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Old 01-19-07, 07:52 AM   #1
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Build a wheel with unmatched spokes

I want to build a 48h wheel, but I have only 40 spokes of the same kind (and correct length). If I got me 8 spokes of a different kind, and distributed them simmetrically around the hub/rim, would that be risky in any way?
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Old 01-19-07, 08:02 AM   #2
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Well, I've done it and it worked fine. Obviously if the length of the spare spokes is off by more than a couple mm, it won't work. You should make sure that the spare spokes have the exact same gauge and the same size nipple heads, otherwise truing the wheel will be a huge pain.

I've mixed DT 14ga spokes with Wheelsmith 14ga spokes, and it works fine.
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Old 01-19-07, 08:04 AM   #3
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Depends what you mean by "kind". I wouldn't want to mix spokes of greatly different gauges just for esthetic reasons, but if they're evenly distributed, I can't see a problem. After all, how often can you find a spoke of exactly the same brand and type when you need to replace just one?
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Old 01-19-07, 08:38 AM   #4
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Obviously if the length of the spare spokes is off by more than a couple mm, it won't work. You should make sure that the spare spokes have the exact same gauge and the same size nipple heads, otherwise truing the wheel will be a huge pain.
Yeah, that goes without saying.

Thanks, Moxfyre!
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Old 01-19-07, 08:41 AM   #5
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Depends what you mean by "kind". I wouldn't want to mix spokes of greatly different gauges just for esthetic reasons, but if they're evenly distributed, I can't see a problem. After all, how often can you find a spoke of exactly the same brand and type when you need to replace just one?
Of course, the spokes are of the same gauge (and length). And the reason for mixing is not aesthetics - just unavailability Thanks oldyeller!
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Old 01-19-07, 01:33 PM   #6
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Actually the length isnt that big of a deal as long as they're close. The difference is one spoke will engage the nipple more than another. As long as there is adequete thread engagement the length is not relevant. Whats relevant is the tension.
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Old 01-19-07, 01:53 PM   #7
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Actually the length isnt that big of a deal as long as they're close. The difference is one spoke will engage the nipple more than another. As long as there is adequete thread engagement the length is not relevant. Whats relevant is the tension.
Certainly, I just wanted to make sure he wasn't using spokes that are TOO long or TOO short. If your spokes are too long, they'll poke through the rim tape and might pop the tube. If they're too short, they will only have one or two threads engaging the nipples fully, and will be much more likely to break at the nipple.
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Old 07-05-07, 08:20 AM   #8
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I just popped a spoke on my rear mtb wheel (left/non-drive side). the wife is dropping it at a shop near our doctor's office so I can pickup tonight after an appointment.

The wheel has 32 butted 14/15 spokes. The shop only has straight gauge - is that a big deal? I don't care about the aesthetics, just the integrity of the wheel and how true they can get it. fwiw I am about 215 lbs and carry about 20 lbs of lock and rack/bag with me to commute on this bike, using 1" tires at 110 psi.
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Old 07-05-07, 08:55 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by pgoat
I just popped a spoke on my rear mtb wheel (left/non-drive side). the wife is dropping it at a shop near our doctor's office so I can pickup tonight after an appointment.

The wheel has 32 butted 14/15 spokes. The shop only has straight gauge - is that a big deal?
It will do the job. Better than not replacing the spoke. However, to me that's like replacing a broken double butted chrome moly frame tube with a piece of gaspipe to repair a frame.

Straight gauge spokes don't make a stronger wheel, just a cheaper, heavier one.
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Old 07-05-07, 09:05 AM   #10
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thanks

i hear you, i def would have preferred a butted spoke to match the others but this wheel is the original rear from 1993 and has lotsa miles so, with all that weight and riding slow to/from work it won't kill me. I just didn't know if it was done or not. (I can do lots of my own wrenching but wheels are one area i leave to shops.)

btw I rode home most of the 6 mile commute with the broken spoke - wobbly but okay and I kept it under 10 mph. I wouldn't keep riding it like that though.....
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Old 07-06-07, 07:19 AM   #11
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got the wheel last night.

