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DH Wheel Building

Discussion in 'Downhill & Freeride' started by SthFRider, Dec 2, 2009.

  1. SthFRider

    SthFRider Monkey

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    So i've decided that sense im getting new hubs i might as well build new wheels while im at. Get rid of my azonic outlaws. Anyway, a few quick questions. Rim wise im looking at mavic XE 729's, is there some others i should be looking at? Skopes? What spokes are the best for DH applications? And lastly which nipples are best for DH use? Any input would be great. Cheers
     
    #1 -   Dec 2, 2009

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  2. sanjuro

    sanjuro Tube Smuggler

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    I wouldn't over think this. DT 14g straight gauge, brass nipples. It really comes back to builder, though, but even a novice can do a decent job.
     
    #2 -   Dec 2, 2009
  3. leprechaun

    leprechaun Turbo Monkey

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    729's are very popular even though many DHers are going on a diet. I would also look at 721's, DT , Sun MTX 33 and WTB DH, and FR rims.

    2.0 straight guage spokes are the standard for DH. They're stiffer than butted spokes (2.0-1.8-2.0) but not stronger. 30g more per wheel is pretty minute.

    Same with nipples, brass is much stronger, 30g per rim more than alloy.
     
    #3 -   Dec 2, 2009
  4. Iridemtb

    Iridemtb Turbo Monkey

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    Get brass nipples so they don't strip out when truing a wheel. Also, double butted spokes are lighter and stronger (DT Swiss?). Another thing... Don't limit yourself to just mavic. There are a ton of dh wheels out there.

    Atomlab pimps, atom lab pimp lights, Funn wheels, spinergy wheels (pricey pricey, but I have heard they are mega durable from a really good and hard rider in pro class), Deemax from mavic, Syncros downhill rims, sun ringle s types and mtx, WTB, Alex Rims, Azonic outlaws and DT swiss rims, although I hear DT's dent easily.
     
    #4 -   Dec 2, 2009
  5. Ithnu

    Ithnu Monkey

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    I am not that big of a fan of Sunringle hubs, but I do like their rims. And all I use is straight pull spokes with brass nipples.

    I heard from one shop guy that straight pull spokes are better for rocks that want to get too friendly and jump through your wheel. Anyone know if this is true? I had 3+ bend spokes on my rear wheel this summer from that, I'm wondering if they'd have snapped if they were the double butted ones.
     
    #5 -   Dec 2, 2009
  6. DirtyMike

    DirtyMike Turbo Fluffer

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    Thats pretty much it right there. Other than that, the advice I can give is to get a good wheel building book, and prestress the spokes as you go as best you can. Use some spoke prep, or other spoke treatment product. linseed oil works well, I personally like using tenacious oil for building, then some spoke freeze post build, its really not that complicated of a task to do.

    I also dont agree with teh DB spoke being stronger, last set of wheels I built for myself<Yes, it was tensioned properly> I kept popping spokes at the butt. Ill take the 14g for my size.
     
    #6 -   Dec 2, 2009
  7. TheInedibleHulk

    TheInedibleHulk Turbo Monkey

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    Pre-stress your wheels aggressively. For my personal dh wheels I actually stand on the rim with the wheel on the ground and bounce up and down a bit, and generally will do that twice, or until the wheel stays in close to perfect true after doing it. Assuming you dont make the poor decision to use alloy nipples, you can build the wheel somewhat tighter than the typical recommended tension. It's been a long time since I actually used a tensionmeter, and you probably dont have one, so just take however a typical prebuilt wheel feels and build it a bit tighter with that. If your nipples are wanting to round off or deforming, you've overdone it. Building with some very light lube on the threads will help with that.

    The "go ride it and we'll re-tension" strategy for wheel builds, that a lot of shops espouse, is a horrible idea for downhill wheels. One run on an untensioned wheel and your rim may very well be history. Do them right and thoroughly stressed the first time around, and then spin some locktite into the nipples, and you'll be set. If you have spokeprep that works well too, but it costs its weight in gold.

    I've just realized you didnt ask for wheelbuilding advice... but theyre handy tips anyway so Im leaving it. Straight gauge dt, brass nips, 729s, hadley hubs. Best wheels money can buy. Buy em from the fix and they'll be built by yours truly.
     
    #7 -   Dec 2, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2009
  8. jonKranked

    jonKranked Press Button, Receive Stupid

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    Unless you are a light weight rider or are very smooth, I would avoid butted spokes.
     
    #8 -   Dec 2, 2009
  9. sanjuro

    sanjuro Tube Smuggler

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    Interesting observations.

