Some Frequently Asked Questions:
How do I determine spoke length?
The procedure for determining the necessary length is not difficult, but it's a bit involved and shouldn't be hurried. Please don't estimate or ball-park your spoke length. Many of us do it. Sometimes it works. Often, sadly, it doesn't. Wrong spoke lengths lead to very unhappy wheel builders, which very well might be you. It's not uncommon for a length that's off by just a single millimeter to be too short or too long. A variety of online spoke calculators are available for free, such as those offered through most major spoke manufacturers, including Sapim and DT Swiss. Without putting my hands on your rim and hub, it's unfortunately not possible for me to determine an accurate length. Please don't send me your rims and hubs. If you're unsure of the needed length and you'd rather not fuss with the spoke-length calculation, consider a trip to a local bike shop for help. A friendly reminder, that's work for them. As with most work, a compensation request is not unreasonable. On a related note, a previously used spoke may not be a good reference for determining the correct length. Old spokes are often slightly deformed, which sometimes makes an accurate measurement difficult. Never-mind that needing to replace an existing spoke could be a sign that the original spoke, perhaps, was not an ideal length. Once you've gone through the steps of correctly determining an accurate length, even just a few times, you'll be a spoke-length pro!
I made a terrible mistake in my spoke length calculation and the spokes I ordered from you don't work, can I return them?
The short answer, no. Terribly sorry. Keep in mind that you're ordering a one-off custom-length spoke. When it comes to spoke length, measure three times, cut once. The longer answer, yes. If there's a manufacturing defect in the spoke or you asked for a 280mm spoke and I sent you a 270mm spoke, or your order was for silver spokes and you got black, you bet, you'll get all of your money back and I'll even pay to have those errant spokes shipped back to me.
Do you ship internationally?
Terribly sorry, no.
I'm not familiar with Pillar spokes, can you tell me more?
Pillar might be one of the best-kept spoke secrets in North America. There's a very good chance you've seen/ridden/sold/purchased lots of bikes equipped with Pillar spokes.
For over 30 years, Pillar has been a leading pioneer of spoke development throughout the world. Manufacturing nearly 20 million spokes each year from the highest-grades of stainless steel, much of which is sourced from Sweden, Pillar fostered a solid reputation for itself throughout Asia and Europe where it serviced as an Original Manufacturing Equipment maker for Campagnolo and many others.
13 gauge Pillar spokes available through Sunny Spokes are formed from T302+ stainless steel, manufactured by Sandvik, a world-leading developer and manufacturer of advanced stainless steels located in Sweden. Sandvik’s T302+ stainless steel was developed to gain strength through cold-forging. Pillar's 12 gauge Richman spokes are likewise manufactured from one of the highest quality materials, in this case Japanese-grade SUS304 stainless steel.
Until now, the availability of Pillar spokes in North America has been limited. Through an exclusive partnership with Sunny Spokes, Pillar’s strongest spokes, perfect for e-bike wheel-builds, are now accessible here, from sizes as short as 80mm to as long as 315mm.
Sunny Spokes is currently stocking Pillar's 12G and 13G spokes and nipples, in both silver and black.
Advantages of Pillar:
1. As an exclusive Pillar-spoke distributor, we're able to offer a very competitive price, less than the comparable (and still terrific) Sapim spoke.
2. The luster on Pillar's silver spokes is noticeably shinier. Pillar's silver spokes almost look like they've been chromed, but they've not. Likely one of the differences in Pillar's T302+ and SUS304 stainless steels. Strong and shiny. If you're looking for a glossy-finish silver spoke, look no further.
3. Pillar's 12G and 13G spokes offer up to 315mm of total length, longer than what's currently possible with a comparable Sapim spoke, which maxes-out at 308mm. If you're in search of a spoke longer than 308mm, Pillar can meet that need.
4. 12 Gauge black nipples! Available with Pillar's 12G spokes. Black nipples are unfortunately unavailable with Sapim's 12G spokes. If you really want black 12G nipples, Pillar can do that, too.
5. Still the same Sunny Spokes lifetime guarantee. Each and every Pillar spoke comes with our industry-only lifetime guarantee. If we didn't believe in Pillar's solid, long, and world-renown spoke history, we'd never offer them here. We couldn't be more pleased to make Pillar spokes available on a more accessible basis in the States.
