First wheel build and I'm nervous about spoke lengths!- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    First wheel build and I'm nervous about spoke lengths!

    I've got a pair of White Industries M16 hubs and Stans Flow 29er (the older ones) on order, but I've yet to order spokes. I've used three different spoke calculators and gotten three different measurements. I suppose that I can wait and measure the hubs and rims once I have them in hand, but that will require me to buy a couple of spokes and nipples to measure the rim and I'm not certain that the result will be any more accurate than what is listed on Stan's website. So does anyone who has built these wheels know the measurements for 3x? Or could my rims and hubs measure differently enough to where I need to wait and measure them when I get them? Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    I found the advertised ERD of the Stans Flows to be a little off, error on the long side of the calculations (round up).

  3. #3
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    So round 292.7 down to 292 for example?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanTemplar View Post
    So round 292.7 down to 292 for example?


    Quote Originally Posted by Bike Whisperer View Post
    I found the advertised ERD of the Stans Flows to be a little off, error on the long side of the calculations (round up).

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanTemplar View Post
    So round 292.7 down to 292 for example?
    I'd order a 293mm given that dimension. for Stans rims if the calculation comes out to xxx.0 to xxx.3 I'd round down. anything .4 and above round up That has just been my experience building with their rims.

  6. #6
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    Go buy two cheap spokes from your LBS. Lace one through a spoke hole and to the rim. Then lace the other to the opposite spoke hole, going to the exact opposite hole on the rim. Mark where the second spoke and measure. That way you can get an exact ERD measurement, rather than just rounding up or down.
    Once you have that information, use the UBI spoke calc to do your calculations.
    Check out www.zencyclery.com for fully customizable, handbuilt wheels.

    www.facebook.com/zencyclerywheels

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  8. #8
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    Thanks for all the info! I'm gonna wait until I have the goods & measure them myself before ordering spokes.

  9. #9
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    tagged.
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  10. #10
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    Ive been burnt too many times by listed ERD's. I measure every single rim now. I also measure hubs. Makes getting the right spoke sure-fire. I like DT's calculator, its never let me down.

  11. #11
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    Anybody ever buy a spoke threader and cut their own spoke threads?
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  12. #12
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    Zen's method is correct and a good idea. I was never that fancy just have a long piece of stainless with one end threaded where you place a stopper nut. Stainless rod goes straight through the rim where you can take a measurement for exact ERD. I buy material all the time from onlinemetals.com so it was no big deal adding the thin piece of stainless.

  13. #13
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    Crux - that method will give you an ERD but if you want the most precise measurement for spoke length calculation purposes you want to use a couple of old spokes cut to some known length (say 200mm) with nipples (the exact ones you are going to use) threaded on the end. Put them in opposite holes and measure the distance they are apart, add 400mm to that to get the correct value to input into a spoke calculator.

    Different nipples have different profiles under the head. Different rims (esp. eyeletted and non-eyeletted) have different sized spoke nipple holes.

    If you use some dummy spokes as described above and the actual nipples you will build with you remove from the equation problems with nipple/nipple hole interaction. A manf. stated ERD does not give you any of this info.

  14. #14
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    I was just going to buy the spokes from Dan's comp and use whatever nipples that come with them. I don't really want to have to order a couple of spokes first to find the ERD. Shouldn't just buying a couple of spokes with nipples at my LBS and measuring the length between the two nipples when installed on opposite sides of the rim and adding the lengths of the nipples work?

    As much as I'd like the satisfaction of building my own wheels and I think that it would be a good addition to my mechanical skillset, the whole thing seems like enough of a hassle to where it's almost worth paying a bike shop to do it.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanTemplar View Post
    ...Shouldn't just buying a couple of spokes with nipples at my LBS and measuring the length between the two nipples when installed on opposite sides of the rim and adding the lengths of the nipples work?...
    Yes, the type of spokes doesn't matter, but the types of nipples (may) matter. Try to use to the same nipples you will use for the final build.

  16. #16
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    You're not measuring the nipples though. Run the spoke into the nipple juuuust below the slotted section, and measure the distance between the 2 spoke j-bends, and add the spoke length. Most nipples are pretty close in profile and head size, close enough to get an accurate/correct length.

    I use a digital micrometer to measure the distance between the bends. It puts a tiny bit of tension on the spokes and gives an easy measurement. Using a ruler felt like I needed 3 hands.

  17. #17
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    Where are people buying spokes from? I'll be building a new rear wheel later this winter and I'm wondering where the best place to buy spokes is. I'd like to buy a few extra ones but I'd prefer not to buy boxes of 50-100 spokes if I can help it.

