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  1. #1
    Senior Member xcutterx's Avatar
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    your take on whole tie and soldering of spokes

    i get so many mixed opinions of this whole thing. a friend of mine who rides really hard has had the same DH wheels forever and he swear that the reason they have lasted so long is because he soldered them. i read in the small white wheelbuilding book that it does nothing. i have never seen legit proof either way. i just want to know if anyone in here has tried it or knows if its a legit way to make stiff and or strong wheels

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    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    The small white book was probably "The Bicycle Wheel" by Jobst Brandt. I'm no expert, but my observation is that a set of well built wheels last just fine.

    My *opinion* is that soldering and tying would reduce some of the flex and "give" that makes a spoked wheel so resilient (sp?).

    One failure mode for wheels is rim damage... it's often not obvious until you put it in a trueing stand. The wheel has a "hop," an area where the rim has been bent inward toward the hub. Nothing you can do with the spokes will prevent or fix it.
    Last edited by roadbuzz; 12-16-03 at 07:25 PM.

  3. #3
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    They do make the wheels stiff. Hard to say from personal experience(I don't have many customers willing to pay the extra $$) but a friend that builds a lot of race wheels swears by it.
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  4. #4
    Recovering Retro-grouch CRUM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xcutterx
    i get so many mixed opinions of this whole thing. a friend of mine who rides really hard has had the same DH wheels forever and he swear that the reason they have lasted so long is because he soldered them. i read in the small white wheelbuilding book that it does nothing. i have never seen legit proof either way. i just want to know if anyone in here has tried it or knows if its a legit way to make stiff and or strong wheels
    Back in the day I used to provide solder and tie as an option when I built a pair of wheels. It does make them a tad stronger IMO. But, once I discovered "The Twist", I push that instead. I have been building twisted spoke wheels now for over 10 years and feel they are as strong as solder and tied ones. They are also a faster build and replacing the occaisional broken spoke is much easier.

    That said, nothing beats a good handbuilt wheel, regardless of it's spoke pattern. But then I am prejudiced. Cuz, that's what I do.
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  5. #5
    sch
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    Unless you use spokes or techniques that allow the
    solder to bind to the spoke then the tie and solder
    just puts a little loose ring around the spoke crossing
    site. Stainless spokes don't solder easily with ordinary
    solder, silver solder would work but requires temps in
    the 900-1000F range, not exactly what you want to
    expose your spokes to. The wheel would be a little
    stiffer with the spokes not soldered and only a little
    ring of sodered wire around them but not a stiff as if
    the solder adhered to the spokes as well. Bigger
    spokes would do as well with a lot less effort. Steve

  6. #6
    Senior Member gazedrop's Avatar
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    I also have an opinion on this... But first a disclaimer: Although I do build my own wheels, I have never ridden on, built, trued, or even seen wheels that were tied and soldered. So there's the big grain of salt to take with my post.

    I do, however, believe that a wheel wouldn't be as strong or as long-term true-able.

    A spoked wheels strength comes from the load being distributed among spokes. Even without perfectly uniform tension among all spokes, the looser spokes do still share some of the load, and the tighter ones are able to freely stretch along their entire length. Ultimately, if within a safe window of not too tight and not too loose, all of the spokes will work toward supporting the wheel's structure.

    Rope distributes a load across its many weak fibers in a similar fashion. The tighter fibers stretch until the looser fibers come up to sufficient tension to share in the work. Then stretching stops and the load becomes stable.

    The other problem that I perceive with a tied wheels is the reluctance of a triangle to change dimensions. Two tied spokes create a triangle, with one apex at the crossing point and the other two where the elbows are fixed to the hub. You can only change one dimension (length or angle) of a triangle if you also change other dimensions. If not, you break the triangle.

    Tied wheels have these triangles. Non-tied wheels simply have spokes that touch each other, but can otherwise move independantly.

    By its very nature, truing a tied wheel is trying to change only one aspect of one of those triangles (spoke length). Result: undue, unequal, and downright immoral tension on the spokes.

    Other problems? Of course! If the wheel builder didn't take great pains to build a fully stress-relieved, evenly tensioned (not just trued), and lacking in any wound-up spokes, the wheel will need work in the future. Work that cannot be optimally performed because of that little problem of unforgiving triangles.

    Then there's that little problem of heating the spoke in the first place...

    I'd never even considered the problem of solder adhesion. That's a good one! I could get carried away by that one!

    Whew! Well... fwiw...

    -Erik

  7. #7
    Recovering Retro-grouch CRUM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sch
    Unless you use spokes or techniques that allow the
    solder to bind to the spoke then the tie and solder
    just puts a little loose ring around the spoke crossing
    site. Stainless spokes don't solder easily with ordinary
    solder, silver solder would work but requires temps in
    the 900-1000F range, not exactly what you want to
    expose your spokes to. The wheel would be a little
    stiffer with the spokes not soldered and only a little
    ring of sodered wire around them but not a stiff as if
    the solder adhered to the spokes as well. Bigger
    spokes would do as well with a lot less effort. Steve
    A good point. The fellow who taught me the solder and tie method said the soldered bee keeper wire acted as a brace, but allowed the wheel to be trued if it was done correctly. He also never recommended the process for any wheel other than track or time trial wheels. I haven't built a solder and tie wheel since the 80's. With the quality of the rims and spokes so good now, that method is not needed IMO.

