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  1. #1
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    Lacing / Wheelbuilding advice needed...

    Hello all,
    I am in the process of a build. This will be the first time I have built wheels, but I am very mechanically inclined. I am ~200 lbs., and I commute ~20 miles per day. One of the biggest problems I have had on my beater, as well as my mountain bike, is spoke breakage. I have broken spokes on a weekly basis for months, and caused the rear wheel on my mountain bike to fail and require rebuilding. My commute is bad. Seriously. Potholes like crazy, bad pavement, you name it. I have purchased "The Bicycle Wheel" by Jobst Brandt, and have read it cover to cover. I have also purchased a pair of Mavic A317 disc rims, 36 hole. The hub that I will be using on the front wheel is the Shimano Deore LX HB-M585, 36 Hole Disc hub. The rear hub will be a Shimano Alfine internal hub, 36 Hole Disc.

    Question 1) The Brandt book says that a cross 4 pattern is strongest for a 36 hole wheel, but I typically see cross three as the most common. Can anyone give me a thumbs up or down on the cross 4? I want to build them as strong as possible, no holds barred, I care not about fashion. No concerns about weight, I need bulletproof. I plan to build both of the wheels to these specs.

    Question 2) After consulting all of the online spoke length calculators, I cannot find one that has the relevant information for either of these hubs (I didn't expect to find the Alfine, it is not really on the US market yet). Has anyone built up wheels using these specs (or similar), and could they point me in the right direction as far as spoke length is concerned? I need to place an order, and need to get it right the first time.

    I know this isn't the "mechanic's" forum, but I figure the commuters on here know a little bit about strong, reliable setups that will last until the end of the Earth...

    Thanks!
    Joey French

  2. #2
    put our Heads Together cerewa's Avatar
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    to calculate the effective rim diameter for the spokes, you could use a piece of string and a pen. Put marks on the string lined up to the point you want the spokes to run to in the rim, use measuring tape to measure the string. (measure in two spots in case the unlaced rim's not round)

    For the hub left-to-right width, measure with measuring tape, easy. For the hub diameter you could use cardboard and put marks on it, or measuring calipers if you have any. The numbers you come up with can be put into a calculator like this one.
    http://www.bikeschool.com/spokes/

    You will have no problem building wheels-- it's not that hard as long as you allow yourself time to mess up. If you're like me you will sometimes put a spoke or several in the wrong hole and have to correct it, but all that will do is waste time.
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  3. #3
    noob MnIceBiker's Avatar
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    --Question 1 = 3 cross is most common, but 4 cross is stronger, so build them 4 cross.
    --Question 2 = Measure manually to get the most accurate information. You'll need the Effective Rim Diameter, Hub Flange Diameter, and Center to Flange Diameter of the Hub. ERD is the most critical. You can look up various ways to get these measurements, or the mechanic's forum will have a how-to.
    --You are correct. This isn't the mechanic's forum.
    --Go Slow, unlacing just to re-lace correctly is bad for morale.
    --Good Luck!
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  4. #4
    Violin guitar mandolin
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    might heat treat the spokes if they're plated. Drives hydrogen out.

  5. #5
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    Heat treating?

  6. #6
    nashcommguy
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyfrench View Post
    Hello all,
    I am in the process of a build. This will be the first time I have built wheels, but I am very mechanically inclined. I am ~200 lbs., and I commute ~20 miles per day. One of the biggest problems I have had on my beater, as well as my mountain bike, is spoke breakage. I have broken spokes on a weekly basis for months, and caused the rear wheel on my mountain bike to fail and require rebuilding. My commute is bad. Seriously. Potholes like crazy, bad pavement, you name it. I have purchased "The Bicycle Wheel" by Jobst Brandt, and have read it cover to cover. I have also purchased a pair of Mavic A317 disc rims, 36 hole. The hub that I will be using on the front wheel is the Shimano Deore LX HB-M585, 36 Hole Disc hub. The rear hub will be a Shimano Alfine internal hub, 36 Hole Disc.

    Question 1) The Brandt book says that a cross 4 pattern is strongest for a 36 hole wheel, but I typically see cross three as the most common. Can anyone give me a thumbs up or down on the cross 4? I want to build them as strong as possible, no holds barred, I care not about fashion. No concerns about weight, I need bulletproof. I plan to build both of the wheels to these specs.

    Question 2) After consulting all of the online spoke length calculators, I cannot find one that has the relevant information for either of these hubs (I didn't expect to find the Alfine, it is not really on the US market yet). Has anyone built up wheels using these specs (or similar), and could they point me in the right direction as far as spoke length is concerned? I need to place an order, and need to get it right the first time.

    I know this isn't the "mechanic's" forum, but I figure the commuters on here know a little bit about strong, reliable setups that will last until the end of the Earth...

