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  • Tight as the rim will allow, in my opinion. I learned most of what I know from 'The Art of Wheelbuilding' by Gerd Schraner, who argues that tighter is always stronger (up to what the rim and spokes will allow), and that you should never 'under-tension' spokes in the pursuit of a softer ride.

    Spokes aren't meant to be suspension; if you want a softer ride use larger/suppler/softer/lower inflated tyres, thinner guage centre section butted spokes, lower profile rims, smaller flange hubs etc etc. Also, under-tensioned spokes create play between the head and hub flange, which leads to broken spokes.