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  1. #1
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    Wire-wrapped spokes?

    The spokes on the sew-up rims on my older Peugeot are wrapped with fine red wire where they cross - anyone know what this is called and why it was done? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    It's called Tied and Soldered. it was done to create a stronger wheel.
    there is much debate on whether its of benefit or not, with the nay sayers
    being led by Jobst Brandt.
    I see it a lot on older track wheelsets, less on road bikes.

    Marty
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    Senior Member melville's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lotek View Post
    It's called Tied and Soldered. it was done to create a stronger wheel.
    there is much debate on whether its of benefit or not, with the nay sayers
    being led by Jobst Brandt.
    I see it a lot on older track wheelsets, less on road bikes.

    Marty
    Once upon a time spokes weren't as nice as they are today and they'd break every now and then. A tied and soldered wheel presented a bit less of a danger to other racers in the event of a spoke breaking and some velodromes required tied wheels well into the 70s.

    Believe it or not, short boardtracks present higher sustained loads on bicycle wheels than you'll find in any other venue. I used to think that the six day racers' faces looked really intense on the banking when I saw the pictures in Winning Bicycle Racing and Miroir du Cyclisme magazines. Then I started racing the track and realized it was centripetal force making their faces droop into a scowl!

  4. #4
    Tilting with windmills txvintage's Avatar
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    It's a was a very common practice in endurance off road motorcycle racing in the 70's and early 80's. The ISDT (International six Days Trial, now called ISDE) guys did this a lot. They raced 6 days, eclipsing 200 rough off road miles a day, and were not allowed spare parts that weren't already on the bike.

    The more modern version allows for certain spare parts, including spokes, so it's not a common practice anymore.

    I've been considering doing it to a set of wheels my self, given the extra stress I can put on wheels on a rough surface.

  5. #5
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Now THIS is a fresh and interesting thread. Lotek and Melville, I like your informative responses.

    What did the "tied and soldered" imply? Did the spokes mount to the rim and hub flanges the same as traditional spokes?
    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by mike View Post
    Now THIS is a fresh and interesting thread. Lotek and Melville, I like your informative responses.

    What did the "tied and soldered" imply? Did the spokes mount to the rim and hub flanges the same as traditional spokes?
    Yes the spokes mount the same way. The 'tied and soldered' refers to the wire that wraps around the cross of the spokes, is tied off, and a drop of solder applied to keep it neat.

    I always thought the advantage was if you broke a spoke while riding/racing, the wheel would remain truer than had it not been tied and soldered.

  7. #7
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I just assumed that both spokes plus the wire were soldered into a glob- is this not the case? (IE, did the solder actually contact the spokes, too?)
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

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  9. #9
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    OFG's image (thanks!)

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    I searched for a picture of a set I have back in AZ, but couldn't find it. Whether they really do anything or not, the coolness factor is definitely in play.

  11. #11
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    "with the nay sayers being led by Jobst Brandt." QUOTE.


    The "other side of the coin", has GERD SCHRANER giving us his "Professional", take

    on the subject which I tend to discount eg:

    1) "A long forgotten art," Oh ya?

    2) "pre-tinned iron wire." Dissimilar metals, the iron will pit the stainless steel spoke!

    3) "or propane gas soldering torch" He does mention before this about the annealing

    problem with the spokes; why take this chance, it's a "how to", publication!

    4) He mentions again about the above problem; I suppose that he had forgotten. (in print?)

    5) The book was "endorsed", by DT; poorly written, many errors, a "rush job".


    Regards,
    J T

  12. #12
    Senior Member EatMyA**'s Avatar
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    I've done it on multiple sets of rims. heres what I found

    1. it makes the rims stiffer
    2. it keeps your rims truer longer
    3. People dont do it because it takes time and effort. Most people are too lazy, are in denial about it, and don't recognize it. so they rather ridicule and invalidate the practice even thought they have neither experience or knowledge of the subject.

    I would recommend it as a must, for heavy riders who are also STRONG, and only have one speed (LIGHTNING). These are the guys that ruin rear wheels like its going out of style.

    To address some of the BS

    there is not enough Heat to anneal the spokes. you use flux, solder and soldering iron. the spokes don't even get warm. Heck people also use "glue" any epoxy that bonds metal will do.

    you dont pit any spokes. use similar metals and be done with it.
    for example: Use galvanized steel wire for your ties if you have cheap galvanized steel spokes.
    use stainless steel wire if you have stainless steel spokes

    if you have cheap galvanized spokes and you use copper wire the copper will corrode and start to turn green. but if you put a drop of oil this does not happen, so even when you mess up on the combination there is a fix. copper,galvanized,silver,stainless all work fine for regular stainless steel spokes no pitting.

