Measuring ERD for spoke length calculation

Here's the approach I take to measuring rim ERD for the purposes of spoke length calculation:

  • cut two old spokes to exactly 200mm long (cut to 150mm long if you're building BMX, 20" wheels etc.);
  • loctite on the end of these spokes the nipples you will be using with the build, ensuring that the spoke is engaged properly with the nipple head;
  • insert spokes into rims at opposite spoke holes and measure the gap between the cut spoke ends;
  • add 400mm to this gap and you have the ERD of the rim;
  • measure the rim in several places to make sure you've measured correctly.

Here's what the spoke / nipple engagement should look like. Once your wheels are built up you want the spokes to fully engage the spoke head like pictured below:

Spoke properly engaged in nipple

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