DT Swiss walk not end up being the world’s leading spoke an equipment overnight. It has actually been manufacturing wire products, and also forging and shaping metal prior to electricity it is provided factories. Its very first machinery to be powered by water wheels and until relatively recent times, the DT Swiss manufacturing facility in Biel, Switzerland, was standing on the same foundations at the foot of the mountain stream the powered the original plant. Currently the site is being restored as a natural area and also DT Swiss has actually moved nearby to a new location. DT Swiss likewise has manufacturing plants in Europe, Asia and also North America that develop wheels, hubs, suspension products and, that course, stainless steel spokes – millions of them. This week’s ‘To the Point’ documents some of the intricacies of your spoke production process.

You are watching: Straight pull vs j bend


A batch of freshly made DT Swiss spokes leaves the threading maker and will soon be ~ above its way to join a wheel. (DT Swiss photo)

Gauge: refers to US/British standards for the thickness that wire. Many stainless stole spokes space made and butted come one or a mix of 14, 15, or 16-gauge cable thicknesses (2.0mm, 1.8mm and 1.6mm). More about gauges directly gauge: wire, or a spoke the is the one constant diameter throughout its length.Butted spoke: a spoke made with one or more thicknesses across its length, thicker near the ends and also thinnest in the facility span.Bladed speak a spoke that has been ovalized or flattened across its span. Drawing: pulling a larger-diameter wire with a smaller hole in a one-of-a-kind ‘die’ to produce a longer, smaller-diameter size of wire. Tubing is likewise made utilizing the drawing technique. Forging: squeezing metal in one or a variety of steps right into a smaller shape creates a an ext dense condition of the metal and also helps to align the grain framework in a more desirable direction because that a specific application. Spokes space forged utilizing a radial forging (also, rotary swaging) technique. J-bend: the traditional spoke head is bent at 90-degrees and also looks choose the letter ‘J.’ Straight-pull spoke: spokes that have actually no bend at the flared head, or in the case of DT Swiss Tricon wheels, spokes that space threaded in ~ both ends. Straight-pull spokes require dedicated hubs.

DT Swiss says that the spokes space forged. Is the a different procedure than illustration wire to size?
All DT Swiss spokes space forged right into the diameters and also shapes necessary to fit the wanted application(s). It"s actually an ext of a complicated process than you would think. The only "drawing" process that a spoke ever before goes v is at the factory when it isn"t also a speak at all. The molten mix of metals is attracted into a continuous diameter that wire and then forged into straight-gauge spools that wire. This wire develops the basis of every spokes. If a speak is to it is in of a straight-gauge, DT Champion because that example, the spool of wire is fed right into a speak manufacturing maker where it is cut to length, the finish threaded and also the spoke head manufactured. If butted spokes room desired, the wire is reduced into prescribed lengths and blanks are manufactured. In this step the factory forges butting profiles needed. The blading procedure is a separate step, carry out by a different forging process. The only part of the process that DT Swiss does not oversee is the manufacturing of life materials into the finished spools of wire. Whatever else is done in-house.
Contrary to renowned belief, butted or bladed spokes are not "drawn" or stretched into their butted file by DT Swiss. Most civilization think the butted section of the speak is stretched into shape that is the perfect product. This is no the case since it would certainly leave the metal strained and weak. The butted speak is in reality is forged into its shape and while the procedure may it seems to be ~ similar, that isn"t. The forging process allows the metal to it is in compressed into a denser package and this strengthens the metal by aligning the grain, giving rise to a part with boosted strength characteristics. In essence, the spoke can do an ext with less - if you acquire my drift. Think of a blacksmith production horseshoes. The metal for the shoes is not just hammered right into shape, however is make denser with the process, thus removing voids and gaining durability through working the metal. Extending the steel does the exact opposite.

