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Broken spokes...

Old 10-29-23, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by e0richt
I am considering buying some nice spokes and relacing the wheel myself....what would be a good brand of spokes to use?
Good for you! DT Swiss are about as good as it gets. Go with the Alpine III and ride with confidence.

One caveat: Go find an old wheel (check a local co-op) and dismantle it, then use it to practice lacing and tensioning before you build up with more expensive spokes. I used this four part series of articles from Bicycling magazine to teach myself how to build wheels nearly 40 years ago. It’s the basis for a class I teach on wheel building as well. You can pretty much ignore the first of the series which are about wheel parts and selection but the three other parts are still applicable
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Old 10-29-23, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Neese
Any time someone reports broken spokes, people start thinking along the lines of "better" spokes or "stronger" rims, sometimes higher spoke count, but the main factor in creating a strong wheel is how they're built. Chances are you have perfectly fine wheels. When someone says they started breaking spokes and they had someone replace all of them, it's not actually the new spokes that solved the problem, it's the fact that the wheel was rebuilt better. Most experienced wheelbuilders (as well as many articles and videos) will tell you that spoke tension is the single most important factor in how strong the wheel is. Even low-end DT 2.0 spokes and single-wall rims can be built into a strong wheel that doesn't break spokes.
That’s just not true. Yes, tension is important but it’s just not the end all/be all of a strong wheel. The article I linked to in post 13 doesn’t mention tension at all. The article is written by Ric Hjertberg who is the founder of Wheelsmith who knows a thing or two about building wheels. People who claim that tension is all that is needed for building a strong wheel or boast about never having broken a spoke probably aren’t large riders or riders who carry large loads or aren’t large riders that carry large loads. Personally, I know how to build wheels with high tension and I still broke spokes on a very regular basis. I carried…and used…several spokes on all my bikes all the time up until the early 2000s. I don’t carry spokes any more nor do I need to because I started building all my wheels with triple butted spokes in the early 2000s. I didn’t use any different tension before or after going to more durable spokes. The only thing that changed was the spoke.

You bought a bike online and most wheels these days are machine-built, which can be hit or miss. Replace all the spokes if you must, but you could probably save yourself a lot of money by just making sure your existing wheels are properly built. Personally I never just install and ride on "out of the box" wheels - they need to be put on a stand and checked for true and tension. That's the part that didn't happen with your bike.
Being machine built is part of the problem but not necessarily the only problem. A 140 lb rider could probably just check the tension and go ride the wheels for decades. A 200+ lb rider can’t. The parts are just not up to the task at hand.
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Old 10-29-23, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
That’s just not true. Yes, tension is important but it’s just not the end all/be all of a strong wheel. The article I linked to in post 13 doesn’t mention tension at all. The article is written by Ric Hjertberg who is the founder of Wheelsmith who knows a thing or two about building wheels. People who claim that tension is all that is needed for building a strong wheel or boast about never having broken a spoke probably aren’t large riders or riders who carry large loads or aren’t large riders that carry large loads. Personally, I know how to build wheels with high tension and I still broke spokes on a very regular basis. I carried…and used…several spokes on all my bikes all the time up until the early 2000s. I don’t carry spokes any more nor do I need to because I started building all my wheels with triple butted spokes in the early 2000s. I didn’t use any different tension before or after going to more durable spokes. The only thing that changed was the spoke.
...
Certainly spoke tension is not ALL that is needed, but it's the most important thing. Wheels are stronger and stay truer longer. I'm not disputing that better spokes and rims are part of the equation. But even the best spokes and rims are not going to hold up if the wheel is not built properly.

It's not about having high tension, it's about having the correct tension and that the spoke tension is balanced. There are readily available charts that can be referenced for different types of wheels and spokes, including in the article I linked to, here: The Complete Guide To Wheel Spokes Tension. I would encourage you to check out that article and pay attention specifically to the section describing absolute tension vs relative tension. There are other charts if you don't like that source - fire up your Google machine. Most experts and online sources will say that +/- 20 percent is what you're shooting for. Park Tool even has a free app so you don't have to do any math. So there are a lot of folks that seem to believe it's pretty important.

