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  1. #1
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    Teflon Tape on spokes?

    Any one ever used teflon tape on the spoke threads to keep them from loosening?

    I just built up a new set of wheels, front Radial, rear half radial - 2 cross, and took them out for the first ride today, and had all kinds of spokes loosening on me... suggestions are welcome!!

  2. #2
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    What did you prep the spokes with? I build my wheels with linseed oil, I've never had a problem with the spokes coming loose. Teflon tape on spokes would seem a bit tedious and unnecessary.

  3. #3
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    Stress relieve the wheel very thoroughly when you are building it and make sure your tension is high enough. Spokes loosening is mainly due to those two factors. If it's properly built you won't need any threadlocking compound although I do like using Linseed Oil for prep which dries tacky and helps to hold the nipples in place without seizing them.

    Mike T has a good section in his signature about proper wheelbuilding for beginners.
    www.boydcycling.com Handcrafted Revolution

  4. #4
    A wheelist
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    Wheels with proper tension and everything nicely stress relieved don't need threads gumming up to keep them together.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T. View Post
    Wheels with proper tension and everything nicely stress relieved don't need threads gumming up to keep them together.
    Not always and in every case. There are products (Spokeprep) and nipples that come pre-treated with compound for these reasons. I've used blue Loctite in a pinch as it's not very strong, especially on fine threads on spokes.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by looigi View Post
    Not always and in every case. There are products (Spokeprep) and nipples that come pre-treated with compound for these reasons. I've used blue Loctite in a pinch as it's not very strong, especially on fine threads on spokes.
    I've never used any form of thread locker and use anti-seize as a thread lube and haven't had a loose nipple in decades (2?). So I guess those who need them should use them.
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    Mike The Bike's home wheelbuilding info - dedicated to providing Newby wheelbuilder information and motivation.

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  7. #7
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    I think ultimately the problem was low tension... This was my first full wheel build... I've laced a few wheels before, but never gone through the process of dishing, tensioning and truing.... I stress relieved by both squeezing spokes, and pressing on the rim w/ the axle against the floor... I'm waiting on a tensiometer which I have ordered through my LBS... I'm using old Mavic Reflex SUP's which I just bought NOS from a local shop w/ DT Competition 2.0/1.8/2.0 spokes... I've read that the Reflex SUP's were prone to cracking at the eyelet, and guess I was afraid of too much tension causing my eyelets to crack.... I built the wheel dry, thinking that the higher friction would keep the nipples from backing off.... I re-laced the wheel last night using linseed oil... I dipped the bunch of spokes into the oil, and tapped them off on a piece of paper towel, and let them sit as I laced the wheel. Would that be sufficient for the linseed oil to be effective? I could barely see any oil on the threads... Also, the only other radially laced wheel I have is an 18 spoke Easton EA90 SLX... The wheel I built is 32 spoke... should there be any significant tension in the spokes for 18 vs 32? After checking the tension in the Eastons spokes, I am definitely a bit low... are there any other guidelines to follow until I get my tensiometer? how tight is too tight?

    thanks guys!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T. View Post
    I've never used any form of thread locker and use anti-seize as a thread lube and haven't had a loose nipple in decades (2?). So I guess those who need them should use them.
    Good for you! Keep up the good work. I've been riding 40 years.

  9. #9
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    Riding 40 years and building wheels that hold together without the aid of any threadlocker are two different things. I don't use anything but anti-seize compound.

    There is a right way of doing things. Threads don't need anything to prevent them from backing out if the wheels were both designed properly and built properly.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ergott View Post
    Riding 40 years and building wheels that hold together without the aid of any threadlocker are two different things. I don't use anything but anti-seize compound.

    There is a right way of doing things. Threads don't need anything to prevent them from backing out if the wheels were both designed properly and built properly.
    Can't agree more.

    Even if I were in the camp that felt differently (and I can acknowledge reasons for some to feel differently) teflon tape has no role here.

    First, these threads are too fine. It would be maddening to try to apply.

    Second, as far as I can recall, I've never seen a spoke/nipple interface spring a leak.
    A good habit is as hard to break as a bad one..

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ergott View Post
    Riding 40 years and building wheels that hold together without the aid of any threadlocker are two different things.
    Having ridden 40 years I know that, sonny boy. MikeT was stating his qualification as having ridden 20 years so I figgered I I'd be sarcastic about it relevance by saying I've ridden 40. Get it? Perhaps not...kids these days. Just stay off my lawn.

    Regardless, it's nice to carefully build wheels with fresh components and have them remain true forever. In the real world, there are wheels you'll run across in which the spokes will loosen and which a locking compound will fix. And there are professionally built wheels that have been assembled with spoke prep or treated nipples.

