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Thread: spoke length

  1. #1
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    spoke length

    I bought a new rim and spokes to build a new rear wheel. They calculated the spoke lengths and gave me two different length spokes: 293 for the right side, and 295 for the left side. However, the two spoke lengths look the same size when I stand them up next to each other, and they both seem to measure 291 from the tip to the inside of the elbow. After building the wheel and screwing the all of the nipples down to the point where the thread ends (but not yet tightening the spokes or truing the wheel), the rim appears to be centered on the hub part, but is obviously not centered on the axle itself.

    Is it okay to center the wheel with the spokes I have and proceed to true it after that, realizing that if my measurements and observations are correct then the right side spokes will need to be tightened more than the left? Or do I have to take it apart and take everything back to the store and make sure I have the exact correct spoke lengths and start over?

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    sounds like you got sent the wrong spokes if you are measuring them correctly. get the correct spokes

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    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
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    Sound like they sent you the size in between...294mm...which you can get away with if:

    1. The nipples allow threading a mm past the top.
    2. You have a dishing tool.

    =8-)

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrrabbit View Post
    Sound like they sent you the size in between...294mm...which you can get away with if:

    1. The nipples allow threading a mm past the top.
    2. You have a dishing tool.

    =8-)

    The nipples have a hole in the top that allows the spoke to be screwed in beyond the end of the nipple. It looks like there is plenty of room in the rim holes so that the spokes will never touch the inner tube. So as long as the spokes are the right diameter, then it seems like I should be able to tighten them to the appropriate tension and center them properly and it would work. I do have a dishing tool. I can only think of two things that could go wrong:
    1. The spokes I have are not exactly the same width as the correct length spokes and therefore hold their tension differently.
    2. Since the ones I have appear to be shorter than the ones I was told I need, the nipple won't be screwed onto as much thread to pull the spoke to the proper tension. I'm not sure how much less thread or if it would make the spoke weaker.

  5. #5
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by sawatdee View Post
    The nipples have a hole in the top that allows the spoke to be screwed in beyond the end of the nipple. It looks like there is plenty of room in the rim holes so that the spokes will never touch the inner tube. So as long as the spokes are the right diameter, then it seems like I should be able to tighten them to the appropriate tension and center them properly and it would work. I do have a dishing tool. I can only think of two things that could go wrong:
    1. The spokes I have are not exactly the same width as the correct length spokes and therefore hold their tension differently.
    2. Since the ones I have appear to be shorter than the ones I was told I need, the nipple won't be screwed onto as much thread to pull the spoke to the proper tension. I'm not sure how much less thread or if it would make the spoke weaker.
    If the spokes are too long you will NOT be able to get the spokes up to proper tension without running out of threads. If they are too short, the nipple will not engage the maximum amount of threads needed. The most correct spoke length is the one that you can just barely see the beginning of threads showing at the top of a standard brass nipple. Can you have more threads showing? Probably? How much? Useless academic discussion.

    Get the proper length spokes.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sawatdee View Post
    .. the rim appears to be centered on the hub part, but is obviously not centered on the axle itself.
    If it's a rear with external gears the rim isn't supposed to be centered over the axle.
    There are a few exceptions to the norm, but they're really rare.

  7. #7
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by dabac View Post
    If it's a rear with external gears the rim isn't supposed to be centered over the axle.
    There are a few exceptions to the norm, but they're really rare.
    Uh what? The rim is centered over the axle. It's not centered over the hub.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

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    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    Uh what? The rim is centered over the axle. It's not centered over the hub.
    Yeah, you're right - that didn't come out as intended. The OP wrote he had had it centered over the hub, but not the axle, which probably is wrong.

  9. #9
    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    If the spokes are too long you will NOT be able to get the spokes up to proper tension without running out of threads. If they are too short, the nipple will not engage the maximum amount of threads needed. The most correct spoke length is the one that you can just barely see the beginning of threads showing at the top of a standard brass nipple. Can you have more threads showing? Probably? How much? Useless academic discussion.

    Get the proper length spokes.

    Yup...

    Half the the time the in between spoke size deal works out - especially with double wall rims....but half the time it doesn't...because somethings off in the measurement or because of the use of a single wall rim.

    It gets annoying actually when a spoke machine was available - and the customer adamantly insisted on NOT using it...until you show 'em their wheel where the drive side has run out before proper tension and the opp side is showing a thread or two. Then of course it gets even more annoying when they expect you to do it again correctly within the original labor charge basically laying the blame on you the builder without really saying it.

    ...and round and round it goes...

    Think I'll start building square wheels someday.

    =8-)

  10. #10
    Mitcholo CrimsonKarter21's Avatar
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    If it comes down to that, I'll just use 295's all around.

