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Spokes decision for new wheel build... DT, Sapim or regular spokes

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Spokes decision for new wheel build... DT, Sapim or regular spokes

Old 03-15-19, 07:10 AM
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Spokes decision for new wheel build... DT, Sapim or regular spokes

Building plus wheels for my Ogre. currently, ride with Mavic A719 on XT hubs with Sapim spokes. I recently decided to turn my Ogre into a 27.5 plus bike. Running WTB KOM Tough rims, with XT hubs. Wanted to get opinions on spokes. I was going to go with Sapim spokes as I normally do. But I'm now wondering if I should just get regular stainless double butted spokes from the shop to build them up. Does anyone know if this will make a major difference or should I just go with better quality branded spokes.
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Old 03-15-19, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by biketocamp View Post
Building plus wheels for my Ogre. currently, ride with Mavic A719 on XT hubs with Sapim spokes. I recently decided to turn my Ogre into a 27.5 plus bike. Running WTB KOM Tough rims, with XT hubs. Wanted to get opinions on spokes. I was going to go with Sapim spokes as I normally do. But I'm now wondering if I should just get regular stainless double butted spokes from the shop to build them up. Does anyone know if this will make a major difference or should I just go with better quality branded spokes.
The spokes do all the heavy lifting and get none of the credit. If you are looking for wheel strength and durability, spokes should be your first consideration...not an afterthought. Rims and hubs contribute very little to the overall strength of a wheel.

This article explains why you should use triple butted spokes. Sapim Strongs, DT Alpine III, Pillar PSR or Wheelsmith DH13 would all be good choices and make for a wheel that is stronger, more durable and only very slightly heavier.
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Old 03-15-19, 07:28 AM
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Sapim, DT, Wheelsmith all make good spokes. Similarly, no-name generic straight gauge spokes are generally trouble free in a typical 32 spoke, 3 cross build. You make no mention of if you want butted spokes or other specialty spokes which could affect your choice of manufacturer.

It may be to your economic advantage to buy a factory built 27.5" wheelset and just retain your 29er set of wheels. Unless one of your existing wheels requires rebuilding, tearing down a serviceable wheelset just to reuse the hubs will not likely save you a lot of money, especially if you are paying someone else to build the wheels for you.

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Old 03-15-19, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
I wonder if the adage can be applied: quantity beats quality. Theoretically, wouldn't 40 pieces of cheap spokes be just as strong as 32 pieces of expensive spokes?
Cyccommute's suggestion of triple butted spokes gives more material in the places where spokes are prone to break and less where they aren't. That sounds both simple and smart to me.

Adding more, generic quality spokes means that you have more spokes to buy and less common hubs and rims that are going to be harder to find. How is that going to cost out? Also, the material that you are adding for greater spoke strength means more holes drilled in the hub and rim so you are going to lose strength in those places.
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Old 03-15-19, 12:56 PM
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If you have had success with Sapim, then why change? I only use DT Swill 2.0 spokes, have great results with them and see no need to change. All the butting in the world on a spoke does no good if the rest of the components are not up to the task and the build is not up to standards. Stick with the Sapims and get 'em built.
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Old 03-16-19, 09:52 AM
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It's hard to beat good double-butted (14g/15g) spokes from the leading manufacturers like DT Swiss, Sapim, Wheelsmith. Just make sure to have enough of 'em.

You can go all fancy with aero bladed spokes and such, but it will really ramp up the price and only save a little weight...And on an Ogre, I am guessing that aero spokes aren't a big priority.

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Old 03-17-19, 07:39 AM
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I've used DT, Wheelsmith, Alpine, Sapim, and a few others. No significant difference that I can detect. More important that you use enough of them (I'm not a fan of low spoke count wheels).

Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
This article explains why you should use triple butted spokes. Sapim Strongs, DT Alpine III, Pillar PSR or Wheelsmith DH13 would all be good choices and make for a wheel that is stronger, more durable and only very slightly heavier.
Beefy elbows make sense; however since all of my spoke breakages were at the nipple, I wonder if the WF blogger is relying on engineering advantage instead of real life benefit. I have a set of wheels that were built with 1.8-1.5-1.8 DB spokes and I have to admit that I would have liked for the elbows to fit a bit better in the flange holes. Nevertheless, these wheels (36 spokes in 4 cross lacing) are close to 50 years old and holding up well.
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Old 03-17-19, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Hoopdriver View Post
I've used DT, Wheelsmith, Alpine, Sapim, and a few others. No significant difference that I can detect. More important that you use enough of them (I'm not a fan of low spoke count wheels).



Beefy elbows make sense; however since all of my spoke breakages were at the nipple, I wonder if the WF blogger is relying on engineering advantage instead of real life benefit. I have a set of wheels that were built with 1.8-1.5-1.8 DB spokes and I have to admit that I would have liked for the elbows to fit a bit better in the flange holes. Nevertheless, these wheels (36 spokes in 4 cross lacing) are close to 50 years old and holding up well.
Eric Hjertberg has lots of real life experience. He was the founder of Wheelsmith. Wheel Fanatyk is more than just a blog as well. And “engineering” doesn’t necessarily mean just “book learnin’”.

