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Old 09-23-11, 08:04 AM   #1
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FOUR CROSS wheels. Any disadvantages?

I know there's lots of info out there on wheel building, and I've read quite a lot of it, but I'm wondering if you can share thoughts on cross 4 wheels as opposed to cross 3.
Here's the deal. I'm re-building a set of wheels for my Frejus and have pretty much decided, though I hate to do it....to not re-use the original NISI tubular rims for the re-build. They're just in sad shape and they're the model, can't confirm exactly which one, that had the serrations on the braking surfaces. Buzzzz. I don't really like that. So, I'm thinking of, dare I say it, lacing the old Record LF hubs to modern clincher rims and would like to, if I can, re-use the cool old Stella spokes that were in the wheels. They seem fine, DB and stainless I believe. I really don't want to have to buy new spokes if I can avoid it. The old wheels were laced cross 4. All of my other wheels have always been cross three. Any disadvantages to cross 4 wheels? Advantages? Thanks for any input.
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Old 09-23-11, 08:12 AM   #2
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Nothing wrong with 4 cross. It was an older pattern thought to be a somewhat softer ride. I would tape the new rim to the old and transfer the spokes over one at a time so they stay in the same positions rather that disassembling and relacing, but that's just me.
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Old 09-23-11, 08:12 AM   #3
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Old fashioned tubular rims often take longer spokes than clinchers. Sure you can re-use those sweet Stellas?
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Old 09-23-11, 08:34 AM   #4
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Old fashioned tubular rims often take longer spokes than clinchers. Sure you can re-use those sweet Stellas?
That's the sixty four thousand dollar question Jan. And a good one. Near as I can determine, and this has been a somewhat exasperating quest, the old Nisi rims have a ERD of 617. The new rims (still unsure if I should do this, kind of wanting to keep the bike original,sigh) have an ERD of 618 according to the tables. Will it work?

As for re-lacing the rims Dbakl, I'm with you. However, I long since disassembled the wheels, front one anyway, but I have kept the old spokes segregated into different piles; inside. outside, pulling, pushing, etc. Just to keep their orientation the same in the new wheels.
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Old 09-23-11, 08:34 AM   #5
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Old fashioned tubular rims often take longer spokes than clinchers. Sure you can re-use those sweet Stellas?
+1. You'll need something like 304-306 mm spokes.
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Old 09-23-11, 08:42 AM   #6
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Thanks Jim. Yeah, the old spokes are 307's it looks like. Something else just occurred to me. Old Nisi rims had no eyelets and washers. New rims have eyelets. This could be tricky. The spoke calculator I used called for 306.2 mm spokes for Sun M13 II rims, cross 4, so it may work out. But I'm not too experienced of a wheel builder.

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Old 09-23-11, 08:49 AM   #7
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I like 4x on high flange hubs....it's mostly traditional. Low flange get 3x. I don't know that there's much of a functional difference between 4x and 3x but that's how I build them.
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Old 09-23-11, 08:53 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by rootboy View Post
Thanks Jim. Yeah, the old spokes are 307's it looks like. Something else just occurred to me. Old Nisi rims had no eyelets and washers. New rims have eyelets. This could be tricky. The spoke calculator I used called for 306.2 mm spokes for Sun M133 II rims, cross 4, so it may work out. But I'm not too experienced of a wheel builder.
Your ERD measurements, if you're using the MFGRs, would take eyelets/no eyelets, etc. into account.

LF hubs can be tricky to lace 4x as a LOT of spoke then crosses the hub flange. 3x always seem to work better on LF hubs. Of course, if your spokes are too long you can always have an LBS cut and rethread them. Those Stella spokes are nice enough to spend .25 each on I'd think.
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Old 09-23-11, 09:02 AM   #9
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Thanks Khatfull. The ERD measurements I'm using are from this site,http://lenni.info/edd/, which seems pretty good. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to determine exactly which model Nisi rims these are, the velo-base site suggesting one thing but somewhat inconclusive, so I'm kind of shooting in the dark a little bit. But other Nisi tubular rims listed on the calc site show an ERD of 618, + or - one mm.

