Thread lock on spokes?



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I never have used any type of thread lock on my spokes when building a wheel. Recently I saw a wheel building site somewhere on the net that recommended using the softest compound thread lock or boiled linseed oil as a way to keep the spokes from getting loose. I just realign after riding if they need it. Any opinions or experience out there using thread lock on spokes? I'm not so sure this is a good idea, but maybe this is common practice and I have been doing it wrong?
 
Apr 20, 2009
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o_O I'd be more likely to go the other way and put anti-sieze compound on them so they wouldn't get corrosion locked. :wondering: Maybe for some super light alloy rims?Weird.
 
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Exactly- you want something that prevents corrosion and prevents seizing, but without being too greasy or oily. My suggestion is graphite anti-seize compound. It's often called "choke tube lube" because guys who shoot shotgun use it to prevent their screw-in barrel chokes from seizing. It usually comes in a little tube. "A dab will do ya"- as with Brill cream; just put a dot on the threads of the spokes will be enough.
 
Feb 2, 2016
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Never heard of thread locker on spokes before?! I agree with everyone else, if anything you want your favorite corrosion prohibiting stuff on em, or nothing at all. Build em, ride em, adjust em once if needed. Thread locker not included.. :D
 
Mar 5, 2014
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I always use boiled linseed oil as well. The issue is seizing the threads thru contamination(water/dirt). Once seized, you cannot tune the wheel if it goes out of round. If building a new wheel, dip the spoke ends into linseed oil (or another preferred anti-sieze) before you start. It keeps moisture+dirt out of the threads & resists the nipple from backing out (unsrcrewing) while riding.
Probably the most important tip of all is to re-tension the entire new wheel after the 1st good ride as the spokes "set" and loosen up quite a bit, particularly if you don't run high tensions....
 
Nov 18, 2010
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Softest compound thread lock sounds like a reference to a commercial product named Spoke Prep. Very popular with pro-wheelbuilders. I don't think this is a thread locking compound like Loctite . What makes boiled linseed oil useful for many purposes is the fact that it is a drying oil. You get the benefit of lubrication aiding the tightening of the spoke nipple, and the resistance of the dried oil to keep the nipple from unscrewing . Spokes still stretch though.
 
Oct 18, 2008
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Boiled linseed oil has been used by generations of bike mechanics. Good stuff- lubricates for easier truing later and acts as a very mild thread locker.

Late 90's: Trek had a problem with spokes loosening so they went with a too-strong spoke prep on USA mtb wheels. We'd break spokes on new bikes trying to true them! Ironically, the problem wasn't the spoke threads, it was eyelets that weren't fully seated in the rim- they'd settle into place with use, resulting in loose spokes. Oops...
 
Feb 19, 2011
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The whole thread-lock thing is the one area where Sheldon Brown made a suggestion that makes no sense. As it stands now, the page only suggests using Spoke Prep or "one of the milder flavors of Loctite" on the spokes/nips of radially-laced wheels. This is b/c spokes on a radial pattern wheel are more likely to loosen from turning (in addition to the typical stretching) than are the spokes of any of the cross-pattern wheels. I seem to recall that, BITD, Sheldon suggested using one of the Loctities (purple, was it?) on all wheelbuilds, and the internet laughed it off; maybe Sheldon himself removed that bit from his page, or maybe John Allen did it for him posthumously.... Regardless, here's the link to the exact quote: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/wheelbuild.html#radial I have to admit, if you read the whole page, it's an excellent tutorial, and it's basically how i learned to lace wheels.... but yeah, don't use Loctite on your bike's nerps....
 