I agree the quality of materials is always important, but do we have reason to believe that the OP is exceeding the weight limits of his bicycle? Chances are the stock wheels are perfectly acceptable, and all he needs is to have the wheels rebuilt by a pro. If he wants to change spokes while he's at it, that's fine - it's his bike and his money. Sort of like replacing a derailleur because the bike doesn't shift well, when all it really needs is to be adjusted properly.

Last edited by Jeff Neese; 10-29-23 at 12:28 PM.
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Old 10-29-23, 02:20 PM
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This argument about the MOST IMPORTANT consideration is pointless.

Wheels are a system, incorporating elements, chosen and assembled by the builder. Each contributes to the end product, but has to be considered in the context of the other elements.

You cannot magically make spokes stronger with tension changes. Nor can you build a more durable wheel simply by increase spoke gauge. Lastly, even the best builder can work magic with poor or poorly matched components.

Focusing on one consideration and calling it MOST IMPORTANT is as meaningful as arguing whether it's the b use of color or brushstrokes that are more important in impressionist paintings.
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Old 10-29-23, 03:01 PM
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There's no particular reason that a wheel built with 32 3x 14g spokes, a 470g aero rim and a 28c tire should be breaking heads-out spokes - except that the spoke tension is either uneven or low.

Straight gauge 14g spokes are not weak, but they are less forgiving of bad tension then butted spokes which are elastic enough to mask tension problems.

If I were the OP I would get the wheel stress relieved and re-tensioned. It almost certainly has never been trued by a human. And if that doesn't solve the problem, just buy a new Clyde wheel and be done with it, rather than replace spokes.
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Old 10-29-23, 05:08 PM
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IMO the advice to try to save the wheel isn't well thought out.

Consider the time element. 2 broken spokes within less than a hundred miles, maybe less than fifty.

Most people knowledgeable about wheels consider a single broken spoke after a LONG while an isolated event. 2 is kind of a warning of things to come. Generally, the interval between breaks gets shorter, not longer. What you're seeing means that something is fundamentally wrong.

So, let the past guide your expectations.

It's true, that proper reworking of the wheel might help, but it would be disingenuous to assume that, whatever the problem, it's isolated to those 2 spokes.

Time to rip off this band-aid, and start fresh with new, proper build, using new spokes better suited to your needs. If you like this rim, and want to save dough, that's probably OK.
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Old 10-29-23, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
IMO the advice to try to save the wheel isn't well thought out.

Consider the time element. 2 broken spokes within less than a hundred miles, maybe less than fifty.

Most people knowledgeable about wheels consider a single broken spoke after a LONG while an isolated event. 2 is kind of a warning of things to come. Generally, the interval between breaks gets shorter, not longer. What you're seeing means that something is fundamentally wrong.

So, let the past guide your expectations.

It's true, that proper reworking of the wheel might help, but it would be disingenuous to assume that, whatever the problem, it's isolated to those 2 spokes.

Time to rip off this band-aid, and start fresh with new, proper build, using new spokes better suited to your needs. If you like this rim, and want to save dough, that's probably OK.
It isn't an assumption that the problem is two spokes, but the assumption that those two spokes were probably the furthest ones off tension.

But the real problem here is time and money. Spokes aren't actually cheap, neither is wheelbuilding. The rim is okay, but nothing stellar. Having a mechanic go over the tension on the wheel will cost $20-30, and may be everything needed to solve the problem. If we start replacing all the spokes, now we are talking $100, and you still end up with the same rim and hub.

For $100 a more appropriate wheel could be purchased that already has a heavy rim and the shop has gone over the tension on. Even if you spend $20 on the current wheel AND then replace it for $100, you've still spent barely than rebuilding it with new spokes.