DT Swiss supplies a type of radial forging machine to target its spokes the operates comparable to this drawing. Additionally called rotating swaging machines, they operate by rotating a ring the rollers (7) that push down on plungers (2) together they roll over castle (9). The plungers squeeze die (3) that force the speak (5) into a smaller sized diameter as it is fed through. Radial forging is a very specific and repeatable an approach of creating round shapes. (US Patent drawing)

diminished aerodynamic drag is no a factor for off roadway cycling, for this reason why do mountain bike wheels periodically use bladed spokes?
Given the our aero spokes go with an extra forging process, castle do get some strength over their round cousins. Also, bladed spokes provide additional stiffness under braking and also acceleration loads.

DT Swiss supplies a various forging procedure to file its bladed spokes. Top secret, the course. (RC photo)

What kind of stainless steel is used to do DT Swiss spokes?
The blend of alloys and also metals we usage is retained under lock and an essential and is a strict firm secret. Our formula is proprietary to DT Swiss and also we"ve operated for countless years emerging it. What I deserve to share, is that us buy ours raw materials from vendors that we"ve had actually long-standing partnerships with. We worth these caterer relationships because they space able to administer us continuous product and the high level that quality regulate we demand. Once you shop about for the finest deal, this control is lost and also the finish product suffers - all to achieve a lower price. We room ultra-hyper about the high quality of ours spokes and beginning with good materials is the best means to put the best finished product out there.
Is there any kind of sort of heat treat procedure involved in the making of a spoke?
Not in the production of the spoke itself, yet from the raw product stage come the mass wire stage, yes. After ~ that, all procedures are excellent at ambient temperature. Every one of the forging and also manufacturing processes are done without heat. This permits for far better control, provided the scope of product we room manufacturing.

DT Swiss states that the kind of application, not superior strength, is the determining variable for utilizing aluminum nipples rather than traditional brass items. They market square, hexagonal and Torx type drive interfaces and also a variety of anodized colors. (DT Swiss photo)

What is the difference in strength between aluminum and also brass speak nipples?
I think it"s far better to assault this native a "pros vs. Cons" debate in between the two. The advantages to brass nipples room they are less expensive come manufacture, and also due to the harder material (brass), brass nipples are much less prone to round off by the nipple wrench. Brass nipples are far better for wheels the see more service and also are used in corrosive or dirty environments. Brass nipples can additionally be a bit simpler to construct with due to the fact that the nickel-plating acts as a "lubricant" allowing them to spin a bit much more freely under tension. The key disadvantages come brass nipples are enhanced weight and restricted color options.Alloy nipples have their ar too. They space lighter and reduce rotational weight at the rim which some individuals feel is critical. Colors and also build personalization abound through alloy nipples. Many anodized color alternatives are easily accessible to help customize any build. There space some things to be responsibility of when using alloy though. Due to the softer metal, treatment must be worked out when building/using alloy nipples in stimulate to not round the nipple at the wrench flats. This is whereby our Hexagonal or Torx nipples really shine. Both offer much more purchase for the nipple wrench and enable for better performance. Corrosion can likewise plague alloy nipples being used in high-mileage, all-weather applications. Typically, this pertains to wheels the see little maintenance and many, countless miles in wet environments. Together a side note to the nipple discussion, DT Swiss manufactures nipples because that just about any applications imaginable - different materials, colors, wrench interfaces or locking agents are all easily accessible from DT. I allude this out, since choosing the appropriate nipple because that the construct shouldn"t it is in an afterthought. Suitable nipple an option (I can hear the funny leader comments now....) is just as essential as choosing the appropriate rim, hub or spoke.

A break-up view that a DT Swiss pro Lock nipple mirrors its pre-applied thread-locking material, and also the unthreaded section of the bore the acts as a stress reliever wherein the spoke enters the nipple. (DT Swiss photo)

They room rolled under high pressure. Roll the threads does no remove material as cut does. Plus, it permits the spoke and also nipple interface to have a tighter tolerance fit. This promotes a much longer lifespan for both the nipple and also the speak by avoiding broken subject or stripped nipples. That is for this reason that we recommend against shops cut spokes to length using a spoke machine. A lot goes into manufacturing a spoke into the perfect product that you watch at the shop level. And every one of these procedures are done with machinery that is details to DT and also our spoke production.

