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Old 05-06-08, 10:20 PM   #1
mcmc
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radial lacing in the 70's

hey, does anyone recall if when the radial laced front became popular? Yes,I know it's the oldest pattern and all, but I don't see it ever in pictures of old race bikes from the 70's. The only one I know of is Merckx's bike for the Hour Record from 72. Did it become more common after that? Is it a 80's practice? I mostly associate it with aero/deep section rims which is late 80's. On a side note, has anyone have any success relacing a used record front hub (small flange) in a different pattern? The reason I ask is that I came across a front wheel that was radial laced (on its way out) and wanted to rebuild it with box-section rims for a mid-70's Holdsworth. I hear it's generally a no-no to follow a different pattern on a used hub, but I just wanted to hear what you think. It Would be nice to keep with the look of the times.
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Old 05-06-08, 10:43 PM   #2
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It was certainly popular in the 70s. The only time I laced a wheel radially I broke a Campagnolo large flange hub.

I'd guess you'd be ok relacing a small flange.
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Old 05-06-08, 10:49 PM   #3
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I dunno, I figured the large flange would be a safer bet, seeing as how it has more material and all, it would take better to stressing a different part of the flange.
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Old 05-07-08, 02:40 AM   #4
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It was popular, used mainly by light weight racers. We broke more than a few of them. I can't remember what hubs we had them laced too...

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Old 05-07-08, 05:10 AM   #5
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I thought that radial lacing was used mostly for front wheels on track bikes.
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Old 05-07-08, 05:36 AM   #6
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I thought that radial lacing was used mostly for front wheels on track bikes.
I believe that is where it started...then some of us roadies got the bright idea it would reduce weight and possibly wind resistance...

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Old 05-07-08, 05:37 AM   #7
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I built a bunch of radially laced front wheels starting in the early '70s; also built a few radial left/cross right and radial left/mixed radial and cross right rear wheels (and a radial right/cross left rear wheel, just to see whether it would hold up well, which it did). An MIT student who worked in the shop one summer around 1974 had me build him a non-cross, non-radial front wheel; that worked, too, but I assume that the hub has twisted from the torsional forces by now.

And in answer to the OP's second question: according to a Campy tech I talked to back in the '70s (i.e., when Campy still offered a lifetime warranty), rebuilding a Campy hub in a different spoke pattern voided the warranty, which probably means that doing it with any hub might be a bad idea.
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Old 05-07-08, 08:39 AM   #8
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Been there ... done that. I had a couple of radially spoked front wheels in the early 1970s, but I think it's a bad concept, and I deplore its current popularity. The bottom line is that radial lacing puts far too much outward force on each hole of the hub flange. If you want a strong, durable wheel, it is hard to beat a conventional 36- or 40-spoke 4X or a 32-spoke 3X pattern. On a high-flange hub, 4X spokes lie almost tangent to the flange.

Although copying the original lacing pattern is sound advice, I would not hesitate to make an exception for converting from radial to any cross pattern. A good compromise in your case might be 2X, but if it were my wheel, I would go 3X.
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Old 05-07-08, 09:10 AM   #9
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I have a Low flange radially laced campy record Front hub on a Gel330 rim,
and radial non drive side, 2x drive side (same hub rim combo) rear wheel that
I ride with no problems. I think the radial laced wheel problem comes from using
high flange hubs? I've never heard of problems with low flange hubs (but that doesn't mean
it didn't (doesn't) happen).
I think changing lacing patterns on any hub is not a good idea.

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Old 05-07-08, 10:24 AM   #10
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my understanding (take grain of salt, now) is that radial lacing is MORE reliable on a large-flange than a small flange due to the greater material you tend to get around the spoke holes with the larger flange. That material is (small) insurance from the most typical failure of radial wheels: spontaneous flange cracking, usually occurs when the wheel is at rest...go figure. I'm no expert (as you may have guessed) but I have ONLY radially-laced larger flange hubs with really strong over-built flanges, such as Phil Wood. So far: no failures, and they aren't on any of MY rides, either.
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Old 05-07-08, 12:52 PM   #11
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radial lacing is MORE reliable on a large-flange than a small flange
My high-flange broke on the first ride, edge to spoke hole to oval hole in the hub, each section of aluminum is only about 1/8" square if you look at it. Radial puts the force of every jolt directly to the hub flange.
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Old 05-07-08, 06:40 PM   #12
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My high-flange broke on the first ride, edge to spoke hole to oval hole in the hub, each section of aluminum is only about 1/8" square if you look at it. Radial puts the force of every jolt directly to the hub flange.
Bingo! Look at the lines of force, folks. A radial spoke tugs directly outward on the hole in the hub flange, and it really does not matter whether you have a high flange or a low flange. Radial spoking should be restricted to hubs designed expressly to take its greater stresses, and even then, I fail to see any logical benefit whatsoever. It is just another of the many silly fads which permeate today's bicycle fashions: reduced spoke counts (the more spokes, the better the achievable strength-to-weight ratio and the lighter the usable rim), 4-arm chainring spiders (5 is, of course, stronger), indexed front shifters (no feathering of the cage position), compact transmissions (radically accelerated chain, cog, and chainring wear, increased gear ratio progression granularity), threadless headsets (replace the fork if you need a longer steerer tube to raise your handlebars), etc.

If you are dying to try radial lacing, the way to go is radial on the left side of a dished rear wheel, with 3X or 4X on the drive side. (Next time you see a Model A Ford, note the spoke pattern on the wheels.)
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