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Spoke Tension for older Araya rims?

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Spoke Tension for older Araya rims?

Old 11-13-17, 06:31 PM
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Dean51 
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Spoke Tension for older Araya rims?

OK wheel builders, I'm looking for your advice on spoke tension for an older set of Araya rims that were original equipment on my 1977 Schwinn Volare. Pics below show the only identification marks ("ARAYA 700c Japan) and the cross section. The overall width of the rims is 22mm.

Rim Identification



Rim Cross Section



The wheels are in amazing condition, run true, and the dish is spot on. However, the spoke tension is very low. Front wheel and drive side of rear wheel are 65 - 70 kg and the tension of the non-drive side rear wheel spokes is so low it is off the calibration chart for my tensiometer.

As you can see from the pictures, there are no eyelets or washers to reinforce the spoke holes. I'm concerned about how much tension they will take without risking failure. For reference, I have built several wheelsets with Mavic GP4 and MA-40 rims. I have these set up at 105 -110 kg on the front wheel and rear wheel drive side. Would any of you recommend a lower value? If it matters to you, I'm ~170 pounds suited up and ready to ride.

Thanks in advance for you input!

Dean

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Old 11-13-17, 06:54 PM
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I shoot for 90kgf on the front and 110kgf rear DS. I'll increase that if necessary to get a minimum of 65-70kgf on the NDS, but try not to exceed 200kgf total for the wheel.
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Old 11-13-17, 08:51 PM
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Araya 16A(5) gets my vote: ARAYA Rim Catalog Archive 1980_01-02
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Old 11-13-17, 10:29 PM
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Tension

Older rims were generally lower tension. I do it by feel. Bring the tension up gradually and see if the rim starts doing odd stuff. If so, back it off a little.
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Old 11-13-17, 10:41 PM
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I don't focus nearly as much on tension as much as folks tend to do these days.

However, I don't base it on the rims, and use a (very) rough formula or rule of thumb to set tension according to the spokes used. My theory is that I'm trying to achieve a degree of elongation in the spokes, which gives them downside room as the rim deflects.

So, spoke gauge drives tension, and by extension, rim strength drives the spoke gauge.

These are not overly stout rims and don't like overly stout spokes. So, I'd build them with nothing stiffer than 2.0/1.8 DB spokes, and probably go lighter on left and front.

Finished tension (depending on the specific spokes) would be a relatively low 50/80kgf rear (or maybe lower on the left side) and something like 65kgf front.
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Old 11-14-17, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Araya 16A(5) gets my vote: ARAYA Rim Catalog Archive 1980_01-02
T-Scott.....'Appears you have identified my rims. THANK YOU!

It is raining cats 'n dogs in the Pacific Northwest today. Just the right kind of day to get after these wheels.

Dean
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Old 11-14-17, 02:03 PM
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This is a single-wall rim, right? I broke an Araya single-wall rim by tightening it so tightly I pulled a nipple through the wall - that was exciting: a loud, sharp PING!, a sickening sound of tight spokes moving against each other, the rim a potato chip. That was on a late '70s Schwinn Super LeTour 12.2 If you have the same rim, you may want to approach tightness gradually. I've never done this before or since; I buy double-wall rims now.
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Old 11-14-17, 05:22 PM
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I think just over half of the wheels I've built were on single-walled rims, all previously-used now that I think about it. One thing I like about them is how easy the tire mounting/dismounting can be with that deep center channel.

Bringing up the tension gradually and carefully is good advice no matter what rims you're using.
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Old 11-14-17, 11:13 PM
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So you have a set of wheels that are 40 years old and nearly perfect and why are you messing with them? Sounds like someone built some nice wheels at back when. I'm no master builder, but I didn't own a spoke tension gauge until my wife had 20 spoke wheels.

Then again I built 36 hole wheels on the lighter tension side, by feel, so it is just my preference.

John
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Old 11-15-17, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
So you have a set of wheels that are 40 years old and nearly perfect and why are you messing with them? Sounds like someone built some nice wheels at back when. I'm no master builder, but I didn't own a spoke tension gauge until my wife had 20 spoke wheels.

Then again I built 36 hole wheels on the lighter tension side, by feel, so it is just my preference.

John
Thanks to all who have responded. I'm now leaning toward leaving them alone or tighten them up a very small amount.....something on the order of 10kg. I have no prior experience with rims like these and it "bugs me" that the spoke tension is so low! Having said this, it is possible that they were built this way.

FWIW, this bike came to me about a year ago as part of a larger purchase of vintage bikes/parts/and tools from a friend who was near the end of his days. This Volare is in stellar condition and has all of its OEM bits except the shifters which were converted to bar ends. Back to the point, it had it's original Shimano freewheel and chain. The chain barely failed the 50% wear test....this makes me think the bike had minimal use before it came to me. Thus, the spoke tension likely reflects it's original set up.

Last, overnight I won the bid for a set of first generation Dura Ace downtube shifters in near new condition from an eBayer in France. 'Just under $20 shipped! This will get the bike back to all original.