Just because some of the spokes have broken doesn't mean the rest are so stressed they are about to break. Spokes are made from very tough, plastic, carbon-less stainless steel. They aren't brittle. Stop stressing some of them unnecessarily and they will all last a long time.
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Old 10-29-23, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Neese
Certainly spoke tension is not ALL that is needed, but it's the most important thing. Wheels are stronger and stay truer longer. I'm not disputing that better spokes and rims are part of the equation. But even the best spokes and rims are not going to hold up if the wheel is not built properly.
Larger riders tend to have more broken spoke issues than lighter riders…no matter how good the build is. It’s simply a case of they put more stress on the wheels than lighter riders do. Everyone assumes that the build it bad and blames the tension rather than blaming using the use of spokes of inappropriate strength. Straight spokes are the weakest of the spokes available and the common problem of spoke breakage when using them bears that out.

​​​​​​It's not about having high tension, it's about having the correct tension and that the spoke tension is balanced. There are readily available charts that can be referenced for different types of wheels and spokes, including in the article I linked to, here: The Complete Guide To Wheel Spokes Tension. I would encourage you to check out that article and pay attention specifically to the section describing absolute tension vs relative tension. There are other charts if you don't like that source - fire up your Google machine. Most experts and online sources will say that +/- 20 percent is what you're shooting for. Park Tool even has a free app so you don't have to do any math. So there are a lot of folks that seem to believe it's pretty important.
No, there are not “other charts” that detail what the “correct” tension to use for wheel building. There never has been. I’m not even sure there can be because there are simply too many variables. A change in spokes is going to change the tension needed. The Park tool chart itself shows how the tension changes with spoke diameter.

Everyone says “follow the manufacturer’s recommendations” but there aren’t any recommendations that have any value. For example, Velocity says to

Recommended spoke tension

We recommend building to spoke tension between 110kgf and 130kgf. Each rim may behave a bit differently; the mark of an excellent wheel builder is the ability to find the highest tension a rim will allow while maintaining its radial and lateral true.
Velocity makes 15 different models of rims of 15 different weights and strengths but they give a single tension recommendation? They are not alone. Most every other rim manufacturer does the same thing. I’ve always said that rim “strength” means mostly nothing and those blanket recommendations seems to confirm it.

​​​​​​​I agree the quality of materials is always important, but do we have reason to believe that the OP is exceeding the weight limits of his bicycle? Chances are the stock wheels are perfectly acceptable, and all he needs is to have the wheels rebuilt by a pro. If he wants to change spokes while he's at it, that's fine - it's his bike and his money. Sort of like replacing a derailleur because the bike doesn't shift well, when all it really needs is to be adjusted properly.
“Weight limits” on bicycles are about as useless as recommended tensions on rims. They are blanket values that are based on whatever some lawyer pulled out of unmentionable places rather than some actual values. I will agree that the wheels aren’t up to the job but then most wheels aren’t because they are’t built with strong enough spokes! Rather than spend money to have someone build the wheels with the same problem, why not built better to begin with? Pay more once and save some money.
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Old 10-29-23, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
This argument about the MOST IMPORTANT consideration is pointless.

Wheels are a system, incorporating elements, chosen and assembled by the builder. Each contributes to the end product, but has to be considered in the context of the other elements.
Yes, wheels are a system but far too often people look at a wheel and try to fix the wrong problem. Broken rims and broken hubs are rare. Broken spokes are common. Yet everyone blames one thing…the rim…for spoke failures. Blame the part that is breaking.

You cannot magically make spokes stronger with tension changes. Nor can you build a more durable wheel simply by increase spoke gauge. Lastly, even the best builder can work magic with poor or poorly matched components.
Since you don’t seem to have read Hjertberg’s article, I’ll quote him.

​​​​​​​Facts
#1 - The single biggest weakness for cost conscious wheels is spoke breakage (also for many high performance wheels as well).

