Are titanium spokes really the lightest option when it comes to spokes for your custom wheels? Sure, it’s a no brainer, titanium is lighter why would I even doubt it? Well, dear readers, I’ve seen the numbers, and well they just don’t weigh up. I’m sure there will be people out there trying to justify the enormous price difference between Ti spokes and stainless steel, but facts are facts.
Let’s go head to head with the most common Titanium spokes Union Ti and leading stainless steel DT Swiss Competition Race spokes.
Firstly Ti spokes have to be built with brass nipples to avoid replacing lots of spokes, DT spokes come with Alloy nipples. Titanium spokes are also said to void hub warranties in some cases, although I can’t find specific brands that state this.
DT Swiss Competition Race Spokes (Double Butted)
DT Competition Race is an evolution of the already light DT Competition. The extra thin middle section saves an astonishing 70 g compared to the classic version at almost equal stiffness and durability. Weight: 312 g for 64 spokes at a length of 264 mm.
Worth the weight?
A common length BMX spoke for 36 Ti spokes with 12mm brass nipples works out to 291.6 grams. The DT double butted spokes with alloy nipples works out to 280.5. This makes the DT spokes 11.1 grams lighter at the same time they are significantly more affordable.
The facts are clear, this Myth is busted! While titanium spokes are very light you could save additional weight, and money, by looking at DT Swiss’s Competition Race double butted spokes. I spent many years racing with double butted spokes for one key reason. To protect the wheel set. BMX is no joke, it’s a contact sport and contact (accidental or deliberate) can lead to loss of spokes. With double butted spokes the spokes break protecting the hubs and the spoke holes in the rim. With titanium spokes you don’t quite have the same give.
Special thanks to Paul Knox for his help on this article.
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