Aug 25, 2012
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if your spokes get loose , than you wheels are badly laced/tighten , never had issue with nipple comming loose ever
 
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Aug 25, 2012
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From this, i gather, you've never run a radially laced wheel. (I've never owned one, but i can attest that customers had those kinds of problems with radial patterns....)
true , but with the kind of tention i lace my wheels, i doubt it would happen .. maybe .. idk
 
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The whole thread-lock thing is the one area where Sheldon Brown made a suggestion that makes no sense. As it stands now, the page only suggests using Spoke Prep or "one of the milder flavors of Loctite" on the spokes/nips of radially-laced wheels. This is b/c spokes on a radial pattern wheel are more likely to loosen from turning (in addition to the typical stretching) than are the spokes of any of the cross-pattern wheels. I seem to recall that, BITD, Sheldon suggested using one of the Loctities (purple, was it?) on all wheelbuilds, and the internet laughed it off; maybe Sheldon himself removed that bit from his page, or maybe John Allen did it for him posthumously.... Regardless, here's the link to the exact quote: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/wheelbuild.html#radial I have to admit, if you read the whole page, it's an excellent tutorial, and it's basically how i learned to lace wheels.... but yeah, don't use Loctite on your bike's nerps....
Great page, but I agree: would not mess with Loctite on spoke threads. I also learned to build wheels based on that page.

I also have never run radial spokes. I see no need for it on my bikes, but I'm somewhat of a reactionary on this stuff. I see no substitute for a well-built, tangentially spoked wheel of the common patterns.
 
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Feb 19, 2011
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Yeah, radial patterns started mostly out of fashion, i guess, but the gram-counters argue that the fewer crosses, the shorter the spokes, which means lower weight. And, that's true, but at the cost of strength, stiffness, and spoke tension....and how much weight does one truly save by using spokes that are a few mm shorter, each? Seems goofy.

I used to swear that 3x was the best, but i think that simple tangential patterns (1x, 2x, 3x, 4x) are best, and you want to pick the pattern that gives the best angle of entry at the nipple. For most 26" and 700c wheels, that's gonna be 3x assuming a typical modern flange; often it's 4x with an old-school hub with very low flanges and a small pitch-circle diameter. But, i wish i had built some of my drum wheels 2x instead of 3x to create a better angle...
 
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Mar 5, 2014
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This is a great thread! 32 hole, 3-cross pattern wheels with high-quality eyeleted 400 gram rims have proven themselves to me over the years. I am 200lbs and ride MTB's a lot, putting huge stresses on my wheelset.
When you think about it, wheels undergo incredible loads, especially on rough terrain under heavier, aggressive riders. I usually have to replace a broken spoke (at the jbend) or an alloy nipple on occasion, but maybe only once per season. (600+ miles) A lighter rider could perhaps run 28 hole 3-cross pattern and have similar results as I have had. More problems in my experience have been with ratchet systems in rear hubs. I finally settled on the Hope ProII hub which has been totally bomber over the past 2-3000 miles of riding over around 5 years now. Others I would lean towards are Kings, DT's and Hugis, which of course you will have to pay for.
Wheelsets are what I tend to focus on with my bikes, just because they affect the performance of the cycle in so many ways, much more so than any other component. So, when I RatRod a bike, it usually has a sweet wheelset on it. I tend to ride the bikes I own with the high-end wheels on them because of a higher performance feel....skpc
 
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Feb 19, 2011
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I agree; wheels are a great place to spend money on a build. After the frame, they are the most important part, from both a practical standpoint and from a "bling" standpoint. (Forks are important, too...)
 
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Exactly. Never go "cheap" on your wheelset. It is actually distressing how many people assume "a bike wheel is a bike wheel". The whole character of the bike changes based on your wheel set.

You can run a cheap bag, cheap pannier racks, cheap LED lights, cheap bar grips, etc. But you will know immediately if you've gone too cheap on the wheels. The bike will have a very "dead" feel to it.
 
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Feb 19, 2011
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...plus, they're going to go out of true a lot. Even the best wheelbuilder can't do a whole lot with a garbage rim; most pre-built wheels are built by machines, and have extremely uneven tension, new out the box. (Most of these can be improved if you get to them right away, but still....)