Using a bicycle spoke tension meter to measure shroud tension?


Has anybody used a bicycle spoke tension meter to measure the tension on a wire shroud? I'm setting up an Albacore after spending most of my time on a Sunfish or club boats set up by somebody else. I'm also an avid cyclist and hoping I can buy one tool for both sports (and a bike spoke tension meter is less expensive). Thanks.


Well-Known Member
Interesting thought; a few minutes ago I didn't even know that sort of things existed :D They seem to take up to 3 mm spokes, and the scales go nearly up to 200 kg, so it's in the same ballpark with the thickness and tension we're measuring. The thing is, bike spokes and jib luff wires are constructed differently and maybe of different materials, so the readings will be hard to translate into real values (boats with rod rigging use different, very expensive meters). Maybe you could borrow someone's wire meter and see if you can somehow calibrate a spoke meter with it. But I'm inclined to think that getting a classic "Model A" would be a better investment.



New Member
I know this is almost 4 years later, but maybe it's still helpful. The simple answer is that yes, it can work, but there are many caveats.

Here is the long story. My kid sails C420s. I too got annoyed when I saw how much a Loos gage is, so I started looking for alternatives. That's how I stumbled upon the bike spoke tension gages, which I too, @LaLi , didn't know existed. So I looked around and, @MrXC , your posting above, and in the other forum, was the only one asking if this could work (great minds... :) So bought one and it turns out that the spring in the bike spoke tension gage is a bit too weak, so there is only a small overlap with the Loos gage. Therefore, I had to get a stronger spring and then calibrate gage. But to do so, I had to build a rig with a 3mm (1/8") cable, tensioner and digital scale. So, @LaLi , you were pretty much dead on. To make things more complicated, for the C420s, the kids don't measure the tension in N, Kg-force or lb-f, but rather in the meaningless Loos gage numbers. So I didn't have the luxury to put any random stronger spring and then give them a conversion table. I had to have the spoke gage match the Loos gage. Some 20 calculations later and some 20 trial and error springs later, I ended up ordering a custom spring (actually 100 of them since there was a minimum quantity order) from China. So, in order to save $30, I probably spent close to $700 but I made a gage for every sailor in my kid's sailing club. And frankly they are much easier to use than the Loos gage. So yes, it can be done, but it's complicated. By the way, what tension do you need in an Albacore and what diameter shroud? Or what number on the Loos gage scale?