Berd Spokes Product Manual
Re-tensioning Berd Spokes
We build Berd wheelsets over the course of 3-5 days, taking the time to slowly build up spoke tension. Even so, the wheels will lose approximately 30% of their tension after ~3 months of riding due to the natural “bedding in” process of the fibers. At this point, we suggest double checking the dish and ensuring your wheels run true. If you are inexperienced with wheel building and the wheels need significant work, have them serviced by an experienced builder or contact us. If the wheel is still true and dished well, you can follow these instructions to re-tension the wheels.
Berd spokes are equivalent to bladed spokes 1.1mm thick x 2.1 to 2.2mm wide, as far as tension readings go. On a Park Tools TM-1 tension meter, the number 12, or 78kg/f is a good final resting tension for Berd spokes on the high tension side of the wheels. Deep road disc wheels can have slightly less tension — 10 is okay. With a calibrated tension meter, be sure to measure tension at the middle of the spokes, and take quite a few readings before adjusting anything to get a good average.
Use the Berd Spoke Holding Tool to prevent the spoke from twisting and use the 3.2mm External Nipple Wrench to tighten the nipples. If the nipples are not turning freely and there is risk of breaking a nipple, then the tire/tape should be removed from the wheel and an internal double square nipple wrench should be used.
You can purchase the Spoke Holding Tool, External Nipple Wrench and other Berd tools necessary for replacing a spoke or re-tensioning the wheels from us, the Berd website, or from one of their dealers.
Berd Spoke Replacement Tools
The Awl is used to open up the loop at the ends of spokes so that the wire does not fray the spoke. Individual spokes can be replaced without an Awl, but you will want one if you’re building an entire wheel or replacing many spokes at once.
A Pulling Tool is required for all Berd wheel builds or when replacing spokes. Used in conjunction with the Wire Loop to pull the spokes through hubs.
Insert Pushing Tool
The Insert Pushing Tool is required to install Inserts on tangential straight pull hubs. This tool is not required for other hub types (J-bend or radial straight pull hubs).
External Nipple Wrench
The External Nipple Wrench allows for external truing or replacing spokes (no need to remove the tire). Compatible with external nipples only. If you’re using this tool to replace a Berd spoke, be sure that you use the Berd Spoke Holding Tool.
Spoke Holding Tool
Only compatible with Berd spokes, the Spoke Holding Tool is used to prevent the spoke from twisting while building.
The Wire Loop is used for pulling spokes through hub holes on every Berd wheelset. While only one Wire Loop is generally required, they can break under heavy use so we recommend having a spare or two.
Tangential Straight Pull "Insert"
These Inserts prevent spoke fraying on tangential straight pull hubs. One piece is required per spoke.
Spoke Rods are available in black or white and are used to stop Berd spokes from pulling through hub holes. One piece is required for every Berd spoke regardless of the hub type.
Replacement Berd Spoke
Colour: Black, White
Size: We’ll contact you
Replacing A Berd Spoke
First, take a look at the nipple. If your nipple is in good shape, you will not need to remove the tire and tape from the rim as there is an External Nipple Wrench that can be used. You will also need a Wire Loop, Pulling tool, Pushing tool, Spoke Rod, a replacement spoke and the Spoke Holding Tool. An Awl would be handy, but it’s not worth buying if you just have to replace one spoke. If you purchased the wheel from us, your order fulfillment e-mail will contain the spoke lengths used but feel free to email us and we’ll look the info up for you.
If the nipple strips, then you’ll need to remove the tire and tape to replace the nipple. Always use Sapim double square secure lock nipples because they provide more operating room to tighten the spoke, which is required because these spokes stretch significantly. They also have high corrosion resistance, strength, and the secure lock function prevents them from loosening off over time. If you’re replacing a nipple, it would be better to use a tool from the outer diameter of the rim at this point. The Park Tools SW-15 and SW-16 have the 3.2mm double square drive on it, but we find the DT Swiss T-handle to be much nicer to use. Part number: TTSXXXXR05631S
Remove the old spoke from the hub and unthread it from the nipple. You may need to use the Spoke Holding Tool and the External Nipple Wrench to remove it. If you can’t pull the spoke out easily, you can cut it with cutting pliers. We don’t suggest using a knife to cut it as it requires a lot more force than you’d think.
Preparing The New Spoke
Take one of the Wire Loops, bend it in half, and flatten the looped ends with a pair of pliers. This will help them squeeze through the hub holes.
Open the spoke’s loop by hand, you could use the Awl if you have one. Be careful not to stab the spoke with the Awl. Thread the Wire Loop through the spoke loop until the halfway point, and pinch the spoke loop to hold it in place.
Adding The New Spoke To Your Hub
For J-Bend Spokes
Grab the Wire Loop by the two looped ends and feed them through the hub hole. Hook the Pulling Tool into BOTH of the steel Wire Loops and pull the spoke through the hub. Remove the Pulling Tool.
