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Old 03-15-03, 04:04 PM   #1
wanderlust
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Soddering or tying spokes

Hello All! I am building up a 700c wheelset for my cross bike and a few people have reccommended soddering or tying spokes to increase the overall wheel strength and durability, any thought on this? Has anyone tried it before? and can I still adjust spoke tension after soddering? Thanks.

Andrew
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Old 03-15-03, 04:28 PM   #2
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I have heard and read of this but never done it. I think I have seen exactly one bike with the spokes tied/wired, and it was an old one. Perhaps another poster can convince us why it might be worth the trouble.
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Old 03-15-03, 05:39 PM   #3
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Go to your lbs or Barnes and noble and get a book on wheelbuilding. My favorite one is the black one called Zen and the art of wheelbuilding. There is a section on tying and soldering in the book. It is too complicated to explain and should just be read from the book. The tying and soldering practice has fallen out of style in the past years and while it might offer some advantage over a conventional setup the advantage is minimal. But it is kinda retro, if you go through with it, which is cool.

-Ryan
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Old 03-15-03, 07:13 PM   #4
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I'm with BikerRyan-

I have several wheel-building books that explain the practice of and rational behind tying and soldering spokes. Some seem to suggest that it has gone out of popularity (When's the last time you met someone out on a ride with wheels built using this practice?), while some seem to suggest that it has just faded out of popularity, but still has its benefits. Most books do seem to agree that this has to be done correctly though, so if you're intent on it make sure to follow some directions. Good luck!

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Old 03-15-03, 07:47 PM   #5
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The Art Of Wheelbuilding by Gerd Schraner has a good section on tieing and soldering.

He claims to have built wheels for top pros that have lasted many, many years of top competition.
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Old 03-15-03, 08:20 PM   #6
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From The Bicycle Wheel, 3rd ed., by Jobst Brandt
This practice has been kept beyond its time as its original purpose has vanished. []

Measurement and computations both show that there is no change in lateral stiffness, torsional stiffness, or strength [] between tied and untied spokes. [] The only benefit [] is restraint of broken spokes.
("[]" indicate omissions that I was too lazy to type.)

If strength is what you're after, it sounds like you're better off picking a stouter rim, and/or higher spoke count. Even if they do strengthen the wheel, you could still ding the rim on a pothole or railroad tracks.
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Old 03-16-03, 09:32 AM   #7
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For cross, soldering may be a good idea for strength and reliability, but it will add weight. Also, should you have a small mishap, you'll need to break the solder apart and resolder-kinda a pain, don't you think?
FWIW, I've only ever seen 1 soldered wheel in my life...
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Old 03-16-03, 11:26 AM   #8
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Zipties work but not as well as soldering. I am not sure myself about the rationale behind it, but it was recomended to me by a friend who was a world champ racer and since then I have not broken a spoke nor have one come loose.
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Old 03-16-03, 03:14 PM   #9
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In the 1960s, tying and soldering was popular among some of the hard-core roadies, but I think I share Jobst Brandt's opinion. There is no substitute for high-quality components and properly-tensioned spokes.
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Old 03-21-03, 01:53 AM   #10
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Jobst Brandt covers this in his book The Bicycle Wheel. Basic point he makes is that it has fallen out of fashion, and it looks like it does not offer any advantage over non-tied spokes.
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Old 03-21-03, 07:48 AM   #11
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I agree with everybody who agreed with Jobst Brandt.
My thought is if you have these nice tied and soldered
wheels, all trued etc. what happens when you do need
to adjust spokes? I believe you are SOL. and I'm guessing
(and a wild one at that) that a cross bikes wheels take alot
more abuse than a normal road wheel.

Just my $.02 worth though

Marty
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Old 03-21-03, 07:58 AM   #12
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He claims to have built wheels for top pros that have lasted many, many years of top competition.
With all the advancements in wheel technology, and increases in disposable incomes by Pro and Expert Teams, has anyone kept a set of wheels for many years?

Plus, the current trend for race wheels is radially lacing, even the non-drive side of the rear wheel. Kinda hard to tie spokes that don't cross! ha, ha!

L8R
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Old 03-25-03, 04:10 PM   #13
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I would absolutely consider ting and soldering a set of wheels. Your wheels will be stiffer and stronger. Tying and soldering distributes stress more evenly over a larger number of spokes, virtually eliminates any possibility of a broken spoke, and results in less need for truing. If you do happen to throw your wheel into someone's derailleur, tying and soldering ensures that you won't have broken spokes flopping all over the place, damaging your bike. YOU CAN STILL TRUE AND TENSION WHEELS THAT HAVE BEEN TYED AND SOLDERED! The extra weight? It's about as heavy as putting a nickel on each wheel. You can save that weight and more by having your wheels spec'ed with thinner spokes. Plus I think it looks pretty sweet.

Why don't people do it anymore? I think it has a bit to do with better quality components on the market today and a bit to do with the prevalance of bladed spokes on pre-built wheelsets, something that prohibits tying and soldering. But also remember that these pre-built wheelsets are more prone to coming out of true, more difficult to true (esp. paired spoke designs), and often no lighter (regularly heavier, especially in the rim where it hurts the most!) than a hand-built "traditional" wheelset.

Those are my thoughts.. Tying and soldering is a great choice for larger riders, those who do loaded touring, and racers who want strong, light, responsive wheels. The first time you torque on the bars going up a hill on a wheel that's been tyed and soldered, you'll immediately feel the difference.

If you are interested in a set of tyed and soldered wheels, check out www.rounderwheels.com. Doug Hamilton is a master wheel builder who regularly tyes and solders wheels for customers. He also offers a warranty against both truing and spoke breakage for the life of the rim. Try to get that from Mavic, Rolf, Bontrager, etc. And many of his wheelsets weigh less to boot.
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