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  1. #1
    Junior Member monsterlikerawr's Avatar
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    spoke length calculator

    whats the best online spoke length calculator that you know of?

    i used sapim.com. do you think thats a dependable site?

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    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    I usually cross reference two of them. I'd try dt-swiss and spocalc too. I've never seen more than 0.1mm difference between those two.

  3. #3
    Junior Member monsterlikerawr's Avatar
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    thanks.. now i have another question.. i was looking at another bike and im not sure of the wheel size, i just know that its smaller than 700c but the spokes were not laced together, instead they came straight out from the hub to the rim. it was only on the front wheel (the back wheels spokes overlapped).
    whats the deal with that? does it have something to do with that there were only 28 spokes? or that the wheel was smaller?

    what i mean to ask is: would it be safe or advised to not cross my spokes on my rear 700c wheel that takes 32 spokes? do i have to cross my spokes?

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    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by monsterlikerawr
    thanks.. now i have another question.. i was looking at another bike and im not sure of the wheel size, i just know that its smaller than 700c but the spokes were not laced together, instead they came straight out from the hub to the rim. it was only on the front wheel (the back wheels spokes overlapped).
    whats the deal with that? does it have something to do with that there were only 28 spokes? or that the
    wheel was smaller?

    what i mean to ask is: would it be safe or advised to not cross my spokes on my rear 700c wheel that takes 32 spokes? do i have to cross my spokes?
    That is called radial spoking. It is, in my opinion, mostly an aesthetic effect. It also improves aerodynamics a bit and makes the wheel slightly lighter.

    Radial spoking is perfectly fine on front wheels. Radial spoking *SHOULD NOT* be used on rear wheels or wheels with disc brakes. That's because radial-spoked wheels are perfectly strong in the radial direction, meaning they can support weight well, but they are weak tangentially, meaning they cannot withstand large twisting forces applied between the rim and hub. When you pedal, the rear hub turns and drags the rim with it. In order to bear these forces, the right side of the rear wheel must be laced semi-tangent (meaning that the spokes do not run straight from hub to rim, but rather at an angle). The natural way to do this symmetrically is to cross the spokes. Since only the right-side spokes need this, it is possible to lace the left-side spokes radially, which produces a half-radial rear wheel. Half-radial rear wheels look cool and Sheldon Brown believes they are stronger and more reliable, so that's a very good option!

    The standard semi-tangent pattern of crossed spokes can be done with various numbers of crosses. 48-spoke wheels are usually 5-cross, 40-spoke wheels are 4-cross, 36-spoke are 3/4-cross, 32-spoke are 3-cross, 28-spoke are 2-cross, etc. A radial wheel is in some sense just a "zero cross" wheel. If you are trying to build such a wheel, you can put 0 crosses into a spoke length calculator to get the correct length.

    You can see the difference between radial (front) and half-radial (rear) 28-spoked wheels on my road bike. I got this fancy-schmancy Mavic Helium wheelset used and it's held up excellently:
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  5. #5
    Junior Member monsterlikerawr's Avatar
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    sweet.. that was really helpful. since im building a rear wheel with 32 spokes i'll make it 3-cross then. (those are really nice wheels by the way...)

    on with the questions, then... (it's just one after another.. sorry) i've heard that the spoke lengths are different for the gear side and the non gear side.. is this always true?
    -i used "spocalc" and it said i should use spokes that are 282.2mm, but it doesnt compare gear to non-gear...
    -i used sapim.com and it said 282mm for the gear side and 284mm for the non gear side.

    does this sound right? (meaning to have the gear side with longer spokes) or can i just round it and say that i need 283mm spokes for both sides?

  6. #6
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by monsterlikerawr
    sweet.. that was really helpful. since im building a rear wheel with 32 spokes i'll make it 3-cross then. (those are really nice wheels by the way...)
    Glad to help! That's what I'd recommend if you are building your first wheel.

    Quote Originally Posted by monsterlikerawr
    on with the questions, then... (it's just one after another.. sorry) i've heard that the spoke lengths are different for the gear side and the non gear side.. is this always true?
    -i used "spocalc" and it said i should use spokes that are 282.2mm, but it doesnt compare gear to non-gear...
    -i used sapim.com and it said 282mm for the gear side and 284mm for the non gear side.

    does this sound right? (meaning to have the gear side with longer spokes) or can i just round it and say that i need 283mm spokes for both sides?
    Yes, it's normal for the rear spokes to be asymmetrical. This is because the right flange of the hub is normally closer to the center of the frame than the left flange, in order to accommodate the considerable width of the freewheel/cassette. As a result, the right-side spokes must be at a steeper angle and considerably higher tension than the left-side spokes. This property of rear wheels is called dish (read more about it in Sheldon Brown's wheelbuilding article, it's important to understand it).

    I'm not sure which version of Spocalc you're using... the version I use definitely calculates left and right spoke lengths separately: http://www.damonrinard.com/spocalc.htm

    In any case, a difference of 1-2 mm in "optimal" spoke lengths is typical. I prefer to get all the same length spokes. Halfway is a good compromise (e.g. 283 mm). If you can't get those, go for the slightly shorter length, buy 282 mm spokes. In general it's better to have spokes that are 1-2 mm too short than too long, because long spokes may poke through the rim tape and puncture the inner tube.

