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Old 01-19-17, 11:08 PM
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Spokes

Are the spokes on a touring specfic bike a thicker gage than a road bike?
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Old 01-19-17, 11:33 PM
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I think you usually have more spokes. Nowadays 36 as opposed to 32 or less on sportier bikes. Older touring bikes used to come with 40 or more on the rear wheel.
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Old 01-19-17, 11:34 PM
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Personally I use double butted spokes when I build my wheels.
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Old 01-20-17, 03:20 AM
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There are those on this board who adhere to theory that double butted spokes are superior to straight gauge spokes because they are able to tolerate greater stress before breaking and triple butted spokes such as the Alpine III are even better yet. And this may be true but most people (unless you're a Clyde carrying an extreme load) can probably get satisfactory use out of 14g or 2.0mm spokes, assuming you have enough of them and the wheel is properly built and tuned.
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Old 01-20-17, 08:04 AM
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Shamrock, I can't think of a traditional spoke size that hasn't been used successfully on a touring bicycle. The strength of the wheel is in the build, IME.

While I do favor butted spokes, both of my touring bikes currently have straight gauge spokes. One is the common 14 gauge and the other is 15 gauge. The one with 15 gauge spokes is a very high mileage bike that carried four panniers. This is it's OEM wheel set from '96, but there are a couple of 14 gauge replacement spokes on the rear wheel.

Because the one with 15 gauge spokes is mainly my beater bike, it will receive my 14 gauge wheel set once the '96's rims die. The wheels for my main touring bike will then be built with the DT AlpineIII triple butted spoke because I like the thicker hub end.

Brad
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Old 01-20-17, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
there are those on this board who adhere to theory that double butted spokes are superior to straight gauge spokes because they are able to tolerate greater stress before breaking and triple butted spokes such as the alpine iii are even better yet. And this may be true but most people (unless you're a clyde carrying an extreme load) can probably get satisfactory use out of 14g or 2.0mm spokes, assuming you have enough of them and the wheel is properly built and tuned.
+1
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Old 01-20-17, 09:16 AM
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Anything about the size of the spoke hole on the hub? Does that make any difference for the gauge of the spoke? A lot of wheels are going to fewer spokes now. Look at MTBs and tandems for tough wheels with fewer spokes. It appears that 36 spokes and above is not real anymore.
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Old 01-20-17, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
Anything about the size of the spoke hole on the hub? Does that make any difference for the gauge of the spoke? ...
From what I gather, most hubs, but not always, have spoke holes drilled to 2.5 mm. The AlpineIII has a ~2.3 mm head, which should provide just enough transition clearance for installing the spoke. My unscientific thinking (And I'm willing to be corrected. ) is that the smaller difference between the spoke head's OD and the hub's hole diameter would make that area somewhat stronger. The main length of the spoke is 1.8 mm and the threading is 2 mm. Basically a 15 gauge spoke that can use a 14 gauge size nipple.

For commonly available parts, I'm still going to suggest to anyone who asks 36 hole wheels for touring bikes.

Brad
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Old 01-20-17, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Shamrock View Post
Are the spokes on a touring specfic bike a thicker gage than a road bike?
No, they aren't usually thicker gauge. This is usually more due to stubbornness and lack of understanding than to unavailability. This article explains why you should use specialty spokes in all your build, regardless of weight. I've been using those kinds of spokes for nearly 20 years and what the article says is essentially what I've experienced.

Originally Posted by robow View Post
There are those on this board who adhere to theory that double butted spokes are superior to straight gauge spokes because they are able to tolerate greater stress before breaking and triple butted spokes such as the Alpine III are even better yet. And this may be true but most people (unless you're a Clyde carrying an extreme load) can probably get satisfactory use out of 14g or 2.0mm spokes, assuming you have enough of them and the wheel is properly built and tuned.
The problem is that you need more lighter gauge spokes to get the same strength as using a spoke with a heavier head. I don't agree with the Wheel Fanatyk article's contention that a spoke with a 2.3mm head is equal to 10 extra spokes but it's certainly equal to the next step up in drillings. A 32 spoke wheel with DT Alpine III (for example) is equivalent to a 36 spoke wheel's strength and a 36 spoke wheel built with those spoke is equivalent to a 40 spoke wheel's strength.

