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Old 08-09-10, 06:35 PM   #1
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Why so many radial lacing pattern wheels these days??

As I am about to build my third set of tubular wheels this year, I got to thinking that radial pattern wheels used to only recommended for track bikes, and I was made to believe that it was literally suicide to use the radial lacing pattern on the road for front wheels back in the 80's. as the hubs could crack for too much road shock
I've inspected some wheels on new bike with radial lacing, and I don't see anything significantly different at the hub (ones that used conventional hubs and spokes) that makes the newest wheels anything significantly different to make them stronger and handle radial pattern lacing.......what's going on??
I did notice that my Nephew takes many trips to my truing stand to touch up his radial pattern wheel though. Aside from that, how come he can ride them on the road for many miles, in all sorts of conditions without real concerns for it breaking up on him on the road?
I also noted that 20 and less spokes is not a problem these days with road wheels. Again, why is this so?
I'm not building any radila patterned wheels anytime soon, but I was surprised that there still seems to be a lot of concern about two cross wheels when I see all these new bikers on wheels that look to be more dangerous at first glance than the last 2 cross pattern wheelset I just finished a few weeks ago.

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Old 08-09-10, 06:44 PM   #2
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radial is fine on the street if the hub was designed for it. traditional campagnolo hubs for example explicitly say not to radially lace while some new shimano hubs are marked ok for radial use. its all in how the hub flange was designed. campagnolos wheels are radially laced, but most of them have straight pull spokes.

the same can be said about low spoke counts except now rim design is involved as well.
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Old 08-09-10, 07:00 PM   #3
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Hmm...I just built and am riding a radial C-Rec low flange. 32 spokes. Am I putting myself in extreme peril?
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Old 08-09-10, 07:13 PM   #4
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Hmm...I just built and am riding a radial C-Rec low flange. 32 spokes. Am I putting myself in extreme peril?
ive never seen a campagnolo hub fail fron radial lacing (but ive never done it) i have seen others fail however.
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Old 08-09-10, 07:13 PM   #5
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I really do not see the point of radial lacing, which does indeed put more stress on the hub flange holes than cross-lacing. I built a radial front wheel in 1972, but soon abandoned the concept after breaking too many spokes. Reduced spoke counts make very little sense for the touring, recreational, or commuting cyclist, who needs reliability more than a minuscule reduction in air turbulence.

Radial lacing today is a fad, as are paired spoking and reduced spoke counts. I'll stay w/ 32 or 36 spokes per wheel, 3X.
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Old 08-09-10, 07:27 PM   #6
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Well if radial lacing is a "fad", it hasn't faded in 75 years. Note Magni's 1934 Tour bike (the middle one) has radial lacing.



http://www.wooljersey.com/gallery/v/...geViewsIndex=1

Funny how he wasn't too worried about radial lacing on 170 km of crappy roads.

I also recall, I could be wrong, that Cino Cinelli was a big proponent of radial lacing.
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Old 08-09-10, 07:31 PM   #7
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I think the idea of the post though is "what's the point?" It looks cool, but if you're the typical guy (I'll throw crit races, randonneuring, and other forms of amateur competitive cycling in there too) - there's no need to do it, if you're not comfortable with it, or if you are riding a hub that specifies non-radial spokes.
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Old 08-09-10, 07:38 PM   #8
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There is also no reason not to do it on a front wheel.
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Old 08-09-10, 07:48 PM   #9
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Well if radial lacing is a "fad", it hasn't faded in 75 years. Note Magni's 1934 Tour bike (the middle one) has radial lacing.



http://www.wooljersey.com/gallery/v/...geViewsIndex=1

Funny how he wasn't too worried about radial lacing on 170 km of crappy roads.

I also recall, I could be wrong, that Cino Cinelli was a big proponent of radial lacing.
Ha ha! Nice. It almost looks strange to see a radial laced wheel in a photo from that time.

I use/have used radially laced wheels. In fact, I have this one 28h radial front that just wont quit. It has a cartridge bearing hub, paper thin aero spokes, and a ultra narrow hard anodized semi aero rim. It's shockingly light weight, even by today's standards, and I have consistently abused it. Yet, it is as true as the day I first mounted it. The only thing I don't like about it, is that it is more flexible in the corners than my 32h 3x wheels are.
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Old 08-09-10, 08:10 PM   #10
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Well if radial lacing is a "fad", it hasn't faded in 75 years. Note Magni's 1934 Tour bike (the middle one) has radial lacing.



http://www.wooljersey.com/gallery/v/...geViewsIndex=1

Funny how he wasn't too worried about radial lacing on 170 km of crappy roads.

I also recall, I could be wrong, that Cino Cinelli was a big proponent of radial lacing.
forget radial lacing, hell forget cycling, where do i get those shades?
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Old 08-09-10, 08:11 PM   #11
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I think a lot of it comes down to marketing - it looks cool, might be ever-so-slightly more aerodynamic, and (particularly in the case of low spoke counts) might shave a few grams off the weight. Considering how much of road bike marketing and sales goes to the racer and wanna-be-racer crowd, it sells.