I link to that article because it articulates what I have found in using these spokes for over 20 years. I’ve been touting the benefits of triple butted spokes for a long time before that article came out so rather than writing it all out again, I just link to the article. But, my experience has been identical to what he writes. Spokes with stronger heads are more durable than a double butted spoke. Pillar actually has measured the differences and published the results. You’ll need to look at each of the different spokes on their product page, they give the breaking strength of the spokes. There are slight differences between Pillar and DT Alpine III in terms of dimensions but if you look at the charts for the Pillar spoke with 2.3mm heads (like the Alpine), they break at 3900 newtons compared to about 2900 N for the 2.0mm double butted spoke. The strength difference is quite obvious.

I cannot recall having had a single failure of one of my wheels at the spoke. I’ve broken some spokes at the nipple on old wheels at my local co-op but those are usual quite corroded.
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Old 03-17-19, 10:39 AM
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I used Saphim Strongs on my last wheel build. The rim and hub were black. Paid $36 extra for black spokes and also the black nipples. Bling. Good old bling.
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Old 03-17-19, 09:13 PM
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I like the DT Aerolites.
For bigger, heavier rear 24 hole Sapim strong. Front 20 hole cx-rays.
If you weight less than 400 lbs - that should do.
And no - it is not about the spokes. It is about the rims, and hubs.

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Old 03-17-19, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
The spokes do all the heavy lifting and get none of the credit. If you are looking for wheel strength and durability, spokes should be your first consideration...not an afterthought. Rims and hubs contribute very little to the overall strength of a wheel.

This article explains why you should use triple butted spokes. Sapim Strongs, DT Alpine III, Pillar PSR or Wheelsmith DH13 would all be good choices and make for a wheel that is stronger, more durable and only very slightly heavier.
The rims are the biggest factor in wheel strength. See post and link above. ~400# 20 hole front - 15g center.

Before these carbon tubular rims I road alloy 32 (that I built), - pic here https://www.bikeforums.net/20697844-post1.html
I later wet to deep alloy 28.
On 36, 40 and 48 hole I broke spokes. It is very hard to get tension right on weaker rimes and large spoke count.
Deeper rims solved the "issues" .
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Old 03-18-19, 05:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Doge View Post
It is very hard to get tension right on weaker rims and large spoke count.
Really? Why would this be?
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Old 03-18-19, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Doge View Post
The rims are the biggest factor in wheel strength. See post and link above. ~400# 20 hole front - 15g center.
No, they are not for several reasons. First, the rim isn't attached to the spokes. It floats on the spokes. The rim deflects upward when loaded and decreases spoke tension as the rim slides upward on the nipple. It's not much but it happens constantly as the wheel spins. The tension on the spokes adjust so that the overall tension on the wheel stays the same. Any flex in the system has a negative impact on the spokes...not the rim.

Second the wheel needs to be replaced when spokes start to break. Break a rim and you can easily replace the rim...if you have the same size...and the wheel is none the worse for it. Break several spokes and the wheel needs to be replaced or rebuilt.

Third, build a wheel with the strongest rim you can imagine...say a steel rim with a 1 to 2mm thickness like you find on many cheap bikes. Use weak spokes. You won't end up with a strong wheel.

Fourth, a rim on its own without any spokes can't resist much bending. Even steel rims are relatively easy to bend out of plane without a lot of force. The spokes bend the rim as needed out of plane with little effort. If they didn't, we couldn't true a wheel.

The rims purpose is to have something for the spokes to pull against and as a place to put a tire. But as a strength member, its role is very limited.

Originally Posted by Doge View Post
Before these carbon tubular rims I road alloy 32 (that I built), - pic here https://www.bikeforums.net/20697844-post1.html
I later wet to deep alloy 28.
On 36, 40 and 48 hole I broke spokes. It is very hard to get tension right on weaker rimes and large spoke count.
Deeper rims solved the "issues" .
Your comments run counter to about 100 years of knowledge. If you couldn't get tension right on higher spoke count wheels, you must have been doing something else wrong. It should be easier to get the tension right on higher spoke count wheels because there are more spokes to carry the tension. Each spoke can have lower load and still perform the job. Functionally, most people are going to run the same tension independent of the number of spokes so the overall tension on the wheel is higher.
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Old 03-18-19, 08:07 AM
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I just rebuilt our tandem wheelset with Swiss DT Alpine 3 spokes. 14-13-15 gauge. I was very pleased with them.
The previous build had used Wheelsmith, I believe, 14 gauge straight stainless spokes. In dong some reading I read where having spokes that stretch a bit more will transfer load around the rim less sharply than having spokes with less stretch.
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