03 March, 2009

Wheels and NAHBS


We just got back from the hand built bike show. I must admit that I was skeptical about a show held in Indianapolis, but it turned out to be great. Attendance was good and there were folks there from all over the world. I ran into number of acquaintances from Japan, Taiwan, and Europe. Quite the cosmopolitan place, Indianapolis. And lots of good local beer; Tom apparently tried every brew at least once ;<) Now we are madly trying to catch up here, so this will be short. We've got some new wheels. It occurred to me that a lot of you would like to be able to order good quality and sturdy hand-built wheels at reasonable prices. Here is what we have so far:

All the wheels are 36-hole and 700c sized only. We are still working on the 650b rims.

I've posted a few NAHBS photos here. These are just random things that I found interesting. There are far better and more complete NAHBS photo-sets out there; please feel free to add links in the comments.

Also, we had an unusually heavy snow storm here in Annapolis so many orders placed over the weekend and Monday will arrive a day later than normal.

61 comments:

Josh Mitchell said...

arrrgh... I was so V-O would look at the SA X-FDD for their dyno-hub. However, having said that these are nice new wheelsets.

Tom said...

The problem with the Sturmey Dyno hub is it is available in drub Brake only. If there was an option for just a dyno without the drum brake we'd be all over it.

William said...

The new wheels look nice.
A couple of quick questions.
How does the S-A handle anti-rotation? Is there an arm, and if so is it included/available?
Secondly, is there any limitation on the size of the chainring (e.g., the Rohloff requirement of a chainring with 2.4 times as many teeth as the cog)?
Thanks.

Josh Mitchell said...

See, the integrated drum brake is WHY I want a X-FDD. I'm space limited on my Trek Soho S, so fattish (700x35 Schwalbe Marathon Supremes) tires have a problems clearing the factory brakes. A drum brake would be IDEAL for me.

Gunnar Berg said...

I'm always amused when people from the Coasts make it into the hinterland and discover there's a real world in flyoverland. Hell, they even have beer! Sorry I wasn't able to make it.

angelo trivelli said...

uh oh...
I'm starting to fantasize about converting my old bianchi into an 8-speed internal hub commuter.

Do you have chainline measurement on the SA 8 sp wheel?

Is it foolhardy to attempt a DIY conversion on an oldish road frame?

Tom said...

the rear S/A hub is spaced for 126 frames so it should work without a problem.
Regarding the Front dyno hub, we are working on a Sturmey version. Just need to see how wheels fly before we cover the smallest niche of a niche

Joel said...

Chris: Brooks had a swell front basket at their display. Did you see it? If so, any thoughts about adding to the VO array? So far I cannot see where anyone is marketing it yet.

Anonymous said...

I like the wheel configurations but usually have trouble with spoke tension/truing of pre-manufactured wheels.

If I live in the area will you help me out if I find it is a problem after a hundred miles or less ?

christopher lee said...

re: anonymous
the trick to factory built wheels is getting them in the truing stand on almost day one. and remember, stress relieve those spokes! i can't "stress" it enough!
the wheels are great! i did my math and that 105 with the sunrim is really fairly priced.

Anonymous said...

"I must admit that I was skeptical about a show held in Indianapolis ... Quite the cosmopolitan place, Indianapolis."

Yo, Chris, everything's up to date in the Midwest. I may live next to DC but as an ex-Cincinnatian I can tell you the bike scene in Ohio and Indiana is in many ways better. Lots of smart people all over, no matter what coasties think.

Will Rodger

Anonymous said...

"I must admit that I was skeptical about a show held in Indianapolis,..."

Yeah, not like there's anything out here in the Midwest or anything. Just cows and former customers.

Anonymous said...

"I must admit that I was skeptical about a show held in Indianapolis,..."

Oh the irony. Growing up in New York City and Philadelphia, I owe the spark that kindled my cycling flame to the Hoosier State. For me, it all started with the movie Breaking Away. Now I live in Bloomington. And I'm skeptical about the coasts, but only when its denizens express misguided opinions.

Chris

Anonymous said...

Chris, If the SA hub has a 25 tooth
sprocket and low gear is direct drive
then it would require very small
chainrings to get a low gear of
around 27 inches. Even a 36 tooth
chainring would result in a pretty
high gear range, and it would take a 25 tooth chainring to get the kind of
low gear I need for the hills in my
area. Any comments on this?
Preston

Anonymous said...