That marketing works because I think that the downsides, when factoring in modern rims and modern hubs, are overemphasized. I've ridden a much-used radial front wheel with a Shimano Ultegra hub with no ill effects, and I also have ridden low spoke count (20 front, 24 rear, albeit laced 3 cross) road wheels for thousands of rough, pothole covered miles around here and have only had to touch that wheelset with a spoke wrench once. That's better than I can say about some 32 and 26 spoke wheels I've had. In fact, I think I'll do 40 or 50 miles on them tomorrow.

(As always, YMMV. I can only speak for my experiences.)
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Old 08-09-10, 08:19 PM   #12
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I also recall, I could be wrong, that Cino Cinelli was a big proponent of radial lacing.
You are indeed right on the money. Cino's wife's bike that I showed at the Larz Anderson show in Boston this past weekend has a radially spoked front wheel with a Fiamme Ergal on a Campagnolo small flange hub. The bike was built up in the mid-60's and is still going strong today. I also showed another Cinelli from 1977 that was personally specced by Cino for the Italian owner. It too has a radial spoked front wheel, although this time a Fiamme Red Label built on a first generation Phil Wood hub. It too is still going strong. There are also pictures of Cino's personal bike with radial front wheel...
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Old 08-09-10, 08:22 PM   #13
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The majority of most modern rims today are simply overbuilt to accept the low spoke counts, most of them arent light weight, though i guess all the spokes they dont end up using kinda even things out, plus if you're the one building the wheel its kinda nice in itself too=less time consuming. I don't think a 16front 20back wheelset would last very long if it was a basic "box section" style from the old days. break a spoke on a wheel like that and the thing would just buckle.

As far as radial lacing goes I don't care for it, don't think it looks cool either, thats for lil kids bikes with 12" wheels!
Ive seen the flanges of a hub break on a front rim laced like that before, oddly enough it was a hub built for radial lacing.

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Old 08-10-10, 06:47 AM   #14
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I seem to recall the problem with radial spoked front wheels were in reference to high flange hubs.
and I do know that using pista hubs on the road was a major issue (I also recall campagnolo issuing a warning specifically about this).
My Zieleman has Mavic GP4 rims with campy N.Record low flange hubs laced radially in the front, 2x on drive side radial on non drive side at the back. I'm pretty sure they have a few thousand miles on them and no sign of cracking or undue stress on the flanges, front or back.
On other consideration about the more modern radially laced wheels is they have straight pull spokes, some having nipples on both ends.
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Old 08-10-10, 07:31 AM   #15
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Hmm...I just built and am riding a radial C-Rec low flange. 32 spokes. Am I putting myself in extreme peril?
For the last week the bike shop I work at has had me cleaning out their "used wheel room". we've got over 500 wheels of all sizes and quality points. My job is to refurbish any wheels that can be saved and label the ones that can't.

As for radial lacing I've noticed the following:

Three low flange record or record type hubs with broken hubshells from radial lacing, 32 hole and 28 hole

A shimano parallax hub that blew a hole in its deep section mtb rim, the rim died but the midflange mtb hub was ok

Modern radial wheels belonging to contemporary wheelsets always use high tension and overbuilt rims.

This would seem to make a case for you to not lace your c-record radially. Though maybe you'll get lucky. Some modern stuff though stands up to radial acing really well, a lot of my friends have radial laced formulas with no problems
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Old 08-10-10, 08:31 AM   #16
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most of my front wheels are radially laced. I have a few Rec HF hubs that who know how old they were when I got them but I cleaned them up and laced the radially. I have Rec hubs both HF and reg, a '89ish 600 hub, and the STX hubs I had done this past winter. I never had much trouble with any of them

I do it simply because I like the looks of it, sort of a throwback to Ordinaries and Highwheelers. I do think however the ride quality may suffer a bit because ther is no 'spring' in a radial wheel as there would be in a 3x wheel
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Old 08-10-10, 08:43 AM   #17
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I have three bikes, all 1970s Campy, all radial in front. Two I tour on, the other one I commute on. Either case, the bikes always have close to 200# loaded on it (myself included.) No problems except for, like, cars and stuff. You have to avoid those - radially spoked wheels get all warped out of shape when you get them run over with a car.

I think those who warn you off about radially spoked wheels are the same ones who say tubulars are hard and you should always wear your mittens in the cold.

Although, truth be told, I do wear my mittens in the cold.

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Old 08-10-10, 07:26 PM   #18
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radial is fine on the street if the hub was designed for it. traditional campagnolo hubs for example explicitly say not to radially lace while some new shimano hubs are marked ok for radial use. its all in how the hub flange was designed. campagnolos wheels are radially laced, but most of them have straight pull spokes.

the same can be said about low spoke counts except now rim design is involved as well.
here is a picture of a campagnolo eurus hub with straight pull spokes:


mine are quite stiff and i have no fears of them failing.
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Old 08-10-10, 08:05 PM   #19
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I do think however the ride quality may suffer a bit because ther is no 'spring' in a radial wheel as there would be in a 3x wheel
It does a bit, but then you get a nice stiff, lighter wheel for climbing. I'm a pretty heavy fellow, and when I had a radially laced wheel made for the front on my Giant, I stopped rubbing the brake pads when I mashed up steep hills. That's worth something. I rode lots of centuries on that wheel-set and it was comfortable enough for all-day riding on buzzy roads. Or maybe it was the CF that was comfortable - who knows.
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