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Wheel restoration Old Spokes or New?

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Wheel restoration Old Spokes or New?

Old 12-18-21, 08:49 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by martl View Post
​​​​​​One sometimes hears the opinion that spokes are a consumable and should be replaced just to be safe. This is not automatically true.
spokes that are chrome plated, though, are of a low quality and while they sometimes can be buffed I would always replace them with stainless ones.
Asahi of Japan made chrome plated spokes of good quality but rarely exported save for the lengths used in BMX bikes. They were found on top tier road bikes from the Japanese mfgs for a time till stainless steel was the siren call.
Union Berg made chrome plated double butted spokes of widely appreciated quality.
compared to stainless steel they became more expensive and are more vulnerable to neglect.
there may have been cheap chrome plated spokes elsewhere but I did not encounter them on bikes that came in for repair at the bike shops I worked for.
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Old 12-18-21, 11:52 AM
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Just want to add two cents on 27-700c. With cantis, as has been stated before you may end up with the pads pointing downward. It was less problematic for me with wider rims. Sun cr18s with 4 cross db spokes always made nice wheels in my experience. I do like the idea of trying to fix what you already have though too. Excellent project!
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Old 12-18-21, 08:05 PM
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New spokes are E$$pen$ive! If after some soaking, and the nipples turn, back em all off one by one, lube the spoke and maybe brush the threads, lube the eyelet and maybe replace a bunged up nipple.
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Old 12-19-21, 11:25 PM
  #29  
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Cost conscious buyers may want to consider straight gauge stainless spokes. It's not that expensive and having a wheel built carefully and with pride is more important than having butted spokes.

Last edited by Cycle Tourist; 12-19-21 at 11:28 PM.
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Old 12-20-21, 03:52 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Cycle Tourist View Post
Cost conscious buyers may want to consider straight gauge stainless spokes. It's not that expensive and having a wheel built carefully and with pride is more important than having butted spokes.
Good Point and I appreciate all the tips, tricks and advice on this thread. I am inclined to press forward and just order the DB SS spokes and move on with this. I have a couple of months until they would arrive anyway. That would give me some time to clean up the Araya rims and SunShine hubs first. I might try the build but a local bike shop expert wants to see them before they are ordered.
Cheers!
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Old 12-20-21, 05:21 PM
  #31  
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Post number mentions that stainless steel spokes, butted ones and of good quality, are expensive. That is so true and the spokes on my Rabeneick set me back $151 and change. I almost messed my pants when I got the bill.

I do agree with the mention at lesser spokes are OK to use provided they are installed, patterned, adjusted and stress relieved properly. Too tight or too loose or unevenly tensioned are all things that should be avoided if dependability it the target...
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Old 12-21-21, 04:44 PM
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With the cost of spokes now, I would hose them off with WD-40, clean them with steel wool or aluminum scrub pad and brushes, clean the rim up, throw on some new rim strips, check the true and ride them. I wouldn't bother stress relieving the existing spokes or trying to lube the nipples. If they are true, that was how you left it years ago. If the tension was fine then, it should be fine now. Unless these are just so sentimental that you can't live without them, just clean them up and ride them. I'm not putting 70-100 dollars worth of spokes into anything that I'm not inclined to go to the grave with now.

I only have one set of wheels I have sentimentality on. They were the very first pair of wheels I built for my Raleigh Competion. They have mismatched rims, Campy Gran Sport hubs on 126 spacing. They aren't worth a plug nickel in most peoples books... But I built them.
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Old 12-21-21, 05:01 PM
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$151 dollars for one wheelset's worth of spokes?! Where the heck are you guys getting your spokes from? I've been paying $1/pc. for double butted spokes - DT Swiss or Wheelsmith - from Universal.

Now, finding the length you need in stock, that may be the real challenge.
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Old 12-21-21, 05:28 PM
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+1 to @BFisher’s comment above!
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Old 12-22-21, 09:28 AM
  #35  
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I have a set of Covid tubulars here. I couldn't find the right size spokes at a reasonable price, so I built them with used spokes. Six monts in, the rear broke two spokes on the same ride. So they sit, awaiting the right size spokes. I got close day before yesterday. They said they had them, but whe push came to shove.....
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Old 12-22-21, 09:49 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by martl View Post
​​​​​​One sometimes hears the opinion that spokes are a consumable and should be replaced just to be safe. This is not automatically true.
Spokes really don’t need to be replaced to be “safe”. Theoretically, spokes can outlast numerous rims. That doesn’t work all the time…or even all that often…in practice. The length of the spoke can only work with rims of the same effective rim diameter. Finding a rim with the same effective rim diameter can be extremely difficult so spokes get replaced before they really need to. It’s not that they are compromised but if the ERD is different, they are useless.

spokes that are chrome plated, though, are of a low quality and while they sometimes can be buffed I would always replace them with stainless ones.
The spokes above aren’t “chrome plated”, they are probably zinc plated steel. From a practical standpoint, carbon steel is slightly more elastic than stainless. That can make the spoke a bit more durable than stainless. However any cleaning method is likely to remove the zinc coating which would make them more prone to rusting. Here’s what the Wikipedia page on galvanization says