    OTHER TIPS

    you can glue the spokes to the hub to keep them from moving.
    if there is play between spoke and hub when building your wheels, you can try to put a small washer to eliminate this. this gives you very strong and stiff wheels

  13. #13
    Senior Member EatMyA**'s Avatar
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    but now a days you can just make a Deep-V 40 hole rim with single or triple butted spoked and a 135mm hub.

    but if dont have the money the above is a very good alternative

  14. #14
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I'm not sure if the picture up there was intended to show solder only holding the wire or whether that whole coil is soldered?
    I found this site:
    http://www.roadbikerider.com/TandS.htm
    He talks about using acetone to clean the spokes which implies the spokes are to be soldered also, and the pictures look like that's the case. Ditto on this site:
    http://www.llewellynbikes.com/produc...elbuilding.htm
    If I remember right, solder melts in the 500-600 degree range (or lower), and you wouldn't expect that to have any significant effect on steel spokes. Of course, you COULD heat the spokes a lot hotter than that, but that would be a different issue. Tying them together like this, it seems like you could get some minor bending going on at the tie point, and I would think any breakage at that point would be as much related to that as to the soldering operation.
    The dissimilar metal issues are more of a problem if the thing stays wet. For most bikes, I wouldn't think that would really matter. The solder is always dissimilar from the wire and spokes, but that's true of all the soldered stuff in any electronic doohickey, too.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  15. #15
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Hey guys, if I don't want to spend that much time wiring and soldering my spokes, do you suppose ZIP-ties would work?
    Mike

  16. #16
    Senior Member EatMyA**'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike View Post
    Hey guys, if I don't want to spend that much time wiring and soldering my spokes, do you suppose ZIP-ties would work?
    No. Everyone asks this.

    the solder is there to hold the wire together, so that the wire does not become loose and looses its tension. therefore defeating the purpose of tying the spokes in the first place. it DOES NOT go on the spokes themselves. But if some solder gets on the spokes, it will do nothing since solder cools very fast.

    Also most solder does not bond to stainless steel very well if at all. when using stainless steel wire use a strong glue or a drop of epoxy like JBweld.

    One more thing, you can wrap more loops to make the tie stronger. and you DON'T NEED to tie spokes if you are not heavy, strong, or ride fast.
    Last edited by EatMyA**; 07-03-08 at 12:35 AM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member EatMyA**'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    ...... related to that as to the soldering operation.
    The dissimilar metal issues are more of a problem if the thing stays wet. For most bikes, I wouldn't think that would really matter. The solder is always dissimilar from the wire and spokes, but that's true of all the soldered stuff in any electronic doohickey, too.

    Very true! I was gonna mention that but I thought it would go over many peoples head and not have very much relation to the subject. Thank you for mentioning that.

  18. #18
    Vintage French Bike Fan
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    So if you've read Jobst Brandt's book you can see his arguments are very clearly made and backed up with data and facts. If someone can present a similar case, not just "it feels stiffer and lasts longer" then I'd be interested. I have yet to see that done. If your wheel is built properly you won't break spokes, it will be stiff enough already, and you don't need tricks like gluing your spoke nipples to keep them from unwinding. Particularly in a track environment where you are not even hitting substantial terrain.

    As for Melville's assertion that "short boardtracks present higher sustained loads on bicycle wheels than you'll find in any other venue", it's important to stress that this is lateral force, not vertical force. I know Melville knows this, but other readers might not. Loaded touring on a tandem will obliterate the vertical force of track racing. However, riding that sustained curve, even with the banking, will definitely exert a sustained, high lateral force. This is one of the only places where I can see tied spokes making any sense at all. It might improve handling and steering responsiveness, but I just can't see it improving wheel life or "strength". I think what you end up doing is transferring the stress from a fairly even length along the spoke to a much shorter length, thus increasing rather than lessening your chance of spoke failure. You essentially negate some of the advantage of using double butted spokes, while adding a stress point at the weakest area of the spoke.

