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  1. #1
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    'Best' 32 hole hub/rim wheel build - 24 spokes (16/8) with even spoke tension or 32?

    I'm wondering what the 'better' wheel build will be on a 32 spoke hub and rim used for both training and racing . By better, I mean an all around wheel that is strong, stiff, light, aerodynamic, and resistant to going out of true and breaking spokes.

    Lace it up 32 spokes like normally - 16 and 16 - but suffer reduced spoke tension on the NDS, or lace it up 16 like normal on the DS, and every other one on the NDS (8 spokes total) so as to roughly equal out spoke tension? I would still lace the NDS in a cross pattern (I'm guessing it would be 1 cross) so I would have 12 leading and 12 trailing spokes to deal with hub torque. That seems to be an acceptable amount for a lot of race wheels and I've ridden on 24 spoke wheels (with 12 spokes each side) with no real issues. I don't seem to notice any 'wind-up' when dropping the hammer either.

    My initial guess is that 32 spokes might be a tad stiffer radially and slightly better with 'wind-up' but will be slightly less resistant to going out of true/breaking spokes due to large variations in spoke tensions. Obviously, 24 spokes will be slightly cheaper, lighter, and more aerodynamic as well.

    Thoughts?

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    A 16-8 wheel will be way more flexible laterally than a 32 spoke wheel if they were built on similar hubs. You can restore all or most of the lateral stiffness by choosing a hub with wider spacing between flanges if you need that stiffness.
    Assuming you use a rim with a deep enough section, both wheels should be about equally strong vertically. The 16-8 might be a little more resistant to early spoke failure, but it's probably worse if you do have a spoke break.
    I've only built the same number of spokes both sides, with one gauge large spokes on the drive side. Maybe I'll build the next one as a 16-8, but only if I can find a rim that's drilled for it.

    em

  3. #3
    Upstanding member. Mike T.'s Avatar
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    How many millions of equally spoked wheels have never broken spokes "due to large variations in spoke tensions"? For starters there's a few decades of my own home-built wheels.

    Half the number of spokes have to bear 2x the strain so if one does break it'll be walkie time carrying the bike. I can't think of many less sensible ideas.

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    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    there is a reason there is 16 holes on each side of the hub.
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto (2), '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '88 Trofeo SOLd, '86 Volpe, '89 Axis SOLD, '79 Mixte SOLD, '99 Mega Pro XL Ti SOLD, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

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    Upstanding member. Mike T.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
    there is a reason there is 16 holes on each side of the hub.
    And not only that, it's a valid reason too.

  6. #6
    AEO
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    I've built one. the NDS is 90% tension of the DS with a shimano 130mm hub.
    much harder to fix vertical true, not that hard for lateral true.
    I suggest using a good quality rim that has all eyelets in-line instead of staggered.
    if you use an off center rim, spoke tension might be 100% of each other, I've yet to find out.
    you definitely want to use the same gauge on both sides.

    you can get away with breaking a few DS spokes, however if you break an NDS spoke the wheel becomes unusable.

    decimal cross needed:
    2.38x DS (spokes exit at 3x angle)

    3.88x NDS (spokes exit at a near perfect 90degree angle) (use heads in for more lateral stiffness)
    2.38x NDS (impossible, hub holes used overlap)
    1.67x NDS (spokes exit at 2x angle) (use heads in for more lateral stiffness)
    mixed 3.13x trailing and 2.38x leading (only way you can get 2.38x to work on NDS side)
    it's also possible to do radial NDS, which is roughly 0.13x and I don't recommend it, so don't blame me if your wheel folds in on you if you choose radial NDS.