#2 - Spokes break overwhelmingly at the elbow (hub), secondarily at the threads (rim)

#3 - Stronger spoke material, larger spoke numbers, and thicker spokes decrease a wheel’s tendency to break them.
As Hjertberg is something of a spoke expert, I’ll take his advice over yours. By the way, I reached much of the same conclusions he did in his 2014 article years before he wrote it. I’ve been using triple butted spokes since at least 2000 and perhaps earlier and realized much of what he said about them just through use. My first rear wheel using them lasted for 10 years without spoke breakage where previous wheels with double butted spokes never lasted that long.

​​​​​​​Focusing on one consideration and calling it MOST IMPORTANT is as meaningful as arguing whether it's the b use of color or brushstrokes that are more important in impressionist paintings.
Wrong analogy. There are elements to wheels that can make a large difference in strength. Assuming all things being equal, a stronger spoke makes for a stronger wheel. Stronger hubs or stronger rims? Not so much.
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Old 10-29-23, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Kontact
There's no particular reason that a wheel built with 32 3x 14g spokes, a 470g aero rim and a 28c tire should be breaking heads-out spokes - except that the spoke tension is either uneven or low.
Or that the spokes aren’t strong enough for the task at hand.

[Straight gauge 14g spokes are not weak, but they are less forgiving of bad tension than butted spokes which are elastic enough to mask tension problems.
Straight gauge spokes are weaker than butted spokes, period. You and most everyone else assumes a tension problem. For OEM wheels, that is something of a concern but if all things are equal, butted spokes are stronger and more durable.

​​​​​​​If I were the OP I would get the wheel stress relieved and re-tensioned. It almost certainly has never been trued by a human. And if that doesn't solve the problem, just buy a new Clyde wheel and be done with it, rather than replace spokes.
“Just buying a new Clyde wheel” trades one machine built wheel for another one without addressing the problem. e0richt has expressed an interest in building wheels. More power to him. Building with triple butted spoke are only going to marginally reduce the thickness of his wallet while substantially increasing the durability of his wheels. As a bonus, e0richt will learn something valuable in the process.
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Old 10-30-23, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Or that the spokes aren’t strong enough for the task at hand.



Straight gauge spokes are weaker than butted spokes, period. You and most everyone else assumes a tension problem. For OEM wheels, that is something of a concern but if all things are equal, butted spokes are stronger and more durable.



“Just buying a new Clyde wheel” trades one machine built wheel for another one without addressing the problem. e0richt has expressed an interest in building wheels. More power to him. Building with triple butted spoke are only going to marginally reduce the thickness of his wallet while substantially increasing the durability of his wheels. As a bonus, e0richt will learn something valuable in the process.
A shaft of 2mm steel is weaker than a shaft of 1.8mm steel? I don't think so. Butted spokes just distribute large load variations better.

Why wouldn't 32 2mm spokes be strong enough for the task at hand? How many 14g spokes does it take? 36? 48? What is it you see as such a monumental problem that the kind of wheel nearly every bike came with for some 30 years is not strong enough to handle?

You didn't read:
For $100 a more appropriate wheel could be purchased that already has a heavy rim and the shop has gone over the tension on.
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Old 10-30-23, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Wrong analogy. There are elements to wheels that can make a large difference in strength. Assuming all things being equal, a stronger spoke makes for a stronger wheel. Stronger hubs or stronger rims? Not so much.
Well that's just preposterous. How do you think low spoke count wheels became possible? The rims became much more rigid.

You need to go away with your half baked ideas about wheel construction.
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Old 10-30-23, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
.....
No, there are not “other charts” that detail what the “correct” tension to use for wheel building. There never has been. I’m not even sure there can be because there are simply too many variables. A change in spokes is going to change the tension needed. The Park tool chart itself shows how the tension changes with spoke diameter.

Everyone says “follow the manufacturer’s recommendations” but there aren’t any recommendations that have any value...
Here are a few:

Linked above, has charts for different types of spokes. Uses the Park Tool TM-1 readings but includes conversion tables.
The Complete Guide To Wheel Spokes Tension

A bit more comprehensive and includes readings for several common tensiometers, for different spokes.
Spoke tension tables - A database of tension meters and spoke tension charts

And for those that just don't want to buy a tensiometer, Sheldon Brown produced this chart detailing specifications by musical pitch. I have heard of people using a guitar tuning app. Obviously professional wheelbuilders have a tensiometer, but this could be helpful for the home DIYer that wants to perform a rough check.
Check Spoke Tension by Ear

These were all from the first page of Google results so these charts and tables aren't hard to find.

