Hacks, Bodges & DIY Projects From the World Cup Pits

Apr 17, 2020
by James Smurthwaite  
The Pivot boys are wanting in on the data acquisition games and have perhaps the most sophisticated system we have seen to date... Engineered by none other than Eddie Masters himself. More details coming soon.

Most of the time, walking through the World Cup pits can be like stepping into the future as they are stuffed to the brim with gleaming bikes and prototype kit, but look deeper and there are a few things that aren't quite as svelte. When speed is the priority, sometimes you can't wait for your sponsors to test and manufacture a specific part so you simply have to do it yourself. Here are some of the best ways mechanics have improved their racer's bikes using their own ingenuity from the past few years of racing:

Mathias Flückiger's homemade dropper post

Matthias Flueckiger s home-designed and build dropper post. Weight 230 grams. 4 5 centimeter drop.

Dropper seat posts were a pretty rare sight back in cross-country back in 2015, so we were pretty excited when we first spotted this homemade creation on Mathias Flückiger's Stockli bike. Mathias was unable to find a dropper that would fit his 27.2mm seat tube so he took matters into his own hands with this inverted design.

Custom carbon layup.
Low weight was key to the design. Matt reckon s 4 centimeter is a good adjustment for XC use.

The bottom half of this tube is am aluminium stanchion that fits into the seat tube and provides 4.5cm of travel. The upper half is made of a carbon shaft that is joined to the head from another seatpost then pre-preg carbon fibre strips were wrapped around it to reinforce the join. The weight of the final product was a very XC-friendly 230 grams and Mathias piloted himself, and the seat, to fifth at the World Championships he was trialling it at.

A Duct Taped Dropper

Ducttape stops the seatpost from fully dropping down. XC riders seem to be edging towards dropper posts but as grams are still being counted the key might be to go for a - 60mm drop with less added weight.

Speaking of cross country's funny relationship with dropper posts, here's a bodge that's a bit less sophisticated. The BMC team were running KS droppers but the posts they offered in 2016 had too much drop. To combat this, a mechanic added a few wraps of duct tape at the top of the stanchion to stop the saddle from dropping through all of its available travel. When we asked, this post was set to around 60mm drop. Very simple but totally effective.

Tied Spokes


One for the old-timers, tied spokes are nothing new on mountain bikes, but in the past few seasons, we've seen them creeping back into downhill World Cup racing. A wire coiled around two spokes is supposed to increase wheel stiffness as it prevents the spokes from flexing as much. We've mainly spotted them at the more bike parky rounds such as Leogang where you don't need as much compliance through the rough stuff... mainly because there isn't that much of it in the first place.

Alex Fayolle's Homemade Shock

Any guesses as to the company behind this rear shock kicking around the Polygon UR Team pits It s not who you might think...

One of the most impressive DIY projects we've seen on the World Cup in recent years was the Stemtee shock that Alex Fayolle's mechanic built for him in 2017. Hugues Postic is a long-time wrencher on the circuit and has helped Fabien Barel, Damien Spagnolo and Morganne Charre through the years. The Polygon team was sponsored by Suntour at the time but, as they were still prototyping a downhill shock, riders got free choice as to what damper they ran in the rear. Postic has built a few Stemtee shocks through the years for different bikes but this one was specifically for Alex Fayolle's Polygon Colossus.

StemTee s custom shock

He said: "It's hard to explain what the differences are between my shock and the others, mainly this unit is made purely for racing, not for production. It's made specifically to work with this Polygon bike, Alex Fayolle, and race tracks. The other companies have a difficult time trying to make one shock that can work with every bike on the market, they have contracts, objectives, and pricing to consider. Me, I only have the passion for winning races, it's not the same challenge at all."

And win it did, on its debut no less. You can read more about his unique shock, here.

Cable Routing

Leogang World Cup 2015

Cable routing can be a pain for even the most patient mechanic, but spare a thought for World Cup mechanics who are stripping bikes down almost weekly and swapping in and out parts by the hour as their racers hunt for perfect setups. To make their lives easier, some of them will take cable routing into their own hands. This example from the Orange Dirt team in 2015, where the cable is anchored to the piggyback of the shock, is one of the more unusual ones we've seen but a whole array of clips, ties and tubes can often be seen routing cables on racers' rides.

Drilled pedals

Best of both worlds. Additional pins on the clips of Matt Simmonds.

