Best spokes to use for Coker wheel?

I’ve lurked in the shadows here for a while and enjoy the bits of info and humor but now I need a little help. I’ve searched the threads for coker spokes and there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on the best spokes to use for a strong but lighter wheel build.

I’m building a Hunter frame w/magura brake rolling on a aifoil rim w/UDC wide hub. I’d like to use the UDC 14g stainless spokes for a lighter wheel but a little affraid of flex and brake rub. Someone have experience with these newer spokes yet? How do they compare to Tom Miller’s varitey and does he still sell spokes? Or should I get the old school 12g corrosive steel bars? :slight_smile:

Someone throw me a bone here.

I’m pretty sure that PDC one these forums had a good run on his 12g spokes from udc…You could send him a pm.

I’m not sure if UDC or Tommy Miller are better, but I would go SS. If I were doing it again I would pay a little extra and get Dave Stockton to build my wheel.

long ones :wink: i dunno really.

I remember seeing your post cus we both liked the lighter wheel weight. I don’t know if I’m serious enough to go the Dave Stockton route but that’s a nice wheel he builds. I’m told all airfoil rims from here on out will be powder coated which was very dissapointing to hear but could be good business for Dave.

Who powder coats the braking surface of a cycling wheel?! I remember years ago when they used to anodize the sides of *ike rims but then quickly wised up to the poor braking surface and asstetic problems which develop down the road. It may all be good but I have no faith. Powder coat is a type of plastic material I think so what keeps it from melting when I’m trying to haul it down from 30mph comming off the pass. :smiley:

It’s a tough decision but Dave does make the finest wheels out there. I doubt that the spoke gauge weight differential is significant compared to the massive Coker tire.

Opinions differ on zinc plated steel spokes which are hardly if at all available in 14 gauge anymore. They should eventually rust and weaken but that should take a long, long time. In my opinion, steel spokes are less ductile than stainless and therefore stiffer. They should make superior wheels but nobody likes rust. If you go to a bike shop and ask which alloy is used in stainless steel spokes and which alloy is used in zinc plated spokes and they can tell you, I think you will find the stainless to be more ductile; they will stretch. It depends on the alloys used. But try to find a bike shop that can tell you this. What a bike shop will tell you is that stainless steel spokes are stronger (without mentioning ductility) as if they are metalurgists whereas all they want to do is sell you what they have.

A guy I work with researched it in detail when stainless steel spokes were taking over the market and found that they were structurally inferior. This is a guy who wanted to know every last detail and was really steamed when he could no longer get zinc spokes. I wonder what Sheldon Brown has to say about it.

Thank you for the nice words, guys. :slight_smile:

Other factors count too; such as what salt air will do to spokes. I rode my stock Coker at a park on the Long Island Sound and it was soon a mess - both rim and spokes. I’m sure that the quality of the zinc coat is a big factor as well. The rim was scratched from the brake, and the salt air went right for those scratches.

For the LWU wheels, which use the Airfoil rim, the rim machining itself is a very time-consuming, labor-intensive, dirty, messy, wet process, and I’m sorry to say is not much of a money maker, really like the rest of custom uni building. However, it really makes a huge difference in the resulting wheel’s utility. I’m glad that Scott took the time to develop the machine and basic process that I use to do the rims. It would not pay, in the slightest bit at this point, to machine individual rims alone for people because the return is just not worth it, not to mention the shipping costs. I may end up having to increase the cost of machining again (after lowering it) because of all that is involved.

Here are three photos of a rim mid-process. The first shows a place on the rim that is not at the weld; the second shows the weld area. It’s easy to see that not only does the process remove the powdercoating in the braking area, but also improves the flatness of the surface significantly. The third shows a different kind of irregularity. The fourth shows the final result.

Although, strictly speaking, one can no longer see the irregularities in the final result since the coating is gone, and although we have no optical instrument to measure the differences, the improvement in the rim surface is apparent when truing up the resulting wheel.

The yellow garment in the background of the 3rd photo is a sailing jacket I use to try to keep dry during the process - it is not too effective! Imagine dumping a bowlful of copier toner over your head in a rainstorm… :roll_eyes:

I’ve looked at the newer spokes now and so far so good, but I haven’t had a chance yet to build a wheel with them. That should happen soon, though. There is a slight difference in thickness; the Tom Miller spokes are actually a bit thicker than 14g. I doubt that will make any difference in the build process or resulting wheel, but only experience will tell.

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Thanks for sharing Dave. I’ve never seen one of your wheels in person but judging from the pics, I would say you should be proud of your work. Very nice.