And, while the 2.3mm head spokes are good for heavier tourists (and mountain bikers who are hard on wheels), they have utility for lighter riders as well. They simply make worry proof wheels.

Originally Posted by bradtx View Post
Shamrock, I can't think of a traditional spoke size that hasn't been used successfully on a touring bicycle. The strength of the wheel is in the build, IME.

While I do favor butted spokes, both of my touring bikes currently have straight gauge spokes. One is the common 14 gauge and the other is 15 gauge. The one with 15 gauge spokes is a very high mileage bike that carried four panniers. This is it's OEM wheel set from '96, but there are a couple of 14 gauge replacement spokes on the rear wheel.

Because the one with 15 gauge spokes is mainly my beater bike, it will receive my 14 gauge wheel set once the '96's rims die. The wheels for my main touring bike will then be built with the DT AlpineIII triple butted spoke because I like the thicker hub end.

Brad
While the build has a bit to do with the longevity of the wheel, putting more metal at the stress point is also a good idea.

Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
Anything about the size of the spoke hole on the hub? Does that make any difference for the gauge of the spoke? A lot of wheels are going to fewer spokes now. Look at MTBs and tandems for tough wheels with fewer spokes. It appears that 36 spokes and above is not real anymore.
Hubs are generally drilled to 2.3 to 2.5 mm. This is because the threads are rolled on to the spoke rather than cut. This increase the diameter at the threads from 2.0mm to 2.3mm. Thus the hubs have to be drilled to allow the spoke to pass through it. Some hubs are generous in the drilling and others...like White Industries...aren't. But I've had few problems with using triple butted spokes on any wheels I build.

A side note about using the 2.3mm spokes: From a mechanical standpoint, the thicker head solves a bit of a problem with the way the spoke fits the hub drilling. With a 2.0mm spoke, the spoke can move up to 0.5mm in the hub as the spoke is detensioned and retensioned as the spoke is loaded and unloaded. Basically the spoke rattles around in the hole on ever revolution. Enough "rattling" and the spoke starts to fatigue and break.

The thicker headed spokes have much less movement since they fit the spoke hole tighter. The thicker head gives them an advantage when it comes to fatigue life and the tighter fit means they fatigue even less. Basically, the 2.3mm head is how all spokes should have been designed from the beginning.

And, yes, some people are using and specing low count spoke wheels on bikes. Most of them are inappropriate to the task at hand in terms of strength and will cause issue down the road. However, the other part of the problem is that low spoke count wheels are marketed as "lightweight" but they really aren't. They need a heavier rim to take more of the load so they often end up much heavier than they should be. They look cool but they are all show and no go.

I built a set of conventional 32 spoke wheels to replace some 20/24 wheels and ended up with a wheel set that was 2 lbs lighter. That's a significant amount of wheel weight to lose.
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Old 01-20-17, 10:05 AM
  #10  
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My imaginary wheels with 36 spokes have carried me many miles, and I expect they'll continue to do so.


Weight weenies and marketers keep trying to drive spoke numbers and sizes down for, literally, a few grams, in advertising and argument. IMHO, 36 spokes rear with a load with normal derailers and gears, and 32 spokes in front, should be considered standard - anything less is suspect. More spokes required in the back because it's loaded more, and you might get by with 32 with internal gears or disk brakes because the offset isn't as severe.


But OP asked spoke thickness, not number. I've had good luck with butted spokes, 14/15 gauge (2.0/1.8 mm, IIRC) after I got the build right. Is it worth it to go to a smaller spoke, say 14/16 or even thinner? I'll say no, there's no significant difference in wheel load with bike, luggage, and rider; and there's less material to cover for any material or processing defects in the wire, so your probability of failure increases with the thinner spokes.


