Spoke with one or both ends thicker than in the middle. Gives a lighter and more resilient spoke, without that it comes at the expense of the lifespan.
Single butted spokes
Are thicker than normal on the hub-side, they are tapered off to the thread. Singel butted spokes are not common but are sometimes used in heavy-duty applications where a thicker spoke is used for rims with holes of normal size.
Double butted spokes
Are thicker at the ends than in the middle.
The most popular diameters are 2.0 / 1.8 / 2.0mm, 2.0 / 1.5 / 2.0mm and 1.8 / 1.6 / 1.8.
Double butted spokes are not only lighter, the fat ends are just as strong in the highly stressed areas as straight spokes, but the thinner middle sections make the spokes more elastic.
This means that they (temporarily) can stretch more than thicker spokes.
The consequence of this is that when the wheel is exposed to sharp local pressure, the most heavily loaded spokes can stretch enough to move to the adjacent spokes some of the pressure.
This is especially desirable when the amount of pressure with which the wheel rim can be loaded without breaking the spoke hole is the limiting factor.
Triple butted spaken
Such as the DT Alpine III, are the best choice where durability and reliability are preferred, for example. In the case of tandem or heavily loaded bicycles. They have the advantages of single-butted and double-butted spokes. The DT Alpine III, for example, is 2:34 mm at the head, 1.8 mm in the center and 2.0 mm at the screw side. Single-and triple-butted spokes are the solution to one of the biggest problems of wheel design: Since spokes rolled and not use broken (cut) screw ends, the outer diameter of the thread is no longer the base diameter of the spoke wire. As the holes of the hub ‘flanges’ should be large enough to fit the screw thread, it is required that the holes are larger than the screw thread. This is not desirable since a strong match between the spoke diameter at the elbow and the diameter of the ‘flange hole’ is crucial in order to resist depletion-related breaking.
Since single-and triple-butted spokes on are thicker the head than on the side of the thread, they can be used with hubs that have holes which are just large enough to accommodate the thick portion (thread) at the end face to go through.
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