I’m not going to lie, I bought this tool mainly for me, to make my life easier.
As a custom wheel builder producing high quality wheels is the easy part of my job. One of my biggest challenges, and time suck, is on the business side of things: spoke inventory management and tracking. When picking the right spoke for a customer I have a ton of options to choose from. I have six different spokes I routinely build with:
- DT Swiss Competitions
- DT Swiss Revolution
- DT Swiss Alpine III
- DT Swiss Aerolite
- Wheelsmith DB14
- Sapim CX-Ray
Each is available in black or silver, and the spoke lengths needed vary depending on the hub, rim, spoke count, and lacing pattern. For a production shop building the same wheels over and over again it’s easy to keep the proper spokes on hand. But since I build custom wheels the spoke lengths I use vary wildly day to day. I’m picky about spoke length too, most of my builds have alloy nipples and proper spoke length is critical for durability, so I don’t round my spoke lengths up or down in an attempt to reduce inventory. I have thousands of spokes on hand, and even with such a big variety of spokes, I still sometimes don’t have the particular spoke/color/length I need.
Enter the Morizumi Spoke Machine. Manufactured in Japan, this is a very high quality, and expensive, tool with one job – shortening and threading spokes. The dual action machine is all manually operated, one lever is used to cut the spoke to length, and the other lever is used to pull the spoke between a pair of dies to put threads on the end. Here’s the machine in action.
The dies do not cut the threads, they are forged. No material is removed from the spoke, instead intense pressure reshapes the material into the threads – this is the same way high quality spokes are threaded in a production factory. Cutting threads would remove material from the spoke and cause stress risers that would lead to early fatigue failure, but forging actually makes the threaded section stronger.
Having the Morizumi means I don’t have to keep such a huge variety of spokes on hand – I can stock certain lengths and then trim the spokes down to the lengths I need, when I need them. It also means quicker lead time for my customers – the chances of me not having the spoke I need and waiting for them to be delivered are greatly reduced.
Because I don’t have to stock every spoke length imaginable, I am also expanding my offerings a bit and am now offering colored spokes! I have DT Swiss Competitions and Sapim CX-Rays available in white, and Wheelsmith DB14’s available in white, red, blue, and green.
They are all powder coated, and I suggest using them only in pairs at the valve. When building the wheels and stress relieving the spokes, they slide against each other at the crossings, which damages the powder coated finish. By using them only at the valve, the damage can be hidden by keeping it only on the inside of the wheel where it’s not very visible. Colored spokes are an additional $2/spoke, so a pair per wheel is only an extra $8, but doing a whole wheelset gets expensive fast.