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  1. #1
    Senior Member rankin116's Avatar
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    Wheel build, spoke length help

    I know these threads come up all the time, but I am hoping to get a little help and confirmation before I buy some parts.

    I am doing my first build and I'll be using Kinlin XR-300 rims laced to an Ultegra 6600 rear hub and an XT M756 front disc hub. 32 spokes each, 3x.

    I don't have any of the parts on hand yet, but the measurements are available from a wide variety of sources and all give the same values.

    Front hub gives me a center to flange of 21.1 on the left, and 31.7 on the right with a 61mm flange diameter. Rear hub is 38.4 on the right and 20.8 left, with a diameter of 45mm.

    Using two different calculators and an ERD of 577, I get:

    Front - 277.8 L and 278.8 R
    Rear - 282 L and 280.1 R

    So I'm thinking I will order 278mm spokes for the front wheel with 282 and 280 for the rear. In all the reading I've been doing, I keep seeing to round down on spoke lengths, so is the 278 going to give me a problem for the left side of the front wheel? One source for the spokes sells in even numbers only, but is the cheapest I've seen, so that's why I'm apprehensive.

    I'll be doing much more reading before I start the build, but I'd like to have all the parts here before I do that, so any advice is greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    AEO
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    it's best if you can get 277mm for the front and 281mm, 279mm for the rear.
    which spokes are you going to use?
    straight gauge, and 2.0/1.8/2.0mm DB spokes you use the exact lengths after rounding down, but on thinner butted spokes, like 2.0/1.5/2.0mm you subtract another 1mm.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
    http://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/arti...ger-photos.htm

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    Senior Member rankin116's Avatar
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    I'll be using 2/1.8/2 spokes and brass nipples.

    Are you suggesting I get 277 for the entire front wheel or just for the left side?

    Reading Sheldon's page for wheelbuilding, he said he usually rounds up to the nearest available length.

    Man this is confusing.

  4. #4
    AEO
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    Quote Originally Posted by rankin116 View Post
    I'll be using 2/1.8/2 spokes and brass nipples.

    Are you suggesting I get 277 for the entire front wheel or just for the left side?

    Reading Sheldon's page for wheelbuilding, he said he usually rounds up to the nearest available length.

    Man this is confusing.
    yep, the front wheel, even with the disc offset, is about 1mm, which can be done with a single spoke size.
    too short is easier to correct than too long.
    If all that's available is even sizes, then go for 276mm for the front and 280mm, 282mm for the rear.

    actually, from my measurements, XR-300 gives 582mm ERD, so you might want to get the rims first, at the very least.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
    http://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/arti...ger-photos.htm

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    Senior Member rankin116's Avatar
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    Hmm, 582 huh? I'll have to look into that. I can definitely get the rims first.

    So you have used 582 in a build and didn't run into any problems?

  6. #6
    AEO
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    Quote Originally Posted by rankin116 View Post
    Hmm, 582 huh? I'll have to look into that. I can definitely get the rims first.

    So you have used 582 in a build and didn't run into any problems?
    worked out great.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
    http://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/arti...ger-photos.htm

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    Can'tre Member 3alarmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    too short is easier to correct than too long.
    If all that's available is even sizes, then go for 276mm for the front and 280mm, 282mm for the rear.

    actually, from my measurements, XR-300 gives 582mm ERD, so you might want to get the rims first, at the very least.
    AEO:

    I have never built a wheel from this rim,
    but the online pictures show it as one
    of those aero triangular box rims with
    a recessed chamber where the nipples
    (thus also the spoke ends) sit.

    I'm certain you have a reason for the
    statement about too short being easier
    to correct than too long. In
    this case spoke protrusion is not a
    concern.

    So are you just going on the general
    principle that if you come out a little short,
    you just increase tension to put a few
    more threads in the nipple--vs. too long
    and you run out of threads?

    Thanks. To the OP, he's right about manufacturers
    playing fast and loose with ERD numbers. I don't
    really understand why.

    Respectfully,
    Mike Larmer
    Quote Originally Posted by Cheshire Cat
    Only a few find the way, some don't recognize it when they do - some... don't ever want to.

  8. #8
    AEO
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
    AEO:

    I have never built a wheel from this rim,
    but the online pictures show it as one
    of those aero triangular box rims with
    a recessed chamber where the nipples
    (thus also the spoke ends) sit.

