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  1. #1
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    5 q's for the wheel building braintrust

    i just ordered a Spank OOZY 350 29" to have built up around my rear Hope Pro 2 SS hub. I've got some questions about the project and figured there's enough experience and talent in this forum to choke a horse so why not just throw my questions out there in the open with a plea for help?

    1. What length spokes will I need?

    2. What's the best spoke prep/lube?

    3. What spokes are the best choice for a 150# XC/Trail rider who loves to climb and also hammer the rooty descents?

    4. I'm kind of a broke ass monkey so i need this wheel to last a long time. I've always heard brass nipples are the best for longevity as alloys may bind/strip after years of truing tune-ups. Agree? Disagree?

    5. Tension recommendations?

    FWIW i'm having the wheel built at my LBS and i trust them but if any choices or decisions need to be made, i'd like to go in with as much knowledge as possible.

    Thanks a lot folks!

  2. #2
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    1. Whatever the spoke calculator tells you. This is what you need to research, there are several good ones online, it's best if you measure the rim yourself before ordering spokes for accuracy, but many common rims are in the spoke calculator software.

    2. This is kind of a grey-area, a lot of people use different things. Generally, you want some kind of anti-seize that will not corrode the dissimilar metals together, this happens even on aluminum rims, but it's greatly exacerbated on carbon rims. Again, you should so some research on this, you are going to get different answers. One day, you might need to go back and adjust the spoke tension and make some small changes, this is what the prep should allow you to do. If you want to be safe, there is wheelbuilding specific "spoke prep", just purchase it off of any website or amazon. There are some that have good reasons for using other products, but again, at the beginner level it may be the safe bet.

    3. At 150lbs, most of the double-butted spokes will work great, 2.0/1.8 is a good general basic spoke, cost effective, etc. For more XC race type stuff (and lighter weight riders) the 2.0/1.5 spokes work fine and are lighter. There are a few in-between. The bladed spokes you see are mostly for vanity, no advantage for mountain biking, although one of the spoke manufacturers is a little infamous for making some ridiculous claims about all of their spokes (sapim). They make good spokes, they just mislead customers a bit about them. Straight gauge spokes are not a good choice, much less elasticity. Weight isn't even the biggest concern here to avoiding them, just building a good strong wheel.

    4. Yes, brass nipples are a better bet, these significantly reduce the corrosion issue and generally last longer with fewer issues. Sometimes if you wack an aluminum rim real good it gets thrown way out of true and when you start increasing the tension it's much less likely to round out a brass nipple, but sometimes much easier to round out aluminum alloy ones. I build my wheels with alloy nipples, but I realize that I may have to change them every few seasons and keep extra on-hand in case.

    5. The best way to do it is use a tool. Another way is to gauge it based on wheelsets you know to be correct, but there are some pitfalls, like when you install tires and air them up, the tension tends to drop significantly, so I do my final truing with tire and tube mounted (switch to tubeless later if it's a tubeless tire). The interference fit with tubeless rims makes the tires fit tight when "locked" in place and it affects the tension significantly. There are home wheelbuilders that will steadfastly tell you that the only way to do it is a tool and there are just as many that do not and build reliable wheels. Ideas like gradually bringing the tension up are hugely important and Sheldon Brown's site should be referenced for some good ideas to help with this.

    I purposely didn't answer your questions exactly because if you are to do any of this stuff, you need to find this out on your own and have all the information available. Sheldon Brown's wheelbuilding pages are excellent beginner information. There is a lot of other information out there too.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  3. #3
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    Read Mike T's web-site then read it again. Seriously.
    Niner Jet 9 RDO, Scalpel 29, XTC 650b, 04 Stumpjumper FSR Pro, Trek Rigid SS - No suspension, no gears....no problem

  4. #4
    Barely in control
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    Quote Originally Posted by head View Post
    i just ordered a Spank OOZY 350 29" to have built up around my rear Hope Pro 2 SS hub. I've got some questions about the project and figured there's enough experience and talent in this forum to choke a horse so why not just throw my questions out there in the open with a plea for help?

