27 votes
Accepted

Purpose of 'bore' on spoke nipples - why are spoke nipples not threaded through their entire length?

Adding threads to any sort of bolt under tension doesn't actually make it much stronger, beyond the first ≈5 threads. Adding more basically just adds dead mass; either way the whole thing will ...
leftaroundabout's user avatar
18 votes
Accepted

What are the benefits of hand built wheels over automated ones?

The parts of this topic that usually get glossed over in written sources and hearsay are: Not all wheel production machinery and processes are the same. It's kind of the opposite, actually. It's a ...
Nathan Knutson's user avatar
16 votes
Accepted

What kind of wheels use spoke washers/nipple washers?

Spoke washers are used at the hub end, between the flared out cap and the hub itself. The intention is to take up extra length between the bend and the end, to help prevent the spoke from breaking. ...
Criggie's user avatar
  • 124k
16 votes
Accepted

Is it worth rebuilding a wheel myself to save money?

For most applications, most of the time, in the global north, if you're trying to save money then just buying a new wheel is the most economical. The main exception that comes up is if you have a ...
Nathan Knutson's user avatar
15 votes

Could I use a front rim to build a rear wheel?

In the days before factory built wheelset, rims where produced without being specifically for front or rear wheels. On most general-use standard bicycles it is still that way. The only difference was ...
Carel's user avatar
  • 8,289
14 votes
Accepted

Broken 26'' wheel

That kind of rim damage indicates over-worn brake surfaces. Whether you should replace the whole wheel is a strictly economical question which is hard to answer in general. Wheel building services and ...
Grigory Rechistov's user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

Is this wheel built incorrectly?

It's a little bit wrong in that it has zero upside and one potential downside, but that downside is unlikely to ever be relevant. Trailing spokes straighten a little temporarily under drive load, and ...
Nathan Knutson's user avatar
13 votes

Purpose of 'bore' on spoke nipples - why are spoke nipples not threaded through their entire length?

The bore guides the thread of the spoke to the threading of the nipple allowing easier spoking with less risk of cross-threading. The bore also allows the spoke to be threaded deeper w/o adding more ...
nine stones's user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

Should I seriously consider radial lacing?

I just happened to have recently written a little paper on the spoke length formula, so with my knowledge about wheels refreshed, I think I'll take a shot at answering this question. Let me approach ...
MaplePanda's user avatar
  • 15.6k
13 votes
Accepted

Spokes bow out from the hub flange

Bowing as the outer spokes exit the flange is normal. The angle when the spoke is made is set arbitrarily, and it's the job of the wheelbuilder to cold set it best as possible to match what the ...
Nathan Knutson's user avatar
12 votes

Why would spoke tensions be uneven, despite equal thread engagement?

I can think of a few causes related to the parts and material: Manufacturing tolerance of the spokes. They are not exactly equal length. Manufacturing tolernace of the nipples. I assume they are ...
Art Gertner's user avatar
  • 2,597
11 votes
Accepted

Is there a benefit of lacing trailer wheel spokes radially instead of crossed?

Crossed spoke lacing is primarily necessary to transmit torque from the hub to the rim, rather than for increased strength, although I suspect hub flanges have more strength when loaded by a crossed ...
Argenti Apparatus's user avatar
11 votes

Is it ok to use one odd spoke for a wheel build?

You don't need to mis-match, but if you choose carefully, you should be able to. D-light come in both black and silver (links are to my local supplier/wheel builder, but demonstrate that they exist). ...
Chris H's user avatar
  • 59k
11 votes

Should I seriously consider radial lacing?