Cut and re-thread is a good option if too long. My closest LBS couldn't be trusted with this but there is a shop a little farther away that I know could.
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Old 09-23-11, 09:27 AM   #10
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ERD's +/- 2-3mm will make almost no difference in the overall length of a 4X pattern.
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Old 09-23-11, 09:40 AM   #11
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I suppose you considered just keeping that original wheelset original and building up (or buying used) a set with clinchers, period correct hubs and new spokes?
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Old 09-23-11, 10:07 AM   #12
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I suppose you considered just keeping that original wheelset original and building up (or buying used) a set with clinchers, period correct hubs and new spokes?
Hi Colonel. Yes, I did. And am. I have been going 'round and 'round with myself on this, probably expending way too much brain sweat and time. Here's some rubs. I may keep this wheel set original, however, the Nisi rims were badly oxidized and haven't cleaned up that well, though passable I suppose. No polish anymore as there was some corrosion and light pitting. Also, they are those danged serrated ones and I'd like to avoid the annoying buzz when braking if I can. I looked for period correct rims but for a 1963 bike it's a bit of a tough nut to crack and I really didn't want to spend $150 + on a new set of old rims. I can hardly find any old Nisis or Ambrosios on ebay that don't go for big bucks. And then, as far as a period correct set of hubs and clinchers for said bike, well, I suppose I don't have to but correct for the bike are the "no Record" Record hubs and whoowee, I wince when I see what those things go for nowadays. The old bike did come with a set of clincher wheels that I believe he got later, maybe late '60's or early 70's, one Super Champion and one Rigida rim, both laced to ...Maillard LF hubs! They work on the bike but, not quite spec... So anyway, I'm trying to figure out how to put these nice old Campy hubs back on the bike and really considering, at this stage in life, if I really want to have sew ups on the bike. I can always ride my other bike when I want to ride tubulars, which I do like. OK. Too much information I know. I'm adept at painting legs on a snake.
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Old 09-23-11, 10:17 AM   #13
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Sounds like what you're doing makes sense then. Nice hubs, nice spokes, not-so-nice rims; rebuild with new rims. I don't like failing, so I always buy new spokes. I've watched a few people spend hours trimming spokes either properly or after the fact with a Dremel.

I have a friend with a 27", 36h Super Champion, Record HF, 120/100 wheelset for sale. The spokes are corroded and need to be replaced so it's essentially hubs and rims. They date to '78 and probably only saw a few hundred miles. But I assume you're after 700c rims, right?
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Old 09-23-11, 10:23 AM   #14
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I'd not worry about the length. What you have is awfully close to what you need. Try it. Worst case, you have to unlace the wheel. As long as you have a decent number of threads engaged (more than six full turns), the spokes are long enough. Too long usually means they stick out the tops of the nipples long before they run out of threads. If they protrude, you can grind them off flush with the nipples after the wheel is trued. As far as 3x vs 4x, it makes very little difference in building, truing or riding.
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Old 09-23-11, 10:30 AM   #15
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Drawbacks to 4x lace compared to 3x lace: It's a few grams heavier, per wheel. Your wheel will probably last longer, prolonging the wait until you can justify buying new wheels again. You'll have to beat back the admiring crowds, because your wheels will look so awesome.

(I really like the look of 4x lace compared to 3x.)
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Old 09-23-11, 10:43 AM   #16
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+1 to MrEss. 4x will weigh more but will make a stronger wheel than 3x. But a 3x, 36-hole wheel is pretty much bullet proof if built correctly. I think radial front, 2x non-drive and 3x drive on a 32-hole is bullet proof too. I say do whatever floats your boat, either choice is fine.
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Old 09-23-11, 10:51 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by ColonelJLloyd View Post
Sounds like what you're doing makes sense then. Nice hubs, nice spokes, not-so-nice rims; rebuild with new rims. I don't like failing, so I always buy new spokes. I've watched a few people spend hours trimming spokes either properly or after the fact with a Dremel.

