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#404674 - 11/20/11 10:49 am Spoke Tension -  
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Mattsta Offline
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I just had my first ever go at re-lacing a wheel and I'm pleasantly surprised that it wasn't nearly as hard to do as I envisaged. I've managed to get the wheel running pretty true. There is a slight bit of runout where the rim is welded together and I don't think this can be tweaked out. My side to side runout is about 1/32" which I think is acceptable but I haven't finished tweaking yet.

The thing I'm not so sure about is the spoke tension. I'm using the spokes as a tuning fork to try to get them all similar but I'm not absolutely sure what amount of tension is necessary having never done a wheel rebuild before.

The one thing I did notice during the process is that the spokes become tensioned very quickly. Only a relatvely small turn on each spoke transforms the rigidity of the wheel.

I'd definitely recommend having a go on an old wheel just for the experience of having a go. I designed my own truing stand out of some 1" box stainless steel that was laying about at work which nobody had claimed so I designed a stand and had a fellow at work weld it up for me.


1952 Triumph T100 in a BSA A7 Frame
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#404698 - 11/20/11 4:20 pm Re: Spoke Tension - [Re: Mattsta]  
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Tension will vary, your lateral and radial truth is more important. However, you do not want to over tighten your spokes because you risk breaking a spoke, pulling a nipple through the rim or breaking the spoke hole in the hub.

John Healy has great information, including spoke tension, in this article from Vintage Bike magazine


1966 Triton
1962 BSA DBD34 Gold Star
1966 Triumph Bonneville
#404706 - 11/20/11 5:31 pm Re: Spoke Tension - [Re: Mattsta]  
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Alex Online content
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Ideally, you want a spoke torque wrench, particularly if you lack the "feel" an experienced wheel lacer will have.

Torque=force X distance. A fish scale makes a nice force gauge and it usually comes with a hook you can hook into the end of your wrench. Pull at a right angle and your torque (in-lbs) is the displayed force (in lbs.) times the length of the wrench (in inches).


A smattering:
'53 Gold Flash
'67 Royal Star
'71 Rickman Metisse
'40 Silver Star
'37 Rudge Special
sixtyseventy Lightboltrocket road racer...and many more.
#404723 - 11/20/11 7:19 pm Re: Spoke Tension - [Re: Mattsta]  
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Peter Quick Online content
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Alex, So 10 lbs on my torque wrench using a 4 sideways inch wrench extension (say to get at a hard to get at nut) would give me 40 pounds of torque on the nut? What would the formula be for a metric distance, or does one always need or convert to inches? Just making sure I do this right in the future.

Peter


check out: www.bsaunitsingles.com
2500 BSA part numbers with inventory in stock just for the unit singles!
#404730 - 11/20/11 8:26 pm Re: Spoke Tension - [Re: Peter Quick]  
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Hi Peter,

Originally Posted By: PeterQ
10 lbs on my torque wrench using a 4 sideways inch wrench extension (say to get at a hard to get at nut) would give me 40 pounds of torque on the nut?

No. By definition, a torque wrench is already applying a given force at a given distance, so the "10 lbs" is likely to be 10 lbs.-feet; i.e. the equivalent of 10lbs. applied 1 foot from the centre of the fastener, or 1 lb. applied 10 feet from the centre of the fastener.

Otoh, ...
Originally Posted By: Alex
A fish scale makes a nice force gauge and it usually comes with a hook you can hook into the end of your . Pull at a right angle and your torque (in-lbs) is the displayed force (in lbs.) times the length of the wrench (in inches).

... to translate. wink

"fish scale" = something for weighing fish, not something off the skin of a fish;

"wrench" = ordinary spanner, not "torque wrench";

"torque (in-lbs)" = torque and what everyone else would describe as "pounds-inches", i.e. like "pounds-feet" only smaller;

"force (in lbs.)" = force (in pounds), not the abbreviation for "inch(es)"

So what Alex was trying to say is:-

. if you use and ordinary spanner, open end on the spoke nipple and ring at the other, the "inches" part of pounds-inches will be the distance from the centre of the spoke to the centre of the ring;

. if you hook the fish weighing scales on to the ring of the spanner and pull on the scales, the pounds indicated on the scales will be the "pounds" part of pounds-inches;

. the "pounds" figure multiplied by the "inches" figure is your torque, in "pounds-inches", which can be abbreviated to "lb.-in.".

