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I am currently in the process of building a wheel, and I'm super confused on how to determine the correct spoke tension.

I bought the Park Tool TM-1 to correctly gauge the tension.

DT Swiss doesn't provide the recommended spoke tension for their rims; I triple checked the manual and couldn't find anything for a DT Swiss EX 471 26" 32h rim. This forum says I should shoot for 123kgf... but I don't know how reliable that is....

I'm also confused about my spokes. I went with the Wheelsmith DB 14 spokes (260mm); apparently these spokes get wider at both ends (2.0mm) and in the middle they are (1.7mm)...

When I go to the Park Tool Wheel Tension App, it asks me for the "thickness" of my spokes.

Two questions:

  1. Should I enter 1.7mm or 2.0mm into "thickness" on the Park Tool Wheel Tension App
  2. What should my tension be for the DT Swiss Ex 471 rim?
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    FWIW, you have "butted" spokes. And I've built probably 5 wheels and never used a tension meter. You tighten the spokes slowly working back and forth around the wheel, until it feels right and the wheel is true. You can "twang" the spokes to look for one that is under-tensioned. – Daniel R Hicks May 31 at 16:05
  • @DanielRHicks thanks! now "double butted" spoke makes more sense to me. – Kolob Canyon May 31 at 16:10
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I believe DT has a blanket recommendation of 1200Nm for all their rims, or 122 kg-f. You could email them to corroborate but that number should be safe.

Use the tensiometer chart for the thin section of your spokes. By the same token, always position the tensiometer such that you're isolating a thin segment for measurement. If you had any of the thick section in there, the spoke would deflect differently and the measurement would be useless. Wheelsmith spokes have long butted sections with very short transitions, which makes it easy. DT spokes are the opposite, making tensiometer position fiddly at times.

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