I want to build a set of wheels for my old 1970s road bike. The bike is going to be mainly used for commuting and maybe some light offroad use. I bought some old Campy 36 hole hubs and Sun CR-18 rims. I have questions on what spokes and spoking pattern to use though. This will be the first set of wheels that I have built.
I heard that a 4 cross pattern will provide a smoother ride as the longer spokes will absorb shock better and the wheel will also be somewhat sturdier. What are the advantages of the 3x and 4x patterns? Should I use double butted or triple butted spokes? What gauge spokes would you recommend?
Use 3 x. If the hub flanges are real small, the spoke might even be close enough to interfere with 4 X. If it's a used hub, lace them the same way they were originally laced.
Use straight gauge or double butted. With 36 spokes you might try 1.8 mm straight gauge, but 2mm is more common. Straight gauge are less susceptible to winding up as they are tensioned. Triple butted wind up too easily for inexperienced builders.
If it's a 7, 8, 9 or 10s wheel, use straight gauge on the drive side and double butted on the other side. If it's a 5s, use all the same spokes.
Others well tell you to use double butted flat titanium spokes with carbon fiber nipples, but it's better to stick with basics for your first set of wheels.
Eddy M has good advice.
I can only add, purchase Brandt's The Bicycle Wheel. (If you can't wait for it to arrive, there's a PDF online, but you didn't hear from me.) Sheldon Brown's web site is great, too, but Brandt's book is a bit more comprehensive, plus it's just a really well written and illustrated book that is a pleasure to read.
What exactly is spoke winding? Would it be a problem if I used double butted spokes? Anybody have suggestions on an entry level truing stand to purchase? A PDF of The Bicycle Wheel sure would be helpful...
If you turn the nipple, if the spoke twists instead of drawing up the spoke, that's wind up. You think you are tightening the spoke by a half-turn, but you really only get a quarter-turn or even less. It makes it hard to tension and true the wheel, and results in a weaker, less stable wheel. Fat spokes resist wind up better than skinny spokes. Spokes with fat threads and skinny midsections wind up the most.
I use an old fork as a truing stand, with a dial indicator. You can get a dial at Harbor Freight for $14, and it makes an old fork as accurate as any stand you can buy. It takes a little time to set up, but I've found that truing goes much faster with the dial, and I get excellent results. It also gives me a lot of confidence to ride the wheels for a while and then remeasure them to prove that they have remained stable. Sometimes I use a zip tie for an indicator because I can set it up faster, but only for wheels that don't need to be perfectly true.
Another advantage of using a fork is that it holds the wheel tightly enough that I can push the rim sideways with my thumb to take some tension off the spoke I'm working on. That is particularly useful when bringing a highly tensioned drive side spoke up to tension on a 10s wheel. You can't do that with most of the commercially available stands I've seen.
Is this the dial indicator you are talking about?
Also, can you describe how you mount it to the fork or post pics?
That's the one. I mount 2 of them to the brake hole of a fork using #10 bolts and steel strps. It takes a little while to get it right, but it's the best truing stand I've ever used.
Originally Posted by kbabin
Sorry, I don't have any pictures.
I bought used hubs on eBay. How can I tell what the original lacing pattern was? Also, I found custom cut stainless steel spokes online for $0.25 each. These seem a lot cheaper than most, but is there any reason to buy name brand spokes?