Originally Posted By: PeterQ
What would the formula be for a metric distance,

Well, the metric unit of weight mass is the (kilo)gram, the metric unit of distance is the metre (or centimetre or millimetre), so kg-m, g-mm, whatever you want.

At the risk of confusing you (if you aren't already wink ), but in case 'L.A.B.' reads this and before he's along to correct me, wink most correctly 'f' would be inserted in the abbreviation directly after the weight mass unit - e.g. 'lbf.ft.' or 'kgf-m', to indicate 'pounds force-feet' or 'kilograms force-metres'. Then the S.I. unit of force is actually the Newton, hence metric torque settings can have 'Nm' after the number, rather than 'kgf-m'.

Hth.

Regards,

Last edited by Stuart; 11/21/11 10:36 am.
#404731 - 11/20/11 8:37 pm Re: Spoke Tension - [Re: Mattsta]  
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Peter Quick Online content
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So how would/should/shouldn't I use a torque wrench that I'm tightening head bolts on a BSA unit single (sorry for the thread hijack) on the two nuts that I cant get my torque wrench socket straight onto? Use an box end wrench on the nut to get sideways and then use a torque wrench on that, and then the formula? Or should I just go with dead reckoning to get "dead tight".? Peter


check out: www.bsaunitsingles.com
2500 BSA part numbers with inventory in stock just for the unit singles!
#404754 - 11/21/11 12:07 am Re: Spoke Tension - [Re: Mattsta]  
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Gnashville
Multiply the length of your torque wrench by the desired torque figure. Divide this by the length of your torque wrench plus the length of any extension.
The result is the torque spec you should read on your torque wrench.


Stepping on others doesn't make you stand tall.

71 A65L "Zelda"
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#404764 - 11/21/11 1:32 am Re: Spoke Tension - [Re: Stuart]  
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Alex Online content
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Originally Posted By: Stuart

Well, the metric unit of weight is the (kilo)gram


The metric unit of weight (force) is a newton.
The metric unit of mass is a kilogram.

As for in-lbs vs. lbs-in it's just semantics. I guess one could argue that neither nomeclature is correct if they were being paid for picking nits since it's really lbs*in...and it being a scalar multiplication, thereby commutative the order is irrelevant.

Jeeeeeesh... crazy


A smattering:
'53 Gold Flash
'67 Royal Star
'71 Rickman Metisse
'40 Silver Star
'37 Rudge Special
sixtyseventy Lightboltrocket road racer...and many more.
#404778 - 11/21/11 4:01 am Re: Spoke Tension - [Re: Mattsta]  
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Thanks David! Peter


check out: www.bsaunitsingles.com
2500 BSA part numbers with inventory in stock just for the unit singles!
#404822 - 11/21/11 3:14 pm Re: Spoke Tension - [Re: Mattsta]  
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BobAsh Offline
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Hey guys, I was thinking...why couldn't you use one of these?



30 inch/lb and it's only 27 bucks. Of course you'd have to mod the wrench since it's a 7/16" open end.

Link: http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/JONARD-Torque-Wrench-4AVJ9?Pid=search

Last edited by BobAsh; 11/21/11 3:15 pm.
#404945 - 11/22/11 2:40 am Re: Spoke Tension - [Re: BobAsh]  
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If you don't have a wrench like the above, you can use a lb-in torque wrench. If you will adapt the torque wrench to fit the open end of your spanner and place it at 90 degrees to your spanner, your wrench will click at the correct torque reading. You must be carefull to always be pulling at 90 degrees. It is not the best way but it does work. I do bicycle wheels by feel and I can't tell you what the torque is, but if I was doing a motorcycle wheel i sould like to get the first spokes tensioned correctly to some value....the rest will sort of fall into place as the wheel trues up. By design because of offset one side will be higher torque than the other. If you are just truing a wheel you don't need a stand...just get the wheel off the ground and use the the bike as a stand. You can make a little pointer to measure runout.

Mr Mike

#405880 - 11/27/11 5:37 pm Re: Spoke Tension - [Re: Swan]  
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Mattsta Offline
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Originally Posted By: Swan
Tension will vary, your lateral and radial truth is more important. However, you do not want to over tighten your spokes because you risk breaking a spoke, pulling a nipple through the rim or breaking the spoke hole in the hub.

John Healy has great information, including spoke tension, in this article from Vintage Bike magazine


Very strange formatting in that vintagebikemagazine article! It puts every word on a new line making it very difficult to read.