I thought there was a "normal" version of the 8 speed Sturmey rear hub. I think this one was designed for small wheeled bikes like folders and recumbents. And Sting Rays maybe? That could be fun. Anyway, nice job on the wheels! That 105-CR18 set is a very good deal.

Joel said...

"Yeah, not like there's anything out here in the Midwest or anything. Just cows and former customers."

Well, now that you mention it...

I have lived in Chicago most of my life but have never made it to Indianapolis until NAHBS. First, let me say, everyone I met on my two days there, from the parking lot attendant, to the wait staff at a couple of restaurants were all darned nice. But I was really disappointed that the city allowed the Hyatt and Westin to build bland, box on top of mall hotels - the kind normally found in the waste lands around airports - right across the street from the lovely Capitol building.

The center of state government deserves better. The peopel should have demanded it.

That said, there are a lot of ugly buildings along Pennsylvania Avenue in Wash. D.C. So this lack of attention to urban environment is not just a Midwestern thing.

Josh Mitchell said...

Anonyme,

There are, essentially, 4 versions of the SA hubs. The only difference is the brake they are setup for.

Tom,

Yeah, I understand that I fall in a bit of a niche in wanting the drum brake. It's just frustrating that I can't seem to source built wheels with it anywhere.

SprocketScientist said...

wow. Growing up in Michigan I don't remember midwesterners being so sensitive to comments as innocuous as "skeptical."

aaaaanyway,
I was wondering why the choice of a wheel built with the SA hub instead of the Alfine 8 speed hub? I know the Shimano would cost another 50 bucks or so, but on the plus side Jtek now makes a barend shifter for it. Well, that adds another $80...

Is it because the SA can go narrower for older frames?

I've been looking for reviews or info from people who've used the SA 8 speed, but there isn't much info on its durability or shifting, etc. Would be great to find out more about the hub.

greatpumpkin said...

William has expressed my thoughts also. On this hub, first gear is direct, and the biggest cog available has 25 teeth, equivalent to having a 25-tooth cog as the biggest on a derailleur bike's rear cluster. I have a soft spot for Sturmey Archer, even though they are now made in Taiwan, as I have owned a number of three-speeds with the AW hub. However, the 3-speed Sturmeys have the middle gear as the direct one. On the AW (the most common) low is down 1/3 and high is up 1/3--classic planetary gear inversion--so it's 75%, 100%, 133%--still rather high. Most internal hubs have the direct gear somewhere in the middle of the range. Using Sheldon's gear calculator, I also concluded that to get a normal gear spread, you would have to use a 26-tooth chainring with a 700C wheel, or 16-inch wheels if you used a 46-tooth chainring. Here's an idea: use a chain tensioner such as a Surly Singleator, and a multiple ring set in front. Now that would be some high gearing! Wonder if the XRF8 can take the chain angles to make that work?

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one to catch the Guns n' Roses inside album art tribute on that painted up disc wheel? I guess it is only fitting, what with all the bandanas, leather jackets, and skinny skinny jeans on the fixters--is ca. 1989 Axl Rose now what cycling is going for? I know the roadie types are wearing the white spandex....
M Burdge

fmackay said...

Tom, the brake on the X-FDD is a feature, not a bug! I put one on my wife's bike and it works well; I suspect the Shimano is better quality though.

You do know there's an improved version of the SA 8-speed coming out Real Soon Now (possibly already available) with a wider range (325% vs 305%)?

SprocketScientist: I've had a Nexus 8 self destruct after 1500 miles, and I'm not alone - I've heard the SA can be tricky to set up but I'd buy one in preference to the shimano any day (shame shimano don't do a 6-speed, guaranteeing a 4-year lifespan...). Also, SA are planning to introduce bar-end/thumb shifters for their 3 and 8-speeds along the lines of the shifter for the forthcoming ASC-alike.

Joel said...

"I know the roadie types are wearing the white spandex....
M Burdge"

What is meant by roadie types?

I ride my bikes on roads about 99% of the time and cannot recall ever having worn spandex. In the summer months I may wear a white tee shirt from time to time. But the labels say they are 100% cotton.

