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Old 04-30-07, 12:28 PM   #1
Juggler2
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tying spokes together?

Had a fella tell me I could increase the strength of the wheel by tying the spokes together (where they cross), with a small piece of wire. Would this work?
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Old 04-30-07, 12:50 PM   #2
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Usually they are tied with small wire, and then soldered. The stregnth gained is marginal.
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Old 04-30-07, 12:53 PM   #3
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Yes. Gerd Schraner mentions it in his fine book "The Art of Wheelbuilding", and lists more pros than cons. I think the main trick is to be handy with a soldering-iron or a small torch; it seems that it would be quite easy to totally screw up what was otherwise a perfectly fine spoke. Believe me, I've worked in the electronics industry, and you'd be amazed as to just how ham-fisted some people are when it comes to wielding a soldering-iron (Gerd Shraner has an apt quote about "a child's first attempt at knitting"

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Old 04-30-07, 12:56 PM   #4
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Usually they are tied with small wire, and then soldered. The stregnth gained is marginal.
I'm still a newbie, but why would that work? Assuming the spokes have the proper tension, strain is along the axis of the spoke, so I don't see why lateral support would prevent failure. Is this a fail-safe for a wheel that hasn't been trued correctly?
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Old 04-30-07, 01:03 PM   #5
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According to Gerd Schraner:

"Tying and Soldering

Reason and Purpose:

A long forgotten art, but in view of the high demands placed on today's wheels, more necessary than ever.

The especially applies to the rear wheel, the structural spoke arrangement of which is placed not only under the strain of the rider's weight, but also has to cope with huge, irregular driving forces when the wheels are in motion. The spoke elbows "work" in the flange, enlarge the spoke holes, becoming brittle under the constant stresses and subsequently fail.

On a normal rear wheel, neither tied nor soldered, it's easy to see how friction causes the surface between crossed spokes to become shiny and worn.

Tying and soldering enhances the quality of the finished wheel. The life-expectancy of the wheel is increased enormously without influencing the tension of the spokes."


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Old 04-30-07, 01:12 PM   #6
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I'd heard of putting small zip-ties there when I raced BMX bikes. Never did it... never had a problem either.
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Old 04-30-07, 01:33 PM   #7
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I have this wheelbuilding book, which explains that the ties around spokes
were originally to keep spokes on penny farthings from flopping around
when they break. The author thinks it really isnt necessary to do this on modern wheels.
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Old 04-30-07, 05:10 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Mr. Underbridge
I'm still a newbie, but why would that work? Assuming the spokes have the proper tension, strain is along the axis of the spoke, so I don't see why lateral support would prevent failure. Is this a fail-safe for a wheel that hasn't been trued correctly?
I don't see the benefit either, other than it keeping a broken spoke from flopping all over the place. I had a wheel with 36h 4x T&S spokes on my track bike once, and I couldn't tell a difference between it and a normal 32 3x wheel. But it's a highly debated topic.
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Old 04-30-07, 05:29 PM   #9
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I wouldn't waste my time and effort with today's wheels.
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Old 04-30-07, 06:00 PM   #10
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The Jobst Brant book (shown above) basically says there is no measurable increase in either strength or stiffness from tying and soldering. The only benefit is to keep a broken spoke from flopping around and, with modern spokes this is not nearly the problem it was decades ago. I've read other articles where wheel stength and stiffness were tested before and after tying and soldering with no measurable difference.

Conclusion; it's an interesting pass time but of no mechanical or practical value.
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