    1. What length spokes will I need?

    2. What's the best spoke prep/lube?

    3. What spokes are the best choice for a 150# XC/Trail rider who loves to climb and also hammer the rooty descents?

    4. I'm kind of a broke ass monkey so i need this wheel to last a long time. I've always heard brass nipples are the best for longevity as alloys may bind/strip after years of truing tune-ups. Agree? Disagree?

    5. Tension recommendations?

    FWIW i'm having the wheel built at my LBS and i trust them but if any choices or decisions need to be made, i'd like to go in with as much knowledge as possible.

    Thanks a lot folks!
    1. What?
    2. ARP Torque grease
    3. 1.5mm
    4. Aluminum
    5. Yes you should tension.

  5. #5
    Wanna ride bikes?
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    1. let the wheel builder deal with that. If you want to try practicing yourself just for fun you can run the numbers through a spoke length calculator.
    2. anything except linseed oil. Thick chain lube, Spoke Prep, whatever. There's lots of good options.
    3. Sapim lasers- excellent bang for your buck. Light and strong. I'm 205 lbs and have used them on my last 3-4 MTB and Cross wheelsets. (Sapim Race are a little cheaper and only slightly heavier)
    4. Brass nipples for me. A bit more durable. If you want snazzy colors (aluminum) use Sapim Polyax
    5. Again, this is what the wheel builder is for. The wheels your building should be good and durable for a long time.

    Wheel building is fun and a useful skill to have. Do some reading (there's lots of resources out there, and more than one way to skin a cat) and start learning. Maybe you can try building your next set of wheels down the road.
    Rigid SS 29er
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  6. #6
    mtbpete
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    Grease for brass nipples. Any oil or grease or spoke prep for alloy nipples. In my experience oil does not work well on brass nipples, especially Sapim brass nipples. They become very hard to turn with any oil of tried, even well below max spoke tension.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by changingleaf View Post
    Grease for brass nipples. Any oil or grease or spoke prep for alloy nipples. In my experience oil does not work well on brass nipples, especially Sapim brass nipples. They become very hard to turn with any oil of tried, even well below max spoke tension.
    Interesting. I like using brass nipples because you can build them with whatever is close. Ive even done brass nipples dry, they hardly wind up any more than lubed.

    Its the aluminum ones that bind like crazy. Using anti seize brings aluminum close to how brass builds, but its always more sticky. Oil and aluminum binds around 100 kgf.

    Did you typo that? Brass is sort of self lubricating. Aluminum is dry and sticky.

  8. #8
    mtbpete
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    Nope, no typo. Maybe it's just Sapim brass nipples, but they are terrible to turn. I think the DT Swiss brass nipples are a little better, but I rarely use them. Black nipples are mostly requested, but the silver ones have a coating on them also. I soak the threads and surface of the nipples in heavy oil, but once I get up near 80kgf tension the brass nipples start turning extremely difficult and I use a round spoke holder to keep the spokes from winding up. I usually use grease now because it helps a lot, but it is much messier than oil.

    I use the spoke holder for alloy nipples also, but I don't need to hold it as tight. The spoke holder I find works much better than trying to overcompensate and back off the nipple.

    Occasionally I have trouble with alloy nipples when building with an aluminum rim. If the rim has sharp or burred holes it will sometimes scrape the anodizing off of the outside of the nipple. Once the ano has worn off, the aluminum to aluminum contact has higher friction and will also lead to quicker nipple corrosion. As soon as I notice a scored nipple I remove it, deburr the hole, and replace with a new nipple.

    So, yes my experience with brass nipples seems to be completely different than most of the builders on this forum and in that regard I recommend grease for brass nipples.

  9. #9
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    That's not been my experience at all. I like Sapim Black brass nipples better than DT, they wind up a lot less as tension increases. I use Chain-L (thick ass oil based chain lube) because I have a bottle of it and it works well. (plus I'll never use it on a chain.

