Winter wheelbuild – part eight: spokes arrive!

Progress on RCUK’s winter wheelset came to a grinding halt in mid-November thanks to the unavailability of the spokes requested from DT Swiss. It is about to get going again thanks to the timely arrival of directly comparable spokes from the Swiss firm’s main rival, Sapim. Established in 1918, the Belgian firm has built an enviable reputation for quality and reliability and supplies many of the world’s wheel manufacturers; its finest moment was perhaps Abraham Olano’s win at the 1995 world road race championships, when he rode the last few kilometres on a flat tyre and on a wheel, built with Sapim’s spokes, that stayed true despite the pounding from the road and valve.

Anyway, a bundle of Sapim Race spokes has turned up along with some heavy duty Strong examples and will now be used for the build. These are Sapim’s regular offering for the building of lightweight wheels whether for competition or fast leisure riding and feature double butting, a choice of 2.0mm-1.8mm-2.0mm and 1.8mm-1.6mm-1.8mm draws and both black and silver finishes.

They are offered in lengths from 182mm to 310mm and weigh 360g for a pack of 64 x 260mm. The nipples supplied are 12mm long Sapim Polyax, which are designed to align with the pull of the spokes thanks to a somewhat spherical surface where they meet the rim eyelet. We will be using black-finished brass Polyax nipples.

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