Anyway, I've had another go at this wheel because I was getting some vertical runout in the region around the weld and I wanted to have another go at truing the rim to see if I could improve it.

Max runout is exactly where the rim is welded together and recedes in both directions. The run out extends about 1/3rd of the circumference in total, from zero to max then back to zero. The side to side runout is negligable. Max runout is about 1/16" and there is a noticable flat band about 2-3" centred about the weld. It's a brand new Morad alloy rim.

Today I made a second attempt to true the wheel and minimize this vertical runout but I suspect I'm doing more harm than good trying to correct it. The rim definitely wants to take on the same set as the spokes are tightened. I'm thinking I should accept the 1/16" vertical runout and be done with it. What do you think?


1952 Triumph T100 in a BSA A7 Frame
#405891 - 11/27/11 6:28 pm Re: Spoke Tension - [Re: Mattsta]  
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John Healy Online content
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Mattsa try:

www.tioc.org/lacing371007rim.htm

One of the secretes of wheel building is to get both the alignment (offset) and truing set BEFORE you start tighten the spokes. You only need 12 spokes (six on each side) do get your initial setting. The key is not force the rim by tightening, but try loosing the opposite first. More lacing problems are caused by a couple of spokes that are over tightened. Evening tightening is the rule. This means loosening must be a part of the job.

If you are forcing a rim you do not have a handle on what you are doing.


#405903 - 11/27/11 7:18 pm Re: Spoke Tension - [Re: John Healy]  
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Mattsta Offline
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Hi John

They definitely aren't over tightened.

The point I was trying to made is that the wheel does have a distinct flat spot in the rim and I'm not sure that I can do much to resolve it. I understand what I need to do to correct a vertical runout but I'm not convinced it will improve things very much.


1952 Triumph T100 in a BSA A7 Frame
#406041 - 11/28/11 2:46 pm Re: Spoke Tension - [Re: Mattsta]  
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Mattsta, depending on how much of a flat spot, I think that it's not uncommon for steel rims to have as much as .060" of deviation from round at the weld. IME, this seems to be worse in the axial direction. If you can get runout better than that, that's great but I find that for a street bike it's hardly an issue. In general, I find alloy rims to be much better in this regard, both original borranis and excels seem to be very good.

And yes, you should have uniform tension all around, regardless of offset, etc.


A smattering:
'53 Gold Flash
'67 Royal Star
'71 Rickman Metisse
'40 Silver Star
'37 Rudge Special
sixtyseventy Lightboltrocket road racer...and many more.
#406054 - 11/28/11 4:00 pm Re: Spoke Tension - [Re: Alex]  
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Agreed with Alex, the weld area of all the new rims I've bought recently have not been as uniform as the old originals they've replaced.

This said, the only part of the wheel rim to measure during truing is the seating area, where the tire/rubber actually locates. When the wheel's inner faces run true, you may be surprised by the axial runout of the external faces, but that is not all that important on a road bike.

By all means however, do what you can with the spokes to eliminate "hop", since that will be annoying in use.

.. Gregg


Spyder Integrated Technologies
Lucas, BTH, & Miller Magneto & Dynamo Restoration
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#406208 - 11/29/11 10:38 am Re: Spoke Tension - [Re: Alex]  
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Mattsta Offline
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Originally Posted By: Alex
Mattsta, depending on how much of a flat spot, I think that it's not uncommon for steel rims to have as much as .060" of deviation from round at the weld. IME, this seems to be worse in the axial direction. If you can get runout better than that, that's great but I find that for a street bike it's hardly an issue. In general, I find alloy rims to be much better in this regard, both original borranis and excels seem to be very good.

And yes, you should have uniform tension all around, regardless of offset, etc.


Hi Alex

Actually, the rim is a new Morad Alloy, the unvalenced type.

I have got consistency for about 2/3 the circumference, then the rim deviates to about 20 thou in both directions until it meets a flat spot about 2.5-3" wide in the area where the rim is welded together. In this zone, the runout is quite noticeably more prominent, over 40 thou (1mm.............annoying!

I wont be able to correct this flat spot but I think I can improve the deviation on either side


1952 Triumph T100 in a BSA A7 Frame
#406209 - 11/29/11 10:42 am Re: Spoke Tension - [Re: gREgg-K]  
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Mattsta Offline
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Originally Posted By: gREgg-K
Agreed with Alex, the weld area of all the new rims I've bought recently have not been as uniform as the old originals they've replaced.