There is a rather noticeable wobble/hop oddly enough, on the other side of the valve hole (the spoke that broken was at say, 55 mins on a clock dial with valve hole at 12:00, top dead center, whereas the hop is at 05 mins).

Hard to say whether the rim feels dinged or they just did a bad truing job. You can just feel a blip with your fingers on one side but there is no visual damage I can see, which makes me think its not trued properly. I honestly didn't check the rim before or after it was just trued last week, and I did ride home on it Monday for about 4 bumpy miles.
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Old 07-06-07, 07:27 AM   #12
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Opposite the valve hole is where the rim is joined. There may have been a bit of a bump there originally, but you never noticed.
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Old 07-06-07, 10:23 AM   #13
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no, this is not opposite the valve hole; it is on the right of the hole (looking at the wheel with the new spoke on the left of the hole). In other words, the hop is about two spokes away from the new spoke, with the valve hole in between.

I am wondering whether there was any difference in the new spoke's length? It's a standard old Mtb rim (Mavic 231) and hub (Deore DX).
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Old 07-16-07, 03:39 PM   #14
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what the-

broke another spoke on same wheel this morning . Directly opposite the one that was replaced.

This time when they replaced and 'trued' it (different shop), they again used a straight gauge spoke with stainless steel nipple (the originals are anodized AL - but the spokes are breaking at the hub), and - they left several spokes very very loose.

It was my understanding that all spokes needed to be tensioned to some degree of tightness and uniformity before truing could begin. How can a shop give out a wheel like that?

but anyway, I am figuring that these sudden breakages are being caused by my recent use of a rear rack and 'trunk' for the first time ever, + a 32h rear wheel. I normally have used a 36h rear (and sometimes 32h front) for decades with no issues. i guess the extra 10 pounds or so was the straw that broke the camel's back.

I have used this 32h rear wheel before for commutes but with no rack, me wearing a bag - maybe this put more weight over the front wheel?
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Old 07-16-07, 07:01 PM   #15
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I am figuring that these sudden breakages are being caused by my recent use of a rear rack and 'trunk' for the first time ever, + a 32h rear wheel. I normally have used a 36h rear (and sometimes 32h front) for decades with no issues. i guess the extra 10 pounds or so was the straw that broke the camel's back.
I doubt adding a rack and carrying stuff there instead of on your back did it.

In an earlier post you said this wheel is original from 1993. After 14 years, you might expect one to go, just as a matter of course. Given you had to ride the wheel with the broken spoke, then with the rather interesting interpretation of "true" by the first shop yesterday, I'm guessing the spoke opposite yesterday's broken one simply got overstressed.

The spoke at 5 o'clock pulls against the spoke at 11 o'clock. When you take one out, I wouldn't be surprised if that caused problems with the other.
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Old 07-16-07, 07:46 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by wroomwroomoops
I want to build a 48h wheel, but I have only 40 spokes of the same kind (and correct length). If I got me 8 spokes of a different kind, and distributed them simmetrically around the hub/rim, would that be risky in any way?
But why would they have to be different? Why can't you just go and buy the same spokes? Are the spokes so old that their no longer made? I doubt it. Good grief 8 spokes are cheap, between .49 cents for straight guage to $1.25 for double butted (each).
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Old 07-17-07, 05:30 AM   #17
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I doubt adding a rack and carrying stuff there instead of on your back did it.

In an earlier post you said this wheel is original from 1993. After 14 years, you might expect one to go, just as a matter of course. Given you had to ride the wheel with the broken spoke, then with the rather interesting interpretation of "true" by the first shop yesterday, I'm guessing the spoke opposite yesterday's broken one simply got overstressed.

The spoke at 5 o'clock pulls against the spoke at 11 o'clock. When you take one out, I wouldn't be surprised if that caused problems with the other.
I gotcha, thanks.

I scanned my memory and figure this is the first time I've commuted with a 32h rear wheel. I have used this bike before, though so not sure why now all the problems, but yeah, maybe just age catching up.

Plus in past I used mtb tires at 60 psi or 1.25" street tires at 75-80 psi; my current rear tire for speed is a pretty narrow Conti Grand Prix 1" wide at 110 psi. Would that affect spoke breakage over the pot holes?
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