Spoke Choice 101

Spoke Choice 101

Bicycle Spokes 101: Understanding the Differences Between Spokes types. Straight Gauge, Double Butted, Triple Butted, Bladed, and Elliptical Spokes.

Bicycle spokes are a crucial component of a wheel, transmitting the forces from the hub to the rim and ensuring a strong, reliable ride. However, not all spokes are created equal. In this article, we'll explore the differences between the most common types of bicycle spokes - straight gauge, double butted, triple butted, bladed, and elliptical spokes.

Straight Gauge Spokes:

Straight gauge spokes are the most basic type of spokes, having the same thickness throughout their length. They are the most common type of spoke found on entry-level bicycles and are easy to manufacture and replace. However, they tend to be heavy and less flexible, resulting in a harsher ride and more likely to fail due to spoke fatigue.

Double Butted Spokes:

Double butted spokes are thinner in the middle section than at the ends. This design reduces the weight of the spoke while maintaining its strength, making them a popular choice for mid-range and high-end bicycles. Double butted spokes are more flexible than straight gauge spokes, providing a smoother ride and better fatigue resistance.

Recommended for: XC, Enduro, Road, Gravel.

Triple Butted Spokes:

Triple butted spokes are similar to double butted spokes, but with a reinforced spoke head, offering increased strength and durability. Excellent for heavy duty use, from Enduro racing or DH to E-bikes.

Recommended for: DH, Enduro, E-bike, heavy and aggressive riders.

Bladed Spokes:

Bladed spokes are premium spokes with superior strength to weight ratio, aerodynamics and extremely high fatigue resistance. Bladed spokes come at a higher cost compared to double or triple butted spokes. 

Recommended for: XC, Enduro, DH, Road, Gravel.

Elliptical Spokes:

Elliptical spokes are similar to bladed spokes but have an oval cross-section. Elliptical spokes are stiffer than round spokes, offering better power transfer from the hub to the rim. This oval provides improved aerodynamics compared to round spokes and reduces wind resistance. 

Recommended for: XC, Enduro, DH, Road, Gravel.

Berd Spokes - Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE):

Berd spokes are a revolutionary new type of spoke that utilizes advanced materials and manufacturing techniques to provide unmatched performance. UHMWPE has 12 times the strength-to-weight ratio of steel and floats on water. Berd spokes have an improved fatigue life over steel and are impervious to the elements. This is what makes Berd spokes the lightest, strongest, and most durable spokes ever invented. The polymer material also provides excellent damping characteristics, reducing vibration and providing a smoother ride. The drawbacks of Berd spokes are their high cost (8$ USD / 11$ CAD per spoke!) and the complexity involved in building wheels using these spokes.

We understand that choosing the right type of spoke for your bicycle wheels can be a daunting task. That's why we are here to help! If you have any questions or concerns about spoke choice, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. Our team of experts is passionate about cycling and has extensive knowledge and experience in building custom bicycle wheels. We can help guide you through the spoke selection process and provide personalized recommendations based on your riding style, needs, and budget. Don't let uncertainty hold you back from enjoying the ride of your dreams. Contact us today, and let's build the perfect wheelset for you!

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