    My twisted spoke pattern allow the spokes to flex but still add more rigidity to the build. My biggest reason for building them in the first place was to make it a tougher wheel when encountering sticks. It definitely does that.
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  8. #8
    Not-so-Senior Member
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    What does Twist lacing look like? Can you give a quick how-to (just to give me an idea)?

  9. #9
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    A properly tensioned wheel doesn't need it. I poorly tensioned wheel will not be improved by it.
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  10. #10
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    As I was taught it, the main purpose of the solder is to hold the tightly wound wire in place. The wire is what gives you the strength(Like rebar in concrete). I have cut my ties out and you cannot pull them apart, the spoke is in there pretty tight.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member xcutterx's Avatar
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    He also never recommended the process for any wheel other than track or time trial wheels. I haven't built a solder and tie wheel since the 80's. With the quality of the rims and spokes so good now, that method is not needed IMO.
    i wanted to use this for some track wheels I was wanting to build up. i have seen it on a lot of DH wheels lately. everyone I talked to said that they noticed a difference. then every wheeelbuilder I talk to has a different take on it.

  12. #12
    Geezer Member Grampy™'s Avatar
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    I couldn't find pics to prove it but some of those tied and soldered wheels are just plain cool!

  13. #13
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    Like CRUM, I do twisty spoke wheels as well (There is one on the front of my fixed pictured in the fixed forum) They are also stiff, seem to hold up well and are easier to do than tie and solder (I do think tie and solder is the best way to build a stiff wheel, like for track, and that for DH a wheel with more flex, not tied, might survive a run better.)
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  14. #14
    Senior Member ollo_ollo's Avatar
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    Tied & Soldered

    For a couple of years I had an Eisentraut frame that came with a set of rigida rims laced onto Shimano 600 hubs. Spokes were tied & soldered. This was a bike that the original owner had built up in 1979 for his wife who then put it into the basement. I doubt it had 100 miles on it. When I brought it home the wheels were perfectly true and it rode better than any light touring bike I had ever ridden. It was a just a bit small for me so I never rode over 20 miles at any one time but I logged about 500 miles during the two years I owned it & the wheels were still true when I traded it off for a bike that fit me better. Don
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  15. #15
    don d.
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    Broken Spokes

    The primary reason to tie and solder the spokes is to keep the spokes from thrashing around if one breaks. Normally this would only be a consideration in a race situation since a tourist can stop and remove or replace the broken spoke. The wheel may also tend to go out of true less when they are tied and soldered and a spoke breaks.

  16. #16
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    The bottom line is if you're equating T & S to having stronger wheels & less maintenance, I would simply build 36 spoked wheels. My 36 spoked wheels require much, much less maintenance than my 28's & 32's...
    .cinelli.olympic.surly.long.haul.trucker.kona.ku.surly.steamroller.
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    my take

    The solder is only to hold the tie together, and if done properly will not change the spoke strength at all... The tie is just a way to ensure that the spokes (as a pair) don't flex out of control on a side load. The stretch of the spokes does not change for rotational movement when the wheel is tied. It simply holds the wheel more firmly on sideload changes. That is why the wheels will last longer. For XC and DH riders who get new wheels every season there is no need. For fatty road riders, like my old boss, there is no other way to keep a rim for more than a month. The first hard turn with a bump would put too much load on the rim and it would flex. He had excellent results with the tie and solder. I'm a fan of it!

  18. #18
    Recovering Retro-grouch CRUM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonny B
    What does Twist lacing look like? Can you give a quick how-to (just to give me an idea)?
    Well, you generally build up a wheel with what is called a cross pattern. 2x, 3x, 4x, etc. That is, one spoke will cross at least 2,3, or 4 other spokes. And usually the spoke will run under all the spokes except the last one, and then it passes over the last spoke. When passing this spoke over the last spoke you wrap it one more time around that last spoke before you place it in the appropriate spoke hole. Using a spoke 2mm longer than the build calls for is usually the right length. The biggest problem with the build is setting the spokes. This is where I feel the build has gotten a bad rap. You have to work the twist hard. Like you were mad at it.
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  19. #19
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    I have found, for me, the two cross works best when twisty spoking a wheel. The angles are less severe.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by xcutterx
    i get so many mixed opinions of this whole thing. a friend of mine who rides really hard has had the same DH wheels forever and he swear that the reason they have lasted so long is because he soldered them. i read in the small white wheelbuilding book that it does nothing. i have never seen legit proof either way. i just want to know if anyone in here has tried it or knows if its a legit way to make stiff and or strong wheels
    Tie and soldereing worked back in the day when rims were flexy and spoke quality was poor. it will do nothing now but cost you money and waste some shop guys time. espcially on a higher flande dh style hub. your wheels will be as good as the builder and the components he selects. choose carefully.

  21. #21
    El Inglés el Inglés's Avatar
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    Banesto did the soldered spoke thing for years and it didn´t seem to help them much .
    The twisted spoke thing does work but is best left to a pro because how do you know the length of spoke to use ( I´m told it makes the wheel more laterally stable when jumping etc ) and two of the bike shop owners around here have or do use this on their own bikes so they should know , it´s their neck after all .
    ' To Old To Rock ' N ' Roll : To Young To Die '

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