I have a friend with a 27", 36h Super Champion, Record HF, 120/100 wheelset for sale. The spokes are corroded and need to be replaced so it's essentially hubs and rims. They date to '78 and probably only saw a few hundred miles. But I assume you're after 700c rims, right?
Thanks Colonel. I actually have a couple sets of later Record LF hubs currently laced to Fiamme Ergal rims, both sets. I guess what I really should use are some period correct clincher rims, but may have to substitute. Here's another tid bit of info I didn't include which has got me scratching my head. The ERD's I mentioned above; 618 is for MOST of the Nisi tubular rims I could find in charts. The 619 shown is for the Sun M 13 II rims in 27 inch size ! Which I have. Still try to wrap my head around that one. Maybe the differences in rim depths and eyelet vs. no eyelet makes them come out so close to one another. Thanks for the offer of the wheel set but I'm trying to not spend any more on this project if I can avoid it. It might even be silly to re-use these old spokes.
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Old 09-23-11, 11:00 AM   #18
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I'd not worry about the length. What you have is awfully close to what you need. Try it. Worst case, you have to unlace the wheel. As long as you have a decent number of threads engaged (more than six full turns), the spokes are long enough. Too long usually means they stick out the tops of the nipples long before they run out of threads. If they protrude, you can grind them off flush with the nipples after the wheel is trued. As far as 3x vs 4x, it makes very little difference in building, truing or riding.
Thanks Michael. You're right. It's not exactly cast in stone if things don't come out A-OK. I must admit, I'm still humming and hawing on whether to use tubulars or not. I love them, and originality is important to me, for some reason, but I'm trying to break myself of that obsession with this wheel set I guess. I know I can I know I can I know I can ......
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Old 09-23-11, 05:07 PM   #19
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Oy. Four cross is not softer, stronger, more durable, or anything, compared with three cross. There is no functional difference. When I build 36-spoke wheels, I use either pattern, depending on what's convenient, and that hinges on what spoke sizes I happen to have on hand.

I happen to agree that 4x looks cooler, but that's a matter of taste. In matters of fact, there is no advantage or disadvantage to 4x.

I agree with those who say build the wheels up and see how they go. Reusing spokes often works out just fine.
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Old 09-24-11, 05:06 PM   #20
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Though it may or may not be measurable or appreciable, I would expect 4X to be stiffer torsionally, and softer radially, than 3x. The number of crosses is affected by the number of spokes, more spokes = more crosses for the same relative trade-off between torsional and radial stiffness (of course since the number of spokes and the number of crosses are both necessarily integers, this is more of a theoretical question for the common range of spoke counts (32-36). but if you compare extreme examples like 48 spokes vs 16 spokes, you'll see that the number of crosses tends to go up naturally with a larger number of spokes). Of course more spokes increase both radial & torsional stiffness at any rate, by virtue of having more spokes. A theoretical drawback of more crosses is it results in more bending strain at the nipple; I have not seen any data or had any experience suggesting this actually results in premature failure at that location.
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Old 09-24-11, 05:11 PM   #21
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I like the way 4x looks, but I'm not aware of a functional difference. Or, rather, if there is one it's too subtle for me to notice while riding, anyway.
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Old 09-24-11, 05:13 PM   #22
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Oy. Four cross is not softer, stronger, more durable, or anything, compared with three cross. There is no functional difference. When I build 36-spoke wheels, I use either pattern, depending on what's convenient, and that hinges on what spoke sizes I happen to have on hand.

I happen to agree that 4x looks cooler, but that's a matter of taste. In matters of fact, there is no advantage or disadvantage to 4x.

I agree with those who say build the wheels up and see how they go. Reusing spokes often works out just fine.
Thanks Tom. My sole reason for going four cross is to re-use these neat old spokes. Hate to have to buy new ones. And 4 cross does look good, I agree. So if it's sixes between 3 and 4 cross I'll go ahead and put them back as I found them. Now I just have to decide: originality on the some rather funky tubular rims or a shiny new set of "modern" clincher rims. I'm torn, but I'm getting there. A winter project no doubt.
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Old 09-24-11, 05:16 PM   #23
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I like the way 4x looks, but I'm not aware of a functional difference. Or, rather, if there is one it's too subtle for me to notice while riding, anyway.
I'm not enough of a scientific rider either L A, about the only restriction I read anywhere had to do with 4 cross being unsuitable, or impossible, on small flange hubs, but on LF, I guess it's six of one, half dozen....
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Old 09-24-11, 05:17 PM   #24
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The number of crosses has nothing to do with the number of spokes: it is the choice of the wheel builder. In practice, there is little difference between 3x & 4x in stiffness or anything else. It is mainly an esthetic decision or one dictated by the length of the spokes on hand!
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Old 09-24-11, 05:34 PM   #25
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I have several sets of small flange hubs laced 4x. Two sets took me and my wife halfway across the country & back with no problems, so reports of their unsuitability are inaccurate AFAIK.
Rootboy, I have a set of wheels on my 1962 Frejus with Campy Nuovo Tipo small flange hubs and Mavic Module E clincher rims. The rims are polished aluminum and are almost impossible to distinguish from tubulars, especially when they have skinny tires on. ( They happen to be 4x, by the way.) if you want the look of tubulars without the hassle, Mod E is the way to go.
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