    if you're a heavier rider, I'd suggest a thinner spoke for NDS and lace it up normally with all spoke holes used, if you're a lighter rider like me (60kg), a triplet 24h is much sturdier than just a regular 24h wheel.
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    Last edited by AEO; 08-31-09 at 06:58 PM. Reason: typo
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
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    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    if you're a heavier rider, I'd suggest a thinner spoke for NDS and lace it up normally with all spoke holes used, if you're a lighter rider like me (60kg), a triplet 24h is much sturdier than just a regular 24h wheel.
    +1
    The right comparison is between a 24 triplet and a 24 symmetrical pattern, not between a 32 spoke wheel and a 24 spoke triplet. A well designed triple, with widely spaced flanges and a little deeper rim section, will be stronger and more robust than a symmetrical wheel WITH THE SAME NUMBER OF SPOKES. The only question is whether you need a 24 spoke wheel. IF you do, you are better off with a triplet.

    em

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T. View Post
    How many millions of equally spoked wheels have never broken spokes "due to large variations in spoke tensions"? For starters there's a few decades of my own home-built wheels.

    Half the number of spokes have to bear 2x the strain so if one does break it'll be walkie time carrying the bike. I can't think of many less sensible ideas.
    You will probably have to walk home if you break a spoke on any 24 spoke wheel. With a triplet, you could probably ride it with a broken drive side spoke, and you can easily replace a non-drive side spoke if you carry a spare. If you want 24 spokes, you are better off with a triplet.

    em

  9. #9
    Reeks of aged cotton duck Hydrated's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flesh_pile View Post
    Obviously, 24 spokes will be slightly cheaper, lighter, and more aerodynamic as well.

    Thoughts?

    Thoughts:

    Cheaper... using 24 spokes will save you how much money? $7.00 or so?
    Lighter... c'mon... how much do 8 spokes and nipples weigh? If you're that worried about weight, just pour about three or four ounces of water out of your bottle.
    Aerodynamic... the difference between 32 and 24 similar spokes is laughable.

    But the benefits of building a proper 32 spoke 3-cross wheel are considerable. A conventionally laced bicycle wheel is one of the strongest and most durable structures in engineering. If you break a spoke in a 32 spoke 3x wheel... chances are that you can just zip tie the broken spoke so it doesn't flop around and keep riding. Not so with most low spoke count wheels.

    Don't fall for all of the low spoke count hype... the drawbacks far outweigh the meager benefits.
    It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.-Aristotle

  10. #10
    Type 1 Racer rydaddy's Avatar
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    I've ridden 80 miles on 23 spokes in the mountains. Needless to say, I wouldn't want to do it again.

  11. #11
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    A low spoke count wheel with a reasonably stiff rim should be rideable even with a broken spoke if you have a normal frame and tires. So not a super aero, no-tire-clearance frame, and also if you're not squeezing a 25c tire into some "race" frame. I don't have experience with the newer "wide" rims either.

    I've raced (climbed and descended and sprinted) on a 15 spoke (16-1) front wheel (I even carried a few extra pounds with a helmet cam - clip is here), and I've done a 2+ hour ride over hilly terrain on a 19 spoke (20-1) rear wheel.

    The front wheel was fine, touching the brakes a bit, nothing major. The rear wheel dragged significantly on the brake (I have a normal rear brake, not dual pivot, so I couldn't recenter it). Both were really noisy, spoke banging around the whole time. I had no clearance problems because I had a 22mm tubular on the front, a 23c clincher on the rear, and the bikes were a Giant TCR carbon and a Cannondale SystemSix respectively.

    The point about comparing spoke count is good. A 24 hole rim has a lot of space between spokes. To do a reliable 24H wheel you have to have a strong rim, like a tall profile (say over 30 mm tall) rim. A 32 hole rim has less space between spokes so you can use a box section rim. If you look at a 20 or 24 hole tall rim and a 32 hole box rim, you'll see the spoke holes are about the same distance apart. A 32 hole tall profile rim, once built, will resemble a 36-40 spoke box rim, especially with rims 58mm or taller.

    For a 32H wheel, I usually build such a wheel with 2.0 DB spokes, Revs or similar for NDS if I have them, brass nipples on DS, alloy on NDS if I have them. 32H is pretty conservative, even for a rider of my "density" (5'7", typically range from 180-190 lbs the last 5 years), so it's not critical to do anything particular, even for me.

