Wheelbuilding tips: spoke tension?

Home Forum Bike Forum Wheelbuilding tips: spoke tension?

Viewing 30 posts - 1 through 30 (of 30 total)
  • Wheelbuilding tips: spoke tension?
  • Premier Icon johnny
    Subscriber

    OK, so i’m after some wheelbuilding tips>

    I’m currently rebuilding some 29er wheels, which involves replacing some BOR XMD333 rims with Stan’s Crest 29ers. The spokes are Sapim CX ray, with Aluminium nipples.

    My previous wheel build/rim swaps have been on more robust 26″ wheels, and these wheels look to me to have a much narrower range of tolerance.

    Do I:

    A) build them, guess the tension, go for a bit of a ride and true anything that goes out of true>

    B) but a spoke tension meter and do them all proper. (I have other wheel builds in mind and would soon use it more)

    C) hand them over to the LBS.

    Thoughts? Thanks!

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    I got a tension thingy off here.

    It’s not essential but it does make getting the right and even tension a *lot* easier.

    [edit] didn;t see the Alu nipples thing. Get brass ones. You’ll thank yourself.

    whatnobeer
    Member

    Build them and tune each spoke to a high G when plucked. Ride and retune afterwards.

    (I am not a bike mechanic and have never built any wheels before. Best take my advice with a pinch of salt)

    Premier Icon zbonty
    Subscriber

    Go for A, then B if you’re keen, C if you cock it up.
    Alloy nipples mleh.

    juan
    Member

    My question are :
    do you know the tolerances of both the rime and the hub?

    nbt
    Member

    get brass nipples
    remember that Stans rims need a lower spoke tension than more robust rims

    Premier Icon johnny
    Subscriber

    Very good point!

    Crest rims: 95 KG/F
    FRM Urano hubs: 130 KG/F

    (So says the internet)

    I’m also a bit suss about the Alu nipples; they are the ones which were on before… As the BOR rims are eyeletted, and the Crest ones not, would I be better off with Brass?

    Having always used Brass before, i’d guess this gives a little more tolerance in the build too?

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    nbt – Member

    remember that Stans rims need a lower spoke tension than more robust rims

    No they don’t! Crest max is 95KgF which is higher than average, higher than Mavic recommend for any of their standalone rims frinstance. Some older Stans rims had a pretty low limit but 95 is their lowest now and IIRC the Exes all go to 125KgF.

    Premier Icon johnny
    Subscriber

    So, bearing in mind the non-eyeletted rims, and my somewhat agricultural skill set, i reckon i’m going for the ‘Brass nipples + trial and error’ route…?

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    brass nipples won’t make the build any more or less easy but you’ll thank yourself in 3 months time when you have to tweak the tension a bit.

    I always put a drop of oil on the nipple where it’ll touch the rim – seems to help getting even tension as the nipples don’t bind (which seems more of an issue with stans as they don’t have eylets).

    nbt
    Member

    I’ml only going off my own experience – picked up some Hope ProIIs on Crest 29ers from the forum, after about 12 months a spoke went “ping” – the head of the nipple had come off. While truing it another went, followed by THREE more as I continued.

    At that point I gave up and decided to replace all the alloy nipples with brass. Picked up some from my LBS and went about it but managed to round off one so had to take the wheel in to get the LBS to remove the rounded nipple (well, cut the spoke and sell me a new one). It was at this point that Jon mentioned my spoke tension was far higher than he would ever use for Stans. Maybe it was my hamfisted mechanicing though…

    I bought a tension meter after my first attempt. The wheels were surviving fine, but the guessing/tuneing by ear method left them all over the place. A tension meter just shows up any mistakes very obviously rather than in a few weeks when a spoke unwinds or the wheel goes out of true.

    glasgowdan
    Member

    My lbs (Wheelcraft, Clachan of Campsie) charges £20 to build a wheel including tape and nipples, so I’d be handing it over to be honest!

    Saying that, I recently did my own 26″ wheel for something to do and it worked well using nothing but eye and finger co-ordination, placing it in a frame to tension and true.

    Premier Icon mrblobby
    Subscriber

    TINAS, which did you get? Any others got a recommendation?

    forzafkawi
    Member

    I bought a tension meter after my first attempt. The wheels were surviving fine, but the guessing/tuneing by ear method left them all over the place. A tension meter just shows up any mistakes very obviously rather than in a few weeks when a spoke unwinds or the wheel goes out of true.

    This was exactly my experience. The Park TM-1 is only about £50 and is a bit optimistic i.e. you will end up with a lower ultimate tension than it reads by about 10%. Good for getting even relative tensions though. Since I bought mine the 20 or so wheels I have built for myself and friends have all been fine.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    I always go with assemble it myself, get Icycles (*) to do the tensioning- works out quick and cheap and Steve’ll do a better job than I can (or most shops can) so it’s worth the slight hassle and cost. (* insert your preferred wheelbuilder name here)

    Premier Icon johnny
    Subscriber

    I completely agree with getting bike shops to sort them for you- however, I’m pretty keen to expand my skill set! I also have 3 different builds in mind, which soon adds up to more than the cost of truing!