    When I'm done bringing the spokes up to tension I destress the spokes and most of the time I get no pinging at all. I build my wheels to high spoke tension too.

    Not to mention they're significantly cheaper than DT.
    Rigid SS 29er
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    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  10. #10
    Barely in control
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    Hate using brass nipples for the extra friction above 110kgf. Aluminum all the way for me. Good anodized nipples with grease and never had any corrosion problems.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by changingleaf View Post
    Nope, no typo. Maybe it's just Sapim brass nipples, but they are terrible to turn. I think the DT Swiss brass nipples are a little better, but I rarely use them. Black nipples are mostly requested, but the silver ones have a coating on them also. I soak the threads and surface of the nipples in heavy oil, but once I get up near 80kgf tension the brass nipples start turning extremely difficult and I use a round spoke holder to keep the spokes from winding up. I usually use grease now because it helps a lot, but it is much messier than oil.

    I use the spoke holder for alloy nipples also, but I don't need to hold it as tight. The spoke holder I find works much better than trying to overcompensate and back off the nipple.

    Occasionally I have trouble with alloy nipples when building with an aluminum rim. If the rim has sharp or burred holes it will sometimes scrape the anodizing off of the outside of the nipple. Once the ano has worn off, the aluminum to aluminum contact has higher friction and will also lead to quicker nipple corrosion. As soon as I notice a scored nipple I remove it, deburr the hole, and replace with a new nipple.

    So, yes my experience with brass nipples seems to be completely different than most of the builders on this forum and in that regard I recommend grease for brass nipples.
    I grease the threads on my nipples using a 10ml syringe and a catheter I bummed off an ambulance crew, 12g I believe. There's no mess. If you're not familiar with it, basically it's a lauer lock needle with a teflon tube around it. You take the needle out and the teflon tube remains to squirt in the grease.

  12. #12
    turtles make me hot
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    I like Rock N Roll Lubes Nipple Cream on the spoke threads. Phil Wood Tenacious Oil on the nipple-rim interface.
    I like turtles

  13. #13
    psycho cyclo addict
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    I build exclusively with brass nipples and put a small drop of thicker chain lube on the threads before inserting the spoke. I also build to higher tension and destress the spokes a couple of times. DT Swiss, Sapim and Wheelsmith brass nipples work fine for me and I find there to be less friction than when building with aluminum nipples.

    Brass nipples are far more durable than aluminum and do not corrode nearly as much with moisture + carbon hoops in my experience. I've swapped in brass nipples (one at a time) on a few acquired rear wheels that had multiple aluminum nipple failures. Haven't had any issues with those wheels since.
    【ツ】 eDub 【ツ】

  14. #14
    mtbpete
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    That is so strange. I also have used the Chain-L thick honey-like lube, just ran out in fact, but it didn't work at all for me. I still get pinging when destressing. It works great on the alloy nipples. I don't know how we can be getting such different results. Are you using Sapim spokes as well?

    Note, I won't use that lube on a chain either. I tried, but it collects every spec of dust and sticks like glue.

  15. #15
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    Yeah, Sapim spokes in most cases. I used to use DT spokes/nips more frequently, now I mostly use Sapim.

    It's not a night and day difference, or a deal breaker by any means, I just notice minor differences and prefer the the Sapim interface.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  16. #16
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    The corrosion issue will depend on your environment. In the semi arid place I ride it isn't an issue. There's no reason to use brass.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schulze View Post
    The corrosion issue will depend on your environment. In the semi arid place I ride it isn't an issue. There's no reason to use brass.
    I wonder if a poor tape job could leak sealant into the rim cavity and cause corrosion...Just thinking out loud.
    Niner Jet 9 RDO, Scalpel 29, XTC 650b, 04 Stumpjumper FSR Pro, Trek Rigid SS - No suspension, no gears....no problem

  18. #18
    turtles make me hot
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    Quote Originally Posted by upstateSC-rider View Post
    I wonder if a poor tape job could leak sealant into the rim cavity and cause corrosion...Just thinking out loud.
    Absolutely can.
    I like turtles

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