    Thanks!
    Joey French

    Don't know if you've gotten your spokes yet, but I would highly recommend the DT Alpine 3. 4x pattern for the rear, definately. 3x should be good enough for the front. That being said may I suggest going to a 48h rear hub...I believe Saisun makes one that's used for tandems and is relatively inexpensive. For rims Sun makes a CR-18 48h model(25-35.00). I believe Mavic's A719 comes in a 48h model, too(65-85.00). Also, a 48h bmx hub w/freewheel threads may allow for a multi-cog freewheel. AFA a spoke calculator online try http://www.bikewebsite.com They've got one that I've used to great success and satisfaction. Also, my friend who's a great DIY bike mechanic and does alot of radical stuff afa wheelbuilding goes...he's the guy who taught me. Just spoke w/him on the phone and he said to give you his e-mail address: glennkamka@yahoo.com http://www.harriscyclery.com always has odd-ball stuff that may fit your needs, but they're NOT a discount house. Good luck on your build...I started building my own wheels for exactly the same reason. It's very empowering for the cycle-commuter.

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    Thanks for the replies! I already purchased the rims and front hub, and the Alfine rear hub is to be shipped across the pond. I guess the thing I was worried about is that I trust Sheldon Brown's advice on most things, but he seems to think that cross 4 on a 36 hole is silly. Plus, I don't usually hear much conversation on the subject (a bit specialized- low spoke counts / radial spokes / light weight wheels are trendy, bike commuters aren't the majority).

    Joey

  8. #8
    Gone, but not forgotten Sheldon Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyfrench View Post
    Thanks for the replies! I already purchased the rims and front hub, and the Alfine rear hub is to be shipped across the pond. I guess the thing I was worried about is that I trust Sheldon Brown's advice on most things, but he seems to think that cross 4 on a 36 hole is silly.
    Yep. There's no benefit to that with modern, good quality spokes.

    Its an especially bad idea for very large flange hubs like the Nexus 8/Alfine. It creates too much of an angle at the nipple. For a hub like this, cross 2 or cross 3 is the way to go.

    Hub gears like the Nexus 8/Alfine build SUPER strong wheels, due to the large flanges and symmetrical dishing. I would expect a 36 spoke wheel with one of these hubs to be much stronger than a 48 spoke derailer-type wheel.

    Sheldon "It's The Angles" Brown
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  9. #9
    nashcommguy
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyfrench View Post
    Thanks for the replies! I already purchased the rims and front hub, and the Alfine rear hub is to be shipped across the pond. I guess the thing I was worried about is that I trust Sheldon Brown's advice on most things, but he seems to think that cross 4 on a 36 hole is silly. Plus, I don't usually hear much conversation on the subject (a bit specialized- low spoke counts / radial spokes / light weight wheels are trendy, bike commuters aren't the majority).

    Joey
    Didn't realize you'd ordered an Alfine hub which is huge. Didn't read your op close enough, sorry. Yeah, 4x would be unnecessary in that case. W/a ig hub it's almost like building a front wheel because of the symmetry. Would still suggest the DT alpine 3 spokes. Would, also suggest as big a set of tires as your clearance will allow. Armadillos, Marathon plus, etc. are all tough enough to withstand a rough commute.

    Please, post back on the Alfine...I'm thinking if going ig for my commuters and would be interested in the performance in rain, snow, cold, etc. Again, good luck on your build.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the help, all. So, I guess cross three it is, with the best spokes I can buy. Yes, I am looking forward to the Alfine, it is the last component I have yet to receive for the build. I will be posting here when I get it done, for sure. For right now, you can see my progress here...

    Joey French

  11. #11
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    One more newb question about this whole thing. After putting my hand measured data into a spoke calculater online, I came up with required spoke lengths of Disc Side- 290.5, Non-Disc Side- 291.2. So, any good advice on buying spokes? I see a place online that I can order 290, 291, 292, etc. Is it best to get two different sizes, overshoot a bit, undershoot, or doesn't make that big of a difference?

    Thanks again, and I should be done asking questions after this...

    Joey French

  12. #12
    Gone, but not forgotten Sheldon Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyfrench View Post
    One more newb question about this whole thing. After putting my hand measured data into a spoke calculater online, I came up with required spoke lengths of Disc Side- 290.5, Non-Disc Side- 291.2. So, any good advice on buying spokes? I see a place online that I can order 290, 291, 292, etc. Is it best to get two different sizes, overshoot a bit, undershoot, or doesn't make that big of a difference?
    Usually, I round upward on spoke sizes, but in this case, using 291 on both sides seems perfectly reasonable to me.

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  13. #13
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I know you read the book and Cap'n Brown is on board to help...but make sure you tension the spokes using a tension meter. It makes a huge difference in the durability of the wheel.

    Aaron
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  14. #14
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    Wow, I feel so special, thanks for all the help. I took a look and decided that I wanted to go with the Alpine IIIs, but Harris says thay are "gone forever"? I don't understand. Anyway, from a purely aesthetic perspective, do they come in just silver, as opposed to black? Not that it really matters, purely a looks issue...

    Joey

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