Perhaps roadies means those bike riders who wear white spandex?

Tom said...

Josh- I know what you mean. I too like a drum version for my commuter, just for the cool factor. The drum hub versions are coming tho. Prebuilt drum wheels are going to be super pricy, so not many shops or distros like to keep that much cash on a hook waiting for the 1 or 2 guys or girls that will be willing to buy them. For now, drum hubs can be built into wheels on a custom basis.

William-
All S/A planetary hubs are equipped with 2 slotted fulcrum levers and non turn washer that fit in the dropout (or rear fork ends).

Angelo, Anons:
The S/A hubs we stock are for road and mtn bikes, NOT folding bikes. The folding bike hub has a narrower OLD, and only comes in 28 hole. The chainline for our hubs are 41.5, OLD is 124mm, axle length is 170mm: http://www.sturmey-archer.com/hubs_8spd_XRF8.php

You can probably add some spacers to fit the hub in a 130 or 135 frame, but the chainline will still be int he 42ish range, so a shorter BB would be needed to align the front chainring with the rear cog.

Anon 16:56 typed-
"I like the wheel configurations but usually have trouble with spoke tension/truing of pre-manufactured wheels. "

These wheels are hand built, tensioned and trued by builders with many years of experience and thousands of wheels built behind them.

What do you mean by 'pre-manufactured'? The wheels are built up; it's not a kit to build them yourself. The hubs are assembled too.

Anon 00:17-
Internal hubs are generally not designed for climbing steep hills. Think of it this way- the terrain in England and Holland is, in most cases, rolling hills or flat. There are no spikey and sustained inclines. This is the terrain internal hubs are built for. Shimano, SRAM, Sturmey, and others build their bubs to meet the demands of riding in the UK and the Netherlands, which is well over 60% of the worldwide internal hub market. Only Rohloff is making a hub that can handle the torque loads of downhill racing and All Mountain extreme terrain changes.

SprocketScientist, et Al- The quality and durability of the new Sturmey hubs made in Taiwan with new tooling and QC procedures are a HUGE improvement over the colossal, old and beat down machinery that Sunrace bought from England. It's been documented here and there online. Sturmey hubs are better now then they ever have been. And they are cheaper, and made in Taiwan.

Fmackay-
There's always a new improved whatever coming around the corner. The new model hubs we stock are the 325% range of gearing. The difference between the S80 ('only 305%) and the S80W ("betterer" 325%) is only 1-2% per ratio.
The Sturmey site was last updated in 2005 and is providing us with misinformation. Other popular sites have also not updated their info in over a year either.
The QBP catalogue has been known to have errors in it; they list only the S80, which is 2005-2006 model year. The S80W is 2007-2008 (and carried over to 2009). Maybe QBP is shipping S80W and hasn't updated their info? Maybe they bought a pile of hubs 4 years ago and are slowly selling down the inventory? who knows?? Other popular industry suppliers list old or incomplete info, which makes me suspect they haven't updated that portion of their catalogue in a while, or they are sitting on old stock.

I am calling/emailing Sturmey Archer today to confirm this info. I'll update you all when I get a reply.

William said...

Thanks for the info about the fulcrum levers and no-turn washers. And congratulations for trying to wade through the morass of misinformation that's out there. When you're on the line with S-A, please don't forget to check on the size of acceptable chainrings. As greatpumpkin discerned, it looks as if you need to go with a chainring close to 26T to get a useful range of gears. The only "information" I could find on the web suggested that (British) S-A recommended a 36T minimum giving a range of about 39 - 119". Here's hoping for smaller chainrings.
Thanks again for cutting through the clutter.

greatpumpkin said...

