It’s not often the humble spoke gets much attention, unless it breaks and ruins a ride, in which case your attention is very much directed to that most voluminous part.

The new Pillar 3D Force spokes should further reduce the attention you pay them. They use two flattened sections near the J-bend head that increase the fatigue life by 3-5x normal.

It works by placing alternating flattened sections that first absorb the torsional stresses on the spoke, and the second absorbs the bending stresses. These combine to relieve the two forces in the area where most spokes snap, giving them the enhanced durability…

To go along with it is the TAF nipple, which incorporates a semi flattened thread area at the top of the nipple where the spoke first enters.

The idea is the spoke’s threads screw in well past that point once the wheel is built, leaving the flat area of the spoke to rub any threads and potentially weaken it. Now, there are smoother, flatter edges to reduce abrasion on the spoke and help prevent breakage. 

PillarSpoke.com

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19 Comments
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Blueberry
Blueberry
7 years ago

Or you could just use Wheelsmith DH13s. How does creating stress risers reduce failure rates? Is there extra material at the flattened sections?

J
J
7 years ago

Wonder what the comparison to staight pull is

Birdman
Birdman
7 years ago

I don’t think the features create stress risers when the inside corners are rounded. I think the concept here is like shot peening, by compressing the surface it leaves residual compressive stress, and that’s how you increase fatigue strength against tension, which is how things typically breaks, under tension… Btw totally guessing here…

Mike
Mike
7 years ago

I’m not sure spoke tech was broken enough to need this fix. Might work for a particular layup and lacing pattern. But I like my spokes to fit snug at the hub flange. Seems like it might be harder to correct spoke path.

John
John
7 years ago

Round sections deal with torsion better than square sections to begin with. The way to higher fatigue life is to shot peene (proper ball size and peeneing velocity are key), and form the elbow with preferred grain direction (i.e. running the length of the spoke), use material with lower stress corrosion cracking issues, surface finish, and proper hub hole/spoke elbow geometry. I’m not sure how the flat section other than what @birdman indicated will help the fatigue life of a spoke. And properly rolled threads with a smaller pitch would also help, but this would increase wheel building times due to having to turn the nipples more revolutions. And pre-stressing the wheel after it is built can also increase fatigue life by a small plastic overstress with the resulting increase in strain hardening and a usual increase in yield and ultimate tensile strength in the material.

Jez
Jez
7 years ago

Don’t straight pull designs completely do away with these issues?

Pistolero
Pistolero
7 years ago

the nipple story is a clear gimmick, and bout the spoke, well, it may work, just like tapered spokes are stronger than non tapered ones, as they work as a spring, so they are more elastic and may break less. But, this spoke with have way more torsion when truing, so it will be more difficult to true properly, and yes, straight pull spoke solve this problem already, problem is that there are still very very few straight pull hubs in the market.

Tim
Tim
7 years ago

Straight-pull spokes come and go. I think there are two issues with them: one, their not being as popular keeps them from becoming popular and taking over; two, the whole spoke may rotate when you turn the spoke nipple. That SHOULDN’T happen if you grease the threads, but not everyone is so mindful.

R S
R S
7 years ago

I suspect that these are meant for machine built wheels. A proper hand build will deal with these issues through setting the elbows and stress relieving. The nipple concept is not bad – IF that was a problem. It’s over-engineering in search of an issue. And why does the drawing not match the cut-away? I’ve worked with Pillar spokes and they’re generally decent. They seem to have a spoke in every conceivable iteration of gauge in round and/or flat cross section. It’s no trick for them to throw something like this up to the wall and see if it sticks.

cyclyng
7 years ago

I had my fair share of engineering classes and I would say that the first graphic is, more or less, nonsense.

First, there is torsion among the full length of the spoke, not only in the section indicated. And, as already stated, the torsional strength of a round section is higher than that of a box. In my opinion it doesn’t make sense to change only one section and it makes even less sense to change it to a box design.

Second, Bending. Really. It is hard to imagine that there is any big amount of bending involved in spokes and surelay not in the section indicated. Und even if, bending transforms in more tension forces an one side and more compression forces on the other side of the cross section, depending on the moment of inertia. Which is lower in case the cross section is smaller perpendicular to the bending moment. That will result in more stress.

Third, tension. I have no idea which tension is only indicated at the spoke head. I would say that this is rather thrust, perpendicular to the axis of the spoke.

The most common cause (see Schraner) for spokes to break at the bending is friction caused between the flange and the spoke due to tolerances, i.e. the flange hole is slightly bigger that the spoke diameter, the spoke moves in the hole depending on the load which changes with every revolution of the wheel and the spoke breaks due to fatigue.

Sorry, but it just doesn’t make sense to me.

morehardcore
morehardcore
7 years ago

I agree with birdman that implementation of a proper radius is effective at mitigating stress risers (e.g. seat tube keyhole) but it looks like the transition between the two flat sections could be a stress riser. I would like to actually look at one under a scope.

What is the cost associated with the extra manufacturing work?

I feel that there are a lot of straight pull hubs on the market. Half (5) my bikes have straight pull spokes. Still using a thru-axle Pulstar front hub I built up with union Ti spokes 20 years ago. My CX bike is wearing heliums still on the original build from 97 or 98. For wheel builds I made a pair of soft jaw pliers for holding straight pull spokes. They are also good for reducing wind-up on bladed spokes.

Tom
Tom
7 years ago

Looks worth a shot to me. On my Roval carbon wheels, every time a spoke breaks (not often, and wheels are going into season 4), it is right at the nipple end.

dislivello
dislivello
7 years ago

About nippless i thinks that it s eady during pre assemgly spoke on to overloap une picand do a disadter…

jr
jr
7 years ago

Or, you could just stop d*&king around and buy some Hope Hoops and be done with it. Problem solved. Now go ride your bike.

elkcycles
elkcycles
7 years ago

jr,

Some people still build their own wheels. I build mine with silver spokes. I can’t say why, but I’ve never broken a silver spoke, only black ones (on machine built OE rims). I’ve never had an issue with DT or Sapim spokes either. I usually build 32h and 3x, so no issues there. I imagine that in radial or other high tension applications these might have some benefit, but as spokes are already getting expensive, I can only wonder what the additional tooling may cost here.

Bernard
Bernard
7 years ago

@dislivello i read your “about nipples” comment three times and kept expecting an entirely different sentence to follow. Could be that’s just me…

Cycloaddict
Cycloaddict
7 years ago

Creating a solution to a problem that hardly exists… broken spokes are a rare occurrence- particularly on properly built and tensioned wheels.

Three of my wheelsets are 5+ years old and I haven’t died yet so no, I’m not throwing away perfectly good spokes for “new and improved” ones.

EpicThroatBeard
EpicThroatBeard
7 years ago

Attention. All of the bike industry. Stop making new things or we will be mad at you!!!!!

Racman
Racman
7 years ago

I think it would have been better if they put that flat section near the thread so when you’re building your wheel and using a butted spoke, you would have a flat surface to hold the spoke with pliers and prevent the spoke from winding up when tightening the nipples so you can put a higher tension on the spoke, sort of what you could do with bladed spokes….