augidog wrote: ↑
Jan 06, 2018 12:34 pm
Is it OK if I, as a member, pimp my friend, a wheel builder, with a one-time post that complies with the required details? I'm not financially affiliated with him, just a very satisfied customer who has no problem recommending his product to those who are looking for seriously strong wheels, as in 10G motorcycle spokes. ps-they are not cheap.
I'm quoting this from another thread because this is a better topic for it.
I've said it many times, and I expect I'll have to keep reminding people: The strength of the wheel is in the rim.
Spokes are there to support the rim, and they support the rim by maintaining tension as the rim flexes under load.
Using thicker spokes than the rim is designed for makes the wheel weaker, not stronger.
The rim can only withstand so much spoke tension before it buckles, puckers, or cracks. When you use too thick a spoke, it doesn't have enough stretch at the rim's working tension for the spoke to stay tight as the rim flexes under load. So the spoke nipples unscrew, and the nipple and elbow fret against their respective holes. This makes the wheel less reliable, more failure prone, and more work to maintain.
One of my buddies when I lived in Seattle had a pair of MTB wheels built for him by The Wheel Master, a motorcycle wheel builder in that area. The guy used I think 11ga spokes on the front, and something even thicker on the rear. They were zinc plated steel spokes, a type that has been considered inferior in the bicycle industry for decades. Even though the rims were deep section and about as radially stiff and strong as any that could be found at that time, the spokes constantly came loose and unscrewed themselves after very short intervals of riding, until the rear rim cracked at the drilled-out spoke holes. This isn't anomalous-- it's what happens when you use spokes that are too thick for the rim. Those wheels fell apart faster and failed harder even than the junk that comes on department store BSOs.
A wire wheel is a system. If you use 12ga spokes instead of 14ga, they have to be 1.8 times as tight to provide the same amount of constant support to the rim. If you use 11ga spokes, they have to be about 2.1 times as tight. 10ga spokes have to be 2.6 times as tight. Bicycle rims are rated for between 90 and 140kgf of spoke tension, depending on the rim and manufacturer. This amount of tension is very easy to achieve with 14ga or even 15ga spokes. So what you're really doing when you use such thick spokes is giving the rim half to a third as much spoke support before the spokes go slack. That's not good. You can try to compensate by using too much spoke tension, but then you damage the rim.
Bicycle rims are designed for use with spokes not heavier than 14ga. You reduce their reliability, stability, and longevity by matching them with spokes of thicker diameter.
If you need a stronger wheel, use a stronger rim.