especially too loose (in all or some spokes), then spokes may be well along in fatiguing. But if the wheel was well-built before, or if the spokes were too highly tensioned so the rim failed by cracking, then things are probably okay.

I rebuilt the wheel last week, btw. It's had a week for the boiled linseed oil on the spoke threads to set and harden, I'll give it a few more days before riding. It's tensioned up about perfectly, and should be durable enough. I'll keep y'all posted. It's running an 8-speed cassette and going on the pink Centurion, now updated from 6-speed down-tube shifting to 8-speed down-tube shifting.
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Old 03-16-06, 12:47 PM   #14
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I liked Ezekiel 25:17 better than the supermoderator tag I got when they made me a mod. I think it fits.

i never used linseed oil. I always had Spoke prep(Which I think is latex paint, smells like it)
I have also built a couple of my own wheels with just lube and they have yet to come apart. I think if you use linseed oil, you should also cork the rim.
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Old 03-16-06, 09:46 PM   #15
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You know what is hillarious about this? It was Ezekiel who saw " the great wheel spinning in the sky..."
You guys crack me up...
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Old 03-16-06, 10:28 PM   #16
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You know what is hillarious about this? It was Ezekiel who saw " the great wheel spinning in the sky..."
Come to think of it, that's really, really funny, given Chuck's expertise on wheels. I've got the old Spiritual in my head now... I sang it in college. It's pretty funny how Af-Am Spirituals can be sung without intended religious meaning since they're "ethnic" (you know, in the way that Bach wasn't).
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Old 03-16-06, 10:49 PM   #17
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I will have to use Ezekiel as my code name should i ever become a spy.
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Old 03-17-06, 12:15 AM   #18
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if they're low-mileage 14ga spoke, I think you should be fine. I've got some training wheels with about 50,000 miles on 14ga non-stainless cad-plated spokes that just started snapping spokes this year.

my race wheels use 15/16ga spokes and they seem to last about 3-4 years max before snapping spokes... Although they usually get crashed and smashed well before that...
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Old 03-17-06, 07:10 AM   #19
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if they're low-mileage 14ga spoke, I think you should be fine. I've got some training wheels with about 50,000 miles on 14ga non-stainless cad-plated spokes that just started snapping spokes this year.
my race wheels use 15/16ga spokes and they seem to last about 3-4 years max before snapping spokes... Although they usually get crashed and smashed well before that...
Yeah, they're 14g that were too tight had around 4,000 miles on them. DT Stainless.
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Old 03-17-06, 08:54 AM   #20
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The earliest I ever started breaking spokes was at about 8000 miles on the factory wheels of a mid-80's Bridgestone road bike. The spokes were cad plated 14 ga and may have been built to inadequate tension but I never checked. After the third rear drive-side spoke broke, I replaced the wheels.

I have never broken another spoke and that includes a set of Mavic CXP-33 32H rims laced 3x with Wheelsmith XL14 spokes (14/17/14 ga) that were replaced at 28,000 miles when the rims had gotten dangerously thin.
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Old 03-17-06, 09:29 AM   #21
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Reusing stainless spokes that have always been highly tensioned never seems to be a problem, as Jobst Brandt's book says. (About cracked rims from spoke tension: I seem to remember that DT catalogs referred to straight 14-ga spokes as "tandem gauge," which seems to imply that you use them with lightweight rims at your own risk.)

However, when you remove all of the spokes and then go to respoke a used hub, you should be careful to rebuild the hub with the spokes in the correct holes: leading spokes must go in leading spoke holes and trailing spokes in trailing spoke holes. Back in the long-vanished Campy lifetime warranty days, a Campy tech told me that for warranty claims involving spokes riipping out of hubs, the first thing they would do is look at the hub flanges. If the hub had indents on the flanges showing that holes that had previously been used for trailing spokes had been reused for leading spokes - no warranty.
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Old 03-17-06, 09:58 AM   #22
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Yeah, there are two factors to reusing hub and spokes: the hub and the spokes. But yeah, to reuse a hub, it's best to build with spokes in the same place, and with the same cross pattern. For aluminum-flanged hubs, at least. Probably newer forged Shimano hubs will be fine building with spokes in a different spot or pattern, but why risk it? Nearly all wheels built with Shimano 32-hole hubs will be cross-3.
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Old 03-17-06, 10:53 AM   #23
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I replaced the hub on a Rolf vector front wheel with a 20 spoke radial pattern. Used the same DT black double butted spokes because the LBS didn't have that length in stock, replaced a lot of nipples though. I've had no problems with the re-built wheel.
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Old 03-17-06, 11:33 AM   #24
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One way to do it is to tape the spokes together where they cross. Tape them before you take them off the old rim. Also mark the tape on the spokes that are either side of the stem hole. That way you can get them all plugged into the new rim, in the right order.
Just make sure you take off the tape before you start trying to true the new wheel.
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Old 03-17-06, 11:44 PM   #25
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Reusing old spokes? Depends on the age of the spokes. My guess the MA-40 rim is at least 15 years old. Had it ever been respoked i.e. are the spokes original? If so, disgard and restart. As far as cracking on an old Al alloy rim starting at the spoke hole could be from a myriad of reasons besides spoke tension. Al will form stress cracks from any damage location and may take a long time to develop. Could have started at the original mfg of the rim where the drilling happened. Al is funny stuff. I have had HBs fail when I got fancy and drilled holes for the cable leads on the early Aero.
I have an original set of Fiamme Red Labels from the mid 60's that I still ride on in classic group rides without any worry. I wouldn't ever try a wild descent on these rims, however. I have a set of MA40s 36 hole 4X on large flange campy hubs tied and soldered that I would ride anywhere. Normally I ride campy hubs with Mavic OPs.
As you know Spoke mfg technology has come a long way and reusing spokes isn't taboo like it was in the days gone by.
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