    I'd be interested if someone can devise a way to scientifically demonstrate an advantage from spoke tying and if someone has access to a track and appropriate wheels to test it according to the devised method. I'd like to be wrong... I like the way it looks. Personally that's a good enough reason for me as long as it does't do any damage, but I remain to be convinced of any advantage.

    Karl

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    Well I just bought some wheels from an old road racer, one of the rears being tied.
    He talked about how he used to break spokes and that tying them helped solve this problem.
    Everyone who just says "oh I read what this guy had to say and it sounds good, he has science", well, people have done it and it works.

  20. #20
    Senior Member gregam's Avatar
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    We used to do it in the '70s, but again that was before the better spokes and rims we have today. I always thought it looked sharp on a crow foot lacing.
    1st bike - 1962 Schwinn Varsity (bought new and wish I still had it, left it in Siagon, Viet Nam 1965)
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  21. #21
    Vintage French Bike Fan
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    Quote Originally Posted by mastershake916 View Post
    Everyone who just says "oh I read what this guy had to say and it sounds good, he has science", well, people have done it and it works.
    I guess we've devolved into a faith vs science argument so I'll agree to disagree.

    Karl

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    Quote Originally Posted by karmat View Post
    I guess we've devolved into a faith vs science argument so I'll agree to disagree.

    Karl
    LOL, I didn't see that....

  23. #23
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    I have not seen any wheels with tied and soldered spokes in the past 20 years, but they were not uncommon 35 or 40 years ago. Having just snapped a non-torque right-side rear spoke right where it crossed another spoke (my first spoke failure in more than a decade), I can believe that the tie-and-solder treatment makes a wheel marginally more reliable and a bit safer and more able to limp home in the event of spoke breakage.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  24. #24
    30 YR Wrench BikeWise1's Avatar
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    I am of the opinion that Jobst Brandt's research with regard to the efficacy of tying and soldering is faulty. He attempted to measure a dynamic system with a static test. In my opinion, the data he produced do not support the conclusion he reached.

    I still tie and solder. It is of particular benefit to tandem and disc brake wheels. I just finished a pair of 48 spoke sew-up tandem track wheels for Don Walker. They are custom drilled Velocity Deep-Vs on Phil Wood hubs.

    I do neat work and use tinned iron wire and heat the tie with a butane torch. The beauty of tin is that its melting point is similar to solder so when you see the tin get shiny, it's ready for the solder. In this way, minimum heat is required. I've had no problems with corrosion. In the rare event of a broken spoke, the tie is easily cut, and a new spoke can then be inserted and the tie redone. The tie does the work-the solder is just to keep the wire from unravelling.

    This photo was taken a few minutes after the tie was soldered. You can still see a little liquid flux under the tie. The ties are then scrubbed with a soft wire brush with a dish soap/ hot water mixture to remove residual flux and pretty up the joint. After it dries, Boeshield is applied to all the joints to forestall possible corrosion in the tie itself.

    Last edited by BikeWise1; 07-03-08 at 09:28 PM.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeWise1 View Post
    I am of the opinion that Jobst Brandt's research with regard to the efficacy of tying and soldering is faulty. He attempted to measure a dynamic system with a static test. In my opinion, the data he produced do not support the conclusion he reached.

    I still tie and solder. It is of particular benefit to tandem and disc brake wheels. I just finished a pair of 48 spoke sew-up tandem track wheels for Don Walker. They are custom drilled Velocity Deep-Vs on Phil Wood hubs.

    I do neat work and use tinned iron wire and heat the tie with a butane torch. The beauty of tin is that its melting point is similar to solder so when you see the tin get shiny, it's ready for the solder. In this way, minimum heat is required. I've had no problems with corrosion. In the rare event of a broken spoke, the tie is easily cut, and a new spoke can then be inserted and the tie redone. The tie does the work-the solder is just to keep the wire from unravelling.

    This photo was taken a few minutes after the tie was soldered. You can still see a little liquid flux under the tie. The ties are then scrubbed with a soft wire brush with a dish soap/ hot water mixture to remove residual flux and pretty up the joint. After it dries, Boeshield is applied to all the joints to forestall possible corrosion in the tie itself.

    +1

    On top of that, I've found some of Jobst Brandt's (see fork crowns, for example) research to be akin to Rush Limbaugh's or Dr. Dobson's.

    It certainly doesn't hurt to tie and solder, and if it keeps a wheel true after a broken spoke in a race situation, that would be reason enuf.

    That being said, I'm just an old, fat, guy who is still learning.

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