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  1. #1
    ec velo
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    spokes: which side of hub flange?

    When building a wheel should all of the pulling spokes be on the same side of the hub flanges?
    A hub has two flanges. On each flange all the pulling spoke heads are either on the inside or the outside of the hub flange. Do both flanges need to be the same? Or can the pulling spokes be on the inside of one flange and the outside of another?

  2. #2
    Gone, but not forgotten Sheldon Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sheba
    When building a wheel should all of the pulling spokes be on the same side of the hub flanges?
    A hub has two flanges. On each flange all the pulling spoke heads are either on the inside or the outside of the hub flange. Do both flanges need to be the same? Or can the pulling spokes be on the inside of one flange and the outside of another?
    See: http://sheldonbrown.com/wheelbuilding

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  3. #3
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    Also, look at pretty much any wheel out there for reference on how this works.

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    Senior Member concernicus's Avatar
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    definitely read sheldon's articles on wheelbuilding. and when youre done reading that, read everything else he has on his website. he is very wise

  5. #5
    ec velo
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    Ok, I've actually built several wheels before with great results. I have built my wheels with both sets of pulling spokes on the same side of the flanges as well as opposite sides with no noticeable difference. When looking at other wheels not built by myself, I find that they are built both ways as well. I have extensively read both Sheldon Brown's site (excellent site I might add) and Barnetts; I have found neither of these sources to address my question. Perhaps in some other book...?

  6. #6
    In beaurocratic limbo urbanknight's Avatar
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    Edited for mistake.

    Quote Originally Posted by timcupery
    Also, look at pretty much any wheel out there for reference on how this works.
    I have seen almost every combination on "stock" wheels, because the factory doesn't care how they are laced up as long as they are built quickly. Although to their credit, there is very little difference in performance as far as I can tell. The factory wheels go out of true quickly, but that's probably because nobody really checks for proper spoke tension on those sets.

    I was taught by an old racer how to build wheels, and he claimed that the rear wheels should have the trailing spokes on the inside for strength (actually makes sense) while the fronts are the opposite for aerodynamics (not so sure about that one). I don't know if there is an ounce of truth to that, but I built all of my wheels by that rule and they stayed true for years at a time. Of course, I upset him when I built my front racing wheels radial laced, but I never had a problem with those either.
    Last edited by urbanknight; 04-07-06 at 12:23 PM.

  7. #7
    Curmudgeon Wil Davis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by urbanknight
    …snip
    I was taught by an old racer how to build wheels, and he claimed that the rear wheels should have the trailing spokes facing rearward for strength (actually makes sense) while the fronts are the opposite for aerodynamics (not so sure about that one).
    …snip
    Trailing spokes by definition face rearward. I thought the question was which side of the hub flange (see Sheldon Brown, Jobst Brandt, Gerd Schraner et al.)

    - Wil
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  8. #8
    Gone, but not forgotten Sheldon Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sheba
    Ok, I've actually built several wheels before with great results. I have built my wheels with both sets of pulling spokes on the same side of the flanges as well as opposite sides with no noticeable difference. When looking at other wheels not built by myself, I find that they are built both ways as well. I have extensively read both Sheldon Brown's site (excellent site I might add) and Barnetts; I have found neither of these sources to address my question. Perhaps in some other book...?
    I guess you didn't read my article thoroughly, because I do address this issue. There's even an anchor to the specific section:

    http://sheldonbrown.com/wheelbuild.html#side


    Which Side of the Flange?

    Derailer rear wheels should be laced with the trailing spokes running up along the inside of the flange. There are three reasons for this:

    The spokes are bent around each other at the outermost crossing. Under drive torque, especially in low gear, the trailing spokes straighten out and the leading spokes bend even more. If the wheel is laced with the trailing spokes on the outside of the flange, the crossing gets pulled outward toward the derailer cage, and in some cases will actually hit against the derailer only under load.

    If the chain should overshoot the inner sprocket due to the derailer being mis-adjusted or bent, it is likely to get more seriously jammed between the spokes and the freewheel if the spokes slant so as to wedge the chain inward under load.*

    If the chain should overshoot the inner sprocket, it may damage and weaken the spokes it rubs against. Since the trailing spokes are more highly stressed than the leading spokes, it is better to protect them from this type of damage by keeping them inboard.

    It really doesn't matter which way you go on the left side, but if you have all the trailing spokes face inward it makes lacing the wheel a bit easier.
    * In the case of fixed-gear or coaster-brake wheels, it is better to lace the opposite way, because a derailed chain is more likely to get jammed by backpedaling in these cases.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    I've never replaced a broken spoke that I could attribute to it coming from the wrong side of the hub flange. I've worked on wheels that were laced pretty much every way that you might imagine. I think that getting the tension even is a lot more important.

    Years ago, purely by coincidence, I started building mine the way that Sheldon recommends and I've never had cause to change. I lace mine so the hubs are symmetrical just because I think that it looks better.

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    Of the nine wheels I have hanging around in my garage:

    - seven are laced with the trailing spoke running along the outside of the flange
    - one is laced with the trailing spoke running along the inside of the flange
    - one is laced with one flange one way and the other the other

    This is why I don't build my own wheels.

