How spokes are made by DT Swiss



Product development at DT Swiss focuses on new trends, technical innovation and very high quality standards. The spoke range is fine-tuned in line with the different requirements of the various cycling-disciplines. The portfolio is complemented by the numerous versions of lengths, diameters and colour variants, so nothing stands in the way of building the perfect wheel. 


The first processing step is the same for all types of spokes. Wire from large reels is fed through a machine where it is straightened and cut to length. A very precise straightening process is mainly important for the smooth operation of the following processing steps. Only the highest quality 18/10 stainless steel is used. 


This process, which was developed and patented by DT Swiss, is used to double-butt the diameter of the spokes. Oscillating hammers rotate around the wire. This process densifies the material and reduces it in diameter. This cold forging process hardens the material while ensuring that it retains its good ductility. The result is a spoke with a slim butted section for lightweight and a strong head and thread for durability. 


Head and thread are made during this step. First, the spoke is cut to the exactly calculated size, the head is formed and the known DT symbol is embossed on the spoke head. Classic spokes are subsequently elbowed in a 90 – 95º angle, which gives them their typical J-shape. The other end of the spoke is rolled to a thread. Rolling provides additional material strength at the thread. 


The source material is straight gauge or cold-forged spokes, which are bladed during this process with a weight of up to 250 tons. This flat shape of the spoke provides particularly aerodynamic advantages. If the spoke was initially cold-forged, then this additional forging process densifies the material even more, which in turn achieves a greater strength at a lower weight. 


Approximately 50 % of the produced spokes leave the factory in their original silver colour. All other spokes are blackened. In the blackening process, the spoke is treated with a weight neutral, chemical coat.


Quality control starts with the inspection of incoming certified raw material and continues throughout the whole production process. Material analyses are performed and the material is checked for dimensional accuracy, geometry and optics through permanent random sampling. In addition, new materials undergo comprehensive analysis and test programs before they are released for series production. 

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Alex Warwick Cycles presents this information for educational purposes.