    You list a bunch of characteristics you want:
    strong, stiff, light, aerodynamic, and resistant to going out of true and breaking spokes

    Spoke tension, although important, is not as critical as rim strength.

    Strong: based on rim mainly. A strong rim allows you to reduce spoke tension and spoke count. A rim that can support, say, 400 pounds without any spokes will be much better than a regular box rim that will collapse under that weight.

    Stiff: a function of rim stiffness and flange "spread". Once you have maximum spread, spoke count helps.

    Aero: function of rim and spoke count, more the rim.

    Resistant to going out of true: function of rim strength, esp for flat spots. Rim strength really helps with lateral trueness too. A non-bending material (i.e. not metal) would help, since the rim will either return to its original shape or it'll break.

    Breaking spokes: function of spoke tension and mass of spokes. More mass = longer life. Lower tension = longer spoke life. A wheel with an overly strong rim and low spoke tension will last for a long, long time. This means you want more spokes to keep tension lower per spoke. You want to avoid the 15g or 1.8mm ends because they're weaker. You also want a really strong, stiff rim so that the spoke tension is used just to place the hub, not to impart strength to the rim.

    Based on those requirements, and no mention of budget or weight, for a rear wheel I'd recommend a very tall profile structural carbon fiber rim. 58mm or taller, 24H, and lace it 16 DS, 8 NDS, using 2.0 butted spokes all around, brass nipples. I'd try and get a 60-70 mm rim, even an 80mm. You can ride a tall rim in the rear in virtually all conditions, and the rims will be strong enough without relying on spokes for help.

    For a front I'd go to a 50mm rim minimum, 58mm max for all around, daily type use. You can use such wheels on extremely gusty descents at up to 45 mph and steady 30 mph winds with 50 mph gusts (if you're doing close quarter riding in crits for example). You'll want to get a 24H hub though, and build it up as a 24H. If not that, and you don't mind a bit of truing, I'd get a 32H box section rim. Box section are usually better laterally than V section aluminum rims, and they're easier to true for roundness. Use 2.0 DB with brass nipples.

    cdr

  12. #12
    AEO
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    you can't compare a 24h wheel to a 32h wheel, they're not going to be built for the same purpose.
    a conventional 32h 3x wheel isn't so strong. what's really good, I hear, is a 36h 3x crow's foot drive side and regular 2x NDS.

    it might be $7 for 8 2.0/1.8mm DB spokes, but try using DT aerolites or sapim C-Xrays which are $5 per spoke, that's $40 saved.

    A really good comparison will be between a 16:8, 2.38x DS/1.67x heads in NDS and a 24h 3x crow's foot DS/2x NDS rear wheels.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
    http://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/arti...ger-photos.htm

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hydrated View Post
    But the benefits of building a proper 32 spoke 3-cross wheel are considerable. A conventionally laced bicycle wheel is one of the strongest and most durable structures in engineering.
    Don't fall for all of the low spoke count hype... the drawbacks far outweigh the meager benefits.
    A conventional wheel is a good structure, but the extreme dishing required for 10 cogs pushes it about to its limits. Offset rims, triplet lacing and different spoke gauges are just different ways to address the problems that develop when you build a wheel with too much offset. It's no different than what happened when hubs were widened for 6s and then again for 8s. Eventually the whole hub had to be redesigned to account for bending moments that were never a problem with 5s, but before that happened there were a lot of bent axles and broken dropouts.
    Actually, it just shows that race equipment is not the best stuff to use for any riding where reliability is more important than the absolute highest level of performance. Even 10s is not much advantage over 6s or 7s except in competitive situations, but it causes a lot of reliability problems, especially with chains but also with wheels.