Thanks, Tom for your feedback. I have several observations. One is that all the Sturmey hubs of a given model--such as the one under discussion--have the same internal ratios; there is no "special" set for small-wheeled bikes, but the 28-tooth shell is intended for such--my old 16"-wheel Dahon had 28 spokes and a Sturmey AW hub--the same kind as on my 28"-wheeled Roadster--but the Roadster has 40 spokes. They used different chainrings and cogs to compensate for the different wheel sizes. The Roadsters and virtually all of the English 3-speeds (including the 26-inch wheel models) have 46-18 gears, which would be a fairly normal singlespeed or fixed gearing. If you converted from a singlespeed (which was Sturmey's competition when they started in 1903), you would have had your usual gear in the middle, plus a lower one for hills and a higher one for speed. All the old Sturmeys had their direct gear in the middle range, as Shimano does today. Suggesting that Sturmey makes their lowest gear direct now because they sell most of them in the Netherlands, where you can ride a 60-lb bike with massive gears, is somewhat circular--maybe they don't sell more in places that have hills because of the gearing. I think there is a huge untapped market for internal gear hubs, if the average bike buyer is aware of them as an option. Many ordinary people, not dedicated cyclists, want to ride bikes, but they want them simple, so they get a singlespeed--and soon rediscover why gears were invented. I have owned and still own a number of derailer gear bikes, but would lean toward internal gears if I were buying new wheels. I've watched these Sturmeys with interes, but I don't see how to use them on a normal wheeled bike. And to suggest I ought to suck it up and just ride taller gears--I regularly ride a DL-1 Roadster with AW hub and I can assure you those are tall gears. But why should I spend the money to build a bike for ling rides on varied terrain, if it's no easier or fun to ride than my dinosaur?

Josh Mitchell said...

Tom,

Are you saying VO can source and have a X-FDD custom built into some CR18s? If so, I'd be very interested in getting a price from you... so far most everyone who's willing to carry the X-FDD stateside are out of stock with no intention on getting anymore, or simply don't want to touch it with a 10-foot pole.

Anonymous said...

hey I helped assemble that geekhouse!

Anonymous said...

YOu are ssuming I am meaning 'roadie' as in road cyclist, and not 'chain smoking ex-carnie who helps set up and tear down rock shows.' And furthermore, you know exactly what I mean when I say 'roadie.' If I said 'free rider' you would conjour images of leg armour, lots of pivot squeak, and a full face helmet. I bet you would not say 'hey! all of my riding is ''free...'' I ride public trails.'
This reminds me of a joke about sheep, that I cannot (and will not) repeat here.
mb

Anonymous said...

Tom Said : "These wheels are hand built, tensioned and trued by builders with many years of experience and thousands of wheels built behind them

What do you mean by 'pre-manufactured'?"

Hey there Mr. Snarky, it me the one to which you are replying. First let me say you completely ignored the core of my question : Will you stand behind your factory built ( that's what I meant by pre-manufactured) wheels or not. Claims like yours that " wheels are hand built, tensioned and trued by builders with many years of experience and thousands of wheels built behind them" are commonly made by distributors of similiar wheels like Bike Nashbar.

I understand the reliability of the individual parts that goes into a WHEEL, I was just asking if you will stand behind the quality of the product you are representing as 'hand-built'.

In light this attempt at an explanation of my post : who is responsible for manufacturer flaws that are likely to arise these low-end 'quality built' wheels ?

I mean, did y'all build them, or is there a manufacturers warranty?

Anonymous said...

well, i'm impressed by your generator wheel. 105 hub options good too.

tom, you're point about the market for internally geared hubs make totally sense to me; thus their quality level.

here's a hub idea for you. make a cassette hub for eight or nine speed clusters, but that leaves two or three of the small cogs off. this would allow a wheel laced with less offset. this is similar to the Phil hubs.

p.s. that guns and roses picture is really offensive- it looks like a woman who was raped. that's not cool.

David said...

V-O and fans, check out today's Yehuda Moon strip:
http://yehudamoon.com/index.php?date=2009-03-05

Hehe-perfect.

Tom said...

Pumpkin-
I have not suggested that you just 'suck it up'. Please accept my apologies if that's how you feel. All I did was point out a difference between the 2 versions. And none of this may matter- if there's only the new model available, that's what we have to work with. I provided the information I have at hand which is quite confusing, even for people on the wholesale side who are supposed to (or supposedly) know just a little bit more than our customers. y'all make me work! but I don't mind it. But, please don't take it as a personal attack of your riding style, prowess or individual needs. That's not where this is coming from.

There's a better explanation to your followup questions but need some more time to digest and get a reply from S/A . It may be a marketing thing. It seems really odd to me that there will be a 1:1 in the middle of an 8sp hub (at the 4th or 5th position??) and gear up or down from there, like the 3sp hubs. Shimano may be explaining better, but the operation and placement of the direct drive may be in the same place. Again, i need more time to get a reply.

anon wheel person-Here's a link to FAQ:
http://velo-orange.com/returnpolicy.html
Scroll down to "returns".
I have been snark free in this post. I will not engage anon posters in that manner, and will probably no longer reply to anon postings at all.

