Author Topic: Spokes  (Read 606 times)

Matt2matt2002

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Spokes
« on: March 14, 2024, 07:23:31 am »
From a Facebook group:
While browsing the Rolhoff page on Peter White's website here in the U.S. I saw this in red letters: 

"Rohloff now requires the use of their spokes, due to changes in the elbow dimensions of most spokes on the market. Use of other spokes to build a wheel with a Rohloff hub can result in failure of the hub flange and will void the hub's warrantee."

My Rolhoff wheels are built with standard Sapim spokes and nipples.  I did rebuild them around 2019 with flange support rings.  I am curious what the story is regarding spoke elbows.

Matt
Never drink and drive. You may hit a bump  and spill your drink

JohnR

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Re: Spokes
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2024, 08:51:13 am »
Rohloff's website gives this guidance on spoke selection https://www.rohloff.de/en/service/handbook/speedhub/assembly/wheel/spoke-choice. It does not exclude the use of other suitable spokes. 

WorldTourer

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Re: Spokes
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2024, 10:59:04 am »
Haven’t heard of spoke-related problems in the bicycle-travel world, and word would spread, I think. I wonder if the Rohloff changes in recent years are due to problems reported in the European urban commuter market instead.

mickeg

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Re: Spokes
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2024, 11:08:03 am »
There is a small company here in USA called Peter White Cycles.  They are the USA distributor for B&M and a few other small European companies.  And they build wheels with a very good reputation for their wheel building.  Their website cites that DT changed their spoke head dimensions in 2000 and that caused breakage.
https://www.peterwhitecycles.com/spokes.php

DT spokes are commonly used in USA, but when I got back into bikes and built up my first touring bike in 2004, I read that on his website and I only used Wheelsmith spokes (were made about 100 miles from my home) until Wheelsmith went out of business.

I can't comment on the reasoning that Rohloff used, but that is what I assumed.  I used Wheelsmith spokes on my Rohloff wheel when I built it up in 2013, but it was really tough finding spokes that short here in USA where Rohloff hubs were even more rare a decade ago than they are now.  I was unable to find butted spokes in that short a length so mine are straight gauge.  I do not remember if I looked for Sapim spokes or not, I probably did not since I had been using Wheelsmith spokes for almost a decade at that time.

I did not buy my wheel complete from Thorn, built it up myself, mine is 36 spoke.

Andre Jute

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Re: Spokes
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2024, 02:52:52 pm »
My Rolhoff wheels are built with standard Sapim spokes and nipples. [...] I am curious what the story is regarding spoke elbows.

This is about more than just the heads and the elbow "dimensions".

First of all, if your wheel is built with Sapim Strong spokes (you'll know them when you see them -- they have butt-ugly butts), you're okay. The Sapim were designed with Rohloff hubs in mind a whole lotta years and circumnavigations ago.

If your wheel is built with other Sapim spokes, you're still okay. After all, your wheel has served you faithfully through several strenuous tours. The support ring mod was probably gilding the lily too far, but it can't hurt.

Something else to consider before you rebuild those wheels with different spokes: you'll be building in new stresses when there are already different spoke-head impressions in the ali. That strikes me as an unnecessary risk.

The ideal Rohloff spoke, aesthetics aside, is butted, has a particular angle to the bend (and the thickness in the bend is also controlled), and seats the head differently from other applications. Sapim's own Polyax nipples can help with the head seating (by letting the spoke enter the rim at the angle the hub flange requires -- the nipples' trick seating is described by the name, polyaxial). The Polyax nipples are anyway supposed to be used with the Sapim Strong spokes, presumably because you don't want to put uncontrolled stresses on a bunch of spokes that powerful for fear of what else they might bend in unloading themselves.

My everyday bike has a 170kg load rating. I don't suppose I've ever exceeded it but I do sometimes take a solid wood easel with me when there's a wind blowing, probably 50 pounds by itself, and other heavy equipment, and paints are basically earth and rocks in tubes, and I'm no Twiggy, but I've had no cause to use the two Sapim Strong spokes my bike-builder gave me in the "Welcome pack", so I'm a fan of the Sapim Strong despite cringing every time I notice their inelegant proportions.

Check out the link JohnR has posted.

If you're really feeling paranoid, there used to be heavy duty rims made by Exal especially drilled at a special angle for the Rohloff hub. These are the rims I have (without the graphic, of course) but I can't find the description of the drilling of this particular offer:
https://www.starbike.com/en/exal-xl-25-rim-black-28-25-622-vh8.5mm-single-eyelets-36h/

martinf

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Re: Spokes
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2024, 04:36:38 pm »
Ryde Andra 30 and Andra 40 rims are also suitable for building a Rohloff wheel.

Ryde Andra, Grizzly and Edge 7 rims are specifically mentioned in a Rohloff manual, along with the Ex19 rim from Exal.

I have Andra 30 on my 2012 Raven Tour with Rohloff hub, but my other two Rohloff equipped bikes have less suitable rims.

Rohloff recommend particular bend and spoke head dimensions. These were used on two of my Rohloff wheels, but it wasn't possible to source these specific spokes when I built the 16" wheel on my Rohloff-equipped Brompton. So on this wheel at least, the guarantee is void.   