Flats? Clipless? Well if you're Matt Simmonds you can make yourself a bit of both. Clipless pedals with pins in are nothing new but when Matt's Saint pedals didn't have pins where he needed them, his mechanic took matters into his own hands and simply drilled through the platform where needed.

Brendan Fairclough's Idler

Vallnord Pit Walk

2018 saw Brendan Fairclough testing an aluminum mule that would later become the 2019 full production bike. The bike went through various iterations through the year with different wheel sizes, different linkages and plenty of data acquisition but the most bodged experiment was the high chainline version picture above.

Yet another bike with an idler system. SCOTT s prototype is the latest to join the club.

A stack of washers were used to get the spacing right and then the whole thing simply screwed into the swingarm pivot. We've no official word on how well it worked, but given that the production Gambler we saw less than a year later had a standard chainline it probably wasn't the most successful trial of the year.

Frame weights

The Nicolai of Jack Reading leady to go.

Ready Leady Go was a Chris Porter brainchild that was brought to the World Cup circuit on Jack Reading's Joker-themed Nicolai in 2017. Jack wouldn't tell us the weight of the lead, but through testing found that placing the extra weight behind the stem and at the bottom bracket helped to calm down the forces and roughness from tracks, keeping the ride planted. It was track specific, however, as Jack said the extra weight felt good on the fast and rough tracks but made the bike feel a little 'dead' on the tight and twisty sections.

Custom tools

Darren over at Norco has a nifty pad spacing tool made from an old six in rotor.

Mechanics will use whatever it takes to get the job done and have come up with a fair few clever tools in their time. It can be as simple as the pad spacer above from Darren at Norco or more complex such as the brake bedding-in tool Nigel Reeves uses.

Author Info:
jamessmurthwaite avatar

Member since Nov 14, 2018
1,770 articles

  • 114 10
 That Orange looks like it was patched together with hacked up pieces of aluminum by a highschool shop class.
  • 152 1
 That's kind of their brand.
  • 54 0
 Isn't every Orange like that?
  • 49 6
 I bought exactly that bike from the dirt mag team a few years ago. Sadly the frame broke after half a year at the welding at the shockmount from the downtube. The hole frame must be made by a drunken brit on monday morning. The seatstays had holes at the welding which were covered with the thick yellow paint. The whole frame was a pure mess.
Orange offered me a new frame for a relativly cheap price (at least for the overpriced bikes they make). But again, the new frame cracked after a year of riding.
As i child i was a huge fan of orange bikes, mainly because my first rentalbike was an orange 222. Today i would never touch one of those shitty bikes again. RIP orange 324 from isak leivsson.
  • 10 1
 I can't believe any bike brand is still routing the cables along the rear shock. It's the one place that's guaranteed to vary in required length.
  • 9 1
 I can't help the feeling that they are using parts of radiators to build their bikes
  • 14 3
 @Sakri: lesson learned: dont buy a used pro downhillers frame?
  • 4 0
 @atestisthis: hacks and bodges I believe is the point if the article - seems like this was a way to speed up maintenance rather than being ideal
  • 1 0
 @atestisthis: As written, it was 2015.
  • 1 0
 Proper frankenbike?
  • 1 1
 @pioterski: ah, didn't catch that. Me no do numbers so good. Still, most companies moved away from that around 2010.
  • 9 0
 "I resent that! I did my best work in HS!"
-Uncle Rico
  • 2 0
 @atestisthis: you're saying it like that was the stock routing. It wasn't. That's the whole point, of the article and the included information that states its for ease of maintenance.
  • 6 0
 I know something orange doesn’t. A grinder n paint makes ya the welder ya ain’t. Wink
  • 2 0
 @Shredtheduck: it was just used for one race at leogang. And my new frame broke as well. Seems like all oranges will brake sooner or later
  • 1 0
 @atestisthis: are there still companies doing that??