Many people go to great lengths to check things on their bike, especially a new mail-order bike, a used bike, or as part of their preseason checkout, but wheels don't seem to be part of that. Folks check tire condition and air pressure, shifting performance, braking, and all sorts of other things before getting on the bike and riding it. It seems that a lot of people don't check spoke tension as part of that, and are then shocked when they start breaking spokes.
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Old 10-30-23, 08:12 AM
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More evidence of the pointlessness of this argument.**

Part of the issue is semantics, where words like strength, stiffness, an durability are used as proxies for each other despite each having different meanings.

Add that to using improper inferences to make strawman arguments.

I stand by my earlier statement that broad statements about parts outside of the context of the whole is pointless.

**Note. not directed at anyone specifically, but roughly equally at the 3 most actively arguing.
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Old 10-30-23, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Neese
Here are a few:

Linked above, has charts for different types of spokes. Uses the Park Tool TM-1 readings but includes conversion tables.
The Complete Guide To Wheel Spokes Tension

A bit more comprehensive and includes readings for several common tensiometers, for different spokes.
Spoke tension tables - A database of tension meters and spoke tension charts

And for those that just don't want to buy a tensiometer, Sheldon Brown produced this chart detailing specifications by musical pitch. I have heard of people using a guitar tuning app. Obviously professional wheelbuilders have a tensiometer, but this could be helpful for the home DIYer that wants to perform a rough check.
Check Spoke Tension by Ear

These were all from the first page of Google results so these charts and tables aren't hard to find.

Many people go to great lengths to check things on their bike, especially a new mail-order bike, a used bike, or as part of their preseason checkout, but wheels don't seem to be part of that. Folks check tire condition and air pressure, shifting performance, braking, and all sorts of other things before getting on the bike and riding it. It seems that a lot of people don't check spoke tension as part of that, and are then shocked when they start breaking spokes.
well, alot of us grew up riding bikes, never considred that a wheel would not be manufactured to carry someone's weight. Even when I was heavier and got a department store bike, never considered that it would give me a problem (which it didnt and because of that I got started cycling again)... but these were the 70's style of department store bikes: hey had more spokes, the wheels were 26 inch rather than the 700c. Eventually, I did start to break spokes on those wheels but not really because of weight, it was because I was used to not really caring for the bike, I rode it in rain, and treated it like I did when I was younger. In fact, I didn't know how to get another wheel for it, so I sold it looking for another one but at that time there was a shift from the "strong department store bike" to the "bike shaped objects" that walmart or target now sells. I was and still am kind annoyed by that shift and I have to say I was astonished how much a drop bar bike cost at that time at an lbs...
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Old 10-30-23, 08:48 AM
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I am not above buying a new wheel. (I eventually did that for the trek 7100 in order to ride that one with no spoke mishaps after that)
but even if I do purchase the new wheel it would be to continue riding that bike while I work on this wheel. I want to learn more about wheels and
lacing etc,

I have been watching some youtube videos on wheel construction especially by a channel name aliclarkson that talks about the different
lacing patterns and truing, tensioning, stressing the wheel. I also have been watching some of the park tool videos which I find interesting as well.
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Old 10-30-23, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by e0richt
I am not above buying a new wheel. (I eventually did that for the trek 7100 in order to ride that one with no spoke mishaps after that)
but even if I do purchase the new wheel it would be to continue riding that bike while I work on this wheel. I want to learn more about wheels and
lacing etc,