    I'm certain you have a reason for the
    statement about too short being easier
    to correct than too long. In
    this case spoke protrusion is not a
    concern.

    So are you just going on the general
    principle that if you come out a little short,
    you just increase tension to put a few
    more threads in the nipple--vs. too long
    and you run out of threads?

    Thanks. To the OP, he's right about manufacturers
    playing fast and loose with ERD numbers. I don't
    really understand why.

    Respectfully,
    Mike Larmer
    in the event that they're too short, you go with a longer nipple, say 14mm nipple, which effectively shrinks the ERD by 3 to 4mm. Or, put another way, it, effectively, lengthens the spoke by 1.5 to 2mm.

    If they're too long, they will bottom out in the nipple and no amount of twisting will make the spoke tighter.
    There's only room for about 2mm extra length of spoke that can protrude from the nipple before it will bottom out and bind. By going shorter, you can have fix it by using 14mm or 16mm nipples or by going with one less cross.
    Last edited by AEO; 12-08-10 at 04:10 PM.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
    http://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/arti...ger-photos.htm

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    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    If they're too long, they will bottom out in the nipple and no amount of twisting will make the spoke tighter.
    There's only room for about 2mm extra length of spoke that can protrude from the nipple before it will bottom out and bind.
    This is why I always round down. And if any part of the spoke is 1.5 mm (or less) in thickness round down an extra mm. Thin spokes stretch.
    Last edited by Al1943; 12-08-10 at 07:55 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member rankin116's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al1943 View Post
    This is why I always round down. And if any part of the spoke is 1.5 mm (or less) round down an extra mm. Thin spokes stretch.
    I don't understand what you mean by this. Are you saying you would round down from 281.5 to 280? And by extension, would you go from 281.6 to 282 or 281? Sorry if that's a dumb question, I'm trying to learn as much about this as I can. Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rankin116 View Post
    I don't understand what you mean by this. Are you saying you would round down from 281.5 to 280? And by extension, would you go from 281.6 to 282 or 281? Sorry if that's a dumb question, I'm trying to learn as much about this as I can. Thanks.
    I was actually repeating what AEO had already said. The worst that can happen is to run out of threads before reaching your target tension. This can easily happen if your spokes are too long. Rounding down helps prevent this if for some reason your spokes turn out to be on the long side. If you were to use 2.0-1.5-2.0 or straight 1.5 mm spokes I would round down an extra mm to compensate for possible stretch. In the past I have had to replace some drive side rear spokes because they had stretched far enough that the nipples could no longer be adjusted to a higher tension. All of the threads had been used.
    I don't understand your question about "extension". I would never round up the drive side rear spokes because the tension is really high on modern multi-speed deep dished wheels.

  12. #12
    Senior Member rankin116's Avatar
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    Chalk that up to me being an idiot. I didn't realize that you were referring to width when you said 1.5mm or less. I get what point you were making, thanks for the clarification.

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    Senior Member rankin116's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    worked out great.
    So if you were going to build a new wheel with this rim, would you measure them again when you received them or order spokes using the ERD as 582? I guess what I'm getting at is how much variation can be seen between individual rims of the same model?

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    Senior Member rankin116's Avatar
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    So I measured the ERD and I came up with 580. Of course its different than what others have said. Why should this be easy?

    So if I use 580 and EDD calculator, I get measurements of 279.2 and 280.2 for the front, and 283.5 and 281.6 for the rear. I'm thinking I can use 278 for the front and 280 and 282 for the rear.

    I'm thinking I will go with straight gauge spokes to save a little money. What do you guys think?

  15. #15
    AEO
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    spokes are the wrong place to save money

    While the double butted might cost more, they last longer than straight gauge, which offsets the costs.

    Sure, spokes are not an investment, as they are consumables, but you really aren't saving money by spending time building up your own wheels either, so you might as well use the better parts.

    Here are some cheap triple butted 278mm. They are a bit prone to winding up, but not as bad as revolutions.
    http://shop.vendio.com/benscycle/category/43/
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
    http://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/arti...ger-photos.htm

  16. #16
    Can'tre Member 3alarmer's Avatar
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    What do you guys think?

    Quote Originally Posted by rankin116 View Post
    So I measured the ERD and I came up with 580. Of course its different than what others have said. Why should this be easy?

    So if I use 580 and EDD calculator, I get measurements of 279.2 and 280.2 for the front, and 283.5 and 281.6 for the rear. I'm thinking I can use 278 for the front and 280 and 282 for the rear.