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  19. #19
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    I went and bought a few straight gauge DT Swiss spokes at my LBS to use to measure my rims that are supposed to be arriving today. They sold them for $1 each with nipples. Seems reasonable to me. From what I've read on here though, most people buy them online from Dan's Comp as they sell Sapim DB spokes for about half that price cut to length. I'm tempted to buy locally and start this weekend. Are the Sapim double butted spokes that much better than straight gauged DT Swiss? What would the seasoned wheelbuilders recommend between these two options?

  20. #20
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    I used BikeHubStore for spokes

  21. #21
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    Use double butted spokes.
    What you'll find is that the true ERD of Stan's rims is what's printed on the sticker + 1.5mm.
    Every Flow 29er I've measured has had an ERD of 601.5mm.
    Use this method (click "Rims" then "Measuring Rims.")
    Put all your measurements into the DT Swiss spoke calculator and you'll be good.
    Quote Originally Posted by pvd
    Time to stop believing the hype and start doing some science.
    29er Tire Weight Database

  22. #22
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    Is the wheelpro spoke calculator no good? Reason being is I was going to use the Sapim spokes and the DT Swiss only has settings for using their spokes and nipples.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanTemplar View Post
    Is the wheelpro spoke calculator no good? Reason being is I was going to use the Sapim spokes and the DT Swiss only has settings for using their spokes and nipples.
    Wheelpro is fine, but the spoke/nipple brand makes no difference. Just make sure to select 12mm nipples.
    Quote Originally Posted by pvd
    Time to stop believing the hype and start doing some science.
    29er Tire Weight Database

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanTemplar View Post
    I was just going to buy the spokes from Dan's comp and use whatever nipples that come with them. I don't really want to have to order a couple of spokes first to find the ERD. Shouldn't just buying a couple of spokes with nipples at my LBS and measuring the length between the two nipples when installed on opposite sides of the rim and adding the lengths of the nipples work?

    As much as I'd like the satisfaction of building my own wheels and I think that it would be a good addition to my mechanical skillset, the whole thing seems like enough of a hassle to where it's almost worth paying a bike shop to do it.
    It took me about 6 hours for my first wheel, then about 2 hours for my second. $200 for the truing stand.

    You have some margin for error with the spoke lengths. It definitely is a hassle so if you are just planning to build 1 set it might not be worth it.

  25. #25
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    I'm sure that over the course of my life I will own many sets of handbuilt wheels, so I guess that I may as well start doing it myself now. I already own a truing stand and I just bought a couple of spokes and cut them to 200mm and glued nipples on to measure ERD. Slowly but surely...I think that wheel building will bode well with my mild OCD...probably the same sort of satisfaction that I get from stringing tennis racquets.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanTemplar View Post
    I just bought a couple of spokes and cut them to 200mm and glued nipples on to measure ERD.
    I cut the elbow end off at 200mm from the end of the spoke threaded end, then loctite the nipple on so it ends up with proper engagement in the nipple like:


  27. #27
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    Yeah, that's what I did as well but unfortunately I cut them each about 1mm short. ;( Actually, I'm not sure if it's the yard stick that I used at work to measure them when I cut them or the measuring tape that I used at home, but I have no confidence in my measurement so I think that I'll go with the 601.5 measurement for Flows that seems to be agreed upon.

    Now my issue seems to be that I get very different outcomes when I plug the same numbers into different spoke calculators. The wheelpro and the bikeschool sites says that I should get 290 and 291 mm spokes, the prowheelbuilder site says that I should get 291 and 292 mm spokes, and the DT Swiss site says that I should get 275 and 277mm spokes! What could be the problem?

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanTemplar View Post
    Now my issue seems to be that I get very different outcomes when I plug the same numbers into different spoke calculators. The wheelpro and the bikeschool sites says that I should get 290 and 291 mm spokes, the prowheelbuilder site says that I should get 291 and 292 mm spokes, and the DT Swiss site says that I should get 275 and 277mm spokes! What could be the problem?
    You messed up one of the inputs in the DT calc. Post a screen grab & I'll tell you what you did.
    Quote Originally Posted by pvd
    Time to stop believing the hype and start doing some science.
    29er Tire Weight Database

  29. #29
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanTemplar View Post
    The "O" with a slash through it is shorthand for "diameter," so what goes there is the diameter of the spoke holes (2.5 mm).
    Quote Originally Posted by pvd
    Time to stop believing the hype and start doing some science.
    29er Tire Weight Database

  31. #31
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    Thanks! Got it! I was wondering why spoke count appeared to be asked twice...

  32. #32
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    Thanks again for everyones help! My first wheelbuild appears to have been a success! It pretty much took all weekend to complete the job, but overall I would say it was a good experience. Definitely tested my patience though...

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