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Blade spokes??

Old 08-29-09, 06:44 PM
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Blade spokes??

I have always been interested in having a set of wheels built with blade spokes. The price of the spokes has always stopped me from investing in them. Have any of you ever had or rode a set of blade spoked wheels? I would think that they are faster....less wind resistance.
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Old 08-29-09, 06:58 PM
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in a cross wind they are tricksy...
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Old 08-29-09, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by dit View Post
I have always been interested in having a set of wheels built with blade spokes. The price of the spokes has always stopped me from investing in them. Have any of you ever had or rode a set of blade spoked wheels? I would think that they are faster....less wind resistance.
Yes, I have had several sets of wheels built for road and track bikes with bladed or oval shape spokes, and also have purchased modern wheels with deep section rims and bladed spokes. They are definitely faster in that they have significantly less wind resistance, and this has been demonstrated in numerous laboratory tests. I would suggest that if you go to the expense of using bladed spokes, then also get a V section rim as well. Also, the less spokes you use the better, and you can use a radial lacing pattern in the front to further reduce wind resistance.

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Old 08-29-09, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by tejanotrackie View Post
yes, i have had several sets of wheels built for road and track bikes with bladed or oval shape spokes, and also have purchased modern wheels with deep section rims and bladed spokes. They are definitely faster in that they have significantly less wind resistance, and this has been demonstrated in numerous laboratory tests. I would suggest that if you go to the expense of using bladed spokes, then also get a v section rim as well. Also, the less spokes you use the better, and you can used a radial lacing pattern in the front to further reduce wind resistance.
+1
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Old 08-30-09, 08:39 AM
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I never used them much but I do have a front "race wheel" with oval it rode it on occasion when I needed a spare. I did not notice a huge difference. I do remember some 'bladed' spokes back in the late '80 required some filing of the hub.
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Old 08-30-09, 09:19 AM
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These wheels are built with Wheelsmith Aero elliptical spokes. No modification of the hubs is required.

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Old 08-30-09, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by norskagent View Post
in a cross wind they are tricksy...
Bladed spokes do not cause enough of an increase in surface area to cause handling problems in crosswinds. The problem is generally caused by the deep section rims used in conjunction with the spokes.

Originally Posted by BianchiGirl View Post
I never used them much but I do have a front "race wheel" with oval it rode it on occasion when I needed a spare. I did not notice a huge difference....
+1. Bladed spokes by themselves do not cause enough of a difference to warrant use by most recreational riders. However, in conjunction with with radial spoking, less spokes and deeper section, aerodynamic rims they are justified for competition, particularly time trials and triathlons.

Also note that here is difference between bladed and oval spokes, the latter being much more aerodynamic.

Finally, be aware of the possibility of flange failure. This was fairly frequent using bladed spokes where the holes had to be slotted. However, it can also happen with oval spokes, particular in older, less expensive hubs not intended for radial spoking patterns. In traditional spoking patterns, the angle of the spoke places more distance between the hole and edge of the flange than a radial pattern, allowing more metal to carry to load. Less spokes also involve more tension and higher stress on the flange.
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Old 08-30-09, 09:39 AM
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I have two bikes with bladed spokes. A 1997 LeMond Maillot Juane and a 86 Nishiki Prestige. The latter has a Alex wheelset that I added. I noticed one change with the bladed spokes, they are considerably stiffer compared to the standard spoke wheels so take that into account. It could be the deep V rim contributing to the change. I'm not sure if the improvement I saw in the performance of the Nishiki was due to the bladed spokes or the better hubs that were used on the Alex wheelset, but I did notice a performance improvement.
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Old 08-30-09, 10:34 AM
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Sapim lasers FTW. They are very strong, as well as aerodynamic. I have broken nipples but never a spoke.

And, if the wind is just right, they make a cool noise, too.
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Old 08-30-09, 11:11 AM
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Bladed spokes are so common now that if you use the proper hubs for them, you should not have too many issues.
Personally, for classic bikes, ! would rather build wheels with butted spokes instead, which would be more period proper/common for older bikes

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Old 08-30-09, 12:41 PM
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I am not sure I agree that the blades are not period correct. I am sure they were available in the mid 70's, though I believe they were 'state of the art' at the time.
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Old 08-30-09, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by dit View Post
I am not sure I agree that the blades are not period correct. I am sure they were available in the mid 70's, though I believe they were 'state of the art' at the time.
Yes, state of the art, but then available components did not really accept radial spokes, thus the questionable parctice of slotting of hub spoke holes to accept them. It's more of a customizing practice done by a very few and not what is seen on production bikes.

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Old 08-30-09, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
Bladed spokes do not cause enough of an increase in surface area to cause handling problems in crosswinds. The problem is generally caused by the deep section rims used in conjunction with the spokes.



+1. Bladed spokes by themselves do not cause enough of a difference to warrant use by most recreational riders. However, in conjunction with with radial spoking, less spokes and deeper section, aerodynamic rims they are justified for competition, particularly time trials and triathlons.

Also note that here is difference between bladed and oval spokes, the latter being much more aerodynamic.

Finally, be aware of the possibility of flange failure. This was fairly frequent using bladed spokes where the holes had to be slotted. However, it can also happen with oval spokes, particular in older, less expensive hubs not intended for radial spoking patterns. In traditional spoking patterns, the angle of the spoke places more distance between the hole and edge of the flange than a radial pattern, allowing more metal to carry to load. Less spokes also involve more tension and higher stress on the flange.
Excellent and correct information; thanks for that TMar!
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Old 08-30-09, 01:51 PM
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some good info

I am old and slow and any help is greatly appreciated. I only have one set of wheels with db spokes and it is the set of 27" that I built a few years ago. I was not aware of the oval spokes and would not have thought that they would be more areo but then I have never seen them either. The areas that I have lived in have not exactly been bicycle mecca's. I doubt that I ever own a wheel set of either but it doesn't hurt to 'want'.
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Old 08-30-09, 02:36 PM
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the 'want' list does tend to be a lot longer than the 'need' list.
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Old 08-30-09, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Chombi View Post
Yes, state of the art, but then available components did not really accept radial spokes, thus the questionable parctice of slotting of hub spoke holes to accept them. It's more of a customizing practice done by a very few and not what is seen on production bikes.
The track wheel with bladed spokes as shown in the photo was built for me in the late 1970s by a professional wheelbuilder. Note that the slots face inward on the hub flange, slanted along the axis of the spokes, such that there is no load on the slot and no reduction of flange material thickness on the pulling side of the spoke hole. These wheels have been used continously to this day in competition, without any failure or reduction in spoke tension. Note also that the spokes are tied and soldered where they cross, which was accepted practice for the day to presumably stiffen the wheel when accelerating, although current thinking is that this is unnecessary.
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Old 08-30-09, 06:06 PM
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The only set of bladed spoked wheels I have owned are now enjoying a more productive life with another C&V'er. I know they made way more "cool". I suspect they have delivered the same benefit to the good chap who has them now, even though he doesn't need the help.

Man, those were/are some cool wheels.
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