I think your detailed question shows one flaw, a lack of understanding why radial spoking is used and what circumstances tangental spoking must be used. Radial lacing is used almost exclusively with ...
Noise's user avatar
  • 13.9k
11 votes
Accepted

Deriving formula for spoke lengths

Okay, I decided that uploading the document as a series of images would be better than having to individually copy all the diagrams and render the equations separately (Bicycles StackExchange does not ...
MaplePanda's user avatar
  • 15.6k
10 votes

Problems with spoke threads, and stressing the wheel

There is one major cause of this problem and it is putting a 1.8mm aka 15ga spoke in a 2.0mm/14ga nipple. This mismatch will screw together and hold under some tension, but then slip. It is easy to ...
Nathan Knutson's user avatar
9 votes
Accepted

Can I build a wheel with two different spoke types?

In Roger Musson's book Professional Guide to Wheel Building 7th Edition, https://www.wheelpro.co.uk/wheelbuilding/book.php this is covered in brief (for a dished rear wheel): The wheel can support ...
Swifty's user avatar
  • 12.8k
9 votes
Accepted

Nipple replacement question

There is a lot to be said for 4, but 3 is best if you are going to do this. 1 is actively bad for the rim and there is nothing to be gained by 2 if you have a tensiometer. The conventional wisdom is ...
Nathan Knutson's user avatar
8 votes

Can hubs last forever?

If the shell is aluminum and we're talking about the whole thing and not just the bearing races, the literal answer is flat out no, because aluminum doesn't have a fatigue limit. It will crack ...
Nathan Knutson's user avatar
8 votes

Best way to strengthen a wheel?

When the spokes break, do they snap at the J bend? Or elsewhere? If the little mushroomed cap is gone at the hub end and there's a spikey "claw" then your spoke tension is low which is stressing ...
Criggie's user avatar
  • 124k
8 votes
Accepted

How to avoid damaging spoke nipples when wheel building

Using a high quality spoke key that engages on 4 sides (and fits properly) usually avoids this problem, even with coloured alu nipples.
Noise's user avatar
  • 13.9k
8 votes
Accepted

Can I use a 272mm spoke in place of a 275mm?

I personally would be uncomfortable with spokes that are that far out. In a pinch, one shorter spoke with less thread engagement might be fine, but you're talking about all spokes on both wheels. If ...
Criggie's user avatar
  • 124k
8 votes

Is it safe to ride on wheels with rusted spoke eyelets?

Yes, the rust is not a safety issue. It's fine. They're not replaceable in any kind of practical sense. Double eyelets or sockets such as those pictured are formed to match a specific distance between ...
Nathan Knutson's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

Is a spoke tensiometer useful for determining that a wheel is on its way to becoming out-of-true?

There are several diagnostic uses I use a tensiometer for fairly regularly: One is to get a sense of how good the tension balance and tension level on a wheel is as a way of evaluating if it needs ...
Nathan Knutson's user avatar
8 votes

Why are straightpull spokes not "interlaced"?

I think straight-pull spokes don't have a problem with negative loads the same way j-bend spokes do. For j-bend spokes, any push-force incurred by rim flex would force a non-interlaced spoke into ...
leftaroundabout's user avatar
7 votes

Are "V" brake rims safe to use with discs

Not only is it safe it is fairly common. When disc brake became more affordable many after market manufacturers sold dual brake wheels. Disc hubs and "V" brake rims. Just don't use "V" brakes on a ...
mikes's user avatar
  • 18.6k
7 votes

Is it worth rebuilding a wheel myself to save money?

Buying a new machine-made wheel is probably more economical if you put any price on your time. However, building wheels is in my opinion quite fun, and it also teaches you more about how spoked wheels ...
jpa's user avatar
  • 1,857
7 votes
Accepted

Is it common for the left side spokes of a front disc wheel to have more tension than the right side spokes?

The side with the disc is dished in more than the other (that is, the spoke flange is closer to the hub's centerline), so yes, I would expect it to have higher tension.
Adam Rice's user avatar
  • 30k
7 votes
Accepted

Is this spoke tension too low?

The left to right side tension numbers you have are thoroughly normal. 70%-ish is where a lot of disc wheels land. Once you're actually building the wheel, as opposed to planning it, you're only ...
Nathan Knutson's user avatar

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