Snapping on the Spoke Ring

Discussion in 'Rack Mounted Engines' started by bamabikeguy, Mar 3, 2007.

  1. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    Lessons learned thus far-

    1. 16 gauge spokes bend VERY easy on installation.

    2. 12 gauge spokes are EXCELLENT, but you get what you pay for, and steel spokes eventually rust, higher priced aluminum don't rust.

    3. Zip ties on installation prevent spokes loosening along thousands of miles of travels.

    4. Proper installation is probably THE MOST IMPORTANT PART, affecting performance and satisfaction. Get this part right and everything else falls into place, get it wrong (and I got it very wrong on one bike wheel, the third one I built), and NOTHING will work right.


    GEBE instructions say use liquid soap and a Q-tip. IF YOU DO, make sure you rinse it off after the ring is installed, ELSE rust forms at every junction where soap touched metal. I tried vegetable oil, which works nearly as good as soap.

    12 gauge is UNFORGIVING, take your time and get it right. Spin the spoke ring around, sighting spokes versus notches. There is a spot on a wheel where the measument is BEST, and if you spin the ring, you will find the perfect spot to snap on FIRST.

    This is hard to convey in words, but when you make that first snap, you have to have "counter pressure" on that spoke, to prevent any bending. I bent one slightly, and got it unbent satisfactorily because of zip ties at the onset.

    That first snap is 12 o'clock.

    The second snap on is 6 o'clock.

    Measure the gap, use the end of the screw driver as a hammer and get the ring centered. Then snap in 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock.

    This is THE critical moment. That gap has to be as close to centered as you can possibly make it. Measuring tape is NOT good enough, BUT A CHILD'S PROTRACTOR WILL DO FOR A SINGLE INSTALLATION.


    If the 4 points of the clock are right, EVERYTHING else falls into place. Snap, snap, snap, using a torque type method, eyeball all the notches when you think you have completed it, and wash off the soap.

    AND if you try and build an indestructible tire, which I've empasized umpteen times, ad nauseum, every chance I get, you should NOT have any worries about the rear wheel, nor the belt wearing too fast.

    Properly centered, the tension arm will barely move, OFF centered by an eighth of an inch, one way or the other, and the tension arm jumps way too much.

  2. stick

    stick Guest

    when you mess up, how do you remove the ring?
  3. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    Hey Stick,

    The tool GEBE provides for snapping it on can also be used to pry it off.

    If you are just installing it the first time, and haven't completed it:

    make sure the notch is lubed

    reverse that tool, HOLD THE SPOKE FIRM TO PREVENT BENDING, and gently pry it off. If you are completely taking it off a wheel, then use the same back and forth "torque" method going around the spokes.

    With the heavier 12 gauge, you can "eyeball" and correct any bent spokes with your fingers.
  4. turkeyssr

    turkeyssr Guest

    How to measure 'centeredness' of the drive ring??

    Ok, so I see the syringe method for measuring the ring centeredness, but I don't understand how a protractor would be used. Can you use calipers to measure the distance a various points on the rim/wheel?

    Beyond that, what else could be used besides a syringe? I don't have any lying around...LOL

    Thanks! - John
  5. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member


    Calipers are great, and the protractor I'm taling about is the equivalent of the caliper, the one you insert the pencil into to make circles, NOT the plastic schoolhouse thing used to trace shapes.

    Those syringes work good if you are going to install them as a hobby, any veternarian has them for 20 cents or so. Throw away the plunger, grind them snug on a perfectly centered ring. There is a crown at the end, which can be notched to fit over a spoke.

    It was just the cheapest/easiest effective way I had to make those "gappers", which stay on the spoke while I tap it around and triple check the gaps.


    Stainless steel is fine, just make sure if you use liquid soap when you lube the notches to rinse the soap off thoroughly, else it rusts.

    Zipties keep things stable. You WILL snap 16 gauge spokes if you don't center the ring. In fact, you might snap 3 in less than 2 miles, and have to walk the bike on home.
  6. Torques

    Torques Guest

    Re: How to measure 'centeredness' of the drive ring??

    I measured from the hub to make sure of it's centeredness. That seems the best way since the belt will rotate around a spinning disk equal distance from the hub. What did I just say? :cool:
  7. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    Torques IS right about measuring from the hub.

    I had to do another 24" for a tricycle wheel, and using a tape measure, keeping the axle nut ON, I measured 9 5/8" all the way around.

    9 and 5/8" inches is PRELIMINARY, I may edit this when I go check out the perfectly centered ring Dennis did for me last month.....

