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Wheel builders : another spoke length question

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Wheel builders : another spoke length question

Old 01-28-23, 02:13 PM
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brooklyn_bike
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Wheel builders : another spoke length question

question for you experienced wheel builders. i'm building my first wheelset from scratch. i plugged in the numbers for dura-ace 7400 freewheel hubs + pacenti brevet 650b rims

front spokes : 280.5mm
rear spokes : 279.5mm left / 278mm driveside

do you think it's ok to use an average length for all spokes involved? either all 279mm or all 280mm ?

i read there's 1 to 2 mm of spoke length leeway and wondered for simplicity / cost savings if it makes sense to build around one spoke length in this instance ?

thanks for your feedback !

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Old 01-28-23, 02:27 PM
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280 and 278.
the difference in the rear wheel makes building easier once you take a spike wrench to it.
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Old 01-28-23, 03:36 PM
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If I had the spokes on hand, I would try it. If you are buying spokes, get as close as you can to the calculated value.

edit: first build: buy correct spokes and round up not down.
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Old 01-28-23, 05:47 PM
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If you can get the proper sized spokes, go with the 278mm for the drive side and 280mm everywhere else. If you can’t find 278mm spokes, 280s will work but they aren’t optimal
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Old 01-29-23, 12:32 AM
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Originally Posted by brooklyn_bike View Post
do you think it's ok to use an average length for all spokes?

... wondered for simplicity / cost savings.
It might be okay. I think it just depends on the particular project. If you really want to try it, I would err on the shorter side.

I'm not sure I buy that simplicity is a benefit, although you certainly don't have to worry about which stack to pull from when you're building the rear. But I have to ask, is it really a cost savings? How so? How much?
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Old 01-29-23, 08:26 AM
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For me, it seems easier with different length spokes on the rear hubs. I think it's easier to start the correct dish that way.
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Old 01-29-23, 10:35 AM
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You can get longer nipples to accommodate slightly short spokes but that is obviously not the optimal solution. Use the correct length to start with and like was said before, always round up. ALWAYS.
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Old 01-29-23, 10:55 AM
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thanks everybody - looks like qty 48 / 280mm spokes and qty 16 / 278mm spokes is the way to go !
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Old 01-29-23, 11:02 AM
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As a fairly recent initiate to wheelbuilding (I've built up 5 wheelsets now, over the past year), I'd echo what others have said about having as close to the 'right' length spokes, especially for your first couple builds. Being able to use a nipple driver is super handy to quickly get a somewhat even tension (all around for the front, per-side for rear/dished). I think after you've built a few sets of wheels and developed a feel (& sense of confidence) having exactly 'right' spoke lengths becomes somewhat less important.
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Old 01-29-23, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Steel Charlie View Post
You can get longer nipples to accommodate slightly short spokes but that is obviously not the optimal solution. Use the correct length to start with and like was said before, always round up. ALWAYS.
I disagree, but to each his/her own since YMMV.
I have built a number of wheels and typically check with about 6 different spoke-length calculation tools before I order spokes. I find even with averaging the many results it's safer to round DOWN about 1mm.
And "longer nipples" may be longer in their OA external dimension (which can be important when you build with something like "deep V" rims) but the length of threading is usually the same between externally "short" and "long" spoke nipples.
Check some examples for yourself and see.
YMMV but I hate it when I have finished building to discover the spokes were too long to tension and have to re-order and start over. The guys I buy spokes/nipples from don't take them back.
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Old 01-29-23, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
I disagree, but to each his/her own since YMMV.
And "longer nipples" may be longer in their OA external dimension (which can be important when you build with something like "deep V" rims) but the length of threading is usually the same between externally "short" and "long" spoke nipples.
Check some examples for yourself and see..
I have. I recently built a set of wheels with the rear "rounded down" and the spokes were too short for the standard DT nipples. The longer nipples solved the problem as they were "longer". I've been building wheels since the '80's and this is the first time that I had to resort to other than standard length DT nipples. My bad cos I knew better and didn't pay attention to what I was ordering. The Rinard Spoclac thing works great if you let it.
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Old 01-30-23, 12:02 AM
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I'd say getting proper length for each side is the way to go but when I can get a better price buying a pack of 100 I will use all the same length. It's not kosher but it isn't hard to dish and true the wheels.
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Old 01-30-23, 08:28 AM
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Sorry for piggybacking but I've been shopping around for spokes to build my first complete wheel (have done a couple of full drive side replacements) and what the hay is up with prices here in the US? I actually ordered Sapim spokes from bike24 in Germany the last time but won't do that again, as it took forever and the first shipment arrived incomplete due to inadequate packaging.