Red said...

I really, really wish VO would make available some 27" rims! Does anyone make these anymore? I love the way they ride, and it would also mean I wouldn't need to modify the brakes on my current rebuild.

Tom said...

27" rims are available in singlewall. Sun still rolls a 27x1 1/8" rim, I think the M13II.

I've been trying for years to get taiwan to roll a nice doublewall rim in 27" but it's an uphill battle and a $10,000 commitment when tooling, fixturing and per unit costs are all figured into it.

fmackay said...

Here is a post on SA's blog about last year's Taipei bike show where the new 8-speed was launched; they say in the comments that it was due out last summer but I'm not sure if this happened - it's certainly out now though, I saw one in an LBS today - but it is only just out so I don't know why QBP would list it as 2007. The word I got on these hubs was: early production of original 8-speed had many problems; later models fixed this but remained fiddly to set up; new model fixes this and has other improvements (including the wider range).

Re: direct drive - the Shimano 8-speeds have a 1:1 at 5th gear IIRC but it's not direct. On the SA I'd prefer direct drive in cruising gear but I suppose bottom is not a bad place for it.

greatpumpkin said...

My apologies, Tom, for mixing messages. I wanted to thank you for participating in the discussion, and it was someone else who suggested (not using the phrase 'suck it up' that we should just get used to the high gearing. I get that lots of people are now riding singles and fixed gears and may not think a 25-tooth low gear is too high. Personally I appreciate having at least one "oh sh*t!" gear just in case. However, after a year of riding a bike with such a gear up a long hill to work (and needing that gear when I started doing it, as I was returning to riding after 10 years) I have ridden my high-geared Roadster (low gear equivalent to 46:24, on 28" wheels) on the same run, and while I'd have liked another low gear, I was able to make the grade, now that I am in better shape. Regarding the position of the 1:1 gear, in the middle of the range makes perfect sense. When the original Sturmey hub appeared (1903) most bikes would have been single speed fixes or free wheeling, with 46:18 a typical gearing. That is what their customers would have been converting from. So their hubs provided one gear lower and one gear higher and kept the "normal" gear in the middle. As hubs gained gears and the competition was now with derailleur gears which can more easily cover a wide range, and we're still used to seeing a big chainring and a small sprocket if there is only one, it still made sense to have the direct gear in the middle of the range (about where that combination would be if you had it in a derailleur cluster). Where, on your typical randonneur bike, is your 25-tooth sprocket? Probably a few up from the bottom. On a bike built to handle steep grades and heavy loads, you'd probably have something bigger than 25 in back, unless you were combining it with a granny in front to give you a low gear, which I did when I built my first touring bike in 1974, back when you only got 5 in back--a Stronglight 32-42-52 triple in front allowed me to have very low gears and fairly close ratios on the same bike (as I recall a 14-24 range), which was otherwise impossible then.

Anonymous said...

anon dude- you really think surly stuff is made in Bloomington MN, USA? Can you pass the bong, cuz I wanna bit of what yer smoking.

ppphhhuuuuuhhhhhh....

that's better.

alla their crap is made in Taiwan. Frames, handlabars, racks, cranks, the singlator, and their shitty cogs.

The 'Genius' of Surly is having everyone convinced it's made by some dudes in a bike shop that moonlight at daddys machine shop across the tracks . In their spare time inbetween drinking and riding of course. Do they ever sleep?

Uncle Ankle said...

I'd like to second the wish for a five-or-six-of-nine cassette hub. There are alternatives from Hope and possibly Profile, but these are disc brake 135 OLD hubs. Also outrageously expensive; perhaps they must be?

SprocketScientist said...

Hey Tom,
Thanks for taking time to respond to the myriad questions and concerns brought up here. I don't understand the attitude of some of the posters here. In any case, its good to get the straight information, and I always look forward to new VO product offerings. The combination of practicallity, aesthetics, and price really makes VO stuff a great value, whether its from Taiwan, Japan, France, or U.S. or wherever. Please don't pay too much heed to the grouches.