  12. #12
    A wheelist
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    Quote Originally Posted by looigi View Post
    Having ridden 40 years I know that, sonny boy. MikeT was stating his qualification as having ridden 20 years so I figgered I I'd be sarcastic about it relevance by saying I've ridden 40. Get it? Perhaps not...kids these days. Just stay off my lawn.
    Where did you dream up all that? I've been riding (sportily) for 50 years. I've been building wheels for 50 years. I'm 64. I haven't had a spoke come loose (since I learned correct wheel tensioning concepts) in about the last 20 years. Sunshine, you stand corrected.

    In the real world, there are wheels you'll run across in which the spokes will loosen and which a locking compound will fix. And there are professionally built wheels that have been assembled with spoke prep or treated nipples.
    And there are amateur built wheels (by the likes of me as I've never made $0.01 from wheelbuilding) that stay true and tight without "spoke prep or treated nipples". I'm proof o' the puddin'.
    .
    Mike The Bike's home wheelbuilding info - dedicated to providing Newby wheelbuilder information and motivation.

    I'm not cranky; I just have a violent reaction to stupid people.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T. View Post
    Where did you dream up all that? I've been riding (sportily) for 50 years. I've been building wheels for 50 years. I'm 64. I haven't had a spoke come loose (since I learned correct wheel tensioning concepts) in about the last 20 years. Sunshine, you stand corrected.


    And there are amateur built wheels (by the likes of me as I've never made $0.01 from wheelbuilding) that stay true and tight without "spoke prep or treated nipples". I'm proof o' the puddin'.
    I appreciate that we all have an online reputation to defend...

    but how about helping out some one who has asked some legitimate questions about wheel building?

  14. #14
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    Because my questions seem to have fallen by the way side, in favour of bickering, I will re-state my previous post, with hopes of actually tapping into the vast knowledge base that is present in this community... I'm not trying to single anyone out, or seem ungrateful for the previous helpful replies I've got in this thread... but I'm still trying to figure out the solution to my problem...

    thanks guys


    I think ultimately the problem was low tension... This was my first full wheel build... I've laced a few wheels before, but never gone through the process of dishing, tensioning and truing.... I stress relieved by both squeezing spokes, and pressing on the rim w/ the axle against the floor... I'm waiting on a tensiometer which I have ordered through my LBS... I'm using old Mavic Reflex SUP's which I just bought NOS from a local shop w/ DT Competition 2.0/1.8/2.0 spokes... I've read that the Reflex SUP's were prone to cracking at the eyelet, and guess I was afraid of too much tension causing my eyelets to crack.... I built the wheel dry, thinking that the higher friction would keep the nipples from backing off.... I re-laced the wheel last night using linseed oil... I dipped the bunch of spokes into the oil, and tapped them off on a piece of paper towel, and let them sit as I laced the wheel. Would that be sufficient for the linseed oil to be effective? I could barely see any oil on the threads... Also, the only other radially laced wheel I have is an 18 spoke Easton EA90 SLX... The wheel I built is 32 spoke... should there be any significant difference in the tension in the spokes for 18 vs 32? After checking the tension in the Eastons spokes, I am definitely a bit low... are there any other guidelines to follow until I get my tensiometer? how tight is too tight?

    thanks guys!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by r_o_b_s_o_n View Post
    Because my questions seem to have fallen by the way side, in favour of bickering, I will re-state my previous post, with hopes of actually tapping into the vast knowledge base that is present in this community...
    Hmmm, I think your questions HAVE been answered. It's been said that teflon tape isn't an option. It's been said that tension is sufficient for holding wheels together. Ditto for stress-relief. So what didn't we answer?

    If you care to read what's already been written (which I've just re-stated), my website and especially its links (the best resources I know of), I can't think of anything else that's needed for any wheelbuilding.
    .
    Mike The Bike's home wheelbuilding info - dedicated to providing Newby wheelbuilder information and motivation.

    I'm not cranky; I just have a violent reaction to stupid people.

  16. #16
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    Before tensiometers were common the recommendation was to tension the wheel until it started going potato chip shaped, then back off. But that's like the joke about torquing bolts: tighten until it begins to strip then back off. It's about as useful. When I tried that method for tensioning wheels I could never get the wheel as true after I'd over tensioned it as it was before being overtensioned.

    I'm sure experienced builders don't need them but a tensiometer really helps amateurs like me. Especially for avoiding over tensioning the DS spokes.

    You don't know what the Easton wheel is tensioned to so it's not really a good gauge. If it was me I'd wait for the tensiometer.

  17. #17
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T. View Post
    Hmmm, I think your questions HAVE been answered. It's been said that teflon tape isn't an option. It's been said that tension is sufficient for holding wheels together. Ditto for stress-relief. So what didn't we answer?

    If you care to read what's already been written (which I've just re-stated), my website and especially its links (the best resources I know of), I can't think of anything else that's needed for any wheelbuilding.
    I'm using old Mavic Reflex SUP's which I just bought NOS from a local shop w/ DT Competition 2.0/1.8/2.0 spokes... I've read that the Reflex SUP's were prone to cracking at the eyelet, and guess I was afraid of too much tension causing my eyelets to crack....
    - is this true of Reflex SUP's, and do I increase the risk of cracking the rim at the eyelets if using a higher spoke tension?


