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Lacing up and tensioning my first wheel!

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Lacing up and tensioning my first wheel!

Old 08-01-09, 01:23 AM
  #1  
Jasper_biketh
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Lacing up and tensioning my first wheel!

Hey everyone,

I've just finished (sort of) lacing up a velocity aerohead (36h) to a Suntour Sprint hub. It went ok, but for the fact that as I put it under some tension (just enough to hide the threads), one of the spokes popped straight out of the nipple, stripping a few brass threads... I'm confident it wasn't threaded far enough for optimum strength, but it's still a bit disconcerting.

That said, what does anyone know about sprint hubs?

Oh, and I'm worried about over-tensioning the spokes... any tips?
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Old 08-01-09, 01:57 AM
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Sounds like you bought the wrong-sized spokes. I don't get how you think it wasn't threaded far enough. Unless the spoke wouldn't reach into the nipple far enough? Pictures always help.
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Old 08-01-09, 05:08 AM
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What are you using for spokes?

That sounds like what happens when you use a 15 gauge spoke with a 14 gauge nipple.
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Old 08-03-09, 02:32 AM
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Sorry - I wasn't very clear about what happened. I hadn't threaded the spoke far enough into the nipple (only about a turn or two), so when I started tensioning the rest of wheel, the two threads couldn't support the stress that started to build up, and the spoke popped out of the nipple. It turned out ok, though, as I had a spare nipple. After I finished tensioning/truing it, I took it into the LBS and they said it was good to go.

Also, the spokes were the right size according to spocalc...

Wheelbuilding turned out to be a fun - if a bit tedious - process.
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Old 08-03-09, 04:12 AM
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what length nipples did you use?
did you measure the actual ERD of your rim and actual measurements for the hub instead of using data from spocalc?

after you finished truing and tensioning, how much open room was left on the backside of the nipple?

perfect length spokes will end up flush with the backside of a 12mm nipple.
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Old 08-10-09, 06:53 PM
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I used actual measurements for the hub and the manufacturer's info for the rim; the nipples were 12mm, I think. Anyway, they did end up pretty close to flush with the ends of the threads on the nipples - all of the threads are hidden now, but none of the spokes are sticking through on the other end. It worked, as far as I can tell. ~100 miles in so far, and no complaints...

I'm officially a fan of Velocity Aeroheads... and of that old sprint hub. It spins like it's on butter.
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Old 08-10-09, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Jasper_biketh View Post
I hadn't threaded the spoke far enough into the nipple (only about a turn or two), so when I started tensioning the rest of wheel, the two threads couldn't support the stress that started to build up, and the spoke popped out of the nipple.
My goodness, tensioning a wheel while ONE of the spokes is only threaded on a couple of threads? Don't you know enough to get them all to the same stage (like NO threads showing) before tensioning starts? You need to read my wheelbuilding info.
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Old 08-10-09, 07:39 PM
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Geez, Mike T., could you just cut him some slack. I think it sounds like he did a great job for a first time. Congratulations, Jasper biketh. I love to true wheels. You get such a sense of accomplishment from such a small thing!!
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Old 08-10-09, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by turtlewoman View Post
Geez, Mike T., could you just cut him some slack.
I did.
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Old 08-10-09, 07:57 PM
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He's from Ontario. Perhaps he's operator's evil twin-brother - Skippy.

Congratulations on your build, Jasper biketh!
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Old 08-10-09, 08:30 PM
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I've had the same thing happen. 36 spokes. On spoke 19 I can't quite get the spoke to engage the nipple. Reason: I screwed the spokes on the first 18 up to the last thread. Moment of panic. Quick realization. Slack tension on first 18.
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Old 08-11-09, 10:07 AM
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You really do need to bring the nipples up on the spokes slowly and evenly all the way around.
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Old 08-11-09, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Al1943 View Post
You really do need to bring the nipples up on the spokes slowly and evenly all the way around.
+1

for the initial lacing, if you can get every spoke threaded the same amount all way around, it makes truing much easier.
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Old 08-11-09, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Jasper_biketh View Post
Oh, and I'm worried about over-tensioning the spokes... any tips?
It's kind of hard to overtension the spokes enough to hurt them... cause the rim will normally fail first. That said, the old school way (before fancy-schmancy tensiometers) was to tighten them up until you felt like you were fixing to strip the nipples off. More important than the actual tension on the spokes is that the tension is fairly even around the wheel... i.e. no spokes should be a lot tighter or looser than others in the wheel.
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Old 08-12-09, 09:54 AM
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OP asked about Sprint hubs - I had a pair of wheels built with those hubs 20(?) years ago. Cartridge bearing design similar to Specialized hubs of the time.
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Old 08-17-09, 02:45 AM
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Mike T:

There was a surprising amount of tension in the wheel when I first started lacing it (and no, the spokes weren't too short - they're perfect now that the wheel's tensioned and true) such that after I'd laced them all up, a few were very hard to get into place. It was one of these which popped out. I then proceeded to try to make the threads disappear into the nipples, and this act of tensioning was what caused the nipple to give. The next time, I realized that going around straight from one to the other wasn't the best idea, so I went in a pattern and slowly brought the wheel into a little bit of tension.

As a side note, I think the flanges were very thick - I'd laced a rim with the same ERD to a hub with the same diameter and center-to-flange using the same spokes (that rim had a bad hop, which led to me buying the Aerohead so as not to waste the spokes), and the tension was much less the first time around.

Anyway, I'm really happy with the wheel. The tension is even but not impossibly tight, and the wheel is dead true. It was danged fun. Thanks to everyone for the tips... Al1943 and smurf hunter, I couldn't agree more... I definitely learned that lesson.

gerv, I did the same thing during the build when I was lacing it up... oi.

How's everyone's summer going? Any good rides?
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Old 08-17-09, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Jasper_biketh View Post
Mike T:
There was a surprising amount of tension in the wheel when I first started lacing it (and no, the spokes weren't too short - they're perfect now that the wheel's tensioned and true) such that after I'd laced them all up, a few were very hard to get into place. It was one of these which popped out. I then proceeded to try to make the threads disappear into the nipples, and this act of tensioning was what caused the nipple to give.
I don't understand. If the nipples were initially screwed onto the spokes as they should be - about two turns max - then, if as you say, the spokes "weren't too short - they're perfect now", why would the wheels have "a surprising amount of tension in the wheel when I first started lacing it"?

I've never found a wheelbuild yet, that had tight spokes in the initial lacing and early tensioning stages, that had spokes of the correct length.

If they ARE of the correct length (very close to the top of the nipple when fully tensioned) then the nipples must have been screwed on too much initially.
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Old 08-17-09, 12:57 PM
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I think the problem was that they weren't coming out of the hub straight - the flanges were very thick, as I mentioned, which made the spokes bent as they ran from the flange to the rim. That said, once it had been brought into some tension (with the nipples ~2/3 of the way onto the threads, the second time around, after the failure of one of the nipples), I did as suggested by Sheldon Brown's wheelbuilding article and bent the spokes where they crossed, etc. to relieve some of the tension. It worked wonders.

I'm not trying to suggest I was error free in this build - please don't think that. I was inexperienced. But I do think the fact that the spokes started out far too tight and ended up just right was a bit odd, as I'd built up a wheel with the same measurements and same spokes a few weeks earlier... it did have a bad hop, though, which likely reduced some of the tension. Anyway, I've learned to be more gradual in the tensioning process, and I feel like the next time will go much more smoothly.
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