    Hope that helps!
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  7. #7
    Junior Member monsterlikerawr's Avatar
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    so once i figured out dt-swiss and spocalc.. (things like offset spoke bed and pitch circle diameter threw me off.)

    ive found that my spokes need to be 286 on the left and 284 on the right.. both said the same thing give or take a hundreth of a millimeter or so..

    i'll get my spokes tomorrow and begin the fun process of putting it all together. yay!
    thanks for all the help and if i have any more questions i'll ask.

  8. #8
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by monsterlikerawr
    so once i figured out dt-swiss and spocalc.. (things like offset spoke bed and pitch circle diameter threw me off.)

    ive found that my spokes need to be 286 on the left and 284 on the right.. both said the same thing give or take a hundreth of a millimeter or so..

    i'll get my spokes tomorrow and begin the fun process of putting it all together. yay!
    thanks for all the help and if i have any more questions i'll ask.
    Hmmm... why'd it change from 282 and 284 to 284 and 286? I think you ought to double-check those lengths to be absolutely sure you don't get the wrong length!

    One last bit of advice: plan to take a LOT OF TIME to build your first wheel. Several hours at least. Double and triple check it before riding it, and then check it again after 20-30 miles. You'll save yourself the hassle of having to completely rebuild it due to a mistake. I've been there, done that, and it's darn frustrating!
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  9. #9
    Junior Member monsterlikerawr's Avatar
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    yeah i know the numbers changed... i measured and remeasured.. the first time i measured i was using a ruler and the last few times i used a caliper.. no worries.. i checked at least three times and got 286 and 284.. thanks though for your concern. = )

    i plan on going to the bike kitchen in san francisco so that i can make sure i'm doing it right and yeah.. i can imagine how long it will take.. measuring alone took forever.

    wish me luck!

  10. #10
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    Be sure you are calculating for 3-cross pattern if that is what you plan. Slightly shorter spokes are better than slightly long because if they are too long, especially on the driveside rear, you could run out of threads before reaching the ideal tension. With 8, 9, and 10-speed wheels typically the rear non-driveside (left) will have only about 65% as much tension and the driveside. This tension differential is needed to center the rim due to the hub flange differential offset.

    Al

  11. #11
    Junior Member monsterlikerawr's Avatar
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    there it is... how does it look?
    obviously, i still need to put the tire on and then make some final adjustments.. but i got it laced.

  12. #12
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by monsterlikerawr


    there it is... how does it look?
    obviously, i still need to put the tire on and then make some final adjustments.. but i got it laced.
    Good work! It's laced up correctly from what I can see. If by "final adjustments" you mean tensioning it and truing it, then you are going to be surprised how long that takes

    PS- What is that rim?
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  13. #13
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moxfyre
    Good work! It's laced up correctly from what I can see. If by "final adjustments" you mean tensioning it and truing it, then you are going to be surprised how long that takes

    PS- What is that rim?
    It looks a LOT like a Deep V.

    Nice looking wheel, BTW. Congrats. Just make sure it plucks the same note on every spoke when you're done...

  14. #14
    Junior Member monsterlikerawr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moxfyre
    Good work! It's laced up correctly from what I can see. If by "final adjustments" you mean tensioning it and truing it, then you are going to be surprised how long that takes

    PS- What is that rim?

    its a weinmann dp-18 rim.

    im glad it looks right.. you were a great help and yeah.. thats what i meant by adjustments..ive tried truing before and it drove me crazy, but i'll have help from a friend so hopefully i wont get too frustrated. = )

  15. #15
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by monsterlikerawr
    its a weinmann dp-18 rim.

    im glad it looks right.. you were a great help and yeah.. thats what i meant by adjustments..ive tried truing before and it drove me crazy, but i'll have help from a friend so hopefully i wont get too frustrated. = )
    Very cool! Haven't ever seen a DP-18 but it looks pretty nice to me. A singlespeed build, eh?

    Let us know when it's done. There's nothing quite like getting on a bike and realizing you put the WHEELS together piece by piece. I remember the first time I built a wheel and it was a rear wheel for my first fixie. I got on, rode gingerly down the bike, and was very happy that it didn't spontaneously self-destruct
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  16. #16
    Junior Member monsterlikerawr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moxfyre
    Very cool! Haven't ever seen a DP-18 but it looks pretty nice to me. A singlespeed build, eh?

    Let us know when it's done. There's nothing quite like getting on a bike and realizing you put the WHEELS together piece by piece. I remember the first time I built a wheel and it was a rear wheel for my first fixie. I got on, rode gingerly down the bike, and was very happy that it didn't spontaneously self-destruct

    haha.. yeah i'll definitely keep you guys updated. i rebuilt my lotus odyssey into a single speed.. once i get the wheels on (yeah i still have the front one to do), i'll be sure to post some pictures.

  17. #17
    Junior Member monsterlikerawr's Avatar
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    is radial spoking allowed when there are 32 spokes involved? (on a front wheel)
    singlespeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed

  18. #18
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by monsterlikerawr
    is radial spoking allowed when there are 32 spokes involved? (on a front wheel)
    Sure! You can do radial spoking with any number of spokes. Pretty much all "boutique" front wheels these days come radial spoked... some have as few as 12 or 16 spokes.

    If you decide to do radial spoking, you may want to check whether the hubs you're using are designed for it, as some hubs aren't designed for this kind of stress... search the forums for more information on this, or read this recent thread: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=262867
    Last edited by moxfyre; 01-26-07 at 11:20 AM.
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  19. #19
    Junior Member monsterlikerawr's Avatar
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    well i have a shimano stx special edition hub.. and they say that shimano hubs can be built radially without any danger.. so hopefully that means its okay. = )
    singlespeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed

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