    Having said that, I want to go riding this weekend, so I might take these to the shop…

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    I want to go riding this weekend, so I might take these to the shop

    good luck with getting them built by then 😉

    Premier Icon johnny
    Subscriber

    Well, they are built, I’ve just got to the truing and tensioning part, where I’ve hit a wall of indecision… (Which this thread is meant to iron out…) 😉

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    My 2p worth. Normally I’d say tension as high as you can, given that most people under tension, but with a Stans rim I’d be a bit more cautious (I see the comment above about them being higher than they used to be and the spec being higher than average, but I’d still be wary of using the sort of tensions I would on rims with more metal and eyelets to take the load). If you’re determined to DIY then 3 options:
    a) buy a tensionmeter as advised above
    b) pluck the spokes and compare pitch to a similar well built wheel (if you have one available
    c) pluck the spokes and use absolute pitch to determine tension http://www.bikexprt.com/bicycle/tension.htm (this is what I do).

    Just one more thing – I see people have had a go about alu nipples, all good points (I do use them myself, but well aware of the downsides). The other thing nobody has raised is the use of CX-Rays – not the easiest thing to build with as the narrow thickness means they don’t resist torsion well and you get a lot of wind up. Are they also what you had already, or have you got them out of choice? At least with flat spokes it is easy to see the wind up and use the technique of backing off (if you don’t know what I mean by that I suggest looking up a good wheelbuilding guide).

    Premier Icon johnny
    Subscriber

    Good points above- Love the note/tension chart, I just have to remind myself what different pitch sounds like!

    The CX-Rays are what i already have, but i really liked the wheels when built with them before. I’ve stuck a bit of oil on each one as i assembled to avoid wind up? I was working on the theory they would be good to use in this respect, as the bladed profile would be a good indicator of any winding?

    forzafkawi
    Member

    I always oil the nipples and rim holes/eyelets when building which helps reduce wind-up. With bladed spokes like CX-Rays you should really hold them when tensioning to prevent them twisting.

    You can buy a plastic tool for this purpose or cut a thin slot in a piece of wood. Some people also use a pair of pliers with insulating tape on the jaws.

    juan
    Member

    A quick note about the brass/alloy nipples.
    Nipples are the same shape/size irrespective of the material (at least with us). So it won’t make any difference on the build itself.
    However to tune/tension a wheel with alloy you need a very good nipple spanner.
    With a brass nipple you’ll need to double check your tension immediately. With alloy you need to check it on a regular basis over the first few weeks as they tend to stretch a tiny bit.
    HTH.

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    With bladed spokes like CX-Rays you should really hold them when tensioning to prevent them twisting.

    Though you’ll still get wind up, as the tool won’t hold the spoke right next to the nipple, and you risk getting a kink at the end of the tool. Personally I don’t bother and just back off more (despite owning a tool which I’ve never used). Definitely more hassle than standard round spokes though.

    With a brass nipple you’ll need to double check your tension immediately. With alloy you need to check it on a regular basis over the first few weeks as they tend to stretch a tiny bit.

    Not unless you’re riding your bike on Venus they won’t. The wheels I’ve built with alu nipples (being a weight weenie I’ve built a few) I’ve never needed to touch after the initial build. There are downsides as mentioned above, but that’s not one.

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    The DT swiss alloy nipples corroded very badly on my road wheels – two split open and others had disintegrated into powder. Never again!

    Premier Icon bigjim
    Subscriber

    does anyone know if this has been peer reviewed, or if it is established as a good rule of thumb?

    messiah
    Member

    IMHO alloy nipples are good for one to two years… sometimes my wheels last that long but other times I trash them in week.

    I wouldn’t rebuild with alloy nipples unless the failed wheel was very new.

    Premier Icon bigjim
    Subscriber

    I always go with assemble it myself, get Icycles (*) to do the tensioning- works out quick and cheap and Steve’ll do a better job than I can (or most shops can) so it’s worth the slight hassle and cost. (* insert your preferred wheelbuilder name here)

    roughly what does he charge? just in case…

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    does anyone know if this has been peer reviewed, or if it is established as a good rule of thumb?

    Well it’s given as a link and recommended in http://www.sheldonbrown.com/wheelbuild.html if you’re prepared to accept the late SB as a reasonable peer. John Allen is also a man who generally knows what he’s talking about http://www.bikexprt.com/witness/bikeres3.htm. Not sure if that’s adequate for you, but I thought most people trusted Sheldon’s advice at least.

    I didn’t see this book referenced above, but it is highly recommended

    http://www.wheelpro.co.uk/wheelbuilding/book.php

    Roger Musson says …

    The most important feature of a relieble wheel is equal tension and this can easily be achieved without a tensiometer

    He uses the plucking method mentioned above and comparison to similar wheels.

Viewing 30 posts - 1 through 30 (of 30 total)

The topic ‘Wheelbuilding tips: spoke tension?’ is closed to new replies.