I’m so glad we’ve sold over 100 tensiometers in the year since it was introduced. Only two had mechanical issues and most users are very pleased. It’s also satisfying to know quite a few bought in addition to their DT tools.
DT is a particularly accurate and nice unit. Why buy a Wheel Fanatyk as well? A bunch of reasons. It’s a more clever way to grasp a spoke, where the tool doesn’t notice the spoke’s thickness. The gauge is also mounted in the center of a triangular plate that offers protection. Other gauges are not to be dropped!
But the most compelling reason is accuracy. DT is excellent at high tensions, even up to 150kgf; but at the expense of accuracy at low tensions. The Wheel Fanatyk is not as adept over 120kgf (works but less well) but it reads low tensions precisely. This matters if you build 11 speed Shimano or Campag wheels with thin, aero spokes. The left sides of those wheels are at such low tension that DT can’t read them. So, if you own one, you also deserve a Wheel Fanatyk if only for the reason of low tension.
There’s still a good argument for a Park or Wheelsmith tensiometer (remember those?), because they’re cheap, numerous, and rugged. Field mechanics, in particular, try and keep their gear light and minimal. A simple Park TM-1 may lack some accuracy but easily survives an unpadded trip in the box of wrenches. Another reason to own multiple tools is calibration. Test them against each other. Learn what you’re reading and to appreciate each for its strength.
We keep a calibration fixture to support Wheel Fanatyk Tensiometers. It’s built around a Dillon Force Gauge. Don’t try and use one that has not been recently calibrated. Today, there are digital versions if you are inclined. Think about sending your tool to us for calibration or, better yet, make your own. You can just hang 100kg from a single spoke beneath a tree. It doesn’t have to be complicated, spoke don’t lie.
A really nice development is the work of Ryan Kereliuk in Calgary. He’s a veteran wheel builder and talented IT guy. He offers a utility that works with our tension gauge to record and map tension. See his utility here at Spokeservice.ca. Your browser runs it. Check it on the site. Click “initialize” and view the sample chart with demo values. Now click “visualize” and see a radar map of the tensions.
You can download it from the first page as a web page. An html file “SpokeService Spoke tension.html” and one folder “SpokeService Spoke tension_files” will appear on your computer. Now you can run the utility without a web connection. Click the html file and your browser runs it independently.
What a super gift to the building community. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from SpokeService in the future.