So I was really psyched to find Wheel Master non-butted 2.0 at 27 cents each including nipples, at Carson City Bike Shop--only to get an "item can't be shipped to your location" error in my shopping cart. They acknowledged it's a glitch in their database and are working with their provider to fix it.
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Old 01-30-23, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Steel Charlie View Post
You can get longer nipples to accommodate slightly short spokes but that is obviously not the optimal solution. Use the correct length to start with and like was said before, always round up. ALWAYS.
I do not like unsupported nipples at the end.
I like them filled with the spoke.
sure, plenty of wheels get built or were built decades ago, I have a bike that the original wheels were built with spokes 2-3 mm too short.
I took them apart and will rebuild with longer.
308 vs 305, high flange 36, 4x as originsl.
not my fav, but the holes in the hub are "set"
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Old 01-30-23, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by EVlove View Post
So I was really psyched to find Wheel Master non-butted 2.0 at 27 cents each including nipples, at Carson City Bike Shop--only to get an "item can't be shipped to your location" error in my shopping cart. They acknowledged it's a glitch in their database and are working with their provider to fix it.
Carson City Bike Shop has great prices, and I've ordered stuff from them a bunch of times, but their website is abysmal! Calling usually works better than trying to get the order in via web.
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Old 01-30-23, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by ehcoplex View Post
Carson City Bike Shop has great prices, and I've ordered stuff from them a bunch of times, but their website is abysmal! Calling usually works better than trying to get the order in via web.
I may end up doing that but I was very pleased they responded to my issue (which I submitted through the website's contact form) right away, on a Saturday. Yes, the website is terrible--every spoke in every length is a separate entry, and no way to filter. Typing the mm length into the search box seems like the least aggravating way to drill down.
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Old 01-30-23, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
I do not like unsupported nipples at the end.
I like them filled with the spoke.
sure, plenty of wheels get built or were built decades ago, I have a bike that the original wheels were built with spokes 2-3 mm too short.
I took them apart and will rebuild with longer.
308 vs 305, high flange 36, 4x as originsl.
not my fav, but the holes in the hub are "set"
You speak the truth. A wheel I built once lost a spoke right at the head of the nipple. Filling the head is a good idea.
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Old 01-30-23, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Steel Charlie View Post
You can get longer nipples to accommodate slightly short spokes but that is obviously not the optimal solution. Use the correct length to start with and like was said before, always round up. ALWAYS.
Speaking of longer nipples, I recently built 3 wheeels (that were the first ones that I completely built including trueing them) and I used 14mm DT Swiss inox nipples together with their spokes. Fun fact with it is that although I expected longer nipples to be of help, more forgiving if spokes get slightly longer than needed, the thread on those spokes is just too short and spokes won't come out of the nipple when the nipple bottoms out. So with such spokes I actually got nothing from their length and spokes had to be of exact length, otherwise they would be just too long.

So I guess it depends on the spokes?
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Old 01-31-23, 10:20 AM
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I'm sure that I don't have the patience to explain why long spoke + long nipple doesn't work
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Old 01-31-23, 12:01 PM
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Whenever I am expecting a selected length of spoke to be to the long side of calculated-perfect, I will forcibly pre-fit every spoke nipple to every affected spoke before assembling the wheel, using grease in the nipple threads and on the spoke threads. A bit of back-and-forth with the spoke wrench frees up the threaded interface nicely.
I find that when the spoke protrudes well above the head that the threads start to bind, but I force them past this point several turns, as this will make it much, much easier to turn the nipples (without twisting the spokes) later when the wheel has been put together.
Sure, there is some loss of threaded engagement from the un-threaded portion of the spoke reaching a mm or two into the nipple threads, but this literally never presents as a problem if the nipple can be turned freely enough to achieve tension.
All of the pre-greasing and pre-threading makes for an easy time achieving max spoke tensions on any spokes that are slightly long, and one will never have the heads breaking off of the nipples unless perhaps corrosive tire sealant ends up inside of the internal rim cavity.

Alternately, I have used a drill with a piece of tubing as a drill-stop to pre-drill every affected spoke nipple to a depth of perhaps a couple of millimeters into the nipple threads, again no problems building the wheel with too-long spokes, and no long-term reliability problems with nipples/threads.
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