    em

  14. #14
    AEO
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
    Breaking spokes: function of spoke tension and mass of spokes. More mass = longer life. Lower tension = longer spoke life. A wheel with an overly strong rim and low spoke tension will last for a long, long time. This means you want more spokes to keep tension lower per spoke. You want to avoid the 15g or 1.8mm ends because they're weaker. You also want a really strong, stiff rim so that the spoke tension is used just to place the hub, not to impart strength to the rim.
    you want higher tension in the spokes. lower tension causes them to go slack, spokes break from metal fatigue caused by the spokes going slack. lower spoke tension keeps the rim from failing. spokes are really strong compared to the rim, so it's supposed to be a fine balance between what the maximum tension the rim will allow, without being too low that the spokes fail prematurely due to fatigue.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
    http://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/arti...ger-photos.htm

  15. #15
    Type 1 Racer rydaddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    you want higher tension in the spokes. lower tension causes them to go slack, spokes break from metal fatigue caused by the spokes going slack. lower spoke tension keeps the rim from failing. spokes are really strong compared to the rim, so it's supposed to be a fine balance between what the maximum tension the rim will allow, without being too low that the spokes fail prematurely due to fatigue.

    I agree that higher spoke tension makes for a longer lasting spoke. Spokes will fail in fatigue much sooner at lower tensions.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    you can't compare a 24h wheel to a 32h wheel, they're not going to be built for the same purpose.
    a conventional 32h 3x wheel isn't so strong. what's really good, I hear, is a 36h 3x crow's foot drive side and regular 2x NDS.

    it might be $7 for 8 2.0/1.8mm DB spokes, but try using DT aerolites or sapim C-Xrays which are $5 per spoke, that's $40 saved.

    A really good comparison will be between a 16:8, 2.38x DS/1.67x heads in NDS and a 24h 3x crow's foot DS/2x NDS rear wheels.
    WTF? How do you do a 2.38X?
    em

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydaddy View Post
    I agree that higher spoke tension makes for a longer lasting spoke. Spokes will fail in fatigue much sooner at lower tensions.
    And hence the advantage of triplet lacing or offset rims or different spoke gauges.

    em

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    Type 1 Racer rydaddy's Avatar
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    Personally, I am a fan of Velocity Aerohead OC rims.

  19. #19
    AEO
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    Quote Originally Posted by eddy m View Post
    WTF? How do you do a 2.38X?
    em
    spocalc, which allows a decimal cross, since the spoke length needed is neither for a 3x 32h or 2x 24h.

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard/36-24.htm
    if you do the math, you'll arrive at 2.38x for a 3x angle and 1.67x for a 2x angle.

    I posted a calculator for lacing mismatched rim/hub hole counts above.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
    http://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/arti...ger-photos.htm

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    Wow. Thanks for the replies so far. All of the rear wheels I've ridden so far have had equal spokes on both sides and I've only had one broken rear spoke in the past 3 years of cycling (heavily loaded Windsor touring bike with factory built wheels utilizing probably sub-par 14g straight gauge spokes and 36 hole non-eyleted no name rims). I mainly ride 32 spoke wheels (14g, 15g, or 14/15g DB) but I raced one season on a 24 hole rear aluminum clincher with standard double butted spokes with no real issues - just a slight retruing about half way through the season.

    As far as lacing goes, Campy makes their wheels the same way that I am proposing (triplet) - twice the number of drive side spokes as compared to NDS and I haven't heard terrible things about their wheels.

    I do have some experience with building wheels, but out of the 5 wheels I've built, I've only built one rear wheel (9 speed disc wheel on a massively built Kris Holm 38mm wide 29er rim) with different dishing and I haven't ridden it long enough to comment on the durability/reliability.

    The rear wheel is going to use a 23mm wide heavy duty Alex Adventurer rim (500+ grams) with 32 holes (not offset however) to be transformed with a carbon fairing (ie, non-structural) to make it into a DIY Hed Jet C2 wheel. The wider (23mm vs the standard 19mm) rim should make it stiffer latterly and it might be a tad stiffer vertically as compared to a standard 19mm box rim like a Mavic Open Pro. It might not be up to a Deep V level, but I wanted the width of the 23mm to smooth out the tire/bead interface (I ride and race on 23c tires) for aerodynamics and allow me to use slightly lower pressure. I would like to use 24 CX-Ray spokes (about $2.45 each is the cheapest I can find them - ouch!) for aerodynamics and lightness and use the triplet pattern to even out spoke tensions as much as possible. A 32 spoke lacing will cost extra, weigh more, be less aero, and have lower NDS tension. It will be stiffer and stronger though with 33% more spokes.

