Blog: 2018

18 Dec 2018

Season’s greetings

Webmaster

This is a reminder for those who may have missed the announcement on Twitter: SpokeService will close on December 24 for the remainder of the year. The time is needed for shop updates, tool service, inventory and reams of government paperwork. On a best-effort basis some orders may ship during this period but no guarantees — place orders now to avoid disappointment.

Happy holidays from SpokeService.

17 Dec 2018

Industry Nine fat wheels

Webmaster

Some parts of Canada call for a different approach to winter riding. These wheels are the full fat approach, marrying Industry Nine fat hubs to DT Swiss BR710 rims. The hubs are 142×15 in the front and 177×12 in the rear. These wheels are going to be rippers in the snow.

Spoke length

These rims are a good example of ERD issues discussed in my last blog. The DT Swiss rim decals include technical information stating ERD to be 549mm. I like that but it doesn’t change my process — I measured them anyway getting 547 on the front and 546 on the rear. To add intrigue the DT Swiss spoke length calculator lists 547 for this rim. Going my own way resulted in perfect penetration, a hair below the top of the nipple in each case. With single wall rims you want to be more fussy about spoke length, particularly avoiding penetration past the top of the nipple.

27 Nov 2018

ERD seriously

Webmaster

Because spoke lengths depend on ERD, I always measure my rims. People tell me they’ve ordered spokes for use with XYZ rim and sometimes it leads to conversations like this:

Wheelbuilder: These spokes are for my build with XYZ rim.
SpokeService: Did you measure your XYZ rim?
Wheelbuilder: No I used the numbers from the website.
SpokeService: Sorry your spoke lengths are wrong — the site is confusing.

There are two ways ERD goes wrong.

First there are variances in rim manufacturing. Some manufacturers are better than others and to some extent you get what you pay for. But I always measure and frequently find rims out of spec or find differences between pairs of identical rims. If you know what you’re working with, variances are not a big deal. If you input correct dimensions, you’ll get correct spoke lengths.

The second issue is differing definitions of ERD. Typical definitions include penetration of the spoke into the nipple head, which is important for maximum strength. But how far the spoke extends beyond the nipple seat (into the rim) is unclear. It depends on nipple geometry and encodes some preference for how much penetration is ideal. In other words ERD is relative to an undisclosed nipple and opinions regarding its use.

Typically the magnitude of these errors is pretty small, maybe 0.5mm each. Additional error is introduced when you round spoke lengths to match availability (why buying spokes in 2mm increments is rough). Maybe these errors add up to a problem and maybe they cancel each other out.

This sounds like a pain but it’s not at all. You simply make your own tools and take your own measurements. The parts cost next to nothing, assembly takes 10 minutes and you’re left with tools you can use forever. Maybe it seems like a pain because you want your spokes and rims to arrive at the same time. That’s fair but getting it right the first time is always fastest. SpokeService is here to help with spokes in 1mm increments, shipped daily from Canadian soil for five bucks.

18 Nov 2018

Postal strike and shipping

Webmaster

The rotating postal strike has been negative for small businesses, particularly those that send lightweight packages like spokes and nipples. As a result please be aware of temporary changes to our normal shipping terms. These temporary changes affect sales in the online shop.

Canada Post

Due to delays all shipments must now carry tracking and insurance. This uniquely impacts orders under $60, which will pay an additional $5-10 for upgraded shipping. Orders over $60 see no change as tracking and insurance is subsidized. Orders over $120 still ship for free. No timelines are guaranteed for shipments with Canada Post however tracking will allow us to check progress.

Other shipping carriers

Other means of shipping are being implemented as quickly as possible. UPS and Purolator are now available at an additional cost reflecting their prices for lightweight shipments. Rates go down (i.e. shipping subsidies go up) at order thresholds of $60 and $120.

UPDATE: temporary changes to shipping have ended with the postal strike. In the short term, an extra day or two of transit time is expected as Canada Post recovers.

28 Oct 2018

Coaxial SON

Webmaster

SON hubs and lights include normal spade connectors — trim wires to length, crimp on connectors and connect to your hub. Anyone can manage this system and it works well. As an upgrade, SON offers a coaxial version that I put together today. This system requires more effort to assemble (basic soldering required) but pays you back with a number of advantages.

The upgrade comes with an adapter that connects a coaxial plug to the hub spade connectors. The new plug interface is spring-retained, which is more refined than the friction fit of spade connectors. The coaxial plug is secure but can be fitted or removed with full-fingered gloves. As well a single plug presents no opportunity to reverse pins, which is an issue with dual connectors.

If you’d like the nitty gritty details, check out the manufacturer’s instructions seen on my workbench. If you’d like a SON dynamo hub/wheel with a SON light, get in touch for a quote.