I have been watching some youtube videos on wheel construction especially by a channel name aliclarkson that talks about the different
lacing patterns and truing, tensioning, stressing the wheel. I also have been watching some of the park tool videos which I find interesting as well.
In which case I think you will find $12 for this, https://www.wheelpro.co.uk/wheelbuilding/book.php, money well spent. So much easy reading information for so little.
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Old 10-30-23, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Kontact
A shaft of 2mm steel is weaker than a shaft of 1.8mm steel? I don't think so. Butted spokes just distribute large load variations better.
It’s not the shaft that is important. Breakage midspoke is very rare no matter what the thickness of the spoke. Breakage at the threads is also rare. The overwhelming point of breakage is at the elbow of the spoke. Read the Hjertberg link. But someone has actually measured the strength of spokes of various gauges. Pillar actually provides graphs with actual results. For example the P14, straight gauge spoke has a breaking strength of 270kgf

Image 5-11-18 at 1.41 PM by Stuart Black, on Flickr

The 1415 spoke is a 2.0/1.8/2.0mm double butted spoke with a breaking strength of 308 kgf. That’s an strength increase of 14%

Image 5-11-18 at 1.44 PM by Stuart Black, on Flickr

The 2018 spoke is a 2.2/1.8/20mm spoke with a breaking strength of 340kgf. That’s a 26% increase over the straight spoke. Pillar also makes a 2.3/1.8/2.0mm spoke with a breaking strength of 400 kgf which is a 48% increase in strength over the 2.0mm spoke.

Image 5-11-18 at 1.43 PM by Stuart Black, on Flickr

There is a very real gain in strength over “regular” spokes that make these kind of spokes worth using.

Why wouldn't 32 2mm spokes be strong enough for the task at hand? How many 14g spokes does it take? 36? 48?
To your first question, because they aren’t. Broken spokes are the most common failure problem for bicyclists. Derailer adjustment is most likely the greatest problem but when it comes to something breaking, there is no other item that breaks more consistently on a bicycle than spokes. To your second question, yes. 36 2.0mm spokes would be the minimum for most heavy riders. 40 2.0mm spokes would be better. 48 2.0mm spokes would be the best. Or you could build a 32spoke wheel with triple butted spokes and, according to Hjertberg, have a wheel that is the equivalent of a 42 spoke wheel. Since 48, 40, and even 36 spoke hubs and rims can be difficult to find, building with stronger spokes makes sense.

What is it you see as such a monumental problem that the kind of wheel nearly every bike came with for some 30 years is not strong enough to handle?
The fact that spoke breakage is a huge problem for many riders. My wife and daughter have never broken a spoke…even on loaded tours. As someone who is dragging 200 lbs pretty hard and rides carrying touring loads on a regular basis, spoke breakage has been something that I have experienced on a frequent basis. I’ve experienced spoke breakage on a frequent basis on bikes that weren’t carrying touring loads. Going to triple butted spokes stopped that problem dead in its tracks.

You didn't read:
I did read. I don’t agree. A heavier rim is just that…heavier. It’s not stronger.
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Old 10-30-23, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Kontact
Well that's just preposterous. How do you think low spoke count wheels became possible? The rims became much more rigid.

You need to go away with your half baked ideas about wheel construction.
I thought you had me on your ignore list.
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Old 10-30-23, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Neese
Here are a few:

Linked above, has charts for different types of spokes. Uses the Park Tool TM-1 readings but includes conversion tables.
The Complete Guide To Wheel Spokes Tension

A bit more comprehensive and includes readings for several common tensiometers, for different spokes.
Spoke tension tables - A database of tension meters and spoke tension charts

And for those that just don't want to buy a tensiometer, Sheldon Brown produced this chart detailing specifications by musical pitch. I have heard of people using a guitar tuning app. Obviously professional wheelbuilders have a tensiometer, but this could be helpful for the home DIYer that wants to perform a rough check.
Check Spoke Tension by Ear

These were all from the first page of Google results so these charts and tables aren't hard to find.

