Bicycle Mechanics - Radial spoke lacing with a steel hub?
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01-20-08, 12:30 PM
I understand the advantages and disadvantages of the radial spoke pattern on a front wheel. The most important disadvantage seems to be the greater risk of hub fracture, especially with hubs not rated for radial spoking, and somewhat with any used hub.
But how about steel hubs? It seems to me that even the cheapest steel hub's spoke flanges would be far more resistant to fracture than any aluminum alloy hub. I have a set of 36-spoke 27" wheels from a 1970's Royce Union 10-speed. These wheels have Shimano chrome-plated steel hubs. The hubs are in good condition, having seen very little use. I'm thinking about replacing the weak, slippery Araya steel rims with new aluminum 26" or 700c rims. I'd like to lace the front wheel radially, and believe I'd be safer with this old steel hub than with most new aluminum hubs. The few extra ounces of weight from the steel hubs is unimportant to me.
01-20-08, 12:40 PM
I agree with your reasoning and the steel flanges, unless they are very thin, should withstand radial lacing just fine. However check the cost of a new rim and spokes against a brand new wheel before you do anything. You may find it cheaper to replace the whole thing.
Unless of course, the object is to build a new wheel yourself. In that case cost isn't a consideration.
I'd like to lace the front wheel radially, and believe I'd be safer with this old steel hub than with most new aluminum hubs. The few extra ounces of weight from the steel hubs is unimportant to me.
All Shimano road hubs from 105 up are rated for radial lacing. That may not be 'most,' but it's a lot. And 105 hubs are cheap. With a new hub, you wouldn't just be getting lighter weight, you'd be getting smoother bearing races and somewhat thicker hub flanges that match to bends in modern spokes better than the flanges on your old hub will. You can definitely build a better wheel this way. But if you want the experience of building a wheel for the lowest possible cost, that old hub should work just fine.
On the other hand, if you just need a new wheelset, you'd probably be better off buying a pre-built set - it tends to be cheaper, but it's worth checking since you don't want to buy new hubs.
01-20-08, 02:25 PM
check the cost of a new rim and spokes against a brand new wheel before you do anything. You may find it cheaper to replace the whole thing. Unless of course, the object is to build a new wheel yourself. In that case cost isn't a consideration.
I'm sure buying a whole new wheel is the most cost-effective route. But are there any affordable front wheels with radial lacing? Also, my desire to learn wheelbuilding is a consideration. I would imagine that most inexpensive new wheels are machine-made, and from what I've read, an experienced wheelbuilder can do a better job than a machine.
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