Sapim Force spokes are triple-butted 2.2/1.8/2.0mm. This is very similar to Sapim Race (identical stiffness) but with more material on the vulnerable elbow section. I like Force for touring, heavier riders, and to reduce risk of elbow breakage. As we can see the weight penalty is very small.
Blog: Software Utilities
When you place the tensiometer on a spoke, it’s ideal if the tool reads zero but sometimes that doesn’t happen because of the spoke itself — they’re not perfectly round. If you don’t zero the tensiometer, you introduce error into your readings. Zeroing the tensiometer is easy but you experience a delay while it resets and it requires the use of both hands. In short it takes a bit more time.
With the introduction of the data cable I had the idea of skipping that step by doing the zeroing in post-processing instead. How does it work? Suppose you place the tensiometer on a spoke and it reads 0.01. Instead of zeroing the tensiometer, send that reading to the software by pressing the foot pedal or send button on the data cable. The software understands this to be a baseline reading so it pops up a dialog box with the initial value and prompts for the final reading, which you send in the same manner. Then the net value is calculated, the spoke tension graph is updated and you carry on with the next spoke. At no time do you touch the keyboard or mouse on your computer so the workflow is very smooth. I’ve built several wheels this way and it becomes second nature.
To me this is the coolest thing in wheel tooling in a long time and it’s remarkably inexpensive. In part that’s because I offer the software for free — not even ad supported — which I’m happy to do to support the wheelbuilding community. If you need spokes, support me by shopping here.
This is a video of the new Wheel Fanatyk tensiometer, equipped with a deluxe Mitutoyo gauge. The terrific thing about a top end digital gauge is the ability to connect to a computer (an optional connection kit is available from Wheel Fanatyk). So what do you do on the computer side? I improved my spoke tension utility to accept input directly from the tool without keyboard interaction. After each reading the software advances to the next cell automatically.
I also added a new software feature to eliminate the need for zeroing the tensiometer but it’s not shown in this video. Stay tuned for a future blog post explaining how it works.
I’ve gotten a handful of reports that my spoke tension visualizer isn’t working with Wheel Fanatyk tensiometers. In all cases the problem has been incorrect tool selection on the setup page. Take note there are two choices for Wheel Fanatyk users: original and current Mitutoyo models. These tools have different tension conversion charts so it’s important to pick the right one.
If you need a tensiometer — and everyone does — you can’t do better than Wheel Fanatyk.
The biggest problem I’ve had with spoke tension graphs is mixing them up when I have a handful to manage. To help I pushed an update allowing the page title to be changed — click or tap the title and edit as you wish. Titles are preserved when the graph is rendered for printing so you’re covered if you archive graphs using the print/print-to-file feature of your browser. If the printable reports don’t fit a single sheet of standard paper for your part of the world, please let me know.
Over the holidays I looked into developing a feature to publish graphs directly to Instagram. Unfortunately Instagram is a closed system and its owners ask you to develop features for demonstration prior to approval. Since they can withhold approval arbitrarily, it doesn’t feel worth the effort. Would publication to Facebook or Twitter be useful?
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