Tom said...

just heard from Sturmey:

Our hubs are the XRF8- the 305% range. Looks like the distros catalogues (our source for now) are accurate in their description of what they have in stock. The newer model has a (W) indicating 'wide'. The spacing is 124mm. Reversing the anti turn washer and putting it on the inside of the dropout will fit 130 frames. Another 5mm spacer on the left side will let it fit 135 frames.

The recommended chainring is 30 to 33t. This was from designing the hubs to fit on Dutch trekking bikes with a full chaincase that fit around 33t chainrings.
A 34t aint gonna kill you or the hub. A lower ring probably won't either.

Anonymous said...

VO is pretty much following the Surly Model now.

Anonymous said...

All you number geeks :
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gears/

Le Cagot said...

Annon said: "VO is pretty much following the Surly Model now."

Lets see if that's true:

Surly imports low-mid range frames from Taiwan. It also has a very few parts made in Taiwan and perhaps China. Nothing comes from the US, Japan, or Europe. there are no retro or classic parts.

VO imports hundreds of parts from France, Italy, Netherlands, Japan, and Taiwan as well as distributing US-made parts. VO also has many "retro" parts manufactured in the US and in Japan and in Taiwan.

Surly is owned by a large corporation, QPB.

VO is owned by one lone bike geek.

Surly frames are not made for fenders. They use high trail geometry.

VO frames are constructeur-style frames made for fenders, front racks, and lighting. They have low trail geometry.

Yep; it's easy to mix up VO and Surly. If you're totally clueless, that is.

William said...

Tom, thanks for digging up the info on the chainrings. Nice tip about reversing the washer too.

Uncle Ankle said...

Is there a particular reason these wheels are built with straight-gauge spokes?

DISCLAIMER: this is not in any way or form intended as a snarky question and the poster will not claim responsibility for it being percieved as such.

Chris Kulczycki said...

The straight gauge spokes are much less expensive and the advantages of butted spokes are relatively small.

Josh Mitchell said...

@ Chris,

The advantage of butted is that they can be lighter for the same strength, correct?

(PS - Most people claim stronger for the same weight, however with these being, more or less, budget friendly wheels the reverse statement is more beneficial to understand why straight gauge is perfect fine in this application).

Goon said...

I always thought that the advantage of butted spokes is that they tend to stretch at the thinnest section rather than at the threads or elbows. According to this theory, a double-butted spoke is lighter _and_ more durable than a straight-gauge spoke of the same "end-gauge".

Sheldon's position can be found here:

http://sheldonbrown.com/wheelbuild.html#spokes

although I'm not sure he has it quite right, since he describes sharp "pulling" stresses, when the sharp local loads actually result in detensioning.

Uncle Ankle said...

I think wheels is the worst place to be cheap, but more importantly:

The 105 or dynohubs are sufficiently extravagant to appear mismatched to straight-gauge spokes - however small the advantage of butted?

Is the price difference significant when seen as a complete wheel with a $100 dynohub? My admittedly uninformed guess is the difference does not exceed 5%, labor included.

SprocketScientist said...

Straight gauge spokes with triple wall rims, internal gear hubs and dyno hubs seems logical to me:

-Straight gauge spokes are stronger than butted. If a spoke is going to stretch in the butted section, its probably going just go ahead and break. Not butting also makes the spoke lots more resistant to torsion and the resultant shearing stress.

-Internal gears/dynos are usually used in sort of "heavy duty" use where people don't care about shaving a few grams in favor of utility. Commuting (IGHs) or randoneurring or touring.

I mean, if you're going to add the weight of an IGH or a hub dynamo, whats another ounce (doubt its even near an oz) of spoke weight?

Uncle Ankle said...

Durability is the main advantage of butted spokes. The spokes will not suffer the same fatigue at the elbows, where they usually break. The elasticity will also distribute loads to a greater number of spokes.

Sounds "heavy duty" to me.

Weight and aerodynamics are secondary benefits.

SprocketScientist said...

The short answer is that properly installed, defect-free spokes won't fail from cyclic fatigue.

The load (your weight) on a wheel only unloads spokes, so a spoke will only fail from cyclic fatigue when it's already near its yield stress. If that's happening at the elbow its probably because the spoke (or entire wheel) was not stress relieved when the wheel was built, leaving that area with high residual stress from when it was manufactured. And if that's the case, the spoke is going to break there whether or not the rest of the spoke is butted.