  11. #11
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrimsonKarter21 View Post
    If it comes down to that, I'll just use 295's all around.
    Which will definitley be wrong.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

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    Senior Member Tunnelrat81's Avatar
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    Sounds to me like they didn't give you the spokes you needed, and instead cut the corner by giving you all the same...which to me would be unacceptable. I'd take them back and get the right spokes. Having the right length of spokes will make dishing the wheel MUCH easier. Basically just spinning on the nipples will put you right into the ball-park of where you should be, requiring much less adjustment, and not forcing you to move forward in the build not knowing whether or not it's even going to work.

    On a related note. I was reading Musson's e-book on wheel building and he writes that original spokes don't have CUT threads, but rather their spokes are forged into shape. This is shown by measuring the outside diameter of the threads compared to the OD of the spoke just before the threads. The forged threads will have a larger diameter than those of 'cut' threads. Which leads me to believe that 'cutting' deeper threads on a spoke machine isn't producing as strong of a spoke as just ordering the right ones in the first place. I'll be building a set shortly (just saving money now and taking the time to build/make the tools suggested in the same e-book) and I can assure you that I'll make sure that I'm getting the proper uncut DT swiss spokes for my build. It's my time, it's the wheelset that I'll be riding for the next 5-10 years at least, and it's just not worth cutting corners.

    My $.02

    -Jeremy

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tunnelrat81 View Post
    On a related note. I was reading Musson's e-book on wheel building and he writes that original spokes don't have CUT threads, but rather their spokes are forged into shape. This is shown by measuring the outside diameter of the threads compared to the OD of the spoke just before the threads. The forged threads will have a larger diameter than those of 'cut' threads. Which leads me to believe that 'cutting' deeper threads on a spoke machine isn't producing as strong of a spoke as just ordering the right ones in the first place. I'll be building a set shortly (just saving money now and taking the time to build/make the tools suggested in the same e-book) and I can assure you that I'll make sure that I'm getting the proper uncut DT swiss spokes for my build. It's my time, it's the wheelset that I'll be riding for the next 5-10 years at least, and it's just not worth cutting corners.

    My $.02

    -Jeremy
    Any shop that's "cutting" spokes for customers will be doing so with a machine designed to roll threads on to the spokes after cutting them to length. Using this process saves the shop from having to stock every available length of spoke. If you've ever tried to thread drawn stainless steel you'd understand why this process is not used even if it did produce useable threads.

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    Senior Member Tunnelrat81's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joejack951 View Post
    Any shop that's "cutting" spokes for customers will be doing so with a machine designed to roll threads on to the spokes after cutting them to length. Using this process saves the shop from having to stock every available length of spoke. If you've ever tried to thread drawn stainless steel you'd understand why this process is not used even if it did produce useable threads.
    Thanks Joe, I appreciate your friendly correction. We can't always count on that around here. =) This mechanics forum has been such a great resource to me, a developing home mechanic, and it seems that (for the most part) people here aren't trying to prove anything, just kindly offering answers. It can be more hostile in other subforums.

    -Jeremy

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    Just for grins could you tell us what rim and hub you are using?

  16. #16
    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tunnelrat81 View Post
    Thanks Joe, I appreciate your friendly correction. We can't always count on that around here. =) This mechanics forum has been such a great resource to me, a developing home mechanic, and it seems that (for the most part) people here aren't trying to prove anything, just kindly offering answers. It can be more hostile in other subforums.

    -Jeremy
    Typically when we refer to spoke machines here...

    1. Phil Wood (@ 3700.00 USD)
    2. Morizumi (@ 2800.00 USD)

    ...both of which roll cold-forged threads and use the same dies produced for factory industrial spoke machines in such places as Taiwan.

  17. #17
    Beardo
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    Quote Originally Posted by joejack951 View Post
    Any shop that's "cutting" spokes for customers will be doing so with a machine designed to roll threads on to the spokes after cutting them to length. Using this process saves the shop from having to stock every available length of spoke. If you've ever tried to thread drawn stainless steel you'd understand why this process is not used even if it did produce useable threads.
    + that process makes for stronger threads.
    -Tony

    Crooks in the bike business: Leader Bikes, 1/8th Inch

    Outstanding service in the bike business: Folsom Bike, Planet-X-USA

  18. #18
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    Where do you get spoke blanks and will these machines thread bladed spokes?

  19. #19
    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeWinVA View Post
    Where do you get spoke blanks and will these machines thread bladed spokes?
    When I import my spokes from Taiwan...I just order 310mm for straight guage...don't care if they are threaded or not - they'll charge the same.

    For double butted...I'll order in batches for every 7mm of size that I use. I.e., if I expect to have 257mm - 267mm spokes in double butted...I'll order maybe 260's and 267's. Most double butted spokes leave safe cutting and threading room for up to 10mm.

    Typically bladed spokes allow for the same...but I will usually be conservative anyway and assume 7mm as my step. Because some manufacturers really keep their butting and blade termination before threading pretty short. Once again - threaded or blank - doesn't matter...the spoke machines will roll just fine with any leftover existing threads.

    =8-)

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