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Spoke length check

Old 02-12-20, 04:21 AM
  #1  
stansb
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Spoke length check

Hi guys. I got wtb frequency i19 rims and shimano slx m7000 hubs that need to be laced up. Prowheelbuilder gives me 274 and 276 mm spokes. This is my first build and i could use a confirm on these spoke lenghts. ERD measures at 565 mm and flange diameters go at 44/45 mm. So basically i can confirm the input info from prowheelbuilder. Prob is that when i try to cross spokes (3 cross build) the spoke that crosses the other 3 barely reaches the rim hole. So my question is did i get the wrong spoke lenghts or is the lacing the problem?
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Old 02-12-20, 04:59 AM
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I am not an expert in this field, but the spoke lengths are probably correct.

I suggest, for your early builds, just do it the same as ordinary wheels. Don't try anything fancy until you get more experience. You can look at an ordinary wheel, and copy it. There are also youtube videos, you may want to watch for tips from the experts.
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Old 02-12-20, 05:31 AM
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You can use these 2 sites:
https://kstoerz.com/freespoke/
This one gives the stretch amount. click on "log" to read the stretch.
https://www.wheelpro.co.uk/spokecalc/
I don't know your hub dimensions, but using a few examples from the freespoke database, it comes out 275.1-275.6mm and 273.5-274.0mm, with 32 spokes and 3 cross.
You are sure that the ERD is 565mm? DId you measure it yourself? Is it the 584mm or 622mm rim?
https://www.wtb.com/products/frequency-team

You're sure you have the right lacing pattern?

Are you threading the spokes all the way into the nipple each time you insert a new one or are you only threading it a few turns so that the threads are still exposed? While lacing, you should only turn the nipple a few times, because if you thread them all the way in, it will be very difficult to get the last few spokes to reach the nipples. After all the spokes are laced, then you can start tightening the nipples.

Last edited by tomtomtom123; 02-12-20 at 05:37 AM.
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Old 02-12-20, 08:15 AM
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The rims are 27.5 i forgot to mention that. Yeah i measured the erd and the flanges myself. And i got the same numbers. When i tried to lace it up yesterday, i had my current bike's front wheel next to me and my lacing looked exactally like it. I had a tutorial playing on youtube also. Started off with 8 spokes on each side which were going into the rim next to each other in pairs of 2 at a distance of 2 holes a pair. Then i continued with the crossing spokes but my spokes seemed long enough to only fit a 2 cross. If i tried to cross 3 spokes they ended up short. Another thing i noticed was that after the initial 16 spokes were laced i could turn my hub freely left abd right - it wasnt locked in place and the one being laced in the tutorial was. I threaded the nips only a couple of turns. Everything seems right to me that's why im worried i got the incorrect spoke lenght
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Old 02-12-20, 11:15 AM
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Are you sure that you're counting the crosses right? The first cross occurs at the hub flange.
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Old 02-12-20, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
Are you sure that you're counting the crosses right? The first cross occurs at the hub flange.
My thought too-
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Old 02-12-20, 02:17 PM
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here is the situation: imgur.com/oEJioMT.jpg ; imgur.com/ZGrNtdF.jpg
im sorry im posting a link but site wont let me upload yet. The spoke that my hand is holding is not making it into the rim. Apart from that ive crossed 3 spokes (last spoke being crossed on pic is from the opposite flange).
Edit: i've actually tried to hold a spoke like this with a nipple and it grabs it but is this all normal in the first place?

Last edited by stansb; 02-12-20 at 02:46 PM. Reason: photos
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Old 02-12-20, 02:59 PM
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When initially threading on the nipples, you only want 2-3 turns. More than that and you can't reach like you are experiencing.
Try backing off the nipples. You may have to go to "just barely hanging on", worst case.

Having a back ground that DOESN'T show the spoke shadows is much easier to read.


Last edited by Bill Kapaun; 02-12-20 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 02-12-20, 03:50 PM
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Your "wonky" crosses may be part of the problem.

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Old 02-12-20, 09:24 PM
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The spoke should pass over the first 2 spokes on the same side of the flange that it comes out of. Then it should pass under the 3rd spoke. The spoke that you're holding seems to pass all 3 spokes on the same side.
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Old 02-12-20, 09:55 PM
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The spoke you're holding in the picture is passing over the spoke head of its first cross, on a 3 cross this shouldn't do it. It looks like you have half of one side already laced up and now your tring to do the drive side, if things don't seem to be lining up you may not have the spokes in the right holes. My preference is to do one side at a time, drop all the spokes in one flange and build it. Then, if you aren't certain where the spokes should go, you can drop in 2 spokes, one for each direction that would lace into the rim next to each other. This lets you cross them and see where on the rim they line up right. Pushing the hub down while holding the rim on your lap helps the process.
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Old 02-13-20, 12:04 AM
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Originally Posted by tomtomtom123 View Post
The spoke should pass over the first 2 spokes on the same side of the flange that it comes out of. Then it should pass under the 3rd spoke. The spoke that you're holding seems to pass all 3 spokes on the same side.
I know that but it's becoming even more short when i put it under. The photo was just an example of how many spokes im trying to cross in the first place.