For Straight Pull Spokes
Grab the Wire Loop by the 2 looped ends and feed them through the hub hole. One thing to watch out for on tangential straight pull hubs is that you’ll be pushing the steel Spoke Rods and pulling the spoke through the small hole opening and not the large hole opening. Place the hub Insert onto the Pushing tool and then onto the Wire Loop. Hook the Pulling tool into BOTH of the steel Wire Loops and pull the tool away from the hub while using your other hand on the Pushing tool to slide the Insert onto the spoke loop. Once the Insert is seated, remove the Pulling tool and then remove the Pushing tool.
If you have an Awl, use it to open the spoke loop, and remove the wire while being careful not to fray the spoke. You should be able to open the loop by hand if you’re careful.
Insert the Spoke Rod into the spoke loop, pinch the spoke loop to hold the rod in the center. Firmly pull the spoke to seat the rod. You may need to re-adjust it to keep it centered.
Adding The New Spoke To Your Rim
Once the spoke is tied into the hub, it’s time to attach the rim. You can figure out the lacing pattern by looking at the same kind of spoke elsewhere in the rim. Pay close attention to whether or not it goes over or under spokes that it crosses.
Use the Spoke Holding Tool to pull the spoke towards the nipple and thread it on. Use a piece of electrical tape to wrap it around the middle of the spoke so you can keep track of the spoke you’re working on.
Use the Spoke Holding Tool to prevent the spoke from rotating. Tighten the nipple down to the rim until the spoke is taught. Look at the spoke and ensure there is no twist in it. Add tension until it is similar to that of the spokes on the same side of the wheel. You can use a Part Tools TM-1 gauge to check the tension but don’t attempt to true the wheel at this stage, leave it to rest overnight (or at least 8 hours).
Tensioning And Truing
When you come back to it, check the tension on the spoke and you’ll likely notice that it dropped. Bring it up to the same average as its neighboring spokes + 10% before leaving it to rest overnight again (or at least 8 hours). After this stage, you should find the replaced spoke tension is pretty close to the other spokes on that side of the wheel. If that’s the case, you can give it a spin in a truing stand and see if any adjustments are needed.
After a few months of riding, the wheel tension will drop due to the natural “bedding in” process of the fibers. Since you’re already replacing a spoke, this is a good time to check the overall wheel tension. You probably won’t need to do any major adjustments, typically counting your turns and bringing the wheel back up to ~12 on the high tension side of the wheel, while keeping the wheel dished is all that’s needed. The wheels shouldn’t lose much tension after this but it would be good to check them occasionally. We prefer to do this when changing tires as it’s nicer to work on the wheels with the T-handle wrench and the tire/tape removed.
Building A Berd Spoke Wheel
Calculating Spoke Lengths
Before starting, your spoke lengths will need to be carefully calculated. Note that the calculations will be different than those with conventional steel spokes, so use the calculator on Berdspokes.com. Measure the ERD of your rims carefully and use those values for your calculations. We advise against using ERD numbers referenced online as these measurements will vary from rim to rim.
Preparing Your Hubs
Hubs will likely need special preparation before building. The goal is to smooth out sharper edges that could potentially fray spokes and lead to compromised strength down the road. If you prepare the hubs and build the wheels correctly, Berd spokes should last a long time and will be as reliable as top quality steel spokes.
For J-bend hubs, use the Corner Rounding Tool to soften both ends of the spoke holes. When you’re finished, wipe the hub down to get a good look at the holes and ensure they’re nice and even. If needed, use a grinding bit followed by a polishing bit to touch up any areas that still aren’t smooth. Wipe the hub down again and feel for sharp edges and continue to carefully work the hub if needed. Work slowly and be careful not to overdo it.
For preparing radial straight pull hubs, the process is relatively the same but without the corner rounding bit, start with the grinding bit straight away.
For tangential straight pull hubs (the most common), no preparation is typically required. However, if spokes are fraying as you pull them through, use the grinding and polishing bits to smooth out the sharp edges of the hole.
Securing The Berd Spokes To Your Hub
To lace a Berd wheelset, begin by feeding all of the spokes through the hub and attaching them to the rim after. We suggest taking your time and being patient as the process is time consuming and can be frustrating if rushed.
To insert the spokes, take one of the Wire Loops, bend it in half, and flatten the looped ends with a pair of pliers. This will help them squeeze through the hub holes.
Open the spokes loop by hand, and use the awl if needed. Be careful not to stab the spoke with the awl. Thread the wire through the spoke loop until the halfway point, and pinch the spoke loop to hold it in place.
Grab the Wire Loop by the two looped ends and feed them through the hub hole. If lacing a tangential straight pull hub, note that you’ll be pushing the steel Spoke Rods and pulling the spoke through the small hole opening and not the larger hole opening.
