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  1. #1
    Professional Crastinator
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    Does [Too] High Spoke Tension Lead to Catastrophic Failure?

    I would like confirmation/dismissal of my anecdotal evidence that an over-tensioned bicycle wheel is more likely to collapse ("implode"). That is, under excessive tension, if the wheel is impacted such that it is deflected beyond whatever balance point provided by spoke tension ("kick over" if you will), that it will collapse rather than rebound. Whereas a wheel under normal tension is more resilient and will snap back into shape, at least approximately, without failing entirely.

    Thanks,
    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  2. #2
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    RE: Does [Too] High Spoke Tension Lead to Catastrophic Failure?

    I'm curious of the same thing
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  3. #3
    transmitter~receiver
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    Confirmed
    Quote Originally Posted by pvd
    Time to stop believing the hype and start doing some science.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by meltingfeather View Post
    Confirmed
    Good enough for me.
    /thread

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  5. #5
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    Does [Too] High Spoke Tension Lead to Catastrophic Failure?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post
    Good enough for me.
    /thread

    -F

    Of course. If a wheel fails because the tension was too high, then the tension was excessive.
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  6. #6
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    Yes it's hard to do but if you keep tightning a wheel during a build it will potato chip. There is no permanent damage at this point just back off the tension. I think this is a buckling failure 32 spokes times 200 pounds is 6400 pounds compression force in the rim at right angles to the spokes. A small amount of force added to this will put a permanent bend in the rim.
    "Dish is illogical." Spoke of Vulcan.

  7. #7
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    Yes, definitely

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    Of course. If a wheel fails because the tension was too high, then the tension was excessive.
    Yeah, but...

    At the time that it fails, one doesn't actually know that it was over-tensioned. One just ponders back to the time when someone was tweaking on it and whether said tweaking was contributory or merely coincidental. So we try to determine: is it the cause or the symptom.

    It's always in hindsight that we discover these things.

    Thanks everybody. Confirmation is fairly conclusive.
    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  9. #9
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    I put it to the test and built a new wheel using mobile 1 transmission oil and high pressure oil additive on the nipples. It also buckled while building and I backed off the tension a half turn. The wheel failed when I hit an oil slick causing the wheel to go sideways into a 2 inch bump ion a curb ramp. The wheel was more buckled than the wheel caused by a hit and run driver hitting my rear pannier. There was not much difference in the wheels other than the tension. https://www.flickr.com/photos/633739.../in/photolist-
    "Dish is illogical." Spoke of Vulcan.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by zerodish View Post
    I put it to the test and built a new wheel using mobile 1 transmission oil and high pressure oil additive on the nipples. It also buckled while building and I backed off the tension a half turn. The wheel failed when I hit an oil slick causing the wheel to go sideways into a 2 inch bump ion a curb ramp. The wheel was more buckled than the wheel caused by a hit and run driver hitting my rear pannier. There was not much difference in the wheels other than the tension. https://www.flickr.com/photos/633739.../in/photolist-
    Wheels aren't designed to withstand the lateral loads from a sideways slide. It's not possible to compare the failure due to an oil slide and a car hit and say the results were due to spoke tension.

    I've found it impossible to buckle a 26" rim during building. I took the lightest rim I had (a ZTR Olympic) and kept tightening it with the intention of destroying it. The tension went off the scale on my DT Tensiometer at over 1900N and by then spoke stretch was the issue.

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