This said, the only part of the wheel rim to measure during truing is the seating area, where the tire/rubber actually locates. When the wheel's inner faces run true, you may be surprised by the axial runout of the external faces, but that is not all that important on a road bike.

By all means however, do what you can with the spokes to eliminate "hop", since that will be annoying in use.

.. Gregg


Gregg

Yes, good point about measuring the deviation where the tyre seats in the rim. I will reset my truing stand and check it from there instead.


1952 Triumph T100 in a BSA A7 Frame
#410046 - 12/23/11 11:50 pm Re: Spoke Tension - [Re: Mattsta]  
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The thumb of an American male can exert 10 pounds of force (easy to check with a fish scale). Placing the thumb on the spoke wrench 3 inches from the spoke and pressing down (thumb only, no wrist, no arm) will produce a repeatable 30 inch-pounds of torque on the spoke nipple. As many others have pointed out, iteration is the key to an accurate and safe wheel tuning; approach the 30 inch-pound limit slowly, after several iterations.


Rick in Seattle
1970 BSA 441 Victor Special
1972 Norton Commando 750 Combat
1975 Norton 850 Commando Mk3
1960 Triumph TR3A
#410410 - 12/26/11 11:55 pm Re: Spoke Tension - [Re: Rick in Seattle]  
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pachy Offline
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Originally Posted By: Rick in Seattle
The thumb of an American male


Have you a chart showing other countries thumb strength ?
laughing

Last edited by pachy; 12/26/11 11:59 pm.
#410967 - 12/31/11 12:05 am Re: Spoke Tension - [Re: pachy]  
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Rick in Seattle Offline
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Patchy,

I came up with this "calibrated thumb" idea years ago in grad school. Several of us were building a gas laser and needed to quickly sort through a box of unmarked metal bellows of differing spring constants. The method was remarkably consistant over the half-dozen researchers on the project, say within 20%. Alas, the group was 100% American male, hence my disclaimer. However, I'd be happy to add your result to the data base, to give it an international flavor. Remember, no wrist, no arm.


Rick in Seattle
1970 BSA 441 Victor Special
1972 Norton Commando 750 Combat
1975 Norton 850 Commando Mk3
1960 Triumph TR3A
#410969 - 12/31/11 12:43 am Re: Spoke Tension - [Re: Mattsta]  
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Richrd Online content
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Springfield Nebraska
spoke tension is measured in INCH pounds. there are specially designed spoke torque wrenches. the threads need to be lubed, ESPECIALLY if stainless.

too tight and you have a very real chance of breaking a hub flange. the torque specs listed on some sites (such as buchannans)are for modern bikes and are double to triple what old brits can take.

too loose and the spokes will weaken from flexing and possibly break.

don't try to "true" the weld.

a spoke will start to "ring" at as little as 10 inch pounds.

have fun.


Rich (member ThreeMustGetBeers)
"It's not always about going fast. Sometimes it's nice to slow down" (Wendy E.2016)

69 bonney
72 commando
75 commando interstate
06 Suzu..Suzu.. uh appliance
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#412293 - 01/08/12 11:40 am Re: Spoke Tension - [Re: Mattsta]  
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Hi,

Know this doesn't answer your principal question.

I was talking to a wheel builder 2 days ago. His business is only doing spoked wheels. I was asking about Morad rims for my current project. He said Morad rims tend to be 'less true' around the weld than say (his example) Excel rims.

I did a Morad flanged rim for the back of my A65. It had some residual axial runout at the weld. Can't quote a figure though, but probably in the order of what you mention. And this was likely measured on the outer rim not the seating point for the tyre. This did not extend very far around the rim and was pretty much restricted to the weld. When the tyre was fitted there was no runout on the tyre at that point. You may not need perfection, but my guess would be that is conditional on how far around the rim the runout extends.

So, as other suggest this may not be a drama for a road bike


BSA 1969 A65F
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Triumph 1968 T120
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#412300 - 01/08/12 1:27 pm Re: Spoke Tension - [Re: Mattsta]  
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John Healy Online content
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Quote:
the threads need to be lubed, ESPECIALLY if stainless.


For Stainless nipples, and stainless rims using chrome/zinc plated nipples, it is especially important to lubricate the shoulder of the head of the nipple where it bears on the rim.



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