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Spoke tension?

Old 05-11-21, 01:58 PM
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PimpMan
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Spoke tension?

I have purchased spoke tension meter, i set tension and tool shows around "25" i have 2.0mm straight gauge spokes, so its about 49 KGF according to chart?

Is acceptable tension range for 2.0mm spoke 49-160 KGF, whats the recommended KGF tension for single walled 700c rim and single walled 24" rim?





Last edited by PimpMan; 05-11-21 at 02:03 PM.
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Old 05-11-21, 02:08 PM
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Depends on the rim but I'd want to see 80-100 kgf.
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Old 05-11-21, 04:02 PM
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There's no way there's published specs on a cheap single wall rim like that, but I'd probably bring it up to about 80-90KGF ideally. Quality rims to whatever the rated max is, if unknown usually I do about 120kgf.
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Old 05-11-21, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by cpach View Post
There's no way there's published specs on a cheap single wall rim like that, but I'd probably bring it up to about 80-90KGF ideally. Quality rims to whatever the rated max is, if unknown usually I do about 120kgf.
If the rim in the picture is Pimpman’s wheel, that is not a single wall rim. The profile is too tall for a single wall rim.

I have never found any “published specs” for any rim. Ranges, yes. Actual values, no. And those ranges tend to be a single number for all of the rims that the manufacturer makes. Velocity, for example, gives a single range for their 15 different models of rims even though the rims have a wide variety of profiles and widths. They have more information on the width of tire for each rim than they do for spoke tension.

110 to 120 kgf is probably a good guess but it is only a guess.
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Old 05-11-21, 08:39 PM
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I would agree with those who say 80-100 for a singlewall rim, which would suggest your spoke tension is too low. However, you may want to verify that the tensiometer is actually correct, having a known good wheel with proper tension will tell you if it is in the ballpark though unless you know what its actually at won't give you precise accuracy. Even Parktool meters have been known to be inaccurate from the factory since they just spec a spring and make the charts based on the expected results from that spring type, springs of course vary. This is why Wheelsmith meters the chart was based of the tool's actual reading of a tensioned spoke with a known reading. Its also why the wheelsmiths were expected to be sent in every few years depending on number of wheels built and have a new chart made to reflect the actual results of the tool. Test the tool before presuming the wheel is that far off. Also, the big advantage of the tool isn't its perfect accuracy to spoke tension but its ability to tell you how accurate the spokes are in relation to each other, having a wheel with tension that isn't perfect but all the same is still a better build then spokes with wildly varied tensions.
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Old 05-12-21, 12:42 AM
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Originally Posted by cpach View Post
There's no way there's published specs on a cheap single wall rim like that.
Fact it being single wall rim dont make it worse its just different design.

I should have mentioned i don't want super tense spokes (e.g. like mountain bicycle with active suspension), i use single wall rims intentionally because they flex better to make ride softer. Coming from that what tension is minimal, provided i adjust it often so its not a problem to make adjustment once a month or so.

Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
If the rim in the picture is Pimpman’s wheel, that is not a single wall rim. The profile is too tall for a single wall rim.
Picture is from the internet i antique single walled aluminum rims.
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Old 05-12-21, 02:13 AM
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if you want a softer ride let some air out of your tyres or run a wider tyre, single/double wall rims with loose or tight spokes will make little to no difference to perceivable ride quality.
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Old 05-12-21, 02:37 AM
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Originally Posted by headasunder View Post
if you want a softer ride let some air out of your tyres or run a wider tyre, single/double wall rims with loose or tight spokes will make little to no difference to perceivable ride quality.
True. Keeping spokes at low tension, intentionally or otherwise, does nothing for riding comfort and guarantees that the spokes will fatigue rapidly, leading to spoke failure.

Wider tires can increase shock absorption; using single-wall or double-wall rims makes no difference to rider comfort..

Last edited by Trakhak; 05-12-21 at 02:42 AM.
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Old 05-12-21, 06:56 AM
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Bigger tires with lower pressure is option, but it affects speed too much IMO.

Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
Wider tires can increase shock absorption; using single-wall or double-wall rims makes no difference to rider comfort..
When i press down single walled rim down with my body weight it actually flex somewhat, double walled rim does not, somehow i believe this flexing can absorb some or the small road vibrations.
If we are talking about cruising / city bicycle i want to give it a try.
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Old 05-12-21, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by PimpMan View Post
Fact it being single wall rim dont make it worse its just different design.

I should have mentioned i don't want super tense spokes (e.g. like mountain bicycle with active suspension), i use single wall rims intentionally because they flex better to make ride softer. Coming from that what tension is minimal, provided i adjust it often so its not a problem to make adjustment once a month or so.


Picture is from the internet i antique single walled aluminum rims.
No, it doesn't work like that. You will never feel 'better ride quality' from lower spoke tension unless you ride without tires.
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Old 05-12-21, 01:54 PM
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With too low spoke tension you will feel the wheel wobble under load. Go for 100kG tension and lower the tire pressure. I am guessing with the tires shown you could go a 30PSI depending on the vehicle weight. There are sites that help with tire pressure on the web.
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Old 05-12-21, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by PimpMan View Post
Bigger tires with lower pressure is option, but it affects speed too much IMO.