Spiral grooves in a pair the rotating bars breakthrough blank spokes through this machine, whereby they are measured, reduced to an accurate length and the threads space rolled ~ above the ends. (DT Swiss photo)

J-bends spokes often tend to suffer more breakage worries due to poor build quality and also low spoke tension. Also, part hubs have actually spokes holes too large, i m sorry causes negative fit the the elbow. Most of the time you deserve to chalk up premature birth J-bend spoke breakage to corners being cut in the wheel-building process. For example: it"s constantly surprising come me to check out a shop build wheels there is no the usage of a speak tensiometer. Come me, that"s like trying to build a residence without a ice cream measure! ns can"t speak for various other brands the spokes, yet I have the right to say the our J-bend and also our straight-pull spokes are really close in quality and strength. Walking forward, DT Swiss will certainly be offering more versions the straight-pull spokes early out to countless requests as ar replacements on various other brands that wheels/build, or for new wheel builds on DT hubs.

The standard "J" bending spoke head that the DT Swiss compete spoke. Reportedly, the J-bend will certainly stand approximately an equal amount of abuse together a straight-pull spoke will - as long as the hub flange architecture is correct. (DT Swiss photo)

Double-threaded spokes are more of architecture criteria lugged on by hub/wheel design. An example of this is ours Tricon household of wheels. The unique architecture of ours hub mandated the need for double-threaded spokes. It is crucial to note, DT walk not market double-threaded spokes because that sale together an aftermarket item. This is due to a little bit more facility calculation the the lengths necessary to properly construct the wheel. Besides, there are little to no hubs being available as aftermarket product making use of double-threaded builds.

Tricon hubs use double-threaded, straight-pull spokes, partially due to the fact that DT Swiss have to weave the spokes right into an undrilled tubeless rim throughout the build process. (RC photo)

Essentially none. All spokes start out at their base gauge, 1.8, 2.0, 2.34mm, etc, and are forged right into the butting profiles desired for the application. This is whereby the differences in gauges (butting) come in.
To reiterate, our butting is done by forging i beg your pardon actually rises strength of the spoke. So the end result is a product the is not just lighter but additionally stronger. Part wheelbuilders would also argue the a butted speak is likewise a bit more "elastic." The butted spoke enables for a bit much more flex enabling the wheel come deflect and also return to shape, vice versa, a straight-gauge spoke is less yielding. Prefer the old speak goes, "like a pasture tree in the wind, it bends but never breaks...." Corny, ns know.

DT Swiss supplies a distinct "anodizing" process to develop its black spokes. White and also spokes featured in other colors room actually painted individually. (DT Swiss photo)

I can answer this question with endless quantities of data, charts, QC studies and also blabbity, lol blah blah.....but that would be boring and also overkill because that 98-percent of your audience. Here"s the best means to address the topic: even our thinnest spokes will certainly hold more tension than the the strongest rim and also most hub flanges. In other words, it"s pretty dog-gone high!

The DT Swiss manufacturing facility in Biel, Switzerland. Spokes in one millimeter increments space packed by the hundreds in cardboard boxes on the left, destined for bike shops and specialty wheelbuilders - and by the thousands in the steel boxes on the right, earmarked for OEM manufacturers around the world.

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(DT Swiss photo)

Too many to count! We space one of, if no the leading speak supplier in the cycling market for both the OEM and aftermarket segments. To meet this demand, we have spoke manufacturing framework in Europe, Asia and I"m proud to say, the united States. Us are vital supplier to few of the finest bike brands and also some the best wheelbuilders in the people - miscellaneous we"re really proud of. Our agency was established on spoke production and also it"s deeply rooted in ours culture. It"s been an essential part that our service for rather some time, and it provides a strong foundation for every one of the products we develop now and in the future.