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...bike spokes?


Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
During the overha...err, fixin'up of an old clarinet (<waves to Matthew>) I had to measure the dimension of a pivot screw and googled a bit around for its (not very metric) dimensions.

Now, what I found was that this thread pitch is commonly used for bicycle spokes, as is the diameter. Now, I often wonder why on earth a manufacturer would choose certain dimensions of parts over others (per the screws, why not Metrical, or standard Whitworth or Klingon or ...), and I am sure there is some "etymology" with industry standards as there is with words (think about the railroad track width).

As an engineer back then (and even more so today) I'd probably look into adapting readily available material, and one of those might have been bicycle spokes. They are threaded on one end, they are straightened, they have a suitable diameter, all that remains to do is to cut them to length, slot them on one end and shorten the threaded end as needed.

Now this would be a nice theory. In practice - has anyone ever used bike spokes to replace a kaputt rod in a sax or a clarinet? :-?


Clarinet CE/Moderator
Staff member
Ben that is very interesting.

Being a former bicycle racer, and wheel builder with a box full of oh say 50+ lbs of vintage spokes that is a curious question.

Of course bicycle spokes can come with different threads. And bicycle manufacturers actually use different threads in alot of things. For instance in the old days you can get a hub with UK English threading, french threading, italian threading, US standard threading and ISO threading.

A vintage campagnolo pedal will not fit well at all into a japanese crankset, but vice versa I think does work, kinda.

The exactness of the Italian threads did not make it fit into a japanese threaded freewheel onto hubs or pedals onto cranksets. Sutherlands bicycle repair handbook was a very needed thing in the older days of the 1970s and before.

But the question itself of using a spoke itself, say a 15 gauge DT is interesting. One would have to machine down the end and thread as necessary to make it fit, and have he proper threading machine. My threading machine tools for spokes will get stripped using instrument pivot rod.

Normally when a bicycle spoke is threaded it just cuts the thread up above the plane of the spoke. Thus for a clarinet/sax etc it would have to be cut down and then threaded. Otherwise the unthreaded part would be wobbly in the key. And of course we would have to find a spoke of the proper thickness.

The bike spoke is definitely much softer and more flexible than a hardened steel tool rod that is used for pivots. But ignoring the flexible part it could make for such a function, though I would think it may wear a bit quicker. Edit, ALOT quicker.

Also most spokes I beleive were stamped and their roundness was, not exactly round. Going with a higher end brand would provide more accurate roundness, such as DT spokes as I think they drawn theirs.

Year ago though I stopped building wheels and just buy the factory built stuff, or even better full carbon wheels. My spoke threading machine has various threading doohickies. I have not looked at it in years.

I do have a small collection of vintage spokes from all over the world. My favorites provided to me when I raced where the ovalized 15guage Alpina Italian spokes. aerodynamics of the early 1980s back when we had the "funny" bikes with 650c front wheels and 700c rear.

I do have some carbon spokes and nipples, I wonder how those would do. Longer lasting wear and lighter too.
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Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Groovekiller's also into bikes. He might have some insight, too. I +1 the comment about flexible, tho.

(I haven't ridden a bike since mine was stolen about 20 years ago. Just so I can make you avid bike enthusiasts groan: it was a Huffy. Blue.)

Carl H.

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
Friends don't let friends ride Huffys. I am surprised it got stolen.
Read your first sentence. Then read your second sentence.

Know who stole it now?


Clarinet CE/Moderator
Staff member
Actually Huffy was a sponsorship of US Olympic Cycling back then. Of course they had Serotta actual build the frames used by the team, with nice big HUFFY emblems on it. They made those US funny bikes for track and TimeTrials.
below a regular pro road bike.

Of course there was one particular huffy model made by Huffy which I wanted myself back in 1980ish. It was a special edition and only painted in White. Luckily I never got one as they only had a lifespan of a few years as the tubes rusted from the inside out and normally broke at the bottom bracket. I saw one around town , absolutely beautiful, but a piece of trash a few years later as the downtube just rusted right through.


In my younger days I had also owned a Ross racing bike. This unfortunately was not the custom ones made by Tom Kellogg. Oh those custom dropouts were weird ideas (half way down the webpage)