Who here has/uses a Spoke Tension Meter?

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markz   100 GW

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Who here has/uses a Spoke Tension Meter?

Post by markz » Aug 09 2018 6:40pm

Who here has/uses a Spoke Tension Meter?
I think it would fit the 160mm spokes judging by the width of this hand.
And this guys hand.

Thinking about buying the cheaper one, so I can keep the wheel in tip top health all the time!
But I wouldnt mind buying the top dog, Park Tool either, knowing its the supreme brand name.
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$105cdn - Park Tool - http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/ca/e ... p-prod7131

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2old   10 kW

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Re: Who here has/uses a Spoke Tension Meter?

Post by 2old » Aug 09 2018 7:11pm

I use/have the Park model, but only paid about $60 for it (but that was at least five years ago). Built a few wheels, but have been using my LBS lately.

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MadRhino   100 GW

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Re: Who here has/uses a Spoke Tension Meter?

Post by MadRhino » Aug 09 2018 7:12pm

Can you hear the detuned string?
If so, you just need to tap the spoke to know if it is low or high. If you tighten and true the wheel methodically, you don’t even need to check that they are all even because, one is the consequence of the other.
Make it fool-proof, and I will make a better fool.
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-dg   1 kW

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Re: Who here has/uses a Spoke Tension Meter?

Post by -dg » Aug 09 2018 8:07pm

I have the Park TM-1. It works well, but the Xtools actually looks nicer. The main problem I have with the Park is that it needs a fair amount of exposed spoke. I can just barely get it to work building a small geared hub motor into a 20" wheel. A smaller wheel or a larger motor would not leave enough room for it to work. It looks like the Xtools is a bit smaller and the price is very nice too.

As for tuning by ear, sure you can do that for finding loose or tight spokes. But is not quantitative so it is hard to be sure your initial tension is correct. I like to build to the rim makers specification for tension, eg 100Kgf and adjust so all spokes are within 10% of the same tension, ie 95-105 Kgf and the rim is true to +/- 0.003". This is really pretty quick and easy with a tension gauge and dial indicator on the truing stand. It it possible to build good wheels without these tools. I used to do without, but it is more accurate and much faster and easier with the tools.
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markz   100 GW

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Re: Who here has/uses a Spoke Tension Meter?

Post by markz » Aug 09 2018 11:03pm

That Park Tool chart goes down to 2.6mm 12G.

I need reassurance of wheel integrity so splurge on the meter, put it into my routine checks.

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Re: Who here has/uses a Spoke Tension Meter?

Post by Dormin » Aug 10 2018 12:38am

Do any of the tension meters work with 10 gauge spokes? My rear wheel has 10 gauge spokes with a hub motor so the spokes are quite short and stiff :P

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amberwolf   100 GW

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Re: Who here has/uses a Spoke Tension Meter?

Post by amberwolf » Aug 10 2018 1:36am

Unless that's a motorcycle rim, I'd switch to much much smaller spokes (13g at largest, smaller if possible), as you'll be able to tension them properly without damaging the rim.

If the motor flange holes are too large for smaller spokes, drill new ones between the existing ones.

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Re: Who here has/uses a Spoke Tension Meter?

Post by Lurkin » Aug 10 2018 7:08am

When I started truing and building my own wheels, a number of books and threads recommended pinging the spokes and listen for the note made in the sound to understand their tension. I found this pretty frustrating and not particularly successful despite being in full agreement with the theory, probably due to inexperience and poor hearing.

I found it much, much, much quicker to use the Park tool to get the spokes to tension. Over time, it became easier to detect spoke tension by feel. Now days I can usually detect an offending spoke by working my way around the wheel pinching the spokes systemically and I really only use it as a sense check.

If your asking the question, buy it. I thought it was expensive at the time, but I've also used it to restore and build more wheels than I can count - so, so so much cheaper than using shops in the long run. I've never looked back on spending $$ on tools to build and maintain my own wheels.

But shop around internationally on line. I found UK stores would usually send goods to Australia far cheaper including shipping than what they could be purchased for here, including from local online stores. From memory, ribble.co.uk often had cheaper Park Tool prices than CRC or Evans Cycles.

I do recall seeing plans online previously using harbor freight gauges and a 3d printed holder mimicking a current design if you were interested in saving some cash? just cant remember which forum it was on off the top of my head.. let me know if you are keen and I will trawl to find it again.

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Re: Who here has/uses a Spoke Tension Meter?

Post by 81forest » Aug 10 2018 11:08am

I have built probably a few hundred wheels using the park tool. Totally agree with everything -dg posted, its limitation is that it needs quite a bit of exposed spoke.

The “pinging” for tune/sound of each spoke is not a viable technique, imo. I am often using a super thin gauge butted spoke like a DT revolution (2.0-1.5-2.0) and they require way more tension than a straight gauge, the park tool works great for that.

Wheel building is a very satisfying job when it goes well.

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Re: Who here has/uses a Spoke Tension Meter?

Post by e-beach » Aug 10 2018 11:14am

I use them sometimes at my local coop bike repair shop. I was surprised on just how much my "Ping" testing was out of tension. Either I was way tight or way loose. The spoke tension meter works well for my needs. Keeps my spokes tension's in the same ball park with each other.

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-dg   1 kW

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Re: Who here has/uses a Spoke Tension Meter?

Post by -dg » Aug 10 2018 7:46pm

81forest wrote:
Aug 10 2018 11:08am
Wheel building is a very satisfying job when it goes well.
Oh yes. I just finished a wheel a couple days ago and when I spin it in the stand the dial indicator needle just sits there dead except for a little blip at the rim joint. I'm so pleased with this that I haven't taken the wheel out of the stand yet.
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markz   100 GW

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Re: Who here has/uses a Spoke Tension Meter?

Post by markz » Aug 12 2018 9:45pm

Chalo wrote:
Aug 11 2018 6:39pm
It wouldn't have mattered so much how crazy he was
Yes I sniped the quote from a different thread to get your opinion on if you use a Spoke Tension Meter.

Thx

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Chalo   100 GW

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Re: Who here has/uses a Spoke Tension Meter?

Post by Chalo » Aug 12 2018 10:20pm

I built wheels for many years without using a spoke tensiometer. But I was very aware of the relative and to some degree the absolute tensions of the spokes in the wheels I built. It was by feel/sound, not measurement, but the end result was the same.

Using a tensiometer is easier. I own a DT Tensio, but that's not what I'd recommend. It's accurate and repeatable but too slow and kind of fussy to use. I think the Park tensiometer does an adequate job and is very easy and quick. It's much less expensive too.

Note that some wheels, and many hub motor wheels, don't offer enough room to use a tensiometer. You have to use feel and your best judgment with those.

Perhaps the best use of a spoke tensiometer these days is to calibrate the wheel builder's sense of how tight is tight enough. Once you have that, you don't need a tensiometer.
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