OK, I'm perhaps being overly conservative. But ask yourself, how much weight savings would it take to be worth increasing the risk of a spoke breaking and stranding you 45 miles from the nearest town, and you haven't seen a car pass for half an hour?
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Old 01-20-17, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Shamrock View Post
Are the spokes on a touring specfic bike a thicker gage than a road bike?
My original touring bike wheels were built on some Campy Mirage 8spd hubs using 36 13/14guage butted spokes. The replaceme wheels on Shimano LX hubs used std 14/15g butted spoked.
After one chain derailment the spokes got damaged and they started popping very quickly. I had similar damage to my older, thicker spokes with no degradation in performance.
I like thicker spokes.
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Old 01-20-17, 10:16 AM
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What were the wheels you built that were 2 lbs. lighter? I've always wondered about the heavier rim issue.
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Old 01-20-17, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Shamrock View Post
Are the spokes on a touring specfic bike a thicker gage than a road bike?
Was your question intended to be what is best for a touring bike or was your question what comes standard on most lower budget touring bikes?

As noted above, generally the spokes are the same but the number of spokes is greater on a touring bike.

But a lot of base model touring bikes come with 2.0mm straight gauge spokes that are cheaper. And when I think of road bikes I usually think of higher end bikes that likely have more expensive spokes.

My spokes on my derailleur touring bike are 2.0/1.7/2.0mm. But I think most people spec 2.0/1.8/2.0mm. That said, one of my bikes has straight gauge 2.0mm on the rear wheel because I had trouble finding the exact spoke I needed in a double butted format.
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Old 01-20-17, 10:38 AM
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belt & braces .. 48 rear, 40 front .. 14 ga straight , because buying 90, the cost was a factor.

Hand built by Me.. Toured 'all' over Europe on that set of wheels .




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Old 01-20-17, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Was your question intended to be what is best for a touring bike or was your question what comes standard on most lower budget touring bikes?

As noted above, generally the spokes are the same but the number of spokes is greater on a touring bike.

But a lot of base model touring bikes come with 2.0mm straight gauge spokes that are cheaper. And when I think of road bikes I usually think of higher end bikes that likely have more expensive spokes.

My spokes on my derailleur touring bike are 2.0/1.7/2.0mm. But I think most people spec 2.0/1.8/2.0mm. That said, one of my bikes has straight gauge 2.0mm on the rear wheel because I had trouble finding the exact spoke I needed in a double butted format.
More what is best for a touring bike.
.
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Old 01-20-17, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Shamrock View Post
More what is best for a touring bike.
.
I think that almost everyone will say a double butted spoke, but some will say the ones with three different diameters (at the nipple, midsection, at the head) are better.

I mentioned above that I am using 2.0/1.7/2.0mm on most of my wheels, that is Wheelsmith DB-14. If I have a choice, that is what I buy. But as I mentioned above on one wheel I used straight gauge because I was unable to find the length I needed in the DB-14 spoke which is what I wanted.

My last set of touring bike wheels I used Sapim nipples on the Wheelsmith spokes. I plan on using them for all future wheels.

The DT Swiss that are also popular for touring I think are 2.0/1.8/2.0mm. I am not sure but I think that some European companies use Sapim 2.0/1.8/2.0mm spokes on touring bikes.

That said, I have not broken a spoke for many years and the last time I recall actually breaking a spoke it was on a bike that was from the 1960s with a spoke that was that old. In the past decade and a half I have built up four wheel sets, three of those wheel sets I have toured on, have not broken a spoke on any of them.

There are thinner spokes that have a middle section of 1.5mm, but I would not use them on a touring bike.

Given a choice, I always go with 36 spokes per wheel.

Although I am not breaking spokes, i am still carrying spares on tours.
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Old 01-20-17, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Shamrock View Post
Are the spokes on a touring specfic bike a thicker gage than a road bike?
Any how Mine are , I built my 36 spoke wheels on my 1 road bike with 15 Straight gage spokes ..
35+ years later its still fine ..
14 gage is what my SBI expedition wheels were laced with .. 1986, 36 / 40


you read all the DB spoke users .. By now You can make your own decision , No?

Nothing is Perfect.. just bring a few spares, Drive side rear break most likely, and be prepared to replace one that breaks in the field.




