SPOKES size and Disc Brake



Hello, Just came from a bike shop after my first spoke break.
Broke 3 but found others loose. Tire rim is 'S' bent.

1. Should spokes be periodically checked and tightened if loose - and is this related to spoke breaking?

2. The bike shop man said the disk brake plate makes spokes shorter and possibly stonger. He pondered putting on just the plate with shorter and thus stronger spokes. Would this help?

3. I got the steel spoke rim from GEBE June 2007. Would these be 14 gauge or the stronger 12 gauge? Do you recommend less than 12 gauge?

Thank you from Timcycle

Blog Kit Build and Experience from June 2007
Golden Eagle Bike Engine ~ Subaru Robin 35cc 4 Stroke
Current miles : 2,664

Some Answers from GEBE on Spokes : Golden Eagle Bike Engine

1. YES. Always check the spokes. Julia the Jewel at GEBE said she plucks them with her thumb like a guitar string.
After she finishes her concert it is pretty apparent if there is a loose spoke.
YES, tighten it.
I overlooked this, thus, break break break.

2. Haven't heard anything about shorter spokes yet.

3. YES, the Velocity rims from GEBE are 14 gauge which is 2mm (millimeters).
GEBE also supplies a Velocity rim which is 105 gauge? which is 2.5mm. (This should be very close to what we call 12 gauge.)
GEBE says to use STAINLESS steel. It is best.

YES, it is suggested to get another rim if it is 'S' warped like mine did last night. It can be straightened, but once it has warped, it will probably warp again very quickly.
GEBE sends the rim with bearings installed.


Blog Kit Build and Experience from June 2007
Golden Eagle Bike Engine ~ Subaru Robin 35cc 4 Stroke
Current miles : 2,664

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Question #1: Yes wheels /spokes should be checked periodically for proper tension, true/runout, and dish. Loose spokes and uneven tension can cause breakage problems.

Question #2: This is doesn't make any sense to me. I don't understand how mounting or not mounting the rotor on the hub affects the length of spoke. Spoke length is affected by the Dia. of the rim, the Dia. of the hub flanges, the distance each hub flange is from the center of the hub, and the # of spokes crossed between the hub flange and the ID of the rim. The brake rotor changes non of these dimensions?

Question#3:GEBE has wheels available with both 14g and 12g spokes. The only rear Disc wheel offered on their site is listed as 14g spokes. Alot of the members here swear by 12g spokes. But quality 12g SS spokes can be really hard to find, and when found can be expensive $1.00 - $2.00 per spoke.

There is a member/vendor here called the wheelmaster who will build you a wheel with 10g spokes or even 9g and offers a life time guarentee. Several members here have availed themselves of his services and have nothing but great things to say about his product and service. These wheels aren't inexpensive but are actually quite reasonable when you start looking into the cost of the spokes he is offering. Almost all rear wheels if built properly require two differnt spoke lengths. Most spoke suppliers sell spokes in boxes of 72 spokes each. If you have to buy two boxes of spokes you can easily spend $150.00+ just for spokes plus the nipples are an additional expense. Then the labor to lace/tension/true/dish (build) the wheel. Bicycle rims and hubs aren't made to accept spokes this large so these wheels have the additional labor of drilling out the rims and hubs to accept thes oversize spokes. Your average bike shop wheelbuilder probably won't feel it cost effective to go to all this trouble to build you a wheel. The Wheelmaster will.

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Thank you. I may take him up on that. Does he supply the rim for that cost?
Spoke sizes from the Schwinn Forum

Schwinn Dweeb Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 1,690

Dear Ozzie,
Yes, you'll hear us throwing a lot of different designations around when we refer to spokes. Basically you have the standard-size spokes, divided into several differing nipple sizes, and the heavy-duty spokes, in two main sizes.
Standard spoke widths --
-- .072" aka 15 gauge (American) aka 1.8 (ISO - Intn'l Std.)
-- .080" aka 14 gauge (American) aka 2.0 (ISO)
Heavy Duty spokes --
-- .105" aka 12 gauge (American)
-- .120" aka 10 gauge (American) aka motorcycle/moped use
As far as Park spoke wrenches, you have three for the standard spokes (because nobody could standardize their nipple sizes!), and two for the hd spokes (in ascending order) --
-- Black wrench -- high-quality spokes (DT, Wheelsmith, etc.)
-- Green -- common American and European (used for all your common Chicago-made Schwinns)
-- Red -- most Japanese/Taiwanese/Chinese spokes
-- Blue -- .105" size, just about all hd spokes
-- Yellow -- those pesky .120" spokes
BTW, it's good to keep your eyes open, because it's not uncommon for posts on this forum to confuse .105 and .120.
There is even more confusion if we start to include French stds, Japanese stds., etc., but you get the idea. This should get you through just about anything dealing with a Schwinn.


Edit Add:

A measurement of thickness, particularly of wire. The major use of gauges in bicycle technology is for spokes. There are several different national systems of gauge sizes, and this has been a great cause of confusion. A particular problem is that French gauge numbers are smaller for thinner wires, while the U.S./British gauge numbers are larger for thinner wires. The crossover point is right in the popular range of sizes used for bicycle spokes:

U.S./British 14 gauge is the same as French 13 gauge
U.S./British 13 gauge is the same as French 15 gauge

Newer I.S.O. practice is to ignore gauge numbers, and refer to spokes by their diameter in millimeters, usually rounded to the nearest tenth of a millimeter.:
U.S./British 13 gauge is 2.3 mm
U.S./British 14 gauge is 2.0 mm
U.S./British 15 gauge is 1.8 mm
U.S./British 16 gauge is 1.6 mm
U.S./British 17 gauge is 1.4 mm

The gauge system is basically obsolete as explained in this excerpt from "Machinery's Handbook" 21st edition, 1980 p463:

Also see on spokes:
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Thank you. I may take him up on that. Does he supply the rim for that cost?

I believe he works with parts you send him (Rim & Hub), but I know he does offer complete wheel sets for mountain bikes so maybe he can supply everything. Do a search for his posts or look and see if he has a thread in the vendor section and send him an e-mail or PM, he seems to respond very quickly to inquires and even to posts here on the forum.

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Excellent lesson on spoke tension adjusting.

Excellent lesson on spoke tension adjusting.


Tool available at:


Blog Kit Build and Experience from June 2007
Golden Eagle Bike Engine ~ Subaru Robin 35cc 4 Stroke
Current miles : 2,664

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I've looked at several motorized kits for almost a year. A co-worker bought a GEBE 33subaru and is happy. He has broke several spokes and now ordered the heavy duty wheel from GEBE.
I'm ordering the tanaka 40. I'm putting together a custom rear wheel. Using a front dirt bike rim (Excel 1.6x21) stainless 10 gauge spokes attached to a Chris King heavy duty hub with disc brakes. This will let me use a 2.75x21 dirt bike tire...and is similar in size to a mtb 26 wheel. This is all going on a 2004 Yeti DH-9, and will be used mostly on dirt trails I got this idea from www.projectm85.com/
Any input, positive or negative would be appreciated. This is my first attempt at this.