HELP! Need to buy spokes

Barkme Wolf

Active Member
I need to re thread my rear wheel and am having much trouble finding new spokes. Last time I tried to let my LBS order something for me they did the old bait and switch (I didn't fall for it though) so I want to order them myself. This is for a rear wheel with a hub motor on the Radwagon
I was told by the sales staff at Rad Power Bikes, the rear spokes are 12 gauge though it says 11 gauge on the site.

They said the specs are
12 gauge (2.5mm)
Length: 244mm

I want to get the strongest spokes available and am looking at the Sapim "Strong" (Model) but have no clue about "butting" and "nipples".

Can anyone walk me through this? I live in WA state near Seattle if anyone knows a trustworthy dealer.


Well-Known Member
Google wheel builder Seattle. Pick the one closest to you. The Sapim Strong are a good choice, They are butted spokes which means they are thicker on the hub end where it counts the most. Use steel nipples. If you have never done it before probably a good idea to get them to build it for you also.

Deleted member 803

This is one mod I would definitely not do yourself. Rebuilding a wheel requires specific tools (spoke tensioner and a wheel truing stand) and a number of years of experience.


Well-Known Member
Good advice about paying someone who has experience, but if you got lots of time and want to learn about spokes, a hands-0n person can get reasonable results, and then will be able to straighten up all the wobbly wheels in the garage.

I have done a fat tire (hard - wouldn't do it again) and a 700cc (easier). Didn't save any money because I got the spoke lengths wrong. A shop has a cutter and a threading tool, plus different size nipples, plus washers, so this is less of an issue for them.

If you do this, and buy locally, take an old spoke with you to get the right size. When you have the wheel apart, you might even run the measurements on the rim and the hub thru an online spoke calculator to see what they get.

It's not the tools. An expert can use my $5 spoke wrench and my upside down bicycle, and do a great job. Patience and practice. Don't start this if you expect to have a useable wheel the first time. Pay the money instead.

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Barkme Wolf

Active Member
I have a LBS I trust to do the work but I have found most shops are trying to "sell me" instead of "provide for me".
In most cases I can find what I am looking for, given the search parameters but the variables for this item are complicating my results. After reading several online articles and blogs there is some contradictory information.
Assuming that the advice I get from the LBS is based on price point and not practicality, I am not willing to negotiate without some reasonable background on the subject.

Brass nipples or steel for instance. I just got done reading a blog claiming brass to be the best for various reasons but often see the same for steel.

I picked up spokes from the "manufacturer" in Seattle and they also gave me measurements they took by hand themselves (see original post above). I have to believe these measurements are accurate but when searching on-line for replacements I can not find anything with the exact numbers and often I have to do some sort of conversion which I am not sure I trust my skill in.

Sapim offers a line of spokes specifically for my purpose but finding a supplier with the right gauge here in the states has been a dead end. And then there is the butting. My understanding is that butting is preferred for good reason but Sapim offers multiple butting options.

If I could go into my LBS and say:

" I would like you to order for me X-AMOUNT-OF Sapim Strong, rod, self locking, anti-rotation, oval head, 2- side threading, 244mm, 12 gauge (single,double, triple?) butted spoke and (brass or steel?) nipples- then have you re-build my rear wheel."

And after, be able to ride my bike again....that would be great.
I don't plan to build it but I do need to become familiar with maintenance for I believe if I had been tightening them regularly they would have lasted longer.