Many people go to great lengths to check things on their bike, especially a new mail-order bike, a used bike, or as part of their preseason checkout, but wheels don't seem to be part of that. Folks check tire condition and air pressure, shifting performance, braking, and all sorts of other things before getting on the bike and riding it. It seems that a lot of people don't check spoke tension as part of that, and are then shocked when they start breaking spokes.
None of those links are “manufacturer recommendations for spoke tension”. They are conversion tables for spoke tensiometers or methods for getting even spoke tension. I gave you a range from Velocity but if that range is more of a guess than an actual number.

Here’s an example. I built a wheel yesterday using a Mavic XC317 disc rim. Can you find a recommended spoke tension for that rim? I certainly can’t. Any number I’ve found for any rim is the same as the Velocity where they use a range but what does that mean? 135kgf for a rim doesn’t say much. Should all the spokes be that tension? That wouldn’t work for a dished wheel. Since the tensions are different for different sides of the dish, what is the value to be used?

The ICAN article that you linked actually does give a value but says that the tension can be ±20% of their recommendations. Let’s look at the implications of that wild ass guess. There is a CN494 spoke that they use with the “ICAN standard hub”. They recommend nondrive side tension of 51 kgf and drive side tension of 96 kgf. That would be a reading of 17 and 23 on the Park TM-1 meter. But ±20% means that the tension can vary from 40kgf to 61kgf on the nondrive side and 76.8kgf to 115 kgf. I have experience with the TM-1 and know that a reading of about 14 on the nondrive side would make for spokes that are too loose.

Additionally, as someone who made a living measuring stuff, I gotta say that ±20% is a piss poor measurement. It’s just a wild ass guess. If I submitted a measurement with that kind of variance, I’d have been scolded and/or fired.
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Old 10-30-23, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by L134
In which case I think you will find $12 for this, https://www.wheelpro.co.uk/wheelbuilding/book.php, money well spent. So much easy reading information for so little.
cool! I will check it out...
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Old 10-30-23, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by e0richt
I am not above buying a new wheel. (I eventually did that for the trek 7100 in order to ride that one with no spoke mishaps after that)
but even if I do purchase the new wheel it would be to continue riding that bike while I work on this wheel. I want to learn more about wheels and
lacing etc,
Honestly, if you buy a commercial off the peg wheel, you are likely to just be trading one problem for another one. If you are trying to save money, buying a wheel is cheaper. But if you have either a special need or want something that you just can’t buy, go with building. You fit into the later category.

I have been watching some youtube videos on wheel construction especially by a channel name aliclarkson that talks about the different
lacing patterns and truing, tensioning, stressing the wheel. I also have been watching some of the park tool videos which I find interesting as well.
Especially when starting out, don’t get fancy. A standard 3 cross pattern is easiest to understand and do. Learn to walk before you try to run. I’ve been building wheels for nearly 40 years and I only build with 3 cross with the occasional radial front. The 3 cross pattern just works.
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Old 10-30-23, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
More evidence of the pointlessness of this argument.**

Part of the issue is semantics, where words like strength, stiffness, and durability are used as proxies for each other despite each having different meanings.
So what is different about these meanings?

strength
  1. 1.
    the quality or state of being physically strong.
  2. 2.
    the capacity of an object or substance to withstand great force or pressure.
durability
  1. the ability to withstand wear, pressure, or damage.
​​​​​​​stiffness
  1. 2.
    the quality of being severe or strong
I don’t know that anyone has said anything about stiffness in this discussion.

Even in a scientific context, strength and durability are used interchangeably.


​​​​​​​I stand by my earlier statement that broad statements about parts outside of the context of the whole is pointless.
Again, I’ll go with what Ric Hjertberg says

​​​​​​​How Much Better Are They?
Remember that a spoke’s fatigue resistance is proportional NOT to its diameter but to its cross sectional area.


32% greater cross section area through the J-bend. 32% longer lasting.