    I'm thinking I will go with straight gauge spokes to save a little money. What do you guys think?
    With regard to using straight gauge spokes
    for your first build--

    With regard to your measurement of ERD--
    I'm not sure what your method is, nor am
    I certain of the tools you're using. I use
    Roger Musson's "make your own out of
    two spokes and nipples method" which
    I believe you can find on his website.

    If you've measured it a couple of times,
    sooner or later you've gotta go with what
    you know. If you're still a little nervous,
    run both your ERD and any other credible
    numbers (wasn't AEO's 582?) through
    your calc and split the difference.

    I use Roger Musson's online calculator, and
    have had good results with it.

    Your rounding seems about right to me.
    Make sure you pick some good music to
    work by and choose a spot with good light.

    Enjoy the process, and if you make mistakes,
    (you will if you do enough of these) try to
    figure out where you went astray and take
    a break. This is about all I got for you.

    Mike
    Quote Originally Posted by Cheshire Cat
    Only a few find the way, some don't recognize it when they do - some... don't ever want to.

  17. #17
    Senior Member rankin116's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    spokes are the wrong place to save money

    While the double butted might cost more, they last longer than straight gauge, which offsets the costs.

    Sure, spokes are not an investment, as they are consumables, but you really aren't saving money by spending time building up your own wheels either, so you might as well use the better parts.

    Here are some cheap triple butted 278mm. They are a bit prone to winding up, but not as bad as revolutions.
    http://shop.vendio.com/benscycle/category/43/
    You're right, I know. I'll go with DB then, and if I can find the ones you linked to in 282 I might go with those. What do you think about the lengths?

    And thanks for all your help, very much appreciated.

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    Senior Member rankin116's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
    With regard to using straight gauge spokes
    for your first build--

    With regard to your measurement of ERD--
    I'm not sure what your method is, nor am
    I certain of the tools you're using. I use
    Roger Musson's "make your own out of
    two spokes and nipples method" which
    I believe you can find on his website.

    If you've measured it a couple of times,
    sooner or later you've gotta go with what
    you know. If you're still a little nervous,
    run both your ERD and any other credible
    numbers (wasn't AEO's 582?) through
    your calc and split the difference.

    I use Roger Musson's online calculator, and
    have had good results with it.

    Your rounding seems about right to me.
    Make sure you pick some good music to
    work by and choose a spot with good light.

    Enjoy the process, and if you make mistakes,
    (you will if you do enough of these) try to
    figure out where you went astray and take
    a break. This is about all I got for you.

    Mike
    Thanks Mike. To measure the ERD, I used this method.

    Part of the reason I am thinking of using straight gauge spokes is because it's my first build. I'll think that over a bit before I order. At this point I'm much more concerned with getting the right length spokes.

  19. #19
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    The spoke lengths look good.
    I would get the double butted spokes. Either 15-16 or 14-15. It is not much more difficult to build with the butted spokes. When tightening them go about 1/4 turn too far then come back.
    There is no real advantage to the 1.5 mm spokes and they are much harder to tension with.

  20. #20
    Can'tre Member 3alarmer's Avatar
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    Good Luck and Get Cracking

    Quote Originally Posted by rankin116 View Post
    Thanks Mike. To measure the ERD, I used this method.
    This method should work, but has more places to go astray
    than the "make your own tool out of spokes" method.

    You take two two old spokes (or new ones), but they have to be
    pretty straight. Loctite the threads and screw the nipples on all the
    way until the spoke end is even with the bottom of the head groove.
    Let them dry and then mark exactly (and this is the only tricky part)
    on the spoke 100mm from the end of the spoke inside the nipple
    (you can see it ). You now have two spokes that you can insert
    as in your previous method, the nipples are fixed in place, and you
    just need to pull them tight and measure the gap between your marks
    and add 200 to get your ERD.

    I have a number of my build wheels up to fifteen years in age (I'm
    sorry, but I don't log mileage --not very scientific i know).
    The majority are built of straight gauge spokes because that's
    what was available to me cheaply. I use DT stainless almost
    exclusively. Durability is not an issue, so if you're going with
    the DB for that reason, I have some questions about the validity
    based on my own experience.

    I'm not arguing that DB spokes are not superior, only that
    straight gauge are easier to work with, easy is better the
    first time out of the gate, and in all probability if you use
    14G DT straights, your wheels will last a long time.