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Old 01-20-17, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
My last set of touring bike wheels I used Sapim nipples on the Wheelsmith spokes. I plan on using them for all future wheels.

May I ask, why use nipples and spokes from different manufacturers?
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Old 01-20-17, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
My imaginary wheels with 36 spokes have carried me many miles, and I expect they'll continue to do so.

+1. It's amazing what is allowed to be posted in this thread. I hope the uninitiated learn to pass over the inanity.


BTW....See the recall of low spoke count wheels that came with certain Trek 720 bikes.
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Old 01-20-17, 02:28 PM
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yes some Fashionable choices make little real world sense.
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Old 01-20-17, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
May I ask, why use nipples and spokes from different manufacturers?
I worked in a bike shop several decades ago. I think it was about 12 or 14 years ago that I decided that I really needed a newer bike, wanted a touring bike. Did not like any of the complete bikes I saw in stores, so I decided to build one up from scratch. I had not been in the bike business for many years so I had to do some research on what to buy because everything had changed so much since my days as a bike mechanic. At that time Peter White had very good things to say about Wheelsmith spokes so I decided to use that brand. Add to that that they are made in USA, which I saw as another plus.
https://www.wheelsmith.com/products/

My last wheel set was for a Rohloff bike, the flanges are very wide and some wheels have spoke breakage problems because the spokes take too much of a bend at the top of the nipple. Sapim nipples are designed to accommodate a rim where the drilling is not perfectly matched to the correct angle for the spoke holes in the hub. I only use brass nipples, they say they also have other materials. I saw no downside to using these nipples on other wheels either so I used them on the front wheel too.
Polyax | Sapim

If what I buy works well, I stick with it. So, that is why I am sticking with this pairing. I know some people swear by Sapim or DT Swiss spokes, and as far as I know they are good too.

On my last tour, the front wheel picked up a rock and threw it into the rear wheel, then as the wheel turned the rock landed between a spoke and the frame, which put a pretty good ding into the spoke. See photo. And the spoke was quite loose after that. I expected to have to replace the spoke and nipple, which I did not want to bother with, as that would have meant pulling off tire, tube, rim tape, etc. So, first I tried to just re-true up the wheel and I apparently had a lucky day, as a few minutes with a spoke wrench was all that was needed. I mentioned above that I built up one recent wheel with straight gauge 2.0mm spokes instead of double butted, this is that wheel. The spoke length was very very unusual and virtually nobody had DB-14 spokes of that length for sale, so I bought what I could find.
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Old 01-20-17, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
May I ask, why use nipples and spokes from different manufacturers?
Why not? I suspect that many people don't match nipples and spokes from the same manufacturer either out of ignorance or because it doesn't matter. I don't look at the box of nipples to see that they are from DT if I'm building with DT spokes nor if they are from Pillar if I'm build with Pillar spokes. In fact, most of my recent builds have been with Wheel Fanaytk splined nipples because they are easier to tighten and less prone to rounding.
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Old 01-20-17, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Why not? I suspect that many people don't match nipples and spokes from the same manufacturer either out of ignorance or because it doesn't matter. I don't look at the box of nipples to see that they are from DT if I'm building with DT spokes nor if they are from Pillar if I'm build with Pillar spokes. In fact, most of my recent builds have been with Wheel Fanaytk splined nipples because they are easier to tighten and less prone to rounding.
So what's your take on the Pillar spokes? I'm tempted to try their triple butted spokes from Bdop...
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Old 01-20-17, 08:59 PM
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Why not? Merely that when I've bought spokes, I usually buy the (brass) nipples that are nearest to them on the web page, and those are usually the same brand as the spokes. Tourist's answer is one good reason to look farther. Wheel Fanatyk's splined nipples don't solve any problems I've run into since I got a spoke wrench that engages on four sides of a standard nipple.
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Old 01-22-17, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by edthesped View Post
So what's your take on the Pillar spokes? I'm tempted to try their triple butted spokes from Bdop...
last few builds have been pillar 2018 tribble-butted
2.0-1.8-2.0 with 2.2 at the elbow.
solid build, no problems....mikey like!
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