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Old 05-29-18, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Your two statements are at odds with one another. I agree that spokes fatigue from variations in spoke tension. Their fatigue life isn't infinite. I also agree that fewer spokes put more load on each spoke and result in increased fatigue.

The fact that we know about spoke fatigue, however, negates your second statement. "Never" is a long time. Spokes can certainly outlast rims but a worn out rim isn't the end of a wheel. It usually is because finding an identical rim or even a rim with an identical ERD usually isn't worth the hassle and expense. But the spokes will eventually start to fail with enough miles on them no matter how well built the wheel is.

I would also disagree that the hub flange goes before the spokes. Hub flange failure is rare even when the hub is reused multiple times in wheel building.
They aren't at odds with each other - it is very clear that "the wheel" is what is built with the original, new components, not used parts. "Never" is only in the context of starting with a new wheel.

Hub flange failure is rare. Spoke elbow failure would also be rare - if all wheels had their spoke elbows properly bedded. But as noted in the Wheel Fanatyk article about Alpine III spokes you previously posted, lower cost wheels don't get that sort of hand work so the elbows are compromised. Like many things mechanical, you can get away with doing things not-quite-right for awhile, but if it isn't right there will be eventual consequences - like unbedded elbow breakage. You can put a 2.3mm bandaid on the problem, or bed your spoke elbows. Savvy pro wheelbuilders choose the latter.
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