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Old 02-07-14, 01:03 PM   #1
digger531
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Wheel Building questions

I am certain these questions have been asked and answered a number of times in the past but I couldn't find anything within a couple years so..., I would appreciate some advice and thank you in advance.

This will be my first wheel build. I am in MN and laid off so I literally have 2 months to build these.
Shimano HB-6207 hubs and Velocity Deep Vs.
Spoke calculater says 283.5 in front
282.2 left rear
280.6 right rear

My questions are...
Round up or down and how far? (will 282 work for front and left rear, will 280 work for all)
Should I use a heavier spoke on the drive side? (DT revs front and left rear with comps on the right rear)
Brass or aluminum nipples?
Best place to buy spokes and nipples?
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Old 02-07-14, 01:10 PM   #2
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I always round down on the drive side rear. Spokes can stretch due to the higher tension, especially skinny spokes or double butted spokes. Assuming that your calculations are correct, stay as close to the calculations as possible.
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Old 02-07-14, 01:32 PM   #3
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I round down and stick with the calculated sizes. If I were to guess I would go for the 282 all around. It would be an experiment and you might not be able to get away with it.
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Old 02-07-14, 01:36 PM   #4
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I've always heard (and practiced, due to limited availability) that rounding down by up to 2 mm is ok. So you could conceivably be able to get away with just the two lengths. 282 and 280. Brass nipples last longer. Be aware, when tightening the rear, to not overtighten the drive side too early on. It's an easy trap to fall into when in the early dishing stages. No need to use heavier spokes on the drive side. And be sure to lube the threads before lacing them. I use 30 wt motor oil.
Robbietunes has a good source for spokes and nipples online. I can't remember it off the top of my head.
Good luck and enjoy.
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Old 02-07-14, 02:04 PM   #5
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Round down to the next whole number, but use the recommended lengths for each position. There is no value to a heavier spoke on the DS. The only time there is an advantage to using different gauge spokes is if you are going generally HEAVIER, then to go LIGHTER on the NDS. I know this seems contradictory, but it is true. Once you are already going lighter anyway, heavier on the DS is useless. Your Revolutions are the same gauge at the ends where breakage occurs as 14 gauge straight gauge spokes. So how can you do better than that?
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Old 02-07-14, 02:26 PM   #6
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Round down to the next whole number, but use the recommended lengths for each position. There is no value to a heavier spoke on the DS. The only time there is an advantage to using different gauge spokes is if you are going generally HEAVIER, then to go LIGHTER on the NDS. I know this seems contradictory, but it is true. Once you are already going lighter anyway, heavier on the DS is useless. Your Revolutions are the same gauge at the ends where breakage occurs as 14 gauge straight gauge spokes. So how can you do better than that?
Revolutions are my favorite spokes but I quit using them on the drive side rear because they stretch too much. I have measured as much as 2 mm stretch in Revolutions under approximately 125 kgf tension. The DT Swiss rounds down calculated lengths by more than 1 mm on drive side rear Revolutions. I now use DT Competition spokes on the drive side rear, with no problems.
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Old 02-07-14, 02:36 PM   #7
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Revolutions are my favorite spokes but I quit using them on the drive side rear because they stretch too much. I have measured as much as 2 mm stretch in Revolutions under approximately 125 kgf tension. The DT Swiss rounds down calculated lengths by more than 1 mm on drive side rear Revolutions. I now use DT Competition spokes on the drive side rear, with no problems.
You are right about the stretch in Revolutions (and the same in Sapim Lasers and CX-Rays), but don't forget the heaviest commonly used spokes, 14 ga or 2.0 mm, still stretch about 1/2 that amount. So the stretch is always significant. It is proportional to the tension, the length of the spoke, and the cross sectional area of the spoke. Stretch of Revolutions is not a reason to stop using them, it is the main reason TO use them. That stretch is nearly completely elastic and more stretch means that the spoke has almost no chance of going slack when the rim is compressed at the site of the given spoke by rider weight or an impact. That is exactly what you want. A spoke that isn't stretched much more than the amount the rim is compressed is in danger of going slack. That can cause loosening and definitely contributes to fatigue failure either at the J-bend or the nipple. The lightest possible spokes are always your best bet UNLESS they provide a wheel with insufficient stiffness. Higher stiffness is the only reason to change to heavier gauge spokes, not greater strength.