  • The zinc acts as a sacrificial metal to protect the underlying iron/steel and thus acts as a sacrificial anode. In the event the underlying metal becomes exposed, protection can continue as long as there is zinc close enough to be electrically coupled. After all of the zinc in the immediate area is consumed, localized corrosion of the base metal can occur.
Basically that means that removing the coating by physical or chemical means will result in accelerated corrosion. Probably best to leave the spokes as they are and just ride them.
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Old 12-22-21, 10:16 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by tjfastback66 View Post
Hey All - I appreciate all the comments on this question.
Just a few things: This is a 27" wheel with 36 spokes on a 3 cross pattern. The length of the spokes is 310 and right now availability (Yes Stainless Double Butted) is not so good like nothing out there. The '81 Univega Specialissima came with Dia-Compe Grand Compe Center Pull (not canitlever) - Beautiful looking gems if I might add. So I might take a trip to the bike shop to see what they have available. Should you have any suggestions for new spokes that would be available I would be all ears. I might need to move onto another area to work on while the search for spokes continues.
Your problem is less supply chain issues than using a somewhat outdated wheel. 310mm spokes are an uncommon length. DT, for example, only offers that length in limited models. They don’t offer that length in the double butted Revolution line which is the most commonly available double butted spoke. They do offer that length in the Champion line but that is a straight gauge spoke.

You have a couple of issues that make this wheel difficult to rebuild. The 4 cross pattern and the flat profile rims makes the spokes longer and more difficult to find. A 3 cross pattern and/or a higher profile rim would shorten the spokes. Shorter spokes are far easier to find.

Frankly, I’d just build a new wheel in 3 cross. Preferable one with a freehub and in 700C. I doubt that these wheels are OEM given that 4 cross is rare even in custom builds. If you want to keep with the current hubs, I’d still rebuild them in 3 cross.

And get that lock nut tighten down properly!
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Old 12-22-21, 11:06 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Your problem is less supply chain issues than using a somewhat outdated wheel. 310mm spokes are an uncommon length. DT, for example, only offers that length in limited models. They don’t offer that length in the double butted Revolution line which is the most commonly available double butted spoke. They do offer that length in the Champion line but that is a straight gauge spoke.

You have a couple of issues that make this wheel difficult to rebuild. The 4 cross pattern and the flat profile rims makes the spokes longer and more difficult to find. A 3 cross pattern and/or a higher profile rim would shorten the spokes. Shorter spokes are far easier to find.

Frankly, I’d just build a new wheel in 3 cross. Preferable one with a freehub and in 700C. I doubt that these wheels are OEM given that 4 cross is rare even in custom builds. If you want to keep with the current hubs, I’d still rebuild them in 3 cross.
And get that lock nut tighten down properly!
Actually the length of the spoke length is 306 with a bit more availability from what I have been led to believe. My knowledge of wheel building is actually NIL - so I might be inclined to practice on these wheels with the old spokes/nipples first before I attempt to go with all new spokes. The nipples turned great without any oil but I still will oil them up prior to disassembly. Being that these wheels are "Factory" build with the 4 cross pattern my goal is to keep that look with the restoration. The loose lock nut was prior to the hub tear down and removing the bearings..

Thank You!
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Old 12-22-21, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by tjfastback66 View Post
Actually the length of the spoke length is 306 with a bit more availability from what I have been led to believe. My knowledge of wheel building is actually NIL - so I might be inclined to practice on these wheels with the old spokes/nipples first before I attempt to go with all new spokes.
While using these wheels for practice is admirable, I would suggest getting another old wheel to practice on. I use old wheels in my wheel building classes for people to build up rather than risk their new wheels on the first time out. I take them apart after (or before) each new session so that others can use them. The wheels will never be ridden again, however. The hardest part of wheel building is lacing. Tension and truing are much easier to grasp for nearly all the students I’ve taught (50 to 100 so far).


The nipples turned great without any oil but I still will oil them up prior to disassembly.
You don’t need much oil. A drop at the top of each nipple is enough. Any oil will work. I regularly use Triflow because it’s what is available in the co-op shop. At home I have an ancient can of 3-in-One oil that I also use.

Being that these wheels are "Factory" build with the 4 cross pattern my goal is to keep that look with the restoration.
I have my doubts that these are “factory” (or original equipment, manufacturer, aka OEM). I’ve dealt with a lot of wheels over 40 years of riding and working on bikes as well as 10 years of working on thousands of bikes at my local co-op. Four cross lacing is extremely rare in general.

Even if the wheels are OEM 4 cross, going to a 3 cross won’t make any difference and will make finding spokes easier. If you go with stainless spokes, you’ve already changed the “originality” of the wheel set. Basically, no one will notice

The loose lock nut was prior to the hub tear down and removing the bearings..
Generally speaking, it’s easier to start with the nondrive side when working on bearings. The driveside spacers are a bit more difficult to reset and everything is buried under the freewheel if something comes loose because you didn’t get everything tight enough.

Co-op tip: If you happen to find yourself working on a coaster hub, work on the drive side. The off-drive side doesn’t really have anything that’s adjustable. Learned that one the hard way.
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Old 05-16-22, 09:10 AM
  #40  
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I decided to clean up the original spokes and the Univega is all set to roll !

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Old 05-16-22, 11:39 AM
  #41  
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Ride em. I have put over a thousand miles in the last year on a set of wheels that were so rusty I had to clean them with a wire wheel on a drill-motor. I did clean/lube and adjust the bearings and true them up, and once in the last year a spoke broke while on a ride, but I was able to ride home with it and swap the one spoke out. If riding is essential to you then ride, if you enjoy wrenching more than riding then wrench. I wanted to ride that bike so I just did what I had to do to get me on the road, and spent as little as possible. I don't care how things look, I just want to ride.
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Old 05-16-22, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by beng1 View Post
Ride em. ................I had to clean them with a wire wheel on a drill-motor. I did clean/lube and adjust the bearings and true them up. I just want to ride.
Yeah I did that drill and wire wheel with this one - I have to say they turned out fantastic!
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