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Old 09-15-09, 02:30 PM   #1
noglider 
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idiotic statements from bike vendors

Doing a web search for bike products, I stumbled upon wheelbuilder.com. Wow, looks nice, high quality products, I thought. They make claims about how their wheels are the most durable, because of their materials and expertise. That may be, but it really burns me when they perpetuate this folklore:

From http://www.wheelbuilder.com/store/sp...formation.html

Quote:
Double Butted Spokes:
Can be easily identified by a change in spoke diameter near the head of the spoke and near the threaded portion of the spoke. Double butted spokes are lighter than straight gauge and offer better ride qualities due to a more flexible center section. These are generally very strong, however spokes with 1.5mm center sections are not recommended for mountain applications.

...

Straight Gauge Spokes:
These are the simplest spokes for in any type of general purpose or heavy-duty application. They have a constant diameter throughout their length, which makes them slightly heavier than double butted spokes. Straight gauge spokes offer a stiffer ride than single or double butted spokes because of their thicker cross section.
Grr! It's conceivable that they build wheels with the proper materials but without understanding why double butted spokes exist. They do not ride any differently than straight gauge spokes.

Why do I let this crap get to me?
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Old 09-15-09, 03:13 PM   #2
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Why do I let this crap get to me?
Because you have too much free time? Why not write your own website about wheels and their components and then you can get your (correct) message out to the world?
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Old 09-15-09, 03:14 PM   #3
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Maybe they did not think before they spoke?
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 09-15-09, 03:41 PM   #4
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^ rimshot
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Old 09-15-09, 04:39 PM   #5
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Its very interesting all the opinions on wheels and builds. Every wheel is in not for every rider I've found. There is so many varied body and riding styles out there. A dedicated rider really needs to try a few sets, and get a custom hand built set done for them almost to get what they really want and/or need. Finding a good set of wheels is truly a valuable find.
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Old 09-15-09, 05:14 PM   #6
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If that fires you up, then you'll love this.
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Old 09-15-09, 05:21 PM   #7
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Maybe they did not think before they spoke?
Stop foaling around!
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Old 09-15-09, 05:30 PM   #8
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You should get into high-end audio equipment, where the only way you can get good sound is to buy a $484 wooden volume knob.
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Old 09-15-09, 05:38 PM   #9
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You should get into high-end audio equipment, where the only way you can get good sound is to buy a $484 wooden volume knob.
I'd buy one if it made the volume go to 11.
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Old 09-15-09, 08:45 PM   #10
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check yourself

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Why not write your own website about wheels and their components and then you can get your (correct) message out to the world?
He has. Tom contributes his free time helping others face to face also.
http://maplewood.blogs.nytimes.com/2...-tom-reingold/
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Old 09-15-09, 09:02 PM   #11
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He has. Tom contributes his free time helping others face to face also.
http://maplewood.blogs.nytimes.com/2...-tom-reingold/
Awesome! I just saw the article on Tom. Good for him. There aren't enough people like this in the world. Most people won't do a damn thing for you unless you pay them. Try getting a freebie from a lawyer or a vet or...................

I too fix bikes for others and I wouldn't dream of charging for it. The money end of it just complicates things as either they'll think I'm charging too much or I'll think I'm not getting paid enough. Ugghh. I just work on a bike until it's working perfectly, no matter how long it takes. Occasionally someone will give me a bottle of wine or rum. That's ok but it's not the motivational force.

Here's my wheelbuilding site from which I make not one penny. In fact it costs me $100/yr for the domain and site hosting -

http://miketechinfo.com/new-tech-wheels-tires.htm

Last edited by Mike T.; 09-15-09 at 09:07 PM.
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Old 09-15-09, 09:07 PM   #12
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You shouldn't let it get to your because it's a small matter. Some people will act on and perpetuate false information. Some people will find out for themselves.
I'd suggest leaving yourself open to the possibility that they may have a stiffer ride. You don't have to act on the possibility, or adopt this as the absolute truth. You can still act on, and pass along your own opinion that they make no difference. Any audience has access to the same pool of information and expert advice, so nothing's handcuffing them to adopt your opinion or wheelbuilder.com's opinion.
Instead, you can keep in mind what you have in common. Both believe in the value of hand built wheels.
These days, that's getting to be rarer and rarer.
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Old 09-15-09, 09:19 PM   #13
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AltaTerraCycle, I agree with what you say, and I'm sure the folks at that business would, too. But they are spreading misinformation, not about whether one wheel suits all riders but what happens when you use a straight-gauge or butted spoke. Straight-gauge spokes do not make a ride stiff. Butted spokes do not make it more absorbent or lively. That's my beef.

Thanks, Mike T. Nice perspectives.

