Smart Wheels – Dumb Wheels
I finally had figured out a real advantage to a super-light carbon-fiber bike. When it breaks and you have to carry it home, at least you’ll have less weight to carry on your shoulder.
Had a guy come in a bit ago wanting a wheel set that could get him down Mt Evans and home with a broken spoke. Got him 36° Mavics. They do learn.
With fewer spokes, spoke tension must vary less. Blade spokes tell stories: the last mechanic and the customer didn’t turn them all sorts of directions.
Spokes most often break from not enough tension, on any wheel.
Wheel Tension Balance Web App by Calvin Jones
A spoke that is looser relative to its neighbors will tend to loosen even more during use, and this will result in the wheel coming out of true. However, spokes that are overly tight can stress the rim, and this can result in a crack at the nipple hole. Wheels with even spoke tension will stay true longer, and as a bonus, your spoke life will be maximized.
Wheel Building Tip No. 5 – Be a Wheel Whisperer
…a single loosened spoke will generate a broad “S” bend in the rim, a sort of sine wave. If you try and correct this by truing each section of the wave, rather than discovering the true culprit, you’ll have wasted time and possibly worsened the wheel’s condition. Eventually, of course, you’ll find the culprit. Your measure as a builder is how quickly you can find the source of a wheel’s trouble and make a bulls eye correction.
Never spot true.
The difference between those that can form quick and accurate mental maps of wheel tension and those who can’t is huge. It’s like night and day. I pity builders who are essentially blind in their work, stumbling around, superstitious, expecting weird outcomes and struggles. Don’t be among them.
Eventually, you’ll deduce and fix wheels in a fraction of the time it takes others.
Park Tool provides a way of visualizing spoke tension, and tools.
Tension…it’s all relative
You learn to visualize this in your head.
But the Park approach provides a good start for learning how spoke tension can indicate underlying rim damage.