    We can start getting our topics cleared up before Augie gets our own section of the owners manual together.....
  8. Torques

    Torques Guest

    Who is Augie and what do you mean about owner's manual?
  9. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

  10. Torques

    Torques Guest

  11. Centered Drive Ring

    I've often wondered about the centering of the ring before I discovered this forum. What I've found, however, is that after breaking a ring in for about a month, that the ring loosens it's grip around individual 14 guage spokes. I noticed that one time when I engaged my tensoiner, that the ring slid up about an eighth inch or so. I can't help but think this is not a good thing. Another reason that I will soon be in the process of getting 10 guage spokes installed. That should definitely help keep the ring from sliding around.
  12. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    I had 5 or 6 bikes on the road in 2005 when the first "brokespokering" episode took place, and it did it on MY bike. I made the swap to 12g, called my customers and told them what happened, swapped all those out.

    Since then I've always used 12g's, EXCEPT for the one GEBEwheel I bought, which I put on Lowell Whitehead's bike, and he's 275 pounds easily.

    Anyway, no broken/bent spokes to report on any bikes since I made the switch early on, and made it my standard equipment.

    Now, based on input/feedback from this forum, the YellowSun and Graygeezer bikes purchased in the last two weeks are the first to have punctureproofs and Mr.Tuffies front and rear, replacing slimes/tuffies.

    Not only is the $6 difference (puncproof vs slimes) worth it, the fronts on both those bikes feels a bit heavier/sturdier.

    btw: BEFORE discovering Mr. Tuffies, I tried using doubleup ducttape as a liner, which abraded a hole in a slime (what a mess). The other day I took off the tire on the Denver wheel (putting it on the blue Avalon) and I had forgot that I had cut the sidewalls off an old tire to use as a liner in that wheel, with punctureproof (not slime) tube. Man I was lucky, that tube was rubbed raw but still fully inflated.

    Emphasis added to this thread about triple wrapping the spokeends with electric tape, bulking up the thin rubber gasket. If you are going to all this work to make something reliable, skipping that little step would be the weak link in the chain.

    Attached Files:

  13. sabrewalt

    sabrewalt Guest

    This seemed like a good place to continue this thread. How many times can you take a GEBE spoke ring off and put it back on a different wheel?. Does the process of removing it and reinstalling "wear out" the mount clips.. I have my kit now and trying to decide if I want to install it on a wheel I have laying around and then on a better wheel later.


    Edited AM Sunday. Boy I should proof read.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 28, 2007
  14. larymor

    larymor Guest

    I don't know how many times you can do that....but...why would you want to? My advice is wait until you get the wheel you want to put it on and do it. It's not hard at all Walt. Sometimes we make more of it than it is. Know what I mean? Get a bike and follow the advice here and get ridin' dude !!
  15. appye

    appye Guest

    The syringe

    I do not understand what you are using the syringe for. Is it something you have installed when riding the bike? If so, are there several more installed, just to keep the ring in one place? Or is it just something you have on there as a ring centering tool? If so, how exactly do you use it? I am missing something here...

    Also, the design of the GEBE systems seems like it wouldn't really be able to go on there any way but perfectly centered anyway.
  16. OldPete

    OldPete Guest

    Ring centering is what bama uses these syringe spacers for. Anything will do really.

    Yes the ring can go on slightly off center. I use a dial indicater taking the reading from the mold parting line just to the inside if the toothed area. A bit of coat hanger for a pointer and a sharp eye together with proper lighting can do the same thing.

    A dot of 5 minute epoxy at each spoke/ring interface will do wonders to hold the ring on an absolute center. Only do 5 spokes at a time to prevent runs. Break the spoke surface near the outside of the ring with a 1/4" wide bit of wet or dry to offer good adhesion to the epoxy.

    Use atleast thin black zip-ties to tie the spokes at their last cross. I wire tie and solder because I am old fashioned. ;)
  17. sabrewalt

    sabrewalt Guest


    Syringe was very clever.

    I used one of these to check centering. (See Picture)

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 30, 2007
  18. OldPete

    OldPete Guest

    Even though bama centers the ring from the rim...I take exception to that method.
    What if the rim is out of true by 1mm? What then?
    Use a pointer and true from the axel...the true center of the whole plot. :)
  19. appye

    appye Guest

    runs and epoxy

    OldPete, would jb-weld be a good way of fixing the ring? Or would that be too strong? That is generally what I think of when it comes to epoxy.

    Also, what do you mean by preventing runs? And would jb weld and wire ties be good for the spokes as well? I can use regular solder like for electronics, but that stuff seems kind of soft, no?
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 31, 2007
  20. OldPete

    OldPete Guest

    JB Weld takes forever to set-up. 5 minute epoxy will run down the spoke to the rim if all the spokes are done at once.

    I use a 60 watt pencil soldering iron and solder with rosin flex to solder the .5mm wire. Just use ones because they are less likely to decay like clear/milky ones do from UV.