When i press down single walled rim down with my body weight it actually flex somewhat, double walled rim does not, somehow i believe this flexing can absorb some or the small road vibrations.
If we are talking about cruising / city bicycle i want to give it a try.
You're obviously talking about pressing down on a free-standing rim that hasn't been built into a tensioned wheel. Try that again with a fully tensioned built wheel. The spoke tension prevents any flexing of the rim, regardless of whether it's double-walled or single-walled. The late Jobst Brandt, a former Porsche engineer who wrote "The Bicycle Wheel," the first, definitive work on the forces at work in the structure of a bike wheel, determined that bike wheels will dent before they flex to any significant degree.

Quote from this page:

"If the wheel is strong enough for its intended use then its stiffness is more than adequate.

Since the stiffness of the frame, pedal-cranks and especially the tires is much lower than the wheel stiffness, the rider cannot possibly feel the minute differences in stiffness among different wheels. The "liveliness" attributed to "stiff" wheels is an acoustic phenomenon that results largely from light tires with high pressure and to a lesser degree on tight spokes. This mechanical resonance can be heard, and possibly felt, in the handlebars and is not related to wheel stiffness. Liveliness may have some merit but it does not result from certain spoke patterns and has nothing to do with wheel stiffness.

In summary, stiffness is generally not an issue to consider. A wheel that is strong enough to withstand the loads of its intended use, with a reasonable margin of safety, is stiff enough."

Last edited by Trakhak; 05-12-21 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 05-12-21, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
You're obviously talking about pressing down on a free-standing rim that hasn't been built into a tensioned wheel. Try that again with a fully tensioned built wheel. The spoke tension prevents any flexing of the rim, regardless of whether it's double-walled or single-walled. The late Jobst Brandt, a former Porsche engineer who wrote "The Bicycle Wheel," the first, definitive work on the forces at work in the structure of a bike wheel, determined that bike wheels will dent before they flex to any significant degree.

Quote from this page:

"If the wheel is strong enough for its intended use then its stiffness is more than adequate.

Since the stiffness of the frame, pedal-cranks and especially the tires is much lower than the wheel stiffness, the rider cannot possibly feel the minute differences in stiffness among different wheels. The "liveliness" attributed to "stiff" wheels is an acoustic phenomenon that results largely from light tires with high pressure and to a lesser degree on tight spokes. This mechanical resonance can be heard, and possibly felt, in the handlebars and is not related to wheel stiffness. Liveliness may have some merit but it does not result from certain spoke patterns and has nothing to do with wheel stiffness.

In summary, stiffness is generally not an issue to consider. A wheel that is strong enough to withstand the loads of its intended use, with a reasonable margin of safety, is stiff enough."
+1,000 for an excellent Jobst Brandt quote! You win!
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Old 05-13-21, 03:36 AM
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i tighten the derailleur side spokes til the wrench almost starts to round off the nipples.

don't blame me, that's what ken spears told us to do in the wheel building class at Bicycle Outfitter in Los Altos.
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Old 05-13-21, 04:19 AM
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Originally Posted by cjenrick View Post
i tighten the derailleur side spokes til the wrench almost starts to round off the nipples.

don't blame me, that's what ken spears told us to do in the wheel building class at Bicycle Outfitter in Los Altos.
Yes. My pet peeve: the dimensions of spoke nipples for bicycles were established many decades ago, long before high-strength stainless steel spokes became ubiquitous on the market. Rounding off of spoke nipples, a.k.a. the old mechanic's joking universal instruction to "tighten the bolt until it breaks and then back off a quarter-turn," would become a thing of the past if the width of spoke nipple faces were increased just a few thousandths of an inch.
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Old 05-20-21, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by cjenrick View Post
i tighten the derailleur side spokes til the wrench almost starts to round off the nipples.

don't blame me, that's what ken spears told us to do in the wheel building class at Bicycle Outfitter in Los Altos.
The Co-Motion coupled tandem (beautiful!) I just rebuilt was originally purchased from them, I was happy to see. I haven't been there in over 20 years, so it's time to pay them a visit one of these days...

Oh, and isn't it nice that this method is no longer necessary, tongue in cheek or not? A proper spoke wrench, brass nipples and proper lubrication will ensure 120kgf is reached without a rounded nipple to be found! Heck, even alloy nipples as well. I've been perfectly happy with them living and riding in the Bay Area. No issues yet, except the once-a-decade rock impact that pops one.
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Old 05-21-21, 01:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
... if the width of spoke nipple faces were increased just a few thousandths of an inch.
i never had any problems tensioning spokes to 150kgf and even more with a proper spoke wrench, not a crappy one.
https://cdn.bike24.net/i/mb/0b/b9/4b...00-d-15231.jpg

what most folks neglect (wilful ignorance) is to get the proper lube for the job at the eyelets-nipples contacts and also in the spoke threads.

https://www.klueber.com/my/en/produc...icating-waxes/
Lubricating waxes are not solid lubricants in the proper sense. They form a dry-to-the-touch layer on the surface of the prepared part to ensure reliable lubrication while reducing boundary and mixed lubrication friction. They consist of high-molecular synthetic hydrocarbons, additives and oil (mineral oil, synthetic hydrocarbon).

first of all... if you don't prevent metal to metal contact then microcracks will develop and then stress corrosion will be more of a problem.
and then... if you ever use spokes that are thin they'll be more vulnerable to torsion if proper lube is not present. more friction - more torque on the spoke, more torsional stress and strain on the spoke.

Last edited by adipe; 05-21-21 at 01:17 AM.
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