If Jobst Brandt can use the same straight gauge spokes for 200,000 miles, they're good enough for me.

Uncle Ankle said...

I'm trying very hard to resist the impulse of getting the last word on this, but I can´t help quoting Brandt himself:

"However, the most valuable contribution of swaging is that peak stresses are absorbed in the straight midsection rather than concentrated in the threads and elbow, thereby substantially reducing fatigue failures."

Perhaps a perfectly tensioned (which presupposes a perfect rim) and perfectly stress-relieved wheel will not suffer fatigue, but not all wheels are built perfectly, and butted spokes give wider margins.

That said - I have never had a modern stainless spoke break on me.

Raymond luxury Yacht said...

Why use SA hubs? Is it because the competition already sells factory built wheels with sram and shimano gear hubs? I've not read anything about the SA 8 in european cycling publications that would make me want to buy one. And their new shifters are nasty.
How about a shimano eight speed with a silver jtek thumb shifter?

Anonymous said...

"The straight gauge spokes are much less expensive and the advantages of butted spokes are relatively small."

This is a well reasoned, believable, simple explanation. I am not an engineer, nor do I have a master's level ability to build a wheel ( or even true it properly for that matter) .

I will buy my next wheelset from you, but not from that "Tom" ( the one I called 'Mr. Snarky') guy.

SprocketScientist said...

JB has also said that modern spokes have much better fatigue characteristics than when he wrote that. Which exactly corresponds with your observations.

The amount of stress relief in each spoke elbow or thread doesn't necessarily have to be the same (I'm not sure that's what you meant by perfectly stress-relieved). As long as the internal stress in any given elbow is lowered far enough away from the yield stress, it won't fail from cyclic unloading and reloading. A stress-relieved 2mm spoke will be as "durable" as a butted spoke from the same manufacturer. Spoke count and type of rim are bigger factors in wheel strength.
In the end, it boils down exactly to what Chris said. Butted, straight, everything else being equal I'll take the cheaper ones.

Uncle Ankle said...

Very well, but I'd like to just offer another perspective:

Wheels are perhaps the only parts of a bicycle where unnecessary weight affects the enjoyability of cycling.

I'm not talking about performance.

A heavy yet comfortable saddle will make cycling more enjoyable. A frame not too small for you (ie heavier) will make cycling more enjoyable. Handlebars that suit your wrists and riding style will be more enjoyable, regardless of weight. A wheel that accelerates and decellerates quickly will make the acual handling of a bike more enjoyable.

This is why I'm not ashamed to always go for kevlar-beaded quality tires, butted spokes and the lighest rims that are strong enough. Hub weight, on the other hand, does not concern me, nor do the weights of bars, stems, fenders or bottle cages. Nor will I generally spend money to colour coordinate or be period correct.

Tom said...

The upcharge for butted over straight gauge is around 30% per wheelset. Much more than 5 percent.

CR18's and dyno or IG hubs are not exactly a lightweight setup. The weigh savings is approx 1 gram per spoke. 32g per wheel- its a little over 1 ounce.

Proven long term durability of the individual parts give you an idea of how the wheel will fare.

Anonymous said...

It my humble belief that wheel building is more of an art than a science ( once the spoke calculations are determined and reliable parts are selected) .

you would be surprised how many 'good' shops can't true a wheel. A truly great bike mechanic and/or wheel builder is hard to find and surely not in it for the money.

I think the CR 18 with the 105 hubs/dt spokes is a great set of products from which to create a pretty good piece o' art. That being said, TOM aka Mr Snarky, I would not want to return something with so much potential greatness, I just want it to be acceptable--can you dig it ?

And the 36 spoke count thing---this in and of itself is a sign of potential perfection

BTW.. Someone told me American Classic Hurricanes don't suck --is this true ? The about 3 or for times the price of your product # S105WS.

I would rather have 3 sets of VO's S105WS

anonymous in Annapolis

garrett b said...

Hi. Is there a reason Sturmey is misspelled here and at the sales site?

Anonymous said...

La Cagot said : " Surly frames are not made for fenders."

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ecovelo/2630193092/in/set-72157611470108738/