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Z bend spokes for an entire wheel

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Z bend spokes for an entire wheel

Old 05-14-10, 12:25 PM
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Z bend spokes for an entire wheel

I've read of using a "Z" shaped bend on a longer spoke "that's been cut to size" for replacing drive side broken spokes on the road.

Have any of you wheel builders laced an entire wheel from in this way?
If so...How were/are the results?

Are there special tools needed to make the bends?
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Old 05-14-10, 04:34 PM
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i have not seen an Eldi S-Bender on the market for ages. https://www.jimlangley.net/wrench/espoketool.html

The best make-do pliers I've seen are: https://www.greatplanes.com/accys/gpmr8025.html https://www.hobbico.com/tools/hcar2000.html and https://www.hangar-9.com/Products/Def...?ProdID=HAN119 I was able to pick up the pliers at a local hobby shop for model plane makers.

I use the last one for doing emergency repairs at medium sized bike rides. I carry one size of extra long spokes (310 mm), mark the desired spoke length with a crayon, cut to size and place the bend in the spoke. I can handle any rider with standard spoke wheels by carrying only one size spoke.

I will usually pull the cassette or freewheel for spoke replacement on the rear wheel. The chances are 50% at best that the cogs will not interfere with lacing the z-spoke into the flange.

I look at this as a temporary measure for the rider to finish a century. I'll always tell him to go to his LBS to have the spoke replaced after the ride. I think 3 spokes is the maximum I've replaced at one shot. I'd never consider them a replacement for a standard spoke.

I also tell the rider to buy a few replacement spokes of proper size, place them in the handlebar and forget about them until needed.
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Old 05-15-10, 09:08 AM
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Probably the greatest drawback is during the building process, where the spokes won't stay put until there's enough tension. Also make sure he last leg is short enough not to reach the next spoke hole.

I strongly doubt that a Z-bend would ever pull out over time, but since there's never a problem removing broken spokes, why not just build with standard spokes, and save the Z-bends for on the road emergencies.

BTW- there's hardly a need for z-bend spokes anymore, because cassettes are so easy to remove. Z-bends saw their heyday back when tourists used freewheels, and didn't want to carry a 12" wrench to remove them.
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Old 01-26-15, 09:38 PM
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I saw this on Craigslist today.
Mavic Open 4 CD Laced to American Classic Hub



Most interesting wheel, radially laced with Z-Bend spokes, perhaps to allow bladed spokes with a non-slotted hub.

It doesn't say how old the wheel is, but does indicate that a few spokes (front wheel) have broken over time.
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Old 01-26-15, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK
.

Most interesting wheel, radially laced with Z-Bend spokes, perhaps to allow bladed spokes with a non-slotted hub.

It doesn't say how old the wheel is, but does indicate that a few spokes (front wheel) have broken over time.
Interesting, the listing says it was used primarily on an indoor trainer. The front wheel doesn't do an awful lot on a trainer besides hold the front end off the ground, so one would have to wonder how in blazes the owner managed to break spokes. Broken front spokes are rare enough as it is, but when not even turning?
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Old 01-26-15, 09:55 PM
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Roller Trainer?
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Old 01-26-15, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK
Roller Trainer?
Possibly, but broken front spokes are still rare enough to consider it a bad sign. Then again it could have been the classic something caught in the wheel.
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Old 01-27-15, 08:57 AM
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Are there special tools needed to make the bends?
you will be making an awful lot of little bends, by hand, with a pair of Pliers ..with out one

but it's also A Long Winter.. particularly with the Snowmageddon this week in the NE..

Texas is another story ..
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Old 01-27-15, 10:08 AM
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I'm not exactly sure what you're asking in "How were/are the results?" but many years ago I had a wheel (probably a pair) built up with them and they worked. Back when bladed spokes first came out (late 1980's?) before slotted hubs were available Hoshi (if I'm remembering the name correctly) came out with z-bend bladed spokes so you didn't have to modify your hubs. I have no recollection as to whether I built the wheels myself or purchased them so I can't say how easy they were (or weren't) to lace, but I can say once built up and tight they rode and "lasted" like any other wheel. Spoke replacement was easy, which was good, because of their drawback - those spokes broke constantly. I'm pretty sure that was due to the brand, not the z-bend design. They quickly got a reputation for being no good, and I and everyone else I knew who had them scrapped them pretty quickly.
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Old 01-27-15, 11:41 AM
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It seems to me that the inherent weakness in the idea is that by making the bends you are fatiguing the metal and creating a weakness in the spoke.
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Old 01-27-15, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by auldgeunquers
It seems to me that the inherent weakness in the idea is that by making the bends you are fatiguing the metal and creating a weakness in the spoke.
Spoke wire is relatively malleable, and can tolerate bending to fairly small radii. A single bending operation won't fatigue or materially weaken the spoke, but you don't want to work the bend back and forth trying to get the angle right. In practice you make the far bend first, then the elbow, using round nose pliers or a bending jig. Folks have been doing this for years in all sorts of applications, and it's a tried and true process.

BTW- fatigue in the metals world refers specifically to a process of progressive stress crack formation over time as a result of repetitive stress loading cycles.
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