Dean

Last edited by Dean51; 11-15-17 at 10:08 AM.
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Old 11-15-17, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
I shoot for 90kgf on the front and 110kgf rear DS. I'll increase that if necessary to get a minimum of 65-70kgf on the NDS, but try not to exceed 200kgf total for the wheel.
NO!!!

These are likely non heat treated or very little heat treatment. I'm often stopping at about 95 KGF for the drive side on 1970s and early 1980s Araya 27" and 700c single wall road rims. They are on the soft side.

Get the tension as high as you can....stress relieve using very hard squeezes of parallel spokes for a full rotation.

If you discover that after a stress relief rotation - you are re-truing the same spots over and over....back off a quarter turn...true and stress relieve again.

The moment the wheel settles down after a stress relief cycle....no further truing....you're done.

=8-)
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Old 11-15-17, 10:50 AM
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One other thought, following @70sSanO's point: with 40-year-old spokes and nipples, there is a very real chance that they are corroded together, and you could wind up snapping a spoke if you tried to bring up the tension without breaking them loose first.

(The one and only time I've ever broken a spoke was when I tried to bring up the tension on some 25-year-old wheels that probably hadn't been touched in decades. Learned my lesson to add a drop of lube at the spoke threads and rim hole and loosen a spoke until it turns freely before bringing its tension back up. Hope this helps.)
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Old 11-15-17, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
I think just over half of the wheels I've built were on single-walled rims, all previously-used now that I think about it. One thing I like about them is how easy the tire mounting/dismounting can be with that deep center channel.
They are easier to mount tires on. If spokes are a bit too long they risk poking through the rim strip and puncturing a tube. All those I have had have had thinner walls and broke catastrophically, the rim splitting while I was riding, the tire coming off, the tube blowing up: unwanted excitement. Double-walls expand before they break: I notice the bump in my brakes. They also don't have eyelets. Although the price was lower the cost was higher because of the short life, even ignoring the cost of building a new wheel.
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Old 11-15-17, 06:34 PM
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I can't quite tell from the picture: Do the rims have hooked beads? My spouse has Araya rims from that era, and they have non hooked beads. She's riding the bike into the ground, and plans on replacing it with something nicer, so she's not too worried about the rims.

But I don't think I'd start any project that involves more than a minor amount of work, on obsolete rims.
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Old 11-16-17, 09:23 AM
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Gresp15C..... these rims do have "hooked beads". I'm confident ThermionicScott got it right with Araya 16A(5).

I have bit the proverbial bullet and decided to leave the spoke tension alone. Both rims needed a wee bit of lateral truing. I've done that now (reduced total runout from ~0.015" to 0.005) by adding tension to spokes here and there. Fortunately, none of the spoke nipples were seized.

Thanks again to all who have offered their advice.

Dean
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Old 11-16-17, 10:29 AM
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thing is the spoke tension meters that are affordable are for relative tension within the wheel,

its not set to precise universal standards. (the expensive ones using a dial indicator are closer to that)

I'm another old build by feel , plucking spokes for relative tone, wheel builder/guitar player.

have some 30 year old wheels I still use.


stay with a modest tension, you will be touch up truing and over time those will be tightening more..




...

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Old 11-16-17, 11:37 AM
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I relaced the wheels on my ride almost 30 years ago. Didn't use any tension meters or other fancy gadgets and they're as good today as the day I first trued them. Lateral run out does not exceed .020". No need to fix that which ain't broke.
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Old 11-16-17, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
thing is the spoke tension meters that are affordable are for relative tension within the wheel,

its not set to precise universal standards. (the expensive ones using a dial indicator are closer to that)

I'm another old build by feel , plucking spokes for relative tone, wheel builder/guitar player.

have some 30 year old wheels I still use.


stay with a modest tension, you will be touch up truing and over time those will be tightening more..




...
FWIW, I built my own tensiometer from bits I had on hand. Pic below shows it in a jig for calibration. I developed charts that correlate deflection (as measured by the dial indicator) to tension for various spoke diameters. It is quite accurate and repeatable.

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Old 11-16-17, 02:57 PM
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Bound to impress the customers ordering wheels from you, Personally , I don't need a fancy Gage to build my own wheels ..
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Old 11-17-17, 01:12 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Bound to impress the customers ordering wheels from you, Personally , I don't need a fancy Gage to build my own wheels ..
I like tension meters. It makes truing used wheels much quicker - you easily find tension differences and realize what caused the rim to go out of true.

It's also good for exotic wheels and rims. Got a low spoke count wheel with thin spokes that were flat (aero). They felt pretty tight by hand, but the tension meter showed just 80 kgf tension (on a low spoke count, double walled alu rim).

Even with 36 spoke "standard" rims and spokes - it's a nice way to double check. Quicker than going by feel, or using a guitar pluck to check it the tension is even by ear. At least for me.

As for non-double walled rims, especially the steel ones, I'd go with tightening until they loose shape during stress relieving, then back off all the spokes half a turn, and true it again. Using thinner spokes on the NDS is also a good "trick" for such rims (2 mm on DS 1.8 mm on the NDS - double butted if possible).
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