What are the differences between the Sapim spokes you sell?
Leader spoke: This is Sapim's basic bread-and-butter stainless steel spoke from Sapim. This is a non-butted, or commonly also known as a straight gauge spoke. This is also our most popularly sold spoke. There's unfortunately not a common weight for this spoke that we can give as each custom length will have a slightly different weight, or in some cases a significant weight difference (e.g., a Leader spoke that's 308mm will be more than four times as heavy as the same Leader spoke that's only 80mm). That said, the Leader spoke is the heaviest of the Sapim spokes sold through Sunny Spokes.
Race spoke: Sapim's double-butted spoke that's a lighter and stronger spoke than their Leader product. What's butting? That's where a spoke transitions from a slightly thicker diameter to a slightly thinner diameter. If you run your fingers across a double-butted spoke, you'll feel a thickening toward the ends with a thinner middle section. Sapim creates their butting through a machine that's about the size of a small car through a cold-forged stretching process that aligns the internal steel lamellae of a double-butted spoke that helps strengthen the 'stretched' middle-thinner portion of a butted spoke. How can a thinner middle section of a spoke be stronger? The physics of a rolling wheel create multiple spoke compressions-and-tensions. For a well-ridden wheel these compression and tension cycles can easily approach the millions. A thinner mid-section of a spoke allows for greater elasticity during those compression cycles, which leads to a greater spoke life. An added benefit, it's also a lighter spoke as there's literally less steel between the butted ends.
CX-Ray: Considered by many aficionados to be the granddaddy of all spokes. The CX-Ray spoke is a bladed spoke that offers an even lighter weight than the Race spoke *and* it's also more aerodynamic than any other spoke sold by Sunny Spokes. "Come on, does a more aerodynamic spoke really make a difference?" Actually, yes. Think of spokes on a wheel as blades on a fan. The bigger the spokes on a wheel the larger the "fan effect" on that wheel as it cuts through the wind. What's worse, that wheel fan is going the wrong way as the wheel spins (and the spokes spin with the wheel) they're turning into the wind. Anything that can minimize that circumstance can sometimes lead to a big help. Because the CX-Ray spoke is bladed, the spokes cut through the wind as a wheel spins as opposed to a non-bladed spoke that's plowing through the wind. If you're using your bike as a cruiser around town, is it worth it to get CX-Rays? Unequivocally, no. Unless you want to have the coolest cruiser wheels in town. Why are they so expensive?! Because they're made one spoke at a time by a single person in an isolated room at the Sapim factory in Antwerp, Belgium. That person pushes a button to engage a 250-ton press, which is about the size of a dump truck, to create a single famous CX-Ray spoke.
How does DT Swiss compare to Sapim?
The DT Swiss "Champion" spoke I offer is comparable to Sapim's "Leader" spoke. Both are 14G, both are non-butted, both (most likely) are formed from the same Swiss-produced stainless steel wire, both have J-bend heads. Which is better? This is best described as a Coke-vs-Pepsi, Shimano-vs-Campagnolo, Protestant-vs-Catholic. For all intents and purposes, those spokes are equivalent products. The big difference, DT Swiss ships their raw wire from Europe to Grand Junction, Colorado, where the Champion spokes are made. Sapim takes their European-sourced raw wire and makes their spokes in Antwerp, Belgium, then ships the spokes to their US distribution, Hoss Active Sports, which is based in Olney, Illinois (known for their albino squirrels and very poor Sprint cellphone service).
Refunds and Returns?
We’re in this together.
Sunny Spokes cares about your experience. Honesty, integrity, and fairness are the basis of my business. My first goal is always to see what can be done to help. Communication is paramount. If there's ever a concern, question, complaint about anything we've sold, please immediately let me know. If I can improve or fix a situation, that's always my number-1 goal.
Because all custom-length bicycle spokes are special-order items, your spokes, unfortunately, cannot be returned. The spokes you received were cut from fresh blank spokes. Once they've been cut, they're no longer new and unfortunately can't be resold. That said, if you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach-out. If I can make a situation better, I will.