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PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2013 7:11 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:15 pm
Posts: 523
I've built several wheels without one, but I'm toying over getting one to ensure uniform tension. Before shelling out the cash I would be interested to hear peoples thoughts on them, preferably from people who have used them.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2013 8:01 pm 
Gold Trader
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Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2007 11:19 pm
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Location: Odense, Denmark
I use one professionally now (Hozan) but I've built probably hundreds of wheels without.

They're most relevant for applications with few spokes at very high tension so you don't end up overloading stuff.

For normal use you'll be fine.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2013 8:22 pm 
Anglian Deputy AEC
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Location: Livin' in a dust bowl
I have the Park Tools spoke tension gauge. It helps to build finish wheels that stay truer for longer. Not the most accurate of tension gauges but simple to use and understand. It comes with a spoke gauge tool and a laminated chart to compare your results against.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:58 pm 
retrobike rider
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Never used one. I gauge tension by resistance of spoke key as i rotate and, after job done, as i use finger and thumb to go round all spokes to relive tension. sort of, playing the harp :) So, my body/mind is the tension gauge.

You see, because no two spokes are 100% identical and, no rim is 100% round and perfectly formed (ok, this is microscopic stuff) then no two spokes are 100% of the same tension. It is the process of getting the rim balanced and true that really counts. And if the spokes are coincidently of uniform tension then, great.

For example, after running a wheel as true, ever noticed how some nipples have more spoke thread showing(at the top), or less? This is counter intuitive but, proves my point above.

After years of practice with stripping wheels, rebuilding wheels and, generally handling such products, you get adept at tuning your brain as to the rights and wrongs as each and every wheel will have been worked on by as many people, and then some.

However, this is based on 32 and 36 sopkes wheels that I am familiar with. A tension gauge may be quite essential in other applications. Or peace of mind.


Last edited by marc two tone on Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2013 11:50 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:24 pm
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Location: Toronto, Canada
+1 for most of what's been said. I've built dozens by hand. I've had a few tension meters but, my fav is the hozan. It can never hurt to use one and I do use mine. I'm a bit OCD, so using mine puts me in a happy place for a while :D.

Btw, I think proper spoke and nipple, lube and lock tightening is probly just as important as tension.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 3:52 pm 
Gold Trader / MacRetro rider
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Joined: Thu May 06, 2010 10:05 pm
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Location: Aberdeen
If you're just building the odd wheel now and then I personally wouldn't bother, it's quite a bit of money to lay out for something you will rarely use.
I find the "Ping" test by plucking the spoke and listening to the sound it makes works well enough for me, if any spokes are drastically out of sync then you'll pick it up easy enough.

If however you build lots of wheels or wheels that other people are going to ride then from a prefessional point of view I would probably splash the cash on a spoke tensionmeter, it should in theory help you build better, stronger, more durable wheels, which should reduce returns from people who's wheels you built have now gone out of true, and it will give a bit more piece of mind for you that no one's wheels are going to fail out on the trail.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:01 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:15 pm
Posts: 523
Thanks for all your replies, you've given me a fair bit to think about.


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