Spoke tension gauge – worthwhile investment?
Without a tension meter you’re guessing at how even the tension is, it’s not impossible, and some people are undoubtedly good at it, but with a gauge you can get it spot on every time.
Nope – I use the pluck and listen technique as described in the second last para of http://sheldonbrown.com/wheelbuild.html#tensioning and http://www.bikexprt.com/bicycle/tension.htm It may not be as precise as using a tension gauge, but the precision is certainly better than the amount of variation you get in spoke tension even in a perfectly built wheel. Not guesswork at all, and quicker than using a tension gauge. Seems to have resulted in reliable wheels.Posted 3 years agonickcSubscriber
So many other shops that build wheels without giving thought to where the logo sits relative to the valve or even building them with rim logos (h+son for instance) facing different directions.
So many? Really? I’d honestly be very surprised if that were the case, I don’t know many wheel builders who aren’t just a little bit obsessive about it.Posted 3 years agoratadogSubscriber
I’ve been building for 20+ years and can do perfectly fine without one, but it just makes life a little bit easier. Not so much for the actual tension figure but evenness around the wheel.
This.Posted 3 years ago
As an occasional wheel builder mainly for my own use and amusement, I have used Musson’s book and had no issues with getting the tension right without one but it does give reassurance that the wheel is even. Would find getting by without a dishing tool more difficult but Musson’s book does give a design for an extremely cheap DIY version if you don’t want to spring for a commercial one and there are plenty of other DIY designs on the internet.cynic-alMember
A rule and a doorway provides an excellent dishing tool.
This is just another excuse for people to buy kit and convince themselves it’s worthwhile.
esher shore – Member
Used the wheel tension gauge to get it really nicely balanced, rode the bike home tonight with the new wheel and it feels just right
It wouldn’t have felt right without the use of the tension meter?
A good wheelbuilder doesn’t need one.Posted 3 years agoSundayjumperSubscriber
To the OP:
If you like buying shiny tools and can afford it, go for it.
If you’re trying your hand at this for the first time and aren’t sure if you’re going to ever build more than one wheel, save your cash.
FWIW I taught myself to build wheels when I was about 14, from reading Jobst Brandt’s “The Bicycle Wheel“. Dismantle an existing wheel and put it back together to see how you get on. Very cheap experiment.Posted 3 years agocannondalekingMember
Been building wheels for a long time and I still use my spoke gauge more on xc and road wheels than dh or bmx but still nice too too know what’s happening and double checking your work helps ensure customers get exactly what they paid for. @mathewshotbolt I noticed that there are a fair few more people local trying there hand too there’s two new guys over in norwich and few scattered about that have just started up and offering there services really really cheaply probably working from home.Posted 3 years ago
amack23 – Member
What’s the thoughts on a dishing tool. Required? Embarking on a first wheel build and have a tension meter ordered.
This is required less than a tension meter (which IMO isn’t required). Just flip the wheel round. It’s right when the rim’s lateral position is the same either way.Posted 3 years agoOnzadogSubscriber
“a good wheelbuilder doesn’t need one”.
How are we defining a good wheel builder? The wheels I build are more true and more evenly tensioned than anything I’ve ever come across. However, they’re a labour of love. No one would ever pay for the amount of time I invest in them. I’m a great wheel builder but I’ll never be a commercial wheelbuilder.Posted 3 years ago
Tool to check that the wheel is dished correctly rather than by flipping it in the jig.Posted 3 years agosaladdodgerMember
I have just got the park Spoke tension gauge after building my own wheels for the last 10 years.Posted 3 years ago
Checked the tension on my latest build to find the spokes were all within about 5% to each other BUT I had over tensioned the spokes which could of lead to a rim / hub failure ( not that I have had a failure in the past but it is a bit of peace of mind)
Was it worth £50 yes
Is it really peace of mind though? IME if you overtighten spokes, you (eventually) crack the rim around the spoke holes but while that eventually leads to failure it’s rarely catastrophic (eg you DIE) and even that would only happen if you’ve ignored it for ages – ie it’s not something that leads to failure quickly.
Building on (expensive) carbon rims may skew that perspective of course.Posted 3 years ago
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