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Old 01-18-08, 09:09 PM   #1
Mudu93
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Wheelbuilding spoke question

I have a set of Mavic MA3 with 105 hubs 32 spoke count as a spare wheelset that I purchased used. I have however broken a spoke and have decided that I should use this opportunity to learn how to put a wheel together. There is a local guy willing to walk me through it and help me if I get in over my head, but I need to get the spokes and nipples. What size spokes do I need? Should I go with brass nipples? Give a brother some advise please. Thanks
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Old 01-18-08, 09:14 PM   #2
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I would read this. http://sheldonbrown.com/wheelbuild.html

It should be all you need to know.
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Old 01-18-08, 10:13 PM   #3
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The easiest way to determine what spoke length that you need is to remove a good spoke from the wheel and measure it.

Aluminum nipples are lighter in weight and look cooler because they come in different colors. Brass nipples are a lot more durable.
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Old 01-18-08, 10:14 PM   #4
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Don't bother with AL nipples.
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Old 01-18-08, 10:18 PM   #5
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Just for the record, brass nipples are usually plated with nickel, so they are NOT yellow.
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Old 01-19-08, 11:14 AM   #6
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The easiest way to determine what spoke length that you need is to remove a good spoke from the wheel and measure it.
That make entirely too much sense. Somebody call Bill Engvall. I need a stupid sign. Thanks for the help all.
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Old 01-19-08, 11:30 AM   #7
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That make entirely too much sense. Somebody call Bill Engvall. I need a stupid sign. Thanks for the help all.
This won't be 100% accurate because spokes stetch some.
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Old 01-19-08, 12:10 PM   #8
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This won't be 100% accurate because spokes stetch some.
That's an interesting comment. Do they really? Are spokes stressed beyond their elastic limit when tensioned? If not, they don't "stretch" permanantly and will return to their original length when tension is removed.
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Old 01-19-08, 12:51 PM   #9
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That's an interesting comment. Do they really? Are spokes stressed beyond their elastic limit when tensioned? If not, they don't "stretch" permanantly and will return to their original length when tension is removed.
If you post this comment on RBT, you will get several contradictory "expert" opinions and start a war in the process.
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Old 01-19-08, 01:31 PM   #10
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If you post this comment on RBT, you will get several contradictory "expert" opinions and start a war in the process.
Take one apart and try it your self. They won't all measure quite the same. Some of the elongation is fron the hooks taking a spokeline.
I've done it. So that must make me an expert?
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Old 01-19-08, 02:10 PM   #11
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spoke calculation

DT Swiss and Wheelsmith both have spoke calculators in their websites I think. they are both very popular spoke manufacturers.
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Old 01-19-08, 02:29 PM   #12
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This won't be 100% accurate because spokes stetch some.
I guess that's the difference between an engineer and a mechanic. Measureing a single spoke, or one from each side, is what I've done countless times when replacing spokes or even rebuilding an entire wheel. It's never failed me yet. Sometimes close enough is close enough.
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Old 01-19-08, 02:43 PM   #13
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I guess that's the difference between an engineer and a mechanic. Measureing a single spoke, or one from each side, is what I've done countless times when replacing spokes or even rebuilding an entire wheel. It's never failed me yet. Sometimes close enough is close enough.
Uhhhhh... the difference between an engineer and a scientist, maybe? I am an engineer, and my whole engineering life has been spent in making useful approximations.
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Old 01-19-08, 03:13 PM   #14
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If the spokes are a bit too long, feel free to grind off the ends with a dremel w diamond cutting wheel. If they are too short you are screwed. If they are way too long you are screwed too.
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Old 01-19-08, 03:43 PM   #15
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Take one apart and try it your self. They won't all measure quite the same. Some of the elongation is from the hooks taking a spokeline.
I've done it. So that must make me an expert?
Having spokes elongate from stress relieving, which does plastically deform the hook, is a reasonable explanation and such spokes will measure slightly longer than their initial spec.

However, the straight section of the spoke does not elongate permanently under tension unless it has been badly over tensioned. Also spokes do not elongate over time once tensioned.
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Old 01-19-08, 04:12 PM   #16
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However, the straight section of the spoke does not elongate permanently under tension unless it has been badly over tensioned. Also spokes do not elongate over time once tensioned.
+1
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Old 01-19-08, 07:03 PM   #17
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Having spokes elongate from stress relieving, which does plastically deform the hook, is a reasonable explanation and such spokes will measure slightly longer than their initial spec.

However, the straight section of the spoke does not elongate permanently under tension unless it has been badly over tensioned. Also spokes do not elongate over time once tensioned.
But either way it is still longer and using a new spoke that length could be a problem such as bottoming the threads out or sticking past the nipple. And I said it could be a problem. Just like to cover all bases.
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Old 01-19-08, 07:07 PM   #18
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I guess that's the difference between an engineer and a mechanic. Measureing a single spoke, or one from each side, is what I've done countless times when replacing spokes or even rebuilding an entire wheel. It's never failed me yet. Sometimes close enough is close enough.
Please no name calling here! I am NOT an engineer. I'm just a retired electrcian with a 30 year old hobby of building and racing bikes. I repeat I AM NOT AN ENgineer.
Like we say in construction, measure twice cut once.
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Old 01-19-08, 08:20 PM   #19
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I am a graduate electrical engineer, and am very proud of it. My role models are Nicola Tesla, Charles Proteus Steinmetz and Michael Faraday. Engineers are not stupid, they always keep an eye on the order of magnitude of things. I used to have a romantic interest who is a doctors of science in chemistry - who didn't know the ballpark of the wavelenght of visible light. An electrical engineer would never make such a goof.
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Old 01-19-08, 08:56 PM   #20
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Like we say in construction, measure twice cut once.
Well, if the spoke really is longer than it started out, measuring twice will give you the wrong answer twice.

Seriously, if inspection of a removed but still intact spoke shows the bend at the hook is no longer 90 then a correction for the elongation can be made rather easily.
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Old 01-19-08, 10:10 PM   #21
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get along children
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Old 01-20-08, 06:34 AM   #22
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Engineers are not stupid, they always keep an eye on the order of magnitude of things.
That's exactly my point. Spokes have to be the right length within about plus or minus 1 mm. Measureing more precisely than that, or maybe measuring and averaging a whole wheel's worth of spokes may be more accurate but it's not necessary.
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Old 01-20-08, 07:24 AM   #23
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Uhhhhh... the difference between an engineer and a scientist, maybe? I am an engineer, and my whole engineering life has been spent in making useful approximations.
Scientists (I am a physicist) make approximations (models are approximations-ideal gas) when appropriate - examples - see Born Approximation and Perturbation Theory. There are many others, especially in any fields that make use of statistics (Quantum Mechanics and Statistical Mechanics for example).

Oh and I do know the wavelengths of visible light
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Old 01-20-08, 09:06 AM   #24
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Please no name calling here! I am NOT an engineer. I'm just a retired electrcian with a 30 year old hobby of building and racing bikes. I repeat I AM NOT AN ENgineer.
Like we say in construction, measure twice cut once.
I cut it twice and it was still too short I'll just go get the board stretcher.
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