Since that video, folks in my town have pleaded with me to pay me to fix their bikes or to sell them bikes. Who am I to say no to money? I am currently under-employed, so it's a good sideline for them. I still donate my time and expertise, but there's nothing wrong with earning money from a skill I love.

This week, a journalist is going to interview me on bike commuting in our town, so I'm looking forward to that.
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Old 09-15-09, 09:57 PM   #14
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If that fires you up, then you'll love this.
try living in vegas and having to listen to that everytime you go into the store. nice enough people but you would think they are gods gift to wheel building.
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Old 09-15-09, 10:03 PM   #15
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Hmmm, spoke-tension is spoke-tension. A 14ga spoke pulling on the rim with 100kg of force will be the same as a 15/16ga spoke. If you had a fishing scale in between the rim & spoke-end, it would read exactly the same for the same tension regardless of the type of spoke.

The only difference is when the rim is compressed at the bottom, the 14ga spoke will lose all tension at less rim-displacement than DB, but I don't see how that will affect wheel-stiffness or ride-quality. Considering that the tyre deforms 100x more than the wheel, I doubt anyone can claim to notice differences in feel of different spokes on identically built wheels. A change of 5psi in the tyres will result in much more significant difference in feel.
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Old 09-15-09, 10:06 PM   #16
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Straight gauge DOES offer a stiffer ride. Seriously. It ain' folklore.
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Old 09-15-09, 11:04 PM   #17
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Straight gauge DOES offer a stiffer ride. Seriously. It ain' folklore.
but only if it's tied and soldered.

and some more confusing tech talk, from Rock and Roll

Many riders ask, "What is the difference between the Extreme, Absolute Dry, and the Gold?" The Extreme is for MTB's and can be used on the road, but the Absolute Dry is for the road, only, and the Gold is for all bikes. Here's why: The bicycle, because it's on rubber tires, is not grounded, making the bicycle a static electricity machine. As the bicycle rolls along, it's constantly throwing off negative charged electrons, whereas the dirt along the ground is positively charged, and comes up to the bike to replace the discharge. The dirt is going to stick to whatever is sticky on the bike; of course the chain is the number one spot.

Road bikes generally tend to pick up more dirt from the discharge, so a thicker, dryer membrane is needed. Whereas the MTB, needs something that can take more dust from the front wheel being kicked up on the chain as well as water crossing, etc. The Gold, is the most recent addition to the Rock "N" Roll chain lube line-up. the Gold, works on all bicycles, staying cleaner and giving smoother pedaling, and shifting, then any lube we know of.

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Old 09-15-09, 11:27 PM   #18
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So...their gold is better than either their extreme and absolute dry?

I use Prolink so it doesnt matter to me
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Old 09-15-09, 11:44 PM   #19
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I'd buy one if it made the volume go to 11.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbVKWCpNFhY
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Old 09-15-09, 11:44 PM   #20
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but only if it's tied and soldered.
Speaking of lore.
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Old 09-16-09, 12:40 AM   #21
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Speaking of lore.
although I was thinking, there might be a kernel of truth to this. I mean you're not going to go through the effort of tying and soldering spokes unless it is already a damn good wheel. The tying and soldering doesn't add anything, but it does indicate high quality.
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Old 09-16-09, 04:10 AM   #22
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If that fires you up, then you'll love this.
I get upset too -- I've seen this type get promoted into positions of authority & it's never a good thing.
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Old 09-16-09, 06:09 AM   #23
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Straight gauge DOES offer a stiffer ride. Seriously. It ain' folklore.
When folks make claims like this, I ask if they've done double blind tests with two sets of wheels with everything else the same. In this case, it would be the same hubs, rims and tires. I never get a yes answer. And that would still have been a subjective test, i.e. without a measurement machine, but still, no one does it.

Jobst Brandt has done the tests and debunked your folklore.

You are probably underestimating the power of the placebo effect.
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Old 09-16-09, 06:18 AM   #24
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He and I have been on the same wavelength for a long time. He makes total sense.
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Old 09-16-09, 08:36 AM   #25
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When folks make claims like this, I ask if they've done double blind tests with two sets of wheels with everything else the same. In this case, it would be the same hubs, rims and tires. I never get a yes answer. And that would still have been a subjective test, i.e. without a measurement machine, but still, no one does it.

Jobst Brandt has done the tests and debunked your folklore.

You are probably underestimating the power of the placebo effect.

If you're talking about radial stiffness, then yes, there should be no noticable difference. Now, lateral stiffness is a function of spoke gauge (among other things), and although the website calls it a 'stiffer ride' you can't really say what they're referring to (lateral or radial). When someone wants a 'stiff' wheel, this to me indicates they want something that will not flex as much side-to-side. Can a rider actually feel the difference? That depends on the type of riding and the rider. It can be felt, especially between the two extremes.


I've seen more outlandish statements from the big factory built wheel companies.
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