" This example from the Orange Dirt team in 2015, "
  • 1 0
The the route the housing and hose are taking appears stock. The "hack" was the tubing and zip ties to float them above the shock.
  • 1 0
 Was literally thinking the same thing earlier looking at a mate's Apline 160 next to my Propain
  • 35 0
 I don't want to start a war... But the weight on that Nicolaï... they are where you'd put a gearbox and a steering damper.
  • 72 0
 If you wanted war you’d have pointed out that it’s where an ebike motor and battery live..
  • 35 5
 Forgive my ignorance, but why would anybody want to reduce the drop of their seatpost? I thought XC racers ran short droppers to save weight, but duct taping the post does the opposite.
  • 14 9
 Less travel=faster extend. Only reason I came up for that solution
  • 43 0
 I'd imagine it's because it saves them that tiny, tiny bit of extra energy that would be required to drop it those taped off millimeters. One of the reasons that droppers were slow to catch on is due to how focused racers are on being as efficient as possible. No one wants to feel like they're wasting energy, even if it's a miniscule amount, during a race.
  • 11 0
 Because of the time it saves probably. If you only need to drop 60mm instead of 120mm before a rockgarden or tech feature it will save you concentration. Also it will stay in the range of “torque” for the legs. Just my guess though.
  • 11 0
 The extra time/energy it takes to stand back up after dropping it the full length. It sounds kinda ridiculous but those guys are trying to save ever joule of energy they can
  • 2 0
 It takes too much energy to drop too long of a post, and in xc it's all about marginal gains.
  • 3 1
 @TannerValhouli: loool so many ppl answered at the same time. Should’ve typed faster ;p
  • 15 1
 Could be for cornering. I know some people that don’t like max drop because they use seat against their lower thigh for cornering.
  • 3 0
 Dropping the seatpost farther takes (marginally) more time & energy, which can make a difference when you're operating at your limit. And if you fumble the timing of getting it back up, or for some reason it gets stuck down (maybe a broken lever from a crash, for example), having a saddle that's 2 inches below optimum pedaling position isn't as bad as one that's 4 or 6 inches too low. Definitely not things that are applicable to most riders or most situations but I can see the logic for a World Cup-level XC race.
  • 6 0
 @mikekazimer: I can see that. Sometimes during an enduro race or Strava grudge match when you're tired, it sure is tough dropping the seat all the way down and trying to stand back up into an attack position after a punchy climb.
  • 3 0
 One thing I remember in a video was that they still want pedaling efficiency even if they can't get the seat back up, so they run limited droppers.
  • 3 0
 Another reason could be that the rider wants to still feel the seat in the down position. Cyclists use the seat a lot for control so rider might have wanted it at certain height for control. Otherwise it might feel like riding a bike without a seat (or post), that's awkward!
  • 21 18
 What exactly is the need for such a big drop? DH racers don't run their seats slammed. Even in the most technical xc tracks there isn't any place where you need more than 60mm drop, and the more drop you have the lower your pedaling efficiency. These guys are pedaling through technical stuff not just coasting like in DH.
Its funny most of the people who have commented know so little about riding they dont even realize the seat is important for handling...yet they are commenting thinking they know better then an xc racing team.
  • 4 1
 @TannerValhouli: upvote for using the right units.
  • 7 7
 @radrider: ummm youre comparing dh to xc? Fallacy #1

If iits real chunky tech (with slight downhill or momentum) you dont want to pedal

Yes the seat is important for riding...but that depends on many factors. Also i’m pretty sure everybody is making their best guesses. You just look like youre doing your best to get a reaction.
  • 3 0
 Have an 80 mm drop on my rigid bike. Easily could've fit 120. Fully dropped the seat is out of the way enough but still high enough it can be clamped with the knees to rest on easier downhills. Some XC guys also don't like their seat way above the handlebars especially when climbs are on the more technical side. Having to set the dropper somewhere in the middle of it's post length can be a real pain to nail every time. If I were taking the downhills easier I'd probably be happier with 60mm drop to be honest.
  • 12 0
 WC Insider: The reason for that is pedaling efficiency. Around 60mm is a compromise between too low (100mm) so you can't pedal anymore and to high (40mm). So if you are in terrain without a big climb or a long downhill but constant ups and dows you can leave the dropper down for that entire section without having to sacrifice too much pedaling power. At least that's why we run them this way.
  • 3 7
flag billreilly (Apr 17, 2020 at 16:24) (Below Threshold)
 One reason the XC guys use short-travel dropper posts is that if the post fails during a race then the saddle won't be too low... Imagine the post failing and having to climb uphill with a saddle that's 125mm too low?... it would almost be OK if it were only 60mm too low.
  • 1 2
 I would think rear wheel buzz would be one big reason, but that is probably not the case on a short travel XC bike.
  • 1 0
 @Moner95: this was in 2016 when short travel dropper posts weren't a thing
  • 2 0
 @scjeremy: I recon this is the closest to the truth
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: Would say more to do with, that is XC most would not need much of a drop, even trail bikes do not need 200mm of drop, but in certain situations it is good and safer to have it, Funny how things move on!
Was riding an old hardtail with no dropper recently, after been using a dropper, find your self looking for drop leaver, Weard how used you get things that you really do not need in the first place!
  • 4 0
 Think about squatting 200 times a race to get your dropper down, if you don’t have to go as low, it’ll definitely save you energy when you are running on the edge.
  • 2 3
 But if the rider pushes the saddle 60mm down instead of 120mm, doesn't it just stay at 60mm from the top? If so, it wouldn't necessarily require the tape to limit the travel, I'd say. Just push it down as low as they want to push it and it should stay there. But it would be nice to have the full range available for those sections where it does come handy.