    Regards
    Mike Larmer
    Quote Originally Posted by Cheshire Cat
    Only a few find the way, some don't recognize it when they do - some... don't ever want to.

  21. #21
    Senior Member rankin116's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidad View Post
    The spoke lengths look good.
    I would get the double butted spokes. Either 15-16 or 14-15. It is not much more difficult to build with the butted spokes. When tightening them go about 1/4 turn too far then come back.
    There is no real advantage to the 1.5 mm spokes and they are much harder to tension with.
    Yeah I bought the DB spokes. Wheelsmith ones, decided on silver to save a little coin too. Thanks for the tips.

    Quote Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
    This method should work, but has more places to go astray
    than the "make your own tool out of spokes" method.
    I measured each rim 4 times in different spots and the number was always consistent, so I think I got it right. But since I got a different number than two experienced wheel builders used I probably butchered it and will end up with unusable spokes.

    Quote Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
    You take two two old spokes (or new ones), but they have to be pretty straight. Loctite the threads and screw the nipples on all the way until the spoke end is even with the bottom of the head groove. Let them dry and then mark exactly (and this is the only tricky part) on the spoke 100mm from the end of the spoke inside the nipple (you can see it ). You now have two spokes that you can insert as in your previous method, the nipples are fixed in place, and you
    just need to pull them tight and measure the gap between your marks and add 200 to get your ERD.

    I have a number of my build wheels up to fifteen years in age (I'm sorry, but I don't log mileage --not very scientific i know). The majority are built of straight gauge spokes because that's what was available to me cheaply. I use DT stainless almost exclusively. Durability is not an issue, so if you're going with the DB for that reason, I have some questions about the validity based on my own experience.

    I'm not arguing that DB spokes are not superior, only that straight gauge are easier to work with, easy is better the first time out of the gate, and in all probability if you use
    14G DT straights, your wheels will last a long time.

    Regards
    Mike Larmer
    I was thinking the same thing about the spokes, but I decided on the DB anyway. I don't anticipate too much trouble with this, but who knows. I'll certainly keep this thread updated as I go along since I will most likely have many more questions. Thanks.

    Alan

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    Senior Member rankin116's Avatar
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    I got the wheels laced up last night and I am going to start tensioning things up today. I've read that before I get any real tension in the spokes I want to get all the nipples screwed on to about the same place relative to the spoke. Any tips for this? I am thinking about stopping at the home depot on the way home to get a cheap screw driver and make the nipple driver Roger Musson suggests. That seems like it will be a lot of work though, so if I can avoid it I will.

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    When reaching higher tension I hold each spoke with pliers to avoid windup and advance the nipple on the spoke 1/16 turn at a time.
    Radial truing, lateral truing, and rim centering (dishing) all effect each other. I think it is much easier to concentrate on radial truing earlier then dishing and lateral truing. To get it right you will need to mount and fully inflate the tire and tube before the final lateral truing and dishing. Air pressure compresses the rim reducing tension and effecting truing and dishing. How much effect this has depends on how high the pressure is and how stiff the rim is.

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    "To get it right you will need to mount and fully inflate the tire and tube before the final lateral truing and dishing."

    I haven't seen that recommender very often.. rarely actually. So I struggle to understand why... when so many are building wheels at 120+ kgf.. how an inflated tire could chg spoke tension much.. if any at those high spoke tension readings? Maybe on the low count builds with very light rims?
    44 27′ 16″ N, 89 35′ 1″ W

    When I did not have this grey/silver hair.. I thought if one could distill COMMON SENSE
    the financial reward would be considerable. Today I well realize... gallons and gallons could sit on shelves at .99.. and all it would do.. is gather DUST.

    4078 miles in riding year 2012. 5000 for '13.... hopefully.

  25. #25
    AEO
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    Quote Originally Posted by SortaGrey View Post
    "To get it right you will need to mount and fully inflate the tire and tube before the final lateral truing and dishing."

    I haven't seen that recommender very often.. rarely actually. So I struggle to understand why... when so many are building wheels at 120+ kgf.. how an inflated tire could chg spoke tension much.. if any at those high spoke tension readings? Maybe on the low count builds with very light rims?
    the rim compresses very slightly, but it's enough to dip that 120kg/f to 90kg/f.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
    http://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/arti...ger-photos.htm

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