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Old 03-15-14, 05:22 AM   #1
bradtx
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Straight 15 gauge spokes?

Hi All, My back-up touring bike's wheelset is laced with this spoke size and is OEM. As this doesn't seem a more popular choice/option my question is why not?

TIA,
Brad
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Old 03-15-14, 08:14 AM   #2
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As you might expect, 15 ga is less popular because 14 ga is readily available. A thicker spoke will be a stronger spoke, and the weight penalty, within the context of unsupported touring, ultra light or not, is not meaningful.
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Old 03-15-14, 09:03 AM   #3
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Still occasionally riding my 36 spoke wheel pair , I built on the 70s with 15ga straight spokes ..

they're sorta light road wheels , though .. brass in spoke nipples is thicker because the threaded hole is smaller .


... seems if the pragmatic 14 straight is not used , people build with Butted Spokes

often 15 in the center . 14 on the ends.

touring, worrying about spoke weight is an odd thing , Butting does have a physical benefit

of taking some flexing stress off the ends , and absorbing it in the running length of the spoke.

not worrying about weight , I built relyable touring wheels with 14 ga spokes.. 88 of them in the set ..40/48.
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Old 03-15-14, 03:52 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by bradtx View Post
Hi All, My back-up touring bike's wheelset is laced with this spoke size and is OEM. As this doesn't seem a more popular choice/option my question is why not?

TIA,
Brad
Provide a generous margin for error with the bigger spoke. Cutting costs a bit with the thinner spoke. When I was young and 60lbs lighter all my wheels were straight 15g 36 spoke wheels, racing or touring with rim weight and tire size making the difference. Never broke a spoke but did damage wheels in use. At that time I saw folks who are now my size and came to the conclusion 15g just didn't provide enough meat on the drive side of the rear wheel.

Shaving ounces in spokes for touring application is really misguided.
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Old 03-15-14, 07:25 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by the Bicycle Wheel, 3rd edition pp46-7 by Jobst Brandt
...most fatigue failures occur at these places (elbows and threads of straight-gauged spokes)...[T]he most valuable contribution of swaging is that peak stresses are absorbed in the straight midsection rather than concentrated in the threads and elbow, thereby substantially reducing fatigue failures.
In short, there are fewer spoke failures by using swaged 14/15 gauge (1.8/2.0 mm) spokes than when straight 15 gauge or 14 gauge are used.
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Old 03-16-14, 05:30 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies.

My guess was that since most hubs accept a 2.0 mm spoke head, the 1.8 would be 'loose' and it just isn't an ideal match.

Because this is the first bike I've owned with the 15 gauge spokes I was curious as to why this size isn't used more often. There is no accounting if or how many may spokes have been replaced before it came to me, but this high mileage tourer is still equipped with them. With rust blush on the fork's low rider points it's possibly been loaded to a medium weight or more.

Thanks again for the responses!

Brad
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Old 03-16-14, 10:11 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by bradtx View Post
...My guess was that since most hubs accept a 2.0 mm spoke head, the 1.8 would be 'loose' and it just isn't an ideal match...
If it bothers you a lot, spoke washers are inexpensive (link per Mr Brown):

Brass Flat Washer, #2 Hole Size, 0.0890" ID, 0.0280" Nominal Thickness (Pack of 100) | AmazonSupply.com

However, I think I'd go ahead and respoke for the same amount of labor, using WS DB14:

Wheelsmith 2.0/1.7 x 260mm Silver Spokes. Bag of 50. @ eBikeStop.com

Note that WS SG spokes (DT too) are less expensive than DB at 60% of the cost (SG are option for those mostly ignoring previous discussion and simply want least expensive spokes from a reputable supplier):

Wheelsmith 2.0 x 262mm Silver Spokes. Bag of 50. @ eBikeStop.com
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Old 03-16-14, 10:34 AM   #8
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My guess was that since most hubs accept a 2.0 mm spoke head, the 1.8 would be 'loose'
not when there is any tension on them, in a built wheel,

the spoke nipple tightening of course pulls the J hook against the edge of the hole in the Alloy hubflange.

spoke thread is rolled in, so its bigger than 2.0mm anyhow.
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Old 03-16-14, 02:05 PM   #9
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If it bothers you a lot, spoke washers are inexpensive (link per Mr Brown)...
The bike doesn't have spoke washers and the spoke's gauge isn't a concern, rather just a curiosity. I also have to make a correction, it seems that Cannondale used 15 gauge spokes on many models in '96 and I owned a roadie, bought new, that was so equipped. Those wheels are still doing well on my daughter"s bike.

Brad
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Old 03-16-14, 02:59 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by bradtx View Post
The bike doesn't have spoke washers and the spoke's gauge isn't a concern, rather just a curiosity. I also have to make a correction, it seems that Cannondale used 15 gauge spokes on many models in '96 and I owned a roadie, bought new, that was so equipped. Those wheels are still doing well on my daughter"s bike.

Brad
Another curiosity: Cannondale used titanium spoke nipples in that era of wheels. Seems like the wheels were built to be a good balance of weight and strength.
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Old 03-16-14, 03:08 PM   #11
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Another curiosity: Cannondale used titanium spoke nipples in that era of wheels. Seems like the wheels were built to be a good balance of weight and strength.
I didn't know that, thanks.

Brad
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Old 03-16-14, 03:41 PM   #12
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I didn't know that, thanks.

Brad
Access to Bikepedia can make anyone sound knowledgeable 1996 Cannondale T700 - BikePedia

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Old 03-16-14, 10:44 PM   #13
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don't know if anybody mentioned it, but be aware that spoke nipples for 15ga and 14ga spokes are NOT interchangeable. so if you plan to carry spares make sure you have the right size...
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Old 03-16-14, 11:47 PM   #14
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One option is to use 15s on the rear wheel on the non-drive side. It is supposed to make a more durable wheel.

"In short, there are fewer spoke failures by using swaged 14/15 gauge (1.8/2.0 mm) spokes than when straight 15 gauge or 14 gauge are used."

It is hard to have fewer failures than zero. Spoke superiorities are largely folkloric when the wheels are properly built using quality components that are a good fit to each other.
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Old 03-17-14, 05:43 AM   #15
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don't know if anybody mentioned it, but be aware that spoke nipples for 15ga and 14ga spokes are NOT interchangeable. so if you plan to carry spares make sure you have the right size...
Quote:
Originally Posted by MassiveD View Post
One option is to use 15s on the rear wheel on the non-drive side. It is supposed to make a more durable wheel.



"In short, there are fewer spoke failures by using swaged 14/15 gauge (1.8/2.0 mm) spokes than when straight 15 gauge or 14 gauge are used."

It is hard to have fewer failures than zero. Spoke superiorities are largely folkloric when the wheels are properly built using quality components that are a good fit to each other.
I learned both of these points when I researched 15 gauge spokes before posting.

Brad
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Old 03-17-14, 06:01 AM   #16
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Access to Bikepedia can make anyone sound knowledgeable 1996 Cannondale T700 - BikePedia
Mine appear to be the standard brass, but the rims are Sun L18s rather than the catalog spec., which is sometimes different from production.

Brad
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