    As far as my build goes, I'm 6'6" and weigh around 185 or so. Huge radial stiffness isn't critical to me although I would like to have the 'best all around wheel' that I can build. Stiffness, strength, price, weight, aerodynamics are all important with price and aerodynamics taking a bit more importance and stiffness and weight being slighlty underweighted. Stength is somewhere in the middle - I don't want it collapsing on me mid sprint but I don't think I've ever seen that happen to any wheel and I've only heard that happen to Mavic R-Sys wheels with carbon spokes. I'm in the train of thought that bike and wheel 'stiffness' is a bunch of malarky and/or a bike marketing gimmick for the most part. Unless the wheel/frame is so noodly that it causes tire rubbing against the pads or the frame, I don't really care TOO much. And 8 extra spokes is an extra $30 or so and I'm trying to build these up as cheaply as possible.

    I've gotten a lot of my wheelbuilding info from Sheldon Brown and http://spokeanwheel.110mb.com/ where I have learned of some more 'exotic' patterns so I'm not exactly just winging it. I've thought things out decently. I just want to hear some other opinions before I shell out some cash just to find out that it's going to be a downright crappy wheel...

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    I've already been riding an 18 hole front wheel using the same rim with some DT Aerolites. I just completely un-tensioned one spoke and spun it while on the bike with the way I have my brakes set up (loose). It rubbed slightly on the pads. I took it for a short spin and it rode fine - a little annoying with brake pulsing but it wouldn't throw me over the bars if it failed. A 16/8 rear wheel setup would only have one less spoke so I couldn't see a spoke failure really being much different than what I just simulated on the front without any disastrous problems. Plus a rear wheel catastrophic failure wouldn't be QUITE as bad as a front wheel catastrophic failure...

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    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    you can't compare a 24h wheel to a 32h wheel, they're not going to be built for the same purpose.
    a conventional 32h 3x wheel isn't so strong. what's really good, I hear, is a 36h 3x crow's foot drive side and regular 2x NDS.

    A really good comparison will be between a 16:8, 2.38x DS/1.67x heads in NDS and a 24h 3x crow's foot DS/2x NDS rear wheels.
    What is the advantage of a crow's foot pattern?

    em

  23. #23
    AEO
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    Quote Originally Posted by eddy m View Post
    What is the advantage of a crow's foot pattern?

    em
    more lateral strength from the radial spokes, while still being able to transfer drive torque to the rim.

    makes sense to put more lateral strength into the drive side of a 8/9/10sp rear wheel because of the reduced lateral strength from the dishing.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
    http://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/arti...ger-photos.htm

  24. #24
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    This is an exercise in futility. You can't have a fast race wheelset and a good training wheelset at the same time. Mutually exclusive. Unless you make so much money you might as well have your own personal mechanic swap out wheelsets for you before you ride.

    If you're concerned about low left side spoke tensions (seriously cut that NDS/DS **** out it's annoying jargon) then get an offset rim like some of the velocity offerings. As for a 24 hole rim not being rideable with one spoke broken. Give me a break.

    I've broken 2 spokes on a 14 spoke front wheel and it was still rideable. Almost didn't even have to release brake cable to get it to not touch.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    more lateral strength from the radial spokes, while still being able to transfer drive torque to the rim.

    makes sense to put more lateral strength into the drive side of a 8/9/10sp rear wheel because of the reduced lateral strength from the dishing.
    Can you quantify the amount of strength a crow's foot pattern adds? Are you concerned that crossing 3 spokes at the same spot reduced the clearance between the spokes and the derailer?

    em

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