I have never had a nipple bottom out on a spoke sized according the any of the popular spreadsheets not matter how much the spoke stretched.
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Old 02-07-14, 02:58 PM   #8
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I have never had a nipple bottom out on a spoke sized according the any of the popular spreadsheets not matter how much the spoke stretched.
I have had at least two wheels with nipples bottoming out due to spoke stretch, one that I built using the DT Swiss calculator and all DT Swiss components, the other was a Mavic Helium with Revolutions or something similar. In both cases it became impossible to true the wheels without rebuilding with different spokes on the drive side rear. I still use Revolutions but not on the drive side rear.
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Old 02-07-14, 03:02 PM   #9
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I have had at least two wheels with nipples bottoming out due to spoke stretch, one that I built using the DT Swiss calculator and all DT Swiss components, the other was a Mavic Helium with Revolutions or something similar. In both cases it became impossible to true the wheels without rebuilding with different spokes on the drive side rear. I still use Revolutions but not on the drive side rear.
Fair enough. Just saying that if you would like to use the Revolutions on the DS, just take off the 2 mm from the calculated length. They are plenty tough enough to take the higher tension; it is just the stretch that can cause you a problem. Solve that issue, and you're golden. No reason not to use them all over the build.

But the way, I tension my front spokes the same as my DS rear, about 120 kgF. Never had a problem with too much stretch there either.
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Old 02-07-14, 03:09 PM   #10
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...when tightening the rear, to not overtighten the drive side too early on....
FWIW: When I build a rear I tension and radial true the wheel using only the DS spokes leaving the NDS spokes slack. I then dish and laterally true the wheel using only the NDS spokes. Pulling the rim to the left with the NDS spokes only increased the DS tension a few kgF
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Old 02-07-14, 03:18 PM   #11
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I've always heard (and practiced, due to limited availability) that rounding down by up to 2 mm is ok. So you could conceivably be able to get away with just the two lengths. 282 and 280. Brass nipples last longer. Be aware, when tightening the rear, to not overtighten the drive side too early on. It's an easy trap to fall into when in the early dishing stages. No need to use heavier spokes on the drive side. And be sure to lube the threads before lacing them. I use 30 wt motor oil.
Robbietunes has a good source for spokes and nipples online. I can't remember it off the top of my head.
Good luck and enjoy.
True dat, about lubing the thread, even if (maybe especially if) you have prepped them with a thread prep compound. But I disagree with the motor oil as the lubricant. I was using chain lube and not having particularly good results. I would still get some sticky nipple/spokes. But then Jeremy Parfait of Alchemy Bicycle Works recommended I use bearing grease like Phil Wood. Night and day. Man what a difference. After I started using that, easy-peasey.
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Old 02-08-14, 12:39 AM   #12
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Round down to nearest whole on drive side...

Okay to round up to nearest whole on non-drive side...

The above assumes the ERD aims for the flat of the screwdriver slot of a standard profile nipple - and the spokes have the typical 9.5mm to 10.0mm of threading.

=8-)
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Old 02-08-14, 12:02 PM   #13
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True dat, about lubing the thread, even if (maybe especially if) you have prepped them with a thread prep compound. But I disagree with the motor oil as the lubricant. I was using chain lube and not having particularly good results. I would still get some sticky nipple/spokes. But then Jeremy Parfait of Alchemy Bicycle Works recommended I use bearing grease like Phil Wood. Night and day. Man what a difference. After I started using that, easy-peasey.
Thanks for that tip. I hope to begin my next one this afternoon, and will try grease instead.
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