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Spokes for a 406 wheel

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Spokes for a 406 wheel

Old 10-31-23, 01:06 AM
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Spokes for a 406 wheel

Toying with the idea of building up a set of wheels for my folding bike (20" - 406). It seems like the rims and hubs are pretty easy to find, but I'm curious about the spokes. Do they make spokes that short, or is it a custom cut and thread exercise? If so, then I guess I am limited to regular straight gauge spokes? Would be nice to get some butted spokes for the build, but I guess that won't be possible if spokes need to be cut down and threaded?
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Old 10-31-23, 01:46 AM
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Their shortest lengths should just get you in.
However, NOT knowing the actual ERD of the rim and PCD of the hubs.....
https://wheelbuilder.com/sapim-race-...-butted-spoke/

Use one of the online spoke calculators and plug in the numbers.
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Old 10-31-23, 01:49 AM
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I have been able to buy 14 gauge and 15 gauge straight spokes through Universal Cycles for 20” wheels for many years. I looked for butted but never found them. It’s been a while since I looked though.
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Old 10-31-23, 07:29 AM
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Producing DB spokes involves 2 steps; producing the blank with a given length thin section, then making the various lengths. Typically, makers will use the same blank for a range of lengths spanning 10-20mm.

I suspect that there's simply not enough demand in your size range to bother making a suitable blank.

I doubt you'll find any until/unless someone gets an OEM order for small wheel DB spokes.

BTW, that might have already happened, so check all offerings from each brand carefully.
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Old 10-31-23, 03:06 PM
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Thanks, all, for the input. The Sapim site lists 182mm as their shortest and my rough estimates suggest I'd need something in the 172-177mm range. It certainly makes sense that manufacturers might not see enough demand to make higher quality butted spokes in such lengths, as BMX wheels probably just use regular straight gauge spokes.
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Old 10-31-23, 03:08 PM
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Double butted Spokes are available down to a 170mm length, at least... on Ebay, etc.....
there may be other optional lengths, and there will be many other sources.

contact your local BMX-oriented shop for info.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/15552463388...Bk9SR5LC-vjwYg

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Old 10-31-23, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by tFUnK
Thanks, all, for the input. The Sapim site lists 182mm as their shortest and my rough estimates suggest I'd need something in the 172-177mm range. .
Take a look at that 182mm spoke. There's certainly a stretch of unthreated 2mm. Odds are it's at least 10mm, leaving room for the thread to be extended. The rest is a question of careful measurements and calculations.

Last edited by FBinNY; 10-31-23 at 05:35 PM.
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Old 10-31-23, 03:27 PM
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Sunny Spokes will cut any length you need.

If they need to be cut and threaded, you can go with single-butted.
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Old 10-31-23, 03:55 PM
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Thanks for the resources and knowledge. This looks encouraging.
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Old 10-31-23, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by tFUnK
Thanks for the resources and knowledge. This looks encouraging.
How many spokes?
IF you have 36 holes, you could go as much as Cross 4 and eat up a bit of excess length.
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Old 10-31-23, 07:13 PM
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Four cross, 20" wheel?
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Old 10-31-23, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs
Four cross, 20" wheel?
Perfectly OK for 36h and small flanges. However with larger flanges there might be issues with the angles at the rim. If the added 3-4mm in length makes trimming those 182s practical, it's worth considering.

Last edited by FBinNY; 10-31-23 at 08:37 PM.
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Old 10-31-23, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs
Four cross, 20" wheel?
I've built several wheels for my 20" (406) folders, and they've all been 2-cross. I can't imagine 4-cross, especially with a wide hub like the Alfine or Nexus.


Shimano Alfine 11 in a better rim.



Nexus 8 hub ready for winter.



SP Dynohub in replacement Kinetix rim.
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Old 10-31-23, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
Perfectly OK for 36h and small flanges. However with larger flanges there might be issues with the angles at the rim. If the added 3-4mm in length makes trimming those 182s practical, it's worth considering.
Current wheels are 36h 3x and the main reason I want to replace is to go 20/24 1x/2x because with 36 spokes on a small wheel I find it annoying fitting my pump chuck onto the valve (I know), and also the current wheels are heavy with basic hubs and I think I can reduce quite a bit of weight (I know) with a roadie-esque wheelset.
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Old 10-31-23, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by sweeks
I've built several wheels for my 20" (406) folders, and they've all been 2-cross.


Shimano Alfine 11 in a better rim.



Nexus 8 hub ready for winter.



SP Dynohub in replacement Kinetix rim.
Nice wheels. Thanks for the inspiration.
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Old 10-31-23, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by tFUnK
Current wheels are 36h 3x and the main reason I want to replace is to go 20/24 1x/2x because with 36 spokes on a small wheel I find it annoying fitting my pump chuck onto the valve (I know), and also the current wheels are heavy with basic hubs and I think I can reduce quite a bit of weight (I know) with a roadie-esque wheelset.
That makes sense. Note also that 2 is the max cross on 20 or 24h. However with flanges that size you'll probably want 1x, especially on 20h.
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Old 11-01-23, 05:13 AM
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Originally Posted by tFUnK
...I find it annoying fitting my pump chuck onto the valve...
Originally Posted by tFUnK
Nice wheels. Thanks for the inspiration.
Thanks. I enjoyed building them, and as an amateur bike mechanic I get a good deal of satisfaction out of riding on wheels I put together.
The valve thing is actually why I started doing this. I had worn out a rim and took the wheel to a (rather exclusive, I thought) bike shop. The re-built wheel was beautiful at first glance, but when I got it home (30 minute drive) and tried to put the tire on, I discovered that spokes were crossing over the valve. I *could* just get the pump on, but it was vexing. Back to the shop, where the owner told me the mechanic had quit and that I would have to pay for a re-do. I declined the offer, probably too politely, and never darkened the door of that shop again. But, in truth, the guy did me a favor, because I learned how to do it myself.
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Old 11-01-23, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by sweeks




SP Dynohub in replacement Kinetix rim.
I had to do a doubletree because of that weird "valve" in exactly the right place.
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Old 11-01-23, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
I had to do a doubletree because of that weird "valve" in exactly the right place.
Hahaha! Yes, it takes an industrial-sized chuck!
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Old 11-06-23, 10:10 AM
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I've had no trouble getting spokes for my BMX racing wheels.

For those looking at performance 20" tires - the IRC Siren Pro is new king for me on BMX racing tires for speed & grip, over the Tioga Fastr & Powerblock tires. I do still use a Powerband S-Spec on the front. And the Alienation Malice rims are very nice tubeless-compatible rims that work with rim brakes.
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Old 11-23-23, 12:18 PM
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I've built many wheels for 349 (Brompton), 369 (Moulton)and 406 (Moulton), as wheel as wheels for 26 and 700C bikes. Probably around 50 in the last two decades.
I now cut my own spokes and thread them, having bought a box of Sapim Strong spokes, these are 2mm along their length with a short reinforced 2.3mm butt at the head. The weight gain is minimal but the extra thickness stops issues with heads popping off. Check your hubs are drilled for this thickness
Since doing my own wheels I no longer have any issues, including on loaded touring tandems with 150kg of riders plus 20kg of luggage.

Typically front wheels are radial (rim brakes only, hub/disk brakes will need crossing to resist braking torque).
Small rear wheels will typically get 1x or sometimes 2x crossing. You want to keep the angle at the spoke nipple lower than about 7 degrees. I use the Roger Musson's calculator at wheelpro uk and if you want to improve your art then then book is worth the small investment.

Have fun. A small investment in tooling goes a long way with wheel building.
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