Mad bike riding scientist
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Bikes: Some silver ones, a black one, a red one, an orange one and a couple of titanium ones
Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
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Originally Posted by EmmCeeBee
I love building wheels this time of year, waiting for springtime to kick in. One reaon I build my own is to get what I believe are the best and most reliable components. That includes 14/15/14 double-butted spokes (2.0/1.8).
I wouldn't use the 14/16/14 (2.0/1.6) for touring wheels. I don't have metallurgical training but IMO they'd be a weak point in the wheel. I've been known to put lesser spokes on commuting bikes, but I keep a couple extra wheelsets around for that purpose -- not something you have access to on tour.
DT also makes triple-butted spokes that allow the spoke elbows to survive a nuclear attack. Haven't used 'em, and I probably wouldn't if they cost more (they're certainly harder to find). But if you can get 'em for the same price (and your hub has the proper spoke holes), go for it.
Otherwise, 14/15/14 are the standard for bullet-proof wheels.
The DT Swiss Alpine III have work very well for me in mountain bike wheels I have a set that is at least 5 years old and still going strong, even after hard use. I've built a touring wheel with them but haven't had a chance to use them under load. However, 6 months after the build and several hundred miles later, the wheels are straight and strong. My OEM wheels didn't hold up that well nor did the ones I built with DT Revolutions (I think). The Alpines are about the same price from AE Bikes (look here
for the price-about $0.65 per spoke)
I'm not an engineer, but I get to play one at work sometimes
and I read alot so here goes for an explaination (some hand waving included): The holes on a hub are 2.3mm to allow the threads on the spoke to pass through. Since the threads are rolled on, instead of cut this expands the spoke to the 2.3mm from a 2.0mm wire which is why the spoke holes in the hub have to be 2.3mm. When you use a conventional 2.0/1.8/2.0 mm spoke, there is 0.3mm of slop at the hub when the spokes haven't been tensioned. Even under tension, there can be movement of the spoke head since the wheel is dynamic with the spokes being constantly loaded and unloaded. Because the spoke can move back and forth in the hole and the spoke can flex slightly, the movement is translated to the rim where the spoke nipple can start to back out (a little handwaving). If the spoke detensions enough, eventually the spoke head is taking all of the stresses and it will eventually break.
By filling the space in the hub spoke hole with a wire that doesn't allow for flex, the wheel ends up being stronger, longer lasting and remains truer for much longer than a conventional spoke.