For tangential straight pull hubs only, you’ll need to place the hub insert onto the pushing tool and onto the wire loop. Hook the Pulling Tool into both of the steel Wire Loops and pull it away from the hub while using your other hand on the Pushing Tool to slide the insert onto the Wire Loop. Once the Insert is seated, remove the Pulling Tool first followed by the Pushing Tool. Apart from the installation of the Insert on the tangential straight pull hubs, the steps are completely identical.
Use the Awl to open the spoke loop, and remove the Wire Loop while being careful not to fray the spoke.
Insert the Spoke Rod into the spoke loop, pinch the spoke loop to hold the Rod in the center. Firmly pull the spoke to seat the rod. You may need to re-adjust it to keep it centered.
Lacing The Berd Spokes To Your Rim
Once the spokes are all tied into the hub, it’s time to attach the rim. Use Sapim double square secure lock nipples as they provide plenty of operating room to tighten the spokes, which is beneficial because the spokes will stretch significantly. They have high corrosion resistance, strength, and the secure lock function prevents them from loosening off over time.
When you lace the wheel, you’ll only want to tighten the nipple 1 full revolution to start. If you tighten them down too much, you won’t be able to get enough purchase on the other nipples as you try to finish the lacing process. When you run into this scenario with steel spokes, you may suspect your spoke lengths are too short. In the case of Berd, if you can just barely get the 3rd and 4th sets of spokes to bite into the nipple threads, you’ll know you’ve got the right lengths!
Besides only slightly threading the nipples onto the spokes, there are a few other tricks to help when things get tight. One is to use the Spoke Holding Tool to pull the spoke taught while turning the nipple using a T-handle wrench. If you’re convinced you have the right spoke lengths but are still struggling, you could start by lacing up ONLY the high tension side of the wheel (For front wheels that’s the disc side, and on rear wheels it’s the drive side). Once the wheel is half-laced, build up tension in the wheel by counting your turns and doing the same amount on each spoke. Keep a record of the number of turns and after a few laps of tightening, you should feel that the spokes have a decent amount of tension. We suggest leaving the wheel overnight or for at least 4 hours before unwinding the nipples by the number of turns you recorded so that they’re again barely threaded onto the spokes. At this point you should have enough slack in order to lace up the low tension side of the wheel. If this still doesn’t do the trick, then your spokes are likely too short. Even though this can be challenging, you don’t want to buy spokes that are purposely too long in order to make lacing a breeze, because you may run out of thread in order to build up enough tension in the wheel. Again, these babies stretch out quite a bit during the build process and that’s completely normal.
Once the wheel is fully laced, add 3 full turns to the high tension side of the wheel and then 2 full turns to the low tension side. Straighten out any twist in the spoke and use the Spoke Holding Tool to prevent it from spinning. The Park Tools SW-15 and SW-16 have the 3.2mm double square drive on it, but we find the DT Swiss T-handle to be much nicer to use. Part number: TTSXXXXR05631S
Check the dish and then tighten down the appropriate side to bring the wheel closer to center. Build up more tension until the low tension side of the wheel can get a measurable tension reading (1-3 on the Park Tools gauge is fine). Double check and fix any twist in the spokes. Note that not all of the spokes are perfectly round so you’ll get a different reading depending on the angle of the tension meter. Try orienting it in a few different ways until you feel you’re getting consistent readings.
True the wheel and build up tension. The spokes will be stretching so don’t be too picky, just fix the really ugly wows in the rim laterally and vertically. As you add a bit of tension to each spoke, squeeze every pair of spokes. Equalize the tension on the high tension side so it’s even then equalize the tension on the low tension side of the wheel. Keep adding tension until it sits at about 10-12 on the high tension side then true it up so it’s better than before. Don’t be super picky, leave it to rest overnight.
When you get back to it, check the dish and give the wheel a spin in the stand to see where it’s at. You’ll likely notice tension has dropped quite a bit. Add tension and true the wheel, it’s always best to do the high tension side first and then move onto the low tension side. When the spokes are stress relieved, tension is equalized, the wheel is holding it’s true and the high tension side is around 15, then you can leave it to rest overnight again
This time, the high tension side of the wheel should drop down to ~12 and you can make small adjustments to finish the wheel. 12 is a good number to finish at, there is no need to go higher. If your wheel is true and no major adjustments are needed, then you’re good to go! If relatively large adjustments are needed at this point, it’s best to make them and then let the wheel rest another day.
After a few months of riding, the wheel tension will drop due to the natural “bedding in” process of the fibers. You probably won’t need to do any major adjustments, typically counting your turns and bringing the wheel back up to ~12 on the high tension side of the wheel, while keeping the wheel dished is all that’s needed. The wheels shouldn’t lose much tension after this but it’s probably a good idea to check them occasionally. We prefer to do this when changing tires as it’s nicer to work on the wheels with the T-handle wrench and the tire/tape removed. There is an External Nipple Wrench that can be used to turn the nipples without the removal of the tire