Sunday, February 12, 2017

Custom bicycle spokes

One of the latest additions to my shop is a gorgeous Morizumi spoke machine. This elegantly designed and made tool allows me to cut and thread custom spoke lengths, an important capability when building wheels as so many different lengths are needed. As part of this toolset I also acquired a Mitutoyo digital tensiometer which has demonstrated excellent measurement consistency in wheel building.

Cut and thread quality with the Morizumi is actually superior to that on OEM spokes I've inspected, although there's a bit of an art to set up and use the tool. 

Here's a sample of spokes threaded while experimenting with different techniques. The curvature is optical distortion from the jeweler's loupe positioned in front of my cell phone lens--not an actual bend in the spoke. 

Here's an almost perfect thread in a 2.0 mm straight-gauge, stainless steel DT Swiss spoke. The Morizumi applies about 9-10 mm of thread. 

And here's a sample board I made up while trying different threading techniques and set-ups. Once it's dialed, each spoke comes out perfect.

As part of my Rugged Wheels business I offer custom spoke cutting services. Unless they are obviously damaged, most spokes can be safely re-used as-is, or cut down and threaded for a different application. This is certainly cheaper (and faster) than ordering new spokes only to find they may be the wrong size!

Unfortunately there isn't a comparable machine for motorcycle spokes. However, I do have access to the full catalogue of Bulldog Spokes from Central Wheel Components in the UK. These are among the best in the industry and what I use to build moto wheels.

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