    I would probably still use DB for my own wheels, but the stiffer, not stronger comment is a good way to think about it.

    I suppose brass is stronger, but I know you can round off alloy easier, so I rather have more durable nipples.
     
    #9 -   Dec 2, 2009
  10. TheInedibleHulk

    TheInedibleHulk Turbo Monkey

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    Stiffer, not stronger is right on for straight gauge versus double butted. I haven't observed any difference in the frequency of breakage, but you can feel the difference when doing the prestressing. If you are a light guy then double butteds would be fine, and save just a bit of weight.
     
  11. rigidhack

    rigidhack Turbo Monkey

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    Stupid question, but are brass nipples available in any colour other than black or silver? (Yes, I did search.)

    Gold nipples would be sweet, but not at the expense of being crap.
     
  12. ChrisKring

    ChrisKring Turbo Monkey

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    why would straight guage spokes be stiffer than butted on a properly tensioned wheel?
     
  13. dirtygirlmagnet

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    There is more bad advice here than good advice.

    If you want to learn to build awesome wheels, start with the book idea, or find an accomplished builder to bother with questions.

    As for "pre-stressing" spokes, you're actually alleviating spoke wind up. Your book will cover this and tell you how to do it correctly. Which does not include standing on the wheel, unless you weigh 110 lbs.
     
  14. brocelif

    brocelif Chimp

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    I had similar questions about which spokes to use for DH. So, I called DT Swiss in GJ Colorado. They said the straight gauge are not the strongest. The double and even triple butting process spokes end up stronger. I was surprised, but that is what DT Swiss recommends. Sometimes it is easier to call the company, rather than ask around.
     
  15. DirtyMike

    DirtyMike Turbo Fluffer

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    Uhhh, no what I am doing is not just limiting spoke wind up. fitting the spoke head into the hub, maxxing the bend at the "J" part of the spoke....... little more to it than just alleviating spoke wind up.

    Now I dont stand on my wheels, well thats a lie, I stand on the 20 in bmx wheels I build, but for DH, I have a few tricks that really set everything into place so the wheel isnt going to need a retension after a ride or two, pin set on the spoke heads, padded bar between the spoke at the hub<dont over do it>, prebending the spokes on the hub as I run them in not relying on tension itself to pull everything inETC......My wheels on the Blindside have a year on them now since their build, still tensioned, still straight, never have they had to be retensioned.....

    Amazing how a proper build keeps your wheels running great isnt it.




    EDIT....Brass nipples for DH over alloy, reason, theya re softer and have a bit more give, they dont shear off at the head of the nipple like you see with alloy nipples.
     
  16. Banshee Rider

    Banshee Rider Turbo Monkey

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    And I just happen to have black Revolution spokes for sale in two common sizes (258 & 261) :spam:
     
  17. jonKranked

    jonKranked Press Button, Receive Stupid

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    Yup.

    Also, don't forget to use spoke prep or an equivalent (I've had good luck with linseed oil, and I know a few other wheelbuilders that swear by it).
     
  18. TheInedibleHulk

    TheInedibleHulk Turbo Monkey

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    Just black and sliver for brass nips. One important note though, black nips and black spokes can cause you problems. You know how Thomson stem bolts like to seize and make that loud crack and sometimes smoke when you break them free? That's because they are black rust-proofed bolts in a black ano-ed stem. If you put stainless bolts in that will stop. Same thing happens with black spokes and black nips, they will tend to seize up and you wont be able to get the wheel as tight or as true.

    As for dirtygirlmagnet's comment, I learned how to build wheels from the book as well, and then after 12 years of doing it and 7 years of downhill racing, I learned that the people who write the book don't ride downhill. If you can't stand on the wheel and have it stay in true, it's not dh ready.
     
  19. jonKranked

    jonKranked Press Button, Receive Stupid

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    Everyone has their own voodoo methods when it comes to building wheels, especially for DH. I tend to slightly over-tension my spokes.
     
  20. ChrisKring

    ChrisKring Turbo Monkey

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    yes. And you can't really over tension them. Even brass nipples round out before you pull the eyelet out of the rim. More tension is better since it reduces the cyclic loading. Get a tension gage.

    And yes, butted spokes are just as stiff and strong as straight gage with a proper build.
     
  21. WBC

    WBC Monkey

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    I've wrenched for the past seven (almost 8) years and have built tons of DH wheels for customers, friends and myself. I'm also 250lbs and love to ride rocks and am pretty hard on a lot of my equipment.

