Butted spokes

Looking at specs of unicycles, they all seem to come with plain gauge spokes. If I was building a bike wheel I’d always use butted spokes - why don’t unis?

A guy at my bike shop said that butted spokes were for freestyle riders before there were bash guards for the spokes. He said that they were good because they would take longer to grind through from doing grinds. He also told me that they aren’t that good because you have to tension them just right and its very easy to over tighten them and then they’ll break a lot faster.

For specialty spokes I would like to see someone use Ti spokes. A couple big BMX’ers use them to reduce weight on the wheel sets.

There’s no functional reason why you wouldn’t use butted spokes for a uni. Probably the main reason we don’t tend to is that our spokes are usually odd lengths, so often they’re cut from spoke blanks rather than manufactured at a specified length.

I build all wheels (except 36") with Sapim strong or force butted spokes, three I ve even built with Sapim CX ray.
I am very satisfied with the result, light, strong, durable:)

Due to lack of availability?

Thanks for the answers - I’ll go with db spokes when I come to do a build then. Which brings me onto the next question - what do you use for a truing stand? A uni frame with pencils and blu-tack?

Hi aracer.
This is my setup. Bluetac and poypropylene pointers in an old frame with brake mounts to put the pointers on. + homemade tensiometer and a tuneing fork ‘A’ (concert pitch):slight_smile:
That should generate a debate!

I find using an elastic band and a pen on a frame work very well.

Good work on the tensiometer! that is really cool, did you calibrate it so you now what the different values mean or do you just go for the same number every time?

Oh and yah double butted spokes are superior to strait gage in almost every way except price. I am cheep though and use strait gage, generally there isn’t a huge difference.

Thanks Eric, for the kind comment.
No, it’s not calibrated (though I do plan to see what 120kgf looks like on it. I suppose I’ll just have to find someone who weighs that after I’ve bought them a few beers, volunteers?). :wink:
I just set it on a reference spoke in a ‘good’ wheel and work towards that. The pink pointers work well and flex and return well if they touch down. The deflection as they drag gives a good measure of the run out. I guess the pen and bands work in the same way with the advantage of being quick and flexible to set up.


unicycle frames are all bit different.
even so triton is truing each frame, I believe it is best to true wheels in the frame.
after the first rides I check truing again.
!in winter I use some oil to prevent corrusion at the hub and also at the rim (alloy / stainless steel) and that was loosening nipples before changing to self locking nipples!

DB is more expensive and since spokes are already expensive, why bother?

I have not had problems with spoke breakage, maybe I’m jus not extreme enough :roll_eyes:

Alloy nips, a little chain lube on each thread, then slap it together. Truing in the frame and flip flop the wheel, works fine unless the frame isn’t straight. So far all of my Nimbus and KH frames have been straight.

I did have my guni hub built with DB and spoke washers, brass nips, it’s bomber for sure, but probably not that much more than my other wheels.

I wouldn’t bother with DB spokes unless you’re concerned with weight. DB spokes are a way of dropping a few grams and decreasing the rotational weight of the wheel.

I bought DB spokes for my 24" Schlumpf wheel. It was hard to find the right size. In the end I compromised with ones that were a touch long, and may lead to problems if I need to tighten them much more.

And the fact that they’re a touch long probably negates any weight savings! Plus the extra weight is at the end of the spoke, at the outside of the wheel, which I understand effects rotational weight more. :roll_eyes:
Oh well. Live and learn.

Really? But they’re more expensive, and also more fragile, more likely to seize, and save far less weight than butted spokes do. What is the advantage of those which I’m missing? I’ve built plenty of bike wheels, all with db spokes and only my raciest pair where I’m trying to save every gram have alloy nips.

Anyway spokes aren’t actually that expensive - £11 for a wheel for PG and only £7 more for butted. Pretty trivial compared to £40 to £80 for a rim and £40 to £200 for a hub!

You should try some Ti spokes :stuck_out_tongue:


At those prices I would go double butted.

Over in sasky land if buying spokes from a bike shop you are looking at $1.25 per spoke for strait gage and $2.00 per spoke for DB. If you plan ahead you can almost always buy a box of 50 spokes for cheeper than getting 36 individual spokes but that means planning ahead and pre-ordering.

$25 with free shipping for a set of db from where I was getting my price quotes from if you can plan ahead!

Danscomp is still the best source. Sapim double butted spokes (indluding brass nipples) for .40/spoke, or if you want black .50/spoke. That’s right around $20 (incl. shipping) for a set of spokes w/nipples. I went with straight gauge for my last wheel, and it was $14 including shipping. I got the spokes in two days.