That’s a whopping 32% increase for a paltry 7g/wheel. Equivalent to adding 10 spokes to the wheel. Experience shows this one feature can nearly eliminate spoke breakage. Combine with larger tires and you have a solution for every under-built, over-used, or over-loaded wheel.
The Pillar charts I provided above goes beyond simple experience into real data.
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Old 10-30-23, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute

The ICAN article that you linked actually does give a value but says that the tension can be ±20% of their recommendations. Let’s look at the implications of that wild ass guess. There is a CN494 spoke that they use with the “ICAN standard hub”. They recommend nondrive side tension of 51 kgf and drive side tension of 96 kgf. That would be a reading of 17 and 23 on the Park TM-1 meter. But ±20% means that the tension can vary from 40kgf to 61kgf on the nondrive side and 76.8kgf to 115 kgf. I have experience with the TM-1 and know that a reading of about 14 on the nondrive side would make for spokes that are too loose.

Additionally, as someone who made a living measuring stuff, I gotta say that ±20% is a piss poor measurement. It’s just a wild ass guess. If I submitted a measurement with that kind of variance, I’d have been scolded and/or fired.
I always took that +/- 20% to be the tolerance for relative spoke tension - the difference in tension between different spokes. I agree that's a wide range, but that just means there's enough resilience in the overall wheel build to accomodate that, as long as you stick to those guidelines. I haven't seen anyone suggest that spoke tension has to be exactly the same, and wouldn't be achievable anyway. It's one of those cases where "close enough is close enough". That spec just tells you what close enough is.

And a spec of +/-20% isn't just a wild-ass guess. There are a lot of things that can operate with that range of tolerance. Depending on where they're used in the circuit, capacitors can easily have that tolerance, for example, as well as many other electrical components. I think some of my bicycle tires might have a wider range of inflation between minimum and maximum.
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Old 10-30-23, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
It’s not the shaft that is important. Breakage midspoke is very rare no matter what the thickness of the spoke. Breakage at the threads is also rare. The overwhelming point of breakage is at the elbow of the spoke. Read the Hjertberg link. But someone has actually measured the strength of spokes of various gauges. Pillar actually provides graphs with actual results. For example the P14, straight gauge spoke has a breaking strength of 270kgf

Image 5-11-18 at 1.41 PM by Stuart Black, on Flickr

The 1415 spoke is a 2.0/1.8/2.0mm double butted spoke with a breaking strength of 308 kgf. That’s an strength increase of 14%

Image 5-11-18 at 1.44 PM by Stuart Black, on Flickr

The 2018 spoke is a 2.2/1.8/20mm spoke with a breaking strength of 340kgf. That’s a 26% increase over the straight spoke. Pillar also makes a 2.3/1.8/2.0mm spoke with a breaking strength of 400 kgf which is a 48% increase in strength over the 2.0mm spoke.

Image 5-11-18 at 1.43 PM by Stuart Black, on Flickr

There is a very real gain in strength over “regular” spokes that make these kind of spokes worth using.



To your first question, because they aren’t. Broken spokes are the most common failure problem for bicyclists. Derailer adjustment is most likely the greatest problem but when it comes to something breaking, there is no other item that breaks more consistently on a bicycle than spokes. To your second question, yes. 36 2.0mm spokes would be the minimum for most heavy riders. 40 2.0mm spokes would be better. 48 2.0mm spokes would be the best. Or you could build a 32spoke wheel with triple butted spokes and, according to Hjertberg, have a wheel that is the equivalent of a 42 spoke wheel. Since 48, 40, and even 36 spoke hubs and rims can be difficult to find, building with stronger spokes makes sense.



The fact that spoke breakage is a huge problem for many riders. My wife and daughter have never broken a spoke…even on loaded tours. As someone who is dragging 200 lbs pretty hard and rides carrying touring loads on a regular basis, spoke breakage has been something that I have experienced on a frequent basis. I’ve experienced spoke breakage on a frequent basis on bikes that weren’t carrying touring loads. Going to triple butted spokes stopped that problem dead in its tracks.



I did read. I don’t agree. A heavier rim is just that…heavier. It’s not stronger.
You didn't read, even when I requoted and bolded it for you

Elbows break because they aren't seated, as I have told you many times before. I seat my elbows, and the hundreds of wheels I've built have no elbow problems.

Garbage in, garbage out.

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