    What I've found is:

    PRESTRESS THE HELL OUT OF YOUR WHEELS. If you can't stand on your wheel, it's not tensioned strong enough. It sounds meathead, but I often do 10-15 push ups on each side of the wheel, rotating it each up about 45*- even when I'm building CX wheels, and I do this 2 or 3 times for a DH wheel. It also helps to tap the spoke crosses with a rubber mallet to help the heads settle in better. If they're properly stressed, you should feel comfortable loctiting every spoke nipple.

    Double butted spokes up front do give a different feel than straight gauge when they're both fully tensioned. The added flex of the double butts give a snappy feel to the wheel. When I was on a 888, I remember really liking the stiffest front wheel I could get. Now that I've been on 40's (different forks) for awhile, It seems like the double butted front wheel has a better feel to it. On the back I don't notice any difference.

    Double butted spokes absolutely have longer fatigue lives than straight gauge spokes, and according to DT swiss, it's because of the butting process (stated above). This probably isn't a big deal for most DH riders because you go through rims more often than wheels. On the road bike, or the smooth DH rider - this could definitely be something to consider.

    Mavic 721 rims are the best rims ever produced and you shouldn't buy anything else because of the tire profile and that I can kill any other rim in the same riding time to dollar ratio that it takes me to kill a 721 (ex. 823's last longer, but cost more).

    I could go on all night about my wheel building opinions, but these are good starting points.
     
    #21 -   Dec 3, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2009
  22. sriracha

    sriracha Monkey

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    i actually stand on the spokes, when i pre-stress my DH wheels. i put the wheel on the ground and gently walk all the way around, stepping on each spoke, after i begin to tension the wheel. sounds silly, i know, but this has added great longevity to my DH wheels. i figure it can't be worse than a day at whistler.

    regardless of the method, it's important to pre-stress and seat the spokes.
     
  23. Ithnu

    Ithnu Monkey

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    Good to know. Now what do I do with that box of straight gauge spokes I bought last week?:think:Oh well, the wheels help up this year. I have to replace a few spokes.

    Another question, do any of you guys re-lace the same hub/rim combo with new spokes? My rim is pretty much ok but some of the spokes are trashed, others are dinged up. I was going to replace about 6 of them. But is it a good idea to just rebuild it with all new spokes?
     
  24. DirtyMike

    DirtyMike Turbo Fluffer

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    I may use the same hub over, but once the spokes are worn to the point of needing replacement, the wheel is most likely just as thrashed and in need of replcement as well.
     
  25. Ithnu

    Ithnu Monkey

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    My spokes are dented from rocks being kicked up into them. I've been through a derailleur and a hanger this year. Some of the spokes are chipped up because the derailleur went into the wheel at one point. But the rim is dent free actually and I'd like to start next season with them.

    So assuming the rim is ok, will relacing it work?
     
  26. DirtyMike

    DirtyMike Turbo Fluffer

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    Yeah absolutly. Just dont normally see it were the wheel is still holding when you need all spokes instead of a few at a time.
     
  27. Jm_

    Jm_ Turbo Monkey

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    All this double-butted vs straight is a little rediculous. I usually go with straight due to cost, but if you want to build a no-holds-bared DH wheelset, use the DT Alpine III spokes. They are for tandems and downhill. They are tripple butted, but the cross-section is the key, much fatter at the head and pretty big at the nipple as well.
     
  28. Ithnu

    Ithnu Monkey

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    Yeah, I think its kinda strange for the rim to be ok too. But it happened. I'm going to give it a shot in a month or so and I'll see how true it stays.
     
  29. Kanye West

    Kanye West 220# bag of hacktastic

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    I just had a front wheel taco on me yesterday. It was 3 full years old of year round riding. WTB Dual Duty FR rim on a Stealth 20mm hub. 14g straight spokes. The wheelbuilder pre-tensions the HELL out of the wheels (not by jumping on them either, and he is a big guy). Every so often I'll loosen a spoke on it.

    I've had the identical wheel be so far gone out of true it was not usable after less than a month of riding from another wheelbuilder who gave me the "ride it and we'll re-tension it" line, which is what I did. Still didn't last.
     
  30. DirtyMike

    DirtyMike Turbo Fluffer

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    One of the reasons I preach "WHen you find a good wheel builder, keep coming back"

    Also why I build my own wheels
     
  31. Kanye West

    Kanye West 220# bag of hacktastic

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    Yup, he acted all apologetic when I gave him the gory re-count of the crash that followed. I just laughed. I got WAY more than my money's worth out of that wheel, and am having a new rim and the old wheel dropped back off with him. If anything I'll have him build more wheels as a result of it lasting so long through so much awful ****.