The :"wonky" spokes on the pic arent laced up at all. They are just hanging there. I am extremely careful of which spoke goes where, cause of the 4d drilling on this rim (each spoke has a direction) so you just pretty much follow the hole pattern and its kinda hard to get the wrong holes as they tell you which spoke goes where.. Nips are threaded only a handful of turns as mentioned. I laced up the whole drive side (nips barely engaged) and i noticed that the crossing spokes were under tension while all the 8 crossed spokes on that side went deep into the rim (nips completely hid into the rim)

Edit: anyways i think ill just try to lace up the whole thing tonight and see if it's getting anywhere. Since nobody is talking about spoke lenght i guess i got that right atleast. Thanks

Last edited by stansb; 02-13-20 at 05:32 AM.
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Old 02-13-20, 04:49 AM
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If some of the nipples are hidden in the rim, then I don't understand your problem about having too short spokes.

The spoke that you're holding in the photo should be able to reach the hole if you simply pull the nipples on the opposite end through the holes completely to expose them. The problem if they are hidden is that they get stuck deep on the inside edge of the hole and pull the hub further away from the opposite side where you're trying to lace.
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Old 02-13-20, 05:46 AM
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Originally Posted by tomtomtom123 View Post
If some of the nipples are hidden in the rim, then I don't understand your problem about having too short spokes.

The spoke that you're holding in the photo should be able to reach the hole if you simply pull the nipples on the opposite end through the holes completely to expose them. The problem if they are hidden is that they get stuck deep on the inside edge of the hole and pull the hub further away from the opposite side where you're trying to lace.
Basically what happens is that half the spokes barely reach and the other half stick out. The reason why they stick out is that i had to twist the hub in the opposite direction of its natural position so that the 'short' spokes can reach. Nips arent stuck inside the rim, i checked that. Anyways ill try to lace the damn thing tonight and see what happens.
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Old 02-13-20, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by stansb View Post
Basically what happens is that half the spokes barely reach and the other half stick out. The reason why they stick out is that i had to twist the hub in the opposite direction of its natural position so that the 'short' spokes can reach. Nips arent stuck inside the rim, i checked that. Anyways ill try to lace the damn thing tonight and see what happens.
Then why don't we see them in your pic?

With the valve hole on the bottom, which hub flange does the 1st spoke to the right (CCW) point to? DS or NDS.
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Old 02-13-20, 08:20 PM
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The photo isn't clear, but to me it looks like the spoke you are holding should be able to have a nipple threaded onto it. Even if it's 1-2mm away from the surface of the rim, a nipple should be long enough to bridge the gap and thread a couple of turns onto the spoke. To get the spoke closer to the rim, you have to pull the opposite spokes and the hub towards the nipple hole that you're trying to thread into. The slack in the other spokes and the unseated nipples will cause them to get stuck in an odd place. You need to wiggle them free and pull on the hub to get the spoke you're working on closer to the rim.
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Old 02-15-20, 10:53 AM
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I can't see the images on my phone, but, in general, I find that if the spokes enter the rim before being tensioned, they will end up being too long.
And, though it seems like it now, it's really no big deal to unlace and relace the wheel. I laced my most recent build at least 4 times due to mis-labeled spokes(from my personal stash)
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Old 02-19-20, 10:49 AM
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I figured it out... it turned out that the oposing hub holes arent parallel to eachother.. (check the first quote below -- found it on this forum ^.^). The tutorial i was watching didnt mention a thing about that.. So for anyone stuck in the same problem check out the two quotes below and it's problem solved


"It's not the rim, but the hub holes you have to worry about. Take a bare hub and push a spoke through flange from outside straight across hub and touch opposite flange. Note that the spoke
doesn't touch a hole? But hits a spot directly in between two holes? Whether you use a hole to the left or to the right for next spoke makes a different and that's where you got mixed up."


"A lot of the YouTube videos rush through and leave out details. I prefer written guides with pictures because you can stare at pictures for as long as necessary until it makes sense.