    I built the wheel dry, thinking that the higher friction would keep the nipples from backing off.... I re-laced the wheel last night using linseed oil... I dipped the bunch of spokes into the oil, and tapped them off on a piece of paper towel, and let them sit as I laced the wheel. Would that be sufficient for the linseed oil to be effective? I could barely see any oil on the threads...
    Can you confirm that this use of linseed oil will be effective? Or at least, is this how you suggest applying linseed oil?



    Also, the only other radially laced wheel I have is an 18 spoke Easton EA90 SLX... The wheel I built is 32 spoke... should there be any significant difference in tension between the spokes for 18 vs 32? After checking the tension in the Eastons spokes, I am definitely a bit low compared to the Eastons...
    so... should the tension be the same for 18 spoke vs 32 spoke?


    are there any other guidelines to follow until I get my tensiometer? how tight is too tight?
    well... how tight is too tight, and how do you know what too tight is without a tensiometer?


    thanks again!

  18. #18
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    Before tensiometers were common the recommendation was to tension the wheel until it started going potato chip shaped, then back off. But that's like the joke about torquing bolts: tighten until it begins to strip then back off. It's about as useful. When I tried that method for tensioning wheels I could never get the wheel as true after I'd over tensioned it as it was before being overtensioned.

    I'm sure experienced builders don't need them but a tensiometer really helps amateurs like me. Especially for avoiding over tensioning the DS spokes.

    You don't know what the Easton wheel is tensioned to so it's not really a good gauge. If it was me I'd wait for the tensiometer.
    i don't know about that comment. i've built a LOT of wheels, and for the first 10 or so years didn't have a good tension meter. for the last 10 or so, i've been using one, and i'm quite sure my wheels are better now than they were 10years ago. if you built w/ only one type of spoke, you could get to the point where you wouldn't need one, but i build w/ 3 or 4 different types, and many different spoke counts and lacing patterns...i wouldn't build w/o a tension meter.
    i work for some bike racers...
    2013 Trek Madone 5.9 w/ '12 SRAM Red
    2010 Cervelo T1 sprint bike
    Ruger 10-22TD
    Smith&Wesson M&P 15-22
    Smith&Wesson M&P 9
    oh, those belong in another forum

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by r_o_b_s_o_n View Post
    I'm using old Mavic Reflex SUP's which I just bought NOS from a local shop w/ DT Competition 2.0/1.8/2.0 spokes... I've read that the Reflex SUP's were prone to cracking at the eyelet, and guess I was afraid of too much tension causing my eyelets to crack....
    - is this true of Reflex SUP's, and do I increase the risk of cracking the rim at the eyelets if using a higher spoke tension?
    Never used those rims so I wouldn't know.

    I built the wheel dry, thinking that the higher friction would keep the nipples from backing off.... I re-laced the wheel last night using linseed oil... I dipped the bunch of spokes into the oil, and tapped them off on a piece of paper towel, and let them sit as I laced the wheel. Would that be sufficient for the linseed oil to be effective? I could barely see any oil on the threads...
    Can you confirm that this use of linseed oil will be effective? Or at least, is this how you suggest applying linseed oil?
    I dunno as I've never used linseed oil (or any other thread gummer-upper).

    Also, the only other radially laced wheel I have is an 18 spoke Easton EA90 SLX... The wheel I built is 32 spoke... should there be any significant difference in tension between the spokes for 18 vs 32? After checking the tension in the Eastons spokes, I am definitely a bit low compared to the Eastons... so... should the tension be the same for 18 spoke vs 32 spoke?
    I've never handled an 18 spoke wheel and squeezed its spokes so I can't answer that one either. Not doing too well am I?

    are there any other guidelines to follow until I get my tensiometer? how tight is too tight? well... how tight is too tight, and how do you know what too tight is without a tensiometer?
    I go by feel as I've never even held a tensiometer, much less used one. Gut feel, spoke squeezing and my ears are what I use.

    thanks again!
    Anything you wanna know; just anything; just ask
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T. View Post
    Where did you dream up all that? I've been riding (sportily) for 50 years. I've been building wheels for 50 years. I'm 64.
    Oops. I misinterpreted your post: "...haven't had a loose nipple in decades (2?)." I took that as meaning 2 decades rather than two 2 nipples.

    My apologies and I bow to your seniority. You got me beat by 4 years.

  21. #21
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    teflon tape

    Teflon tape was designed to be used as a LUBRICANT when assembling plumbing type applications. NOT as it is leak stopper or thread lock. But, I do use a butter knife as a screwdriver sometimes.

  22. #22
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    Perhaps if parasitic worms started eating my brain I might use Teflon tape on my spokes. Until then, I'll stick with doing intelligent things that make sense.
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