  11. #11
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    Sorry that I didn't read your initial post more carefully.
    Only the rear wheel actually "pulls" with pulling spokes (unless you have disc brakes), and the pulling is done mostly by the drive-side spokes, for two reasons: (1) the hub flange isn't stiff enough to transmit much torque from the drive-side to the non-drive side, and (2) the spokes are looser on the non-drive side because of dishing.
    Basically, as Sheldon said. Jobst Brandt gives similar reasons for building the rear wheel with the trailing/pulling spokes on the inside of the flange.

    However, it's worth noting that modern spokes are much better than spokes 25 years ago (when Brandt first wrote his book; it's been through many editions by now), and also that a wheel whose spokes have been properly stress-relieved is unlikely to have problems even if built with trailing spokes on the outside of the drive-side flange.
    Last edited by TallRider; 04-07-06 at 12:31 PM.

  12. #12
    In beaurocratic limbo urbanknight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wil Davis
    Trailing spokes by definition face rearward. I thought the question was which side of the hub flange (see Sheldon Brown, Jobst Brandt, Gerd Schraner et al.)

    - Wil
    OOPS! I meant the trailing spokes on the inside. That was like saying the rear end of a car goes in the back. I edited it now, thanks for pointing it out.

  13. #13
    In beaurocratic limbo urbanknight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronsmithjunior
    Of the nine wheels I have hanging around in my garage:

    - seven are laced with the trailing spoke running along the outside of the flange
    - one is laced with the trailing spoke running along the inside of the flange
    - one is laced with one flange one way and the other the other

    This is why I don't build my own wheels.
    Ahh, but that's exactly why I DO build my own wheels. At least I have a reason for where the spokes are, whether it makes a difference or not. I just have a problem riding some mass produced wheels where the manufacturer doesn't seem to care about consistency. Makes me wonder if they will use a longer or shorter spoke if they're out of the correct size, or if anyone actually tests the spoke tension, or even pretensions the spokes. I've also seen factory wheels with the stem in the wrong place (annoying in a 36h 4x wheel) and the labels facing opposite directions between front and rear (which is only a problem for the OCP in me)

  14. #14
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by urbanknight
    Ahh, but that's exactly why I DO build my own wheels. At least I have a reason for where the spokes are, whether it makes a difference or not. I just have a problem riding some mass produced wheels where the manufacturer doesn't seem to care about consistency. Makes me wonder if they will use a longer or shorter spoke if they're out of the correct size, or if anyone actually tests the spoke tension, or even pretensions the spokes. I've also seen factory wheels with the stem in the wrong place (annoying in a 36h 4x wheel) and the labels facing opposite directions between front and rear (which is only a problem for the OCP in me)
    I'm in agreement here. I think that ronsmithjunior is saying that he doesn't know what is the correct way, so he doesn't build his own wheels. But, after you've learned the right ways, and the reasons for them, I think it totally makes sense to build your own wheels.

    I don't particularly care if the sticker is backwards, but that's because I usually remove stickers from my wheels anyway. Especially Open Pros or other wheels with gaudy advertising-stickers.

    But any factory-built wheel, I will carefully top it off with tension, and equalize tension (and roundness) in the process.

  15. #15
    In beaurocratic limbo urbanknight's Avatar
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    Yeah, the label isn't a big deal, but it does show a lack of concern over quality control. As for ronsmithjunior and his hesitation, I'll say that I have seen wheels built by major master wheelsmiths, and even they disagree on which side the spokes go on, although they do agree it has to be uniform (no trailing inside right, trailing outside left... except for drive wheels, which there are 3 opinions on). So as long as you keep it uniform, you should be ok. Do what I did and start learning by building a training set with bulletproof 32 or 36 hole rims. That way if you did something wrong, it probably won't throw a spoke and break your wheel... or your neck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by urbanknight
    Yeah, the label isn't a big deal, but it does show a lack of concern over quality control. As for ronsmithjunior and his hesitation, I'll say that I have seen wheels built by major master wheelsmiths, and even they disagree on which side the spokes go on, although they do agree it has to be uniform (no trailing inside right, trailing outside left... except for drive wheels, which there are 3 opinions on). So as long as you keep it uniform, you should be ok. Do what I did and start learning by building a training set with bulletproof 32 or 36 hole rims. That way if you did something wrong, it probably won't throw a spoke and break your wheel... or your neck.
    Right, I figure if reputable wheel builders can't even agree, how am I supposed to know which is correct? I will agree that they should be uniform. I have a hard time believing that the person who put my Mavic Cosmos (trailing/pulling on outside) wheels together didn't know what they were doing.

    My one, extremely cheap wheel had the trailing/pulling spokes on the inside. Come to think of it, that wheel was rebuilt by the wrench at the local Performance shop.

    I have two older Campy hub, tubular, 36 spoke, 4x wheels. One is laced trailing/pulling on the outside, and the other is mis-matched.

  17. #17
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    On Sheldon's site it says to lace fixed-gear rear wheels with the trailing spokes on the outside. Right?
    Does that mean this method is best for track racing?

    I'm more concerned with power transfer rather than binding up with my chain.

    Could some one tell me the best way to lace a rear wheel 3X for track racing.

  18. #18
    Gone, but not forgotten Sheldon Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeeDub
    On Sheldon's site it says to lace fixed-gear rear wheels with the trailing spokes on the outside. Right?
    Does that mean this method is best for track racing?

    I'm more concerned with power transfer rather than binding up with my chain.

    Could some one tell me the best way to lace a rear wheel 3X for track racing.
    It doesn't matter. Makes no difference. Do whatever pleases you.

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