Every 1300 miles, the average road bike wheel running 25c tyres rotates 1 million times (Mind blowing, right? Most keen road cyclists comfortably hit that distance in a year).
And during those 1 million rotations, cyclic loading does its best to find imbalances in spoke tensions across the wheel. Whether this manifests as a broken spoke or a loss of tension and resulting wobble, it’s only a matter of time before it succeeds.
That’s why this tensiometer from Wheel Fanatyk in the USA plays such a key role in my wheelbuilding process. It allows me to accurately balance tensions between all spokes during the build process and also achieve the optimum tensions for the specific components in that wheel.
Factory and mass-market wheels will often have tension imbalances of ± 20 – 30%, which will lead to issues as the miles stack up through time. My wheels are all balanced ± 10%, typically closer to 5%.
One of the many benefits of buying wheels built properly and carefully by skilled hands.
P.S. also… 1 million rotations? Give a thought to those poor hub bearings!