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Spoke tension & variation you consider normal?

Old 10-09-21, 01:02 PM
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MyRedTrek
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Spoke tension & variation you consider normal?

Building a 700c Rhyno Lite 36 spoke wheel with DT Swiss Alpine3 spokes. This is for a rear wheel build.

Using a Park Tool TM-1 gauge, what would you expect the spoke tension to be in the vicinity of per the TM-1's 0-49 scale? What do you feel is a reasonable variance between spokes?

Last edited by MyRedTrek; 10-09-21 at 01:31 PM.
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Old 10-09-21, 01:24 PM
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Bill Kapaun
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Front or rear?
I try to keep +/- 1/2 division on the scale.
You really need to learn more basics.

Hint- Measure the same spoke several times until you LEARN HOW get a consistent reading. Poor technique can make your question totally pointless.

Last edited by Bill Kapaun; 10-09-21 at 01:28 PM.
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Old 10-09-21, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
Front or rear?
I try to keep +/- 1/2 division on the scale.
You really need to learn more basics.

Hint- Measure the same spoke several times until you LEARN HOW get a consistent reading. Poor technique can make your question totally pointless.
Rear wheel.
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Old 10-09-21, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by MyRedTrek View Post
Rear wheel.
And you realize different rear hubs have varying dimensions that affect spoke length & tension.
Same hub with slightly different OLD measurement will have a minor effect.

IF you were to expend just a bit of initiative and go through different wheel build threads on this forum, you'd get a very good idea of what RANGE of tensions and opinions prevail.
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Old 10-09-21, 03:20 PM
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Those are beefy spokes. There is a chart that comes with the tension meter that will tell you which number corresponds to how much tension. It varies with spoke gauge. I'd guess around 25 or so. For the Drive Side. Non Drive Side doesn't matter, it is what it is if the wheel is centered properly and the DS is tensioned properly.

Last edited by cxwrench; 10-09-21 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 10-09-21, 03:44 PM
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Different spoke tension based on the diameter of the spoke and the rim construction. What the spoke tension actually is depends on your gauge and its calibration. Each gauge should be calibrated and include the chart.

https://spokecalc.io/spoke-tension-t...ive-guide.html
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Old 10-09-21, 03:56 PM
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15% variation on a side is okay, 10 is better and usually pretty acheivable. Park has a neat web app for mapping tension at parktool.com/wta.

Often there is a little anomaly around the seam that may stray from an otherwise tight tolerance.
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Old 10-09-21, 05:40 PM
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↑↑↑ Same here, 10%.
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Old 10-10-21, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by cpach View Post
Park has a neat web app for mapping tension at parktool.com/wta.
I've used this app a few times with good results. A couple of times I got things within 10%!
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Old 10-11-21, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by MyRedTrek View Post
Building a 700c Rhyno Lite 36 spoke wheel with DT Swiss Alpine3 spokes. This is for a rear wheel build.

Using a Park Tool TM-1 gauge, what would you expect the spoke tension to be in the vicinity of per the TM-1's 0-49 scale? What do you feel is a reasonable variance between spokes?
Sun used to specify a blanket maximum tension of 110kgf for their rims. I can't find it in the current FAQ, and it never really made sense as some of their rims are much beefier than others.

I would shoot for 110 +/- 10% on the drive side, non drive side will be about half of that. Everyone has their own favorite numbers, but as long as the NDS spokes have enough tension not to come loose, and the DS are not so tight that they crack the rim, you're good.
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Old 10-11-21, 05:42 PM
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A guitar tuner. on final tightening round, tighten each spoke to the exact same note and you can be assured they are all the same tension.
Best thing is that all you have to do is pluck like you are playing a harp. Pluck with one hand tighten with the other, watch the tuner scale.
Very little truing involved.
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Old 10-17-21, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by macstuff View Post
A guitar tuner. on final tightening round, tighten each spoke to the exact same note and you can be assured they are all the same tension.
Best thing is that all you have to do is pluck like you are playing a harp. Pluck with one hand tighten with the other, watch the tuner scale.
Very little truing involved.
I checked a few rims this weekend as I have heard some kind posters saying something similar to your post and other than the obvious outliers I think I lack hearing discrimination and talent. Also likely as a retired engineer I'm more comfortable with figures, charts, tables. I will work on it as I suspect it is a lot faster and perhaps less room for error. I know with my Park TM-1 I need several readings some times to be comfortable.
I also don't know a harp player to help me with plucking and bang the spoke with a tool.
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Old 10-17-21, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by MyRedTrek View Post
Building a 700c Rhyno Lite 36 spoke wheel with DT Swiss Alpine3 spokes. This is for a rear wheel build.

Using a Park Tool TM-1 gauge, what would you expect the spoke tension to be in the vicinity of per the TM-1's 0-49 scale? What do you feel is a reasonable variance between spokes?
Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
Those are beefy spokes. There is a chart that comes with the tension meter that will tell you which number corresponds to how much tension. It varies with spoke gauge. I'd guess around 25 or so. For the Drive Side. Non Drive Side doesn't matter, it is what it is if the wheel is centered properly and the DS is tensioned properly.
...I have a tendency to build rear wheels with 14 gauge spokes, and often don't bother with anything other than simple, straight gauge spokes (unbutted). On a Park gauge, that number of about 25 is usually what I end up with on the drive side spokes. So I agree with cxwrench ,that this ought to be roughly where you need to be. I think on 14 G spokes that turns out to be about 110-120 kgf (on the chart that comes with the Park tensiometer.)

Variation has a lot to do with how good the rims are when you start. To get a round wheel, without a slight hop at the rim seam on something like a Sun rim, I often find I need to vary tensions quite a bit more than 10% right at the seam. Something like a Mavic Open Pro builds out round with more even tensions. So it's not an easily answered question. Just remember that rims are not perfect to start with, and your overarching purpose in this endeavor is to get that thing as round as you can. Once you get that pretty close, you can go back and rebalance out some of the tensions that are uneven.
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Old 10-20-21, 11:05 AM
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I go for 100Kg on the drive side and front. > than 10% is good. It is important to stress relieve the spokes after the wheel is tensioned.
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Old 10-21-21, 12:03 PM
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I try to stay within 1 notch non drive side.
I try to stay within 2 notches drive side.

Quality rim with consistent extrusion and well done joints will allow that easily.

But some rims have lousy joints, etc...compromising - how and where and to what extent - is part of the art of wheelbuilding.

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Old 10-24-21, 08:09 AM
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Question for the group; $25, or $80, or $400 spoke tension meter?

is this a tool where a basic gauge will give enough information to proceed, or are the cheap ones genuinely cheap and Id be as well off guessing tension by feel?

This is for a particular bike whose rear wheel has gone way out of true a couple times now, and if I need to spend too much on tools, Ill most likely forget about repair and just get a new wheel.
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Old 10-24-21, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Leinster View Post
Question for the group; $25, or $80, or $400 spoke tension meter?

is this a tool where a basic gauge will give enough information to proceed, or are the cheap ones genuinely cheap and I’d be as well off guessing tension by feel?

This is for a particular bike whose rear wheel has gone way out of true a couple times now, and if I need to spend too much on tools, I’ll most likely forget about repair and just get a new wheel.
From what I find the TM-1 is well regarded. Park will re-calibrate it for a nominal cost plus postage. I know people will tension the wheel on their bike but a truing stand is nice to have and you need the wheel off the bike to use a dishing gauge.

If your wheel is damaged the type of tension meter won't change that.

Last edited by MyRedTrek; 10-24-21 at 08:40 AM.
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