That said, I'm no XC racer, let alone one racing at the level they do!
  • 1 2
 Some droppers also have adjustable travel. I really don't get that. It limited the amount the dropper goes down, but the whole idea behind a dropper is to get it out of the way. Why get it halfway out of the way?
What I would like is adjustable travel for going up. This would make a long dropper suitable for shorter people when sharing a bike or when let's say a 150mm dropper is 5mm to high but a 125mm loses a lot of travel (because it would need to be above the frame for an extra 20mm).
  • 2 0
 It's short because you find that right spot not too low where you can sit/rest on the seat (legs) and still having enough attack position. I learned this from Vouilloz in mega avalanches.
  • 1 0
 @radrider: DH bikes are shorter than Enduro bujes for the same size. It's harder to get your arse behind the seat on an Enduro so you need to get the seat out of the way = longer drop
  • 2 0
 @PauRexs: Yes, but I used to ride my bike about 30mm lower just did not use a dropper, for xc or cyclocross 30mm & 60mm would be nice!
Heard some use droppers on road bikes?
  • 2 1
 @aljoburr: the dropper on the road bike is retarded.
  • 2 0
 @thegoodflow: I mean lowering your centre of gravity and getting even more out of the wind has benefits on the descents, no doubt. But the only place I've seen droppers used on road bikes is on neutral service bikes, where it makes total sense.
  • 2 1
 I'm sure Rockshox sold an "Enduro Collar" for a time, which was just a clamping ring you could put on your dropper's slider to prevent it dropping past a certain point. It's easy to see why those things didn't stay on the market for long... Maybe a comeback is on the cards.
  • 1 2
 @mnorris122: but if I'm descending on a road bike I'm standing anyway, tucked in the drops. I don't race so I don't really care about some possible quantifiable benefit like being aero while also sitting and recovering while descending or something. I'm gonna be stubborn on is one... road bike dropper posts is going to far. I can't even be no here's with a dropper on my gravel/xc hardtail. It's just too easy to leave the rigid Thomson post on there and carry on with life without the fuss.
  • 2 0
 @jaame: wolftooth makes the Valais, which serves the same purpose and is cleverly designed to avoid damaging the wiper seal. It works well, i've user it with a bedrock bags saddlebag.
  • 1 1
 @mnorris122: but if I'm descending on a road bike I'm standing anyway, tucked in the drops. I don't race so I don't really care about some possible quantifiable benefit like being aero while also sitting and recovering while descending or something. I'm gonna be stubborn on this one... road bike dropper posts is going too far. I can't even be bothered with a dropper on my gravel/xc hardtail. It's just too easy to leave the rigid Thomson post on there and carry on with life without the fuss. (Repost, sorry for the typos)
  • 1 2
 Its upside because it didn't fit the frame, if they used the the full lenght it could drop he would need platform shoes from the 70s????????
  • 1 1
 @thegoodflow: my road bike is stuck in my house in another country and I only have my mountain bike here. One thing I really want to get for my road bike when I get it back is a dropper. I really feel the benefit in comfort from just changing the saddle height by fractions. Even a 5 or 10mm drop changes the riding position enough to boost comfort. In my opinion the worst thing about road is that you're locked in the same position for the duration of the ride. The engine room always moves in the same way. I would even go for a 1" dropper if I could, then switch to a 1x setup. Curious if the left hand shifter could be repurposed as a dropper actuator.
  • 2 0
 I should have mentioned I've been doing a lot of road miles on my MTB. I wish never have thought of getting a dropper for the road bike before!
  • 1 0
 @jaame: I could see that, but I just sit or stand to mix it up. I never really sit on my mtb saddle when it's dropped unless I'm stopped. I just drop it to get it out of the way, and I put it back up when I want to sit.
  • 1 0
 @thegoodflow: yeah me too. I would love a dropper on the MTB that goes right down to the collar. On the road bike heck I would take 1cm drop if that was all that was available. The original Fox post had that funny double lever and two positions. It would be cool to get the road bike shifter set up like that, only with say, 1cm or 2cm drop.
  • 2 1
 @thegoodflow: You could use a roadie dropper, so that you dont have to sit on the toptube while descending in an aero tuck?
  • 1 0
 @aljoburr: who's sitting on the toptibe? What?
  • 1 0
 @thegoodflow: Chris Froome, TdF. More "aero" as roadies say. Which in itself is pretty annoying. They should use the full term at least some of the time.
  • 1 0
 @jaame: Idk, i can't even begin to express just how unenthusiastic I feel about putting a dropper on a road bike. Like I couldn't care less about any potential advantages or disadvantages, it's just one more thing that I don't need.
  • 1 0
 @thegoodflow: Competitive road cyclists can have some pretty unsafe descending postures at times, just to lower their aerodynamic resistance. Froome isn't the only one. If a dropper seatpost can help them with their tuck whist staying a bit safer, I'm all for it. I can recall people have died in top level enduro and XC racing, but I can't recall any of that happening in other mtb (or even bmx) disciplines (though there sure must be people who know more history and prove me wrong). However in top level road racing tours, it isn't out of the ordinary. The next stage would be a ride together that's not for points and after that it is just back to business.
  • 2 0
 @housem8d: No I'm comparing XC to DH noobs who think they know better than an XC racing team.
  • 30 0
 people: commencal make heavy bikes

