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Spokes & Nipples
Which size ?
Over the years we've amassed a good knowledge of which spokes fit which bikes. Even so, it is always advisable to provide a sample spoke with your order and to supply details on the length, gauge, angle and length of bend of spokes required (see diagram below).
When ordering butted or double butted spokes both gauges should be given. For example, if the spoke tapers from 8 to 10 gauge, write it as 8/10g.
Sizing spokes is quite easy if you follow this chart :
Metric gauge sizes available on bulk orders - 3.00mm, 3.50mm, 4.50mm
Single Gauge Spoke
Single Butted Spoke
Double Butted Spoke
Spoke nipples can be supplied in zinc plated steel for galvanised spokes or nickel plated brass for stainless steel spokes in the following barrel sizes (Not all barrel sizes are available for each gauge size):
Galvanised has long been the traditional material for spokes, but today stainless steel is far more popular and gives a better, longer lasting finish.
Unpolished Stainless Steel spokes resemble galvanised spokes with the added benefit of being corrosion resistant.
Polished Stainless Steel gives spokes a chrome-like appearance, but without the same level of maintenance.
Butted and Double Butted Spokes are supplied in stainless steel only.
SM Pro "Bull Dog" Spokes are made from a high tensile stainless steel developed for the motocross market which is hard wearing and will not stretch with use.
All galvanised spoke sets are supplied with zinc-plated steel nipples, stainless steel spoke sets with nickel plated brass nipples.
Be aware that similar materials can seize together over time, so if you would like advice on materials do please ask. It should be remembered that stainless steel will not bend to the same degree as galvanised steel.
Providing the essential link between hub and rim.
The primary role of spokes is to give strength to the wheel, but the criss-cross effect of gleaming metal also looks visually pleasing.
Central Wheel Components manufacture galvanised and stainless steel spokes, the latter being supplied either polished or unpolished.
The material and finish chosen for a specific job will depend on several factors - the type of bike, its age and your personal preferences. The information below will help you decide.
Spokes vary greatly in length and diameter, some wheels featuring butted spokes. These aren't a uniform thickness but taper down from one diameter to another and in rare cases you'll find double butted spokes, which are thicker at each end for greater strength.
Our spoke sets for a one-off wheel comprise 40 spokes with nipples, though obviously we're happy to supply any number of spokes, whether it's 10 or 100,000.
All our spokes are manufactured from the highest grade Stainless Steel or mid carbon galvanised steel, which ensures the optimum combination of strength and performance.
The spoke material arrives in 500 kg coils of wire and is fed into a spoke machine that straightens the wire before cutting it to length. It then forms the head before forming the bend and rolling the thread as it ejects the 'spoke' from the machine.
Stocks of blank spokes (headed but not threaded or bent) are made and held in stock ready to be bent and cut down for our smaller orders or spoke sets.
Butted spokes are made from wire which is the thickness of the butted end but are intentionally cut short. The spokes are then hammered out to length, reducing the diameter of all except the butted end.
The final part of the process is to clean and polish the spokes. Large vibrating metal bowls full of polishing compound and ceramic pellets clean the spokes through abrasive action. Similar vibrating bowls containing maize apply the final polish.