I like Sheldon Brown's guide the best since he's got spokes colour-coded. And he mentions the off-by-1/2-hole issue. Note in "The Second Group" section that the first other-side spoke (yellow) can go either to the left or right of the red spoke? This is where you got mixed up. Before bring 1st yellow spoke all the way through and up to rim, note where it hits the opposite flange, if it's to the left of the red-spoke, it should be to the left at the rim. If it touches the flange to right of red-spoke, it should be on right of red-spoke on rim"

Last edited by stansb; 02-19-20 at 11:27 AM.
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Old 02-19-20, 11:02 AM
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If you'd answered my question in post 15, 5 days ago, I could have posted this pic-

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Old 02-19-20, 01:38 PM
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You need to respoke the wheel. Don't ask me how I know that. You have one side one hole off.
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Old 02-19-20, 09:54 PM
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With any wheel build it is good to double and triple check things. For a while I used multiple different spoke calculators but now I mainly use QBP's spoke calc which is likely to have your hub and rim in the database https://spokecalculator.qbp.com/spokecalculator/

Unfortunately they don't list stuff they don't sell but with the correct info you can input by hand. It gives you DT Swiss and Wheelsmith sizing as well as actual calculated sizing. I know for many of my wheels the spoke length for 32h on 700c rim tends to hover around 292 which is nice. I still always check but I do tend to get lucky quite often.
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Old 02-25-20, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
With any wheel build it is good to double and triple check things. For a while I used multiple different spoke calculators but now I mainly use QBP's spoke calc which is likely to have your hub and rim in the database https://spokecalculator.qbp.com/spokecalculator/
Good point. My rim manufacturer ERD spec is 567 while QBP's database measurement shows 562.5 for the same rim. My 10 ERD measurement samples agree with the manufacturer spec. Question everything.
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Old 03-24-20, 10:11 AM
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Hey guys i have another question. Im trying to get the wheels finished now and i read quite a bit on tensioning and trueing including forums, writings from sheldon brown's website as well as "the bicycle wheel" book. Basically what everyone says is that you should evenly thread the nipples into the spokes (and by doing so you would have a relatively even tension and fairly true wheel to begin with) and from then on start with a bunch of turns from some initial tension, then dish and true and build tension gruadually in the proccess. However when i screwed on the nipples right until spoke threads are no longer visible and did those couple of turns to some initial tension i end up with this scenario on both sides: most spokes have similar tension, a few are alot tighter than the average and few are so slack they are still rattling into the rim. I couldnt get any info on this. Should i ignore this and continue on? Im thinking that slack spokes cannot be a part of trueing and overtighened spokes need to be backed of alot at a certain point. Im also thinking that there will be big spikes in tension on the finished wheel. Also, my wheel is nowhere near being fairly true as books suggest

Last edited by stansb; 03-24-20 at 10:19 AM.
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Old 03-24-20, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by stansb View Post
Hey guys i have another question. Im trying to get the wheels finished now and i read quite a bit on tensioning and trueing including forums, writings from sheldon brown's website as well as "the bicycle wheel" book. Basically what everyone says is that you should evenly thread the nipples into the spokes (and by doing so you would have a relatively even tension and fairly true wheel to begin with) and from then on start with a bunch of turns from some initial tension, then dish and true and build tension gruadually in the proccess. However when i screwed on the nipples right until spoke threads are no longer visible and did those couple of turns to some initial tension i end up with this scenario on both sides: most spokes have similar tension, a few are alot tighter than the average and few are so slack they are still rattling into the rim. I couldnt get any info on this. Should i ignore this and continue on? Im thinking that slack spokes cannot be a part of trueing and overtighened spokes need to be backed of alot at a certain point. Im also thinking that there will be big spikes in tension on the finished wheel. Also, my wheel is nowhere near being true.
IME, this happens during truing because I true the nipples closest to an aberration. I squeeze the spokes and pre-bend the crossed spokes, check again for true, then start equalizing tension.
I'm not a pro, so it might not be the most efficient way to do it, but I'm pleased with my results. Equalizing tension with a meter shows me precisely where I've stacked my adjustments on the same spoke instead of spreading the adjustment out. Usually that's the case. You'll balance spoke tension with true, prioritizing even tension (per side if the wheel's dished). You're almost there!
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Old 03-24-20, 11:59 AM
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When building a wheel I start by making sure the nipples are at the same number of turns. I primarily work on the radial truing and just a little on the lateral. As tension rises I pay more attention to the lateral true because the radial doesn't change much now. On a rear wheel I began raising the DS tension and use the NDS to control the lateral true. I use a tensiometer to check and balance the final tension. Then use the NDS spokes to center the rim. I don't check the NDS spoke tension on a rear because the DS tension and dish controls it.
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