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January 28, 2024 1 Comment
What about spoke twist?
As a nipple is tightened, its spoke wants to wind up. The spoke head anchors one end so its length can twist into a spiral.
Windup can cause spokes to break, usually at their weakest point—the first thread or a butting transition. A twisted spoke can later unwind during riding, causing untrueness and making pinging noises.
Aero spokes have bigger problems:
Wait, there's more, tension measurement—even a small degree of twist can fool a tensiometer. To a tensiometer, a twisted aero spoke appears thicker.
Either of those mistakes can create giant errors. Windup (spiral deformation) is as bad as rotation (incorrect aim). Either one messes up tension measurement, and the error can be sprinkled unevenly throughout a wheel. How often does this happen? A lot!
Here are numbers to show the magnitude of trouble we face. These measurements were taken on a CX-Ray spoke at 100kgf. Readings should all be 100kgf. Differences are owed to gauge accuracy and twisting induced error.
These represent an afternoon of casual measurements in which the test spoke was rotated and wound up in order to see the effects on the readings of two tensiometers. Ugly.
Note: I chose these tensiometers because they are highly reputed. Wheel Fanatyk is the only design which nearly overlooks spoke thickness and P&K Lie is exceptionally accurate over a wide range of spoke types.
Bottom line, twisted spokes are BAD (except on lowriders), but you don't need to be fooled!
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