nicolai: let me explain something..
  • 3 0
 They make some decent bikes tho
  • 15 0
 that's a dx pedal, just sayin'.
  • 1 7
flag fracasnoxteam (Apr 18, 2020 at 0:37) (Below Threshold)
 clip saint pedal don't exist
  • 3 1
 @fracasnoxteam: they do. PD-M820.
  • 1 1
 @fracasnoxteam: huh im staring at a box of them as i type this...
  • 8 0
 YESSSS!!!! WORLD CUP STUFF!!! I need more of this, im fiendin man!
  • 3 0
 I rode with some guys from FL who were using that Rockshox clampy thing on their reverbs to limit the drop. By the end of their Moab trip, we convinced them to use the full range of drop for steep moves. The fastest rider almost never lowered his seat the whole time!
  • 8 1
 Yeah but they were from FL , right ?
  • 3 1
 @barbarosza: Surprisingly enough, Florida has some great mountain bike trails. Maybe not a ton of elevation, but there is still technical riding to be found!
  • 4 1
 @barbarosza: You would be shocked how big some of the jumps are there. I stumbled onto the Santos network and they have bigger jumps than most ski mountains. Hot as hell though.
  • 2 1
 @jorgeposada: if you thought Kansas was flat....
  • 1 3
 @fruitsd79: Been all over the world brother and it's all awesome. The Florida cats would make you want to hang your bike up. I was fortunate to stumble onto this spot 14 years ago and watch it go to the moon. Made it through that entire park on a ht. Bring a DH for real.
  • 3 0
 That bit of flimsy wire with a tiny blob of solder around the spokes will pretty much not do anything for wheel stiffness. It only may benefit you if a spoke breaks. There is a reason why people stopped doing this. Spokes have gotten so much better and this is not necessary anymore. In fact, this makes truing wheels so much more frustrating. This is basically as effective at holding your wheel together, as shaking the wheel a 100 times in every axis, it's superstitious to believe it does anything.
  • 6 2
 When u see that laptop is needed to service mountain bike you know that wa're all fucked.
  • 4 1
 @EnduroridePL When I read that you can't recognize who is doing this and why it's funny, I'm sad.
  • 3 1
 @fracasnoxteam: I gave you + to make you feel better. Stay strong.
  • 3 0
 @EnduroriderPL: Competition is a test bench, so yes: they use computers, but remember that it`s to enhance and create the bikes that you or me will buy in the future. Also, making a bike is mostly about mathetics, and computers are pretty good at doing this so far ;-)
  • 3 1
 @softsteel: I was referring to need of use of a computer to SERVICE a bike not designing one and it's a huge difference at least for me.
  • 2 0
 @EnduroriderPL: dodging the whoosh
  • 4 0
 You cant have hacks and bodges without singing the song lol quarantine sucks..
  • 1 0
 "... provides 4.5cm of travel. The upper half is made of a carbon shaft that is joined to the head from another seatpost then pre-preg carbon fibre strips were wrapped around it to reinforce the join. The weight of the final product was a very XC-friendly 230 grams"

does pinkbike have anymore info on this? I imagine a lot of XC racers would love a dropper post like this.
  • 1 0
 DT Swiss have released an XC dropper - slightly heavier at 369gr but 60mm travel: www.dtswiss.com/en/products/suspension/dropper-post/d-232-one

