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What gauge spoke to order?

Old 04-18-24, 01:25 AM
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What gauge spoke to order?

hello. i've got a broken spoke. this is a front 26" Araya rim brake MTB rim from the mid 1980s. it's a straight non-butted spoke. research says it is probably a 14 spoke ? any educated opinions if this is correct before i order ? thank you !

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Old 04-18-24, 01:45 AM
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This is undoubtedly a 14g, or 2.0mm straight-gauge 264mm spoke. That's what you need.

However, this almost certainly will not be the only spoke to break. Spoke failure like this in an old wheel signifies the spokes are at the end of their fatigue life. More will break and probably soon. There's very good chance you break another spoke first ride after replacing the one that broke. Or even before this while truing the wheel during spoke replacement. But there's only one way to find out. Replace it and see what happens. If you've already broken a spoke (or more), then you already know.

The solution is rebuilding the wheel. Given its age, you'll need a new rim, spokes and nipples of the appropriate length for the replacement rim (and lacing pattern if you change it). For the best wheel, switch to 14g & 15g butted spokes, or 2.0/1.8mm.

PS You've got quite the bike stable! 3Rensho, Colnago, MB-1, and a lot of other nice ones!
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Old 04-18-24, 01:54 AM
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hey thank you LV2TNDM ! i got road debris caught in my front wheel at a high rate of speed and heard a *ping* followed by my brakes rubbing the now out of true rim. hopefully since the spoke broke from debris the other spokes are ok as far as fatigue goes.

had to sell most of my bikes when i moved from PDX to Seoul. but kept the 3Rensho and a couple Bridgestone XO-2s

thanks again for the detailed answer !
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Old 04-18-24, 02:15 AM
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264mm sounds a couple/few mm too long. Usually, 259-261 mm seem to fit a lot of wheels.

IF you have a bike shop handy, just remove another spoke so you can measure it properly.

https://www.google.com/search?q=park...z2vWQx3p4,st:0
Skip to 2:11
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Old 04-18-24, 04:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun
264mm sounds a couple/few mm too long. Usually, 259-261 mm seem to fit a lot of wheels.

IF you have a bike shop handy, just remove another spoke so you can measure it properly.
the photo of the metric ruler shows 264mm and there's 1-2mm missing from where the spoke snapped off at the J-bend : actual spoke length replacement is 265-266mm
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Old 04-18-24, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by LV2TNDM
This is undoubtedly a 14g, or 2.0mm straight-gauge 264mm spoke. That's what you need.

However, this almost certainly will not be the only spoke to break. Spoke failure like this in an old wheel signifies the spokes are at the end of their fatigue life. More will break and probably soon. There's very good chance you break another spoke first ride after replacing the one that broke. Or even before this while truing the wheel during spoke replacement. But there's only one way to find out. Replace it and see what happens. If you've already broken a spoke (or more), then you already know.

The solution is rebuilding the wheel. Given its age, you'll need a new rim, spokes and nipples of the appropriate length for the replacement rim (and lacing pattern if you change it). For the best wheel, switch to 14g & 15g butted spokes, or 2.0/1.8mm.
Not sure you need a new rim. Lay your ruler across the brake surface of the rim -- if there's a gap where the brakes have worn the rim surface down, yep, you need a new rim. Otherwise, just swap the spokes -- either all at once, or one at a time, your choice. Though it's more trouble up front, for the aggravation factor, all at once might be better.

If you do need to replace the rim, it's probably worth taking it to a shop to order a new rim and matching spokes. With a good mail-order source, they can help you figure out what you'll need, but get out your calipers to measure the hub.

Concur on the 14/15/14 double-butted recommendation. It's a little more than straight gauge 14 spokes, but it's easier to build a durable wheel with the double butted, and they're 1/3 the price of triple-butted.
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Old 04-18-24, 07:50 AM
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I would add a mm or two (on a front wheel "perfect" spoke length is generally a tad less important then the rear wheel, a mm or two short should be fine). I agree with the need to check the rim (especially if an impact broke a spoke) before going to the trouble of replacing the spoke. IMO the ideal process would have the remaining spokes untensioned enough so their tensions are not prodding the rim this or that way (which is what we do when truing a wheel). Then spin the wheel and watch the rim's condition. With no spoke tensions the rim's now new condition will be easy to discern. If the rim has a spot that is still "whopped" (technical term from the bike shop) and this area is less then about 4-6 spokes long, the rim will prove hard to true and the resulting spoke tensions to prod this area back flat and round will result in rather uneven tensions and future problems will be more likely.

The quick method is to just install the new spoke and tension it up to the same pluck tone as the others and fine true from there. Andy
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Old 04-18-24, 08:50 AM
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Look at another spoke and whether they go to the slot of the nipple. They measure from the inside of the bend.
Buy 4 at least.
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Old 04-18-24, 10:42 AM
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Even if you will DIY the repair, I strongly suggest you buy spokes from a LBS that will have an inventory of spokes in all lengths and diameters.

Those that have never replaced spokes before, assume all 559 wheels use the same spokes. That's because hubs come in all diameters, and rims can be high or low. Who knows.

A spoke too long will run out of thread for the nipple to eat into.

A spoke too short and the nipple won't bite enough.

This is one of those goldlocks things.

One mistake on a mail order will already have cost you more than what the LBS could have solved once and immediately.
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Old 04-18-24, 12:17 PM
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Almost certainly a 14g (2mm) plain gauge spoke. 15g (1.8mm) spokes are rarely used OEM these days,

However to answer the title question about what may be best, may I suggest using 14g DB spokes. They're costlier, but build more durable wheels.
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Old 04-18-24, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb
Not sure you need a new rim. Lay your ruler across the brake surface of the rim -- if there's a gap where the brakes have worn the rim surface down, yep, you need a new rim. Otherwise, just swap the spokes -- either all at once, or one at a time, your choice. Though it's more trouble up front, for the aggravation factor, all at once might be better.

If you do need to replace the rim, it's probably worth taking it to a shop to order a new rim and matching spokes. With a good mail-order source, they can help you figure out what you'll need, but get out your calipers to measure the hub.

Concur on the 14/15/14 double-butted recommendation. It's a little more than straight gauge 14 spokes, but it's easier to build a durable wheel with the double butted, and they're 1/3 the price of triple-butted.
The reason I recommended a new rim was because of its age. That plus the straight gauge spokes tells me that rim has seen a LOT of tension cycles in its life. In other words, I wonder how much fatigue life is left in an old Araya rim? I'm still running Araya rims this old, but I also know the history and builder of the wheels (me), so I can feel confident they haven't been going through a zero (or near) tension rotational fatigue cycle in their lifetimes. I also know how much braking material is left on the rim flanges. This is unknown for the OP.

If it was me, I'd rebuild the rim if it showed no visible signs of damage or wear. But for someone to source new spokes - especially if butted - and then pay a professional to build the wheel, I think it's best to go with a new rim. That eliminates one unknown variable. Plus, many professional builders and/or shops won't rebuild around a used rim. But I could be wrong.
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Old 04-18-24, 10:48 PM
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There is a lot of hokum surrounding wheels. Straight gauge spokes aren't junk that wear out, spokes generally never break if properly built and rims don't wear out from stress. Under normal circumstances, the rim will eventually wear out from brake track wear.

Get the spoke length you need, tighten it up to where the wheel is straight again and ride it. It's a wheel, not a jet engine.
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Old 04-19-24, 02:06 AM
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thanks everybody . i replaced spoke earlier today trued up the wheel and went for a 30 mile ride . rides great ! looks like 265mm spoke length is perfect
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