Spokes, straight pull or 90 degree bend and hub flange.
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  1. #1
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    Spokes, straight pull or 90 degree bend and hub flange.

    I'm in the market for a new wheelset and have checked out several options, including custom built. It seems that most of the custom wheels use spokes that are not straight-pull and that most others ( and expensive ones at that) use the straight-pull option from the hub. A noted wheel builder replied to me that a well built wheel using the old school method of wheel building is as sound as the new era if not more so. What's up? Any views on this? Thank's, Erik.

  2. #2
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    Your old school guy is right

    While there is a theoretical advantage to straight pull spokes (no elbow bend so less likely to break), in practice you can build perfectly fine wheels with conventional stuff. Those wheels will be just as light, just as durable, just as stiff, etc. and a whole lot cheaper than boutique wheels. I just built a set of Campy Chorus, DT 15/16 brass nipples, and Velocity Aeroheads that came in right at 1680 gm (w/o skewers). These are great wheels and a whole lot cheaper than any comparable "magic" factory wheels. Well built wheels with quality components do not break spokes, plus they can be cheaply maintained by any skilled builder. The boutique wheels often have to go back to the factory and "feature" extremely expensive replacement parts.

  3. #3
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    IIRC, the primary advantage to straight-pull spokes is that they make machine-building of wheels easier. I see lots of broken straight-pull spokes at the shop, so the theoretical strength advantage doesn't seem to carry over into the real world. And they are MUCH more expensive to replace.

    At my shop:

    14g DT: $0.50.

    14/15 butted DT: $0.80

    DT Revo: $1.40

    Brass nipples are free with any conventional spoke. Aluminum are $0.25 - $0.50 depending on color.

    Mavic Cosmos spoke (straight gauge): $4.00, plus nipple.

    Mavic Ksyrium spoke: $11.00, plus nipple.

    These are off the top of my head, since I'm not at work, but they're not off by much.

    --Shannon

  4. #4
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    straight pull spokes are about money, not durability

    Straight pull spokes are all about lowering manufacturing costs for the prebuilt wheelmakers while giving them a fancy looking wheel to market to the mass public at a super high overpriced margin. They are about making money for the wheelmakers, not much else.

    I have lost count of how many straight pull spokes I have seen broken in the past few years on premanufactured wheels from several top makers. I keep hearing the claims about how these wheels are so much more durable because of straight pull spokes, yet I see examples of failures on a weekly basis on wheels which are not that old. These wheels seem to be no better at staying true than regular wheels nor are they lighter or more aero than comparably built custom hand built wheels. One local racer who uses our shop has broken no less than 5 Velomax Tempest II spokes in the past 15 months. These wheels seem to have no greater durability than well built custom wheels and many of these low spoke count prebuiults seem to have rather poor durability and stiffness qualities. It all comes down to the wheelbuilder and his skill or lack of. For the money that many of these prebuilt wheels cost, they don't seem to deliver much but boutique looks over and above conventional wheels. Some guys like paying a lot extra for some flash.

  5. #5
    A wheelist
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    14g DT: $0.50.
    Mavic Cosmos spoke (straight gauge): $4.00, plus nipple.

    Almost one of the same thing. One made by DT, the other by Sapim. You'd think that the DT, with the extra manufacturing step (the bend) would be more money.


    Mavic Ksyrium spoke: $11.00.
    And people complain about my favorite aero spoke, the Sapim CX-Ray, at $2.25 each?
    What a strange world.
    .

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T.
    Almost one of the same thing. One made by DT, the other by Sapim. You'd think that the DT, with the extra manufacturing step (the bend) would be more money.
    Yeah, I think the Cosmos spokes are 14 g. The Mavic spokes are more money because that's the ONLY hub and rim they work with.

    Don't you just love proprietary parts?

    --Shannon

  7. #7
    A wheelist
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    Quote Originally Posted by tube_ee
    Yeah, I think the Cosmos spokes are 14 g. Don't you just love proprietary parts?

    Yes I know they are - straight 14 gauge. I own a set. The only reason is that they came on the bike I bought and I couldn't get enough for them on e-bay to justify building myself a set of normal wheels. I'll just use them until they start to break - if ever. The Cosmos have quite good reviews.
    .

  8. #8
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    I bought some DT Revolutions last week from my LBS at $1 per spoke plus tax. And he dipped the threads in spoke prep for me.

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