PH

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Re: Spokes
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2024, 07:35:43 pm »
A few years ago, maybe still, but I don't know - SJS/Thorn used Sapim Race and were ordering in large enough quantities to specify the wire used!  At that time, again maybe still, Rohloff branded spokes were Sapim Race that had gone through additional QC to ensure any burs had been removed from the J bend.

B cereus

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Re: Spokes
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2024, 08:23:36 pm »
As I understand it Rholoff spoke holes are optimised for spokes with a 2.9mm elbow length and a diameter of 2mm at the elbow. Rohloff's own spokes are 14/15 g (2.0-1.8-2.0mm) with 2.9mm elbow length.

In the past Rohloff also sanctioned the use of Sapim Race and DT Swiss Competition spokes but as indicated in the OP will now only guarantee hubs that have been laced with their own spokes. Rohloff spokes are apparently made by Sapim but are not identical to Sapim's own Race spokes. Sapim Race spokes are 14/15g (2.0 – 1.8 – 2.0mm) but with a 2.7mm elbow length. Dt Swiss are also 14/15 (2.0-1.8-2.0mm) but with a 2.4mm elbow length.

Sapim Strong butted spokes are 2.3mm diameter at the elbow  and would not be ideal for a  Rohloff.

Edit to add:

For a new build it makes sense to use Rohloff's own spokes but for rebuilds I'd be inclined to stick with whatever spokes were used previously, to which the hub flange will bear witness.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2024, 10:01:54 am by B cereus »

PH

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Re: Spokes
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2024, 06:27:06 pm »
I wonder what Thorn are using now.  It occurred to me that their present spoke pattern  (One cross and all the spokes heads out) not only makes for a better angle at the rim, it also means every spoke is pointing away from the flange as it exits the spoke hole, rather than crossing it.  Not only will that result in less spoke rub on the flange, it might also make the elbow depth less critical.

mickeg

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Re: Spokes
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2024, 01:50:56 pm »
I wonder what Thorn are using now.  It occurred to me that their present spoke pattern  (One cross and all the spokes heads out) not only makes for a better angle at the rim, it also means every spoke is pointing away from the flange as it exits the spoke hole, rather than crossing it.  Not only will that result in less spoke rub on the flange, it might also make the elbow depth less critical.

Are you saying that now Thorn builds Rohloff wheels so that the heads are all facing outwards? 

If so, the new flange rings that are provided with the hubs would fall off, you need some spokes on the outside of the flange to hold the flange rings in place.

I added those flange rings to my Rohloff wheel several years ago, the rings fit loosely on the flange.

« Last Edit: March 16, 2024, 01:56:52 pm by mickeg »

PH

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Re: Spokes
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2024, 02:56:51 pm »
Are you saying that now Thorn builds Rohloff wheels so that the heads are all facing outwards? 
Yes, at least on the larger wheels, like this



Quote
If so, the new flange rings that are provided with the hubs would fall off, you need some spokes on the outside of the flange to hold the flange rings in place.
I read somewhere, probably on here, that the factory fitted support rings are not the same as the aftermarket ones.  Maybe put on hot and shrink as they cool down, I can't remember.  The support rings on the hub I bought three years ago are not a lose fit, Thorn were not building wheels at the time (Pandemic) so I followed their example and built them that way myself, the rings haven't fallen off yet! 


mickeg

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Re: Spokes
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2024, 06:35:47 pm »
...
I read somewhere, probably on here, that the factory fitted support rings are not the same as the aftermarket ones.  Maybe put on hot and shrink as they cool down, I can't remember.  The support rings on the hub I bought three years ago are not a lose fit, Thorn were not building wheels at the time (Pandemic) so I followed their example and built them that way myself, the rings haven't fallen off yet!

Are you saying that if you buy a new hub, the support rings are already installed and fit tightly?

Dave W (former employee at SJS) has commented on this forum that rings were available to dealers but not to retail customers that required heat to install.

I built up my own Rohloff wheel, I would still lace it up the way Rohloff says to, if I built one tomorrow.  I was unaware that Thorn had changed their lacing pattern this way.  But I am not looking for a new bike, have not looked at new Thorn bikes since before the Nomad Mk III came out.

« Last Edit: March 17, 2024, 09:39:54 am by mickeg »

B cereus

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Re: Spokes
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2024, 09:06:02 am »
Given the inherent shortcomings of non forged hub shells it makes sense to minimise damage around the spoke holes. This is the rational behind Rohloff's recommendations regarding spoke diameter and elbow length. A 1X heads out build also has advantages in this respect, SJS obviously think so and are prepared to back their judgement by honouring any  warranty claims. I guess the jury is still out on this.

PH has pointed out the better spoke line at the hub of inbound spokes but this will only be the case if the spokes are chosen carefully. If the spoke doesn't easily take a straight line from the elbow to the rim its likely that any advantage of less damage to the hub flange might be at the expense of increased spoke breakage at the elbow.  A trial fitting of a spoke to the hub should confirm whether spokes are suitable. With regard to spoke line at the flange, it occurs to me that another advantage of having all spokes inbound is that it removes the process of  adjusting the spoke line of outbound spokes. This can be quite brutal and risks damaging the hub flange, depending on the method chosen.