The following PB article suggests that the dropper on Mathias Flückiger's bike was a prototype for the D 232: www.pinkbike.com/news/first-ride-dt-swisss-new-232-one-platform.html
  • 1 0
 @RichJS: thanks, but no 31.6mm size
  • 2 0
 That shock for Alex Fayolle's rig looks sick. Would love to rip that a run or 20.
  • 3 0
 Those are Shimano dx pedals not saints
  • 2 0
 Is this a hack or a bodge?
Santa cruz Nomad fat /plus bike

  • 1 0
 Love that a mechanic hand builds an custom rear shock, then leaves 2" of uncapped cable hanging off the lockout. Must have been tired from all the shock building.
  • 1 0
 What is the purpose of a idler? Why route the chain up there? Im not an engineer.
  • 2 0
 Vorksprung just posted a video on chains and suspension on pinkbike...go take a look.
  • 3 0
 With some designs you get pedal kickback. This is a fix to keep the chain from pulling in hits. Axle path in certain gears may be neural but not in all gears.
  • 2 0
 And note it's not an hack but an "official" Scott prototype. Nothing about Minaar's v10 that is one of the most hacked bike ever?
  • 1 0
 Love this. I am so copying the brake pad spacer! I have way to many old rotors.
  • 2 0
 There's some serious bro science afoot in that top photo haha
  • 2 0
 How is the first dropper operated?
  • 1 0
 mathias test ride new dtswiss dropper?
  • 2 2
 So, if they end up breaking the homemade products, how they going to replace it?
  • 2 1
 Homemake a replacement.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: But it takes so much time. They can't get back to racing quickly.
  • 1 0
 Very cool pad spacer. I will make oneSmile
  • 1 0
 What's old will always be new again.
  • 2 0
 More please
  • 2 1
 This is cool. Do you think you guys can do best cheap upgrades?
  • 1 0
 what do you mean by that?
  • 1 0
 I like articles like this too, would gladly read more like this. Thanks Pinkbike!
  • 1 0
 @JacobyDH: review best cheap upgrades
  • 2 0
 @dylrtz: yeah, i guess i would benfit from that too
  • 3 2
 Don't buy upgrades, ride DOWN grades!
  • 2 0
 @Braindrain: Brilliant comment!
  • 1 2
 never heard of tied spokes. should i give it a go? could it maybe make wheels super silent?
  • 1 2
 Yeah might be trying that sometime...
  • 16 1
 Wait till you find out about soldered.
  • 5 1
 Do you trust power balance? because it's the power balance of wheels.
  • 8 0
 Wheels are already silent if they're properly built.
  • 7 0
 Wait til you google twisty spokes. Remember guys doing it 20 years ago.
  • 3 0
 @faul: brilliant. Absolutely nailed it.
  • 5 0
 It's an interesting and, as the article provides, old-school solution for adding to retention a bit more. As @arandomJohn points out below, soldering is the traditional go-to if you're aiming to achieve this. Minnaar's mechanic has sometimes done this for Greg. Just be aware that it comes with drawbacks, too. Truing the wheels (if soldering) becomes a bit more awkward later, to say the least, and, as a number of wheelbuilders will tell you, soldering also reduces spoke flex - which in theory makes a spoke less durable over time. Spokes need to flex to have a long fatigue life. That's why the industry's most durable spokes as an empirical fact (think Sapim CX-Ray) are bladed or tripled butted. Furthermore, you should only solder (or tie) on certain rims. Companies like NOBL (strictly, on all of their stuff) and Spank (on the Vibrocore rims) already state that they do not advise building with straight-gauge spokes because of what the rigidity does to the rim and riding profile. Soldering may be thought of as bringing any soldered spoke a little closer to that straight-gauge mock up. So you would just want to be sure that your rim is appropriate for the job. At a minimum, make sure you're using eyeleted and/or washer-equipped rims on the build. Ultimately, soldering has its place and isn't without value for racers and other specific cases. But as @noapathy says, a good build should already be pretty darn quiet out on the trail.
  • 1 0
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