spoke length

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Über Member
strangely I have been to a bike shop and I have found out my 2004 Dawes Super Galaxy has straight gauge spokes.

I have had a spoke break, others keep losening so have decided to change them in the rear wheel as I'm going on tour with a heavy camping load and don't want problems.

I don't have the technical ability yet to build a wheel bu replacing one at a time and truing the wheel I can do easily.

How do I know the correct spoke size to get. The Spoke calculators seem complicated to me. Is there a simpler way?

I have tried LBS (3) and most did not sell DB spokes (apart from one that quoted 80p a spoke - compared to 50p at SPA) and were not really helpful (not many tourers go in I think)

In terms of which spokes, however I am not sure whether to go for
DT Swiss Competition


or Sapim Strong


I think the Sapim Strong are stronger but I have double butted such at the DT Swiss Competition also give a better ride (preferred)

They are however the same price so I'm not sure. Can anyone help?


Legendary Member
The simplest way to get the correct length is to measure an existing spoke. The length is from the inside of the bend at the head to the very end.
Gear side and non gear side spokes are different lengths, gear side normally being about 2mm shorter.
If you want the strongest back wheel, you would use Sapim Strong on the gear side, and Sapim Race on the other side (or DT Alpine/Competition).
However I've never had any problems using double butted spokes (Race or Competition) on both sides for loaded touring.

By all means replace the spokes one at a time, but replace all of the spokes on a side at the same time, and don't retrue until you've swapped them all. It would be better to do both sides, as otherwise problems with the previous build could propagate into the new.
If your new spokes have a different stretchiness to the old ones, trying to true after each spoke will likely give pretty uneven tensions by the time you've finished.
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