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I was told by a racing fellow specifically never to use stainless steel spokes on a wheel build since the spokes won't handle it.

I'm considering ordering galvanized steel spokes from CWC as well as chrome rims, since this will also give the bike that original look and give it a nice patina with time.

Can anyone advise me otherwise (or why I should actually go stainless instead) ?

Last edited by Acebars; 12/07/17 12:06 pm.
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The last CWC chrome rims I saw were badly rusted and were on a 1976 T140, how long ago they had been fitted and how the bike was stored I have no idea but against my 1974 Commando original rims the CWC were significantly worse looking corrosion wise including inside. Stainless spokes are lower in tensile strength than steel so I specify my own spokes and go up one gauge from the factory and not had a failure of a spoke yet. So I am slowly as I go through my bikes refreshing the wheels going stainless/alloy on rims and stainless on spokes, on the T140 which was for a local lad I did a Devon Rim stainless rim and stainless spokes to my own spec which was the final factory gauge (they had issues and so up gauged for later years to cure breakages) and went up one gauge further.

Your weather is a lot drier than mine but the only way I can keep chrome rust free is oiling it, and the zinc plated spokes will not last more than 3 years. Patina is good but rust is evil especially hidden inside a rim. For racing on the limit then steel may be safer than stainless, racing bikes are not exactly being stored outside uncovered like my Commando was before I got a garage so chrome is less likely to rust.

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My A65 got SS spokes last year, I have had one break in the rear wheel, but it was fair does , the rear pannier got wrapped in the wheel, also bent the LHS damper, .
Wheel locked solid. the rear needed a go over /retension in the first few hundred miles, front hasnt needed any more.
The old galvi spokes were not unbreakable, I have had two failures over the years, both rear wheel, i think its the jumps that do it.
Kommandos tip for going up a gauge seems like a good idea , for the rear at least, wish I had done that.
SS spokes are common currency now, once a galvi spoke starts corroding it will weaken, possibly not so much with SS.


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I've had stainless spokes on my Commando for the last 30,000 miles with no problem.

Had a set of CWC ally rims several years ago (wheels built by Norman White) and several months later noticed every single spoke front and rear wheels had a slight s-bend in them. Was told by the builder that they're all like that and not to worry. I decided he was talking bollocks and got in touch with Doug Richardson who explained CWC rims are not necessarily pierced to the correct angle to suit the hubs, hence the s-bends.

So I purchased a pair of correctly drilled CWC rims and s/s spokes from Mr Richardson and built the wheels myself. All the spokes are straight as they should be and have given no problems.

Last edited by Simon Ratcliff; 12/07/17 6:03 pm.

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Hi,

Originally Posted by Acebars
I was told by a racing fellow specifically never to use stainless steel spokes on a wheel build since the spokes won't handle it.

Depends whether he was talking about racing and whether that's what you're planning. If the answers are "No" and "No", he was talking from an orifice other than the one in the lower half of his face ... I think the stainless spokes in one of my T160's rear wheels are over thirty years old.

Originally Posted by Acebars
considering ordering galvanized steel spokes from CWC as well as chrome rims, since this will also give the bike that original look and give it a nice patina with time.

What, you mean "rusty"? laughing Original Dunlop and Jones rims rust and they were wa-aa-ay better-chromed than the current stuff; original cad- or zinc-plating on spokes was cheap to stop 'em going rusty in the 3- or 6-month warranty period when the bikes were new.

Like "kommando", I prefer ally rims for lightness, not bothered about 'original'. If you want a modern rim to stay looking like it was chromed, stainless from Doug Richardson/Devon Rim.

If you want spokes to look like dulled plating before it wore off and the spokes rusted, have stainless spokes lightly bead-basted before assembly.

Hth.

Regards,

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I always use stainless spokes and alloy rims and stick two fingers up at the rivet counters.
In the past I have broken galv spokes, they always break on the bend so I always use butted spokes to put a bit of extra strength there


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Quote
I decided he was talking bollocks and got in touch with Doug Richardson who explained CWC rims are not necessarily pierced to the correct angle to suit the hubs, hence the s-bends.


This is a fall back to the practice in the UK wheel trade where you hear: "There are about ten rims that will "fit" (and that term has been used loosely in the UK) 90% of all applications". CWC abandoned that philosophy about 30 years ago, but many who buy from them in the trade continue stocking those 10 rims.

The UK, because so many people learned the wheel building trade while they worked in the motorcycle industry, is a nation of wheel builders. The US, on the other hand, is a nation of rim re-placers. If the rim isn't dimpled and pierced as original they are totally lost! Because of a lot of pressure from the US Warren changed their company policy and started supplying rims by specific manufacturer part numbers pierced as original. The one noted exception is the front Norton disc rim where they have adopted the same pattern used by Triumph on their T140 rear disc wheel. Uses the same spokes, but a different dimpling pattern. It makes it much easier to get the offset right!!!



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