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  1. #1
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    Hi, I'm looking to build a set of cyclo-cross specific racing wheels and wanted recommendations on spokes and spoking patterns.

    I'm thinking of using Sapim aero spokes and with a 32H front radial pattern, and a mixed 32H radial non-drive/3 cross drive side pattern in the rear.

    For reference the rims are Velocity Aerohead/Aerohead OC rear (no eyelets) and the hubs are Italian made Ritchey WCS's.

    I weigh 165 lbs and ride fairly aggressively. I know it's subjective but would something like these be durable enough?

    Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

  2. #2
    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    I personally think radially laced wheels are a bad idea for anyone. My front is radial, and it flexes like mad and has to be trued every 4-5 rides. I'm 150lbs. The weight difference of radial vs. 2/3 cross is negligable, and the strength of a 2x wheel is probably at least double, from my experience. I also don't know why you would put aero spokes on an offroad bike... just doesn't make sense to me... costs a lot more and nets you zero benefits vs. a conventional spoke.

  3. #3
    Long member...oh wait....
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    I agree with Seely. Ditch the radial lacing all together! Seriously, there is no benefit to this on a cross bike what so ever.
    Your best set of handbuilt cross wheels for someone your size would be 32h open pros or Cxp 33's laced three cross with double butted DT spokes. Lace the wheels 3x front and rear and tension them up to about 115 kgf or so. A properly tensioned wheel will stay true longer. Radial lacing puts too much stress on the flanges of the hubs. The Ritchey hubs should be ok. I can't stress the importance of wheel tension enough!
    "The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart."
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    Quote Originally Posted by seely
    I personally think radially laced wheels are a bad idea for anyone. My front is radial, and it flexes like mad and has to be trued every 4-5 rides. I'm 150lbs. The weight difference of radial vs. 2/3 cross is negligable, and the strength of a 2x wheel is probably at least double, from my experience. I also don't know why you would put aero spokes on an offroad bike... just doesn't make sense to me... costs a lot more and nets you zero benefits vs. a conventional spoke.
    I don't agree I ahve a front wheel laced so 32 spoke velocy arrowhead rim and I weigh 234 and it has never moved at all. I only ride onrode but it can be rough. usualy with my weight wheels go out of true often.

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    Great, thanks for the input. Sounds like 3X crossing is the right thing to do.

    What about spoke nipples? Alloy okay or stick with brass?

    Thanks again!

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    Hey,
    As an experienced wheel builder, I've found that brass nipples are your best bet. Alloy nipples shave a few grams or rotaional weight but if their not used correctly, they can cause you problems down the line. Buy good quality alloys and you should be fine. I do however tend to stay with Brass for most of my wheels. Why? Because brass builds up better, is less likely to strip and less likely to bind up and fuse to the spoke threads. Alloy nipples are natorious for cracking. The few grams you save should come from the rim or tire. Don't waste your time trying to save weight with the nipples! It's just not worth it in the long run......
    "The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart."
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  7. #7
    Direct Hit Not Required BlastRadius's Avatar
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    Second the brass.
    On another note would there be much difference in 1x vs 2x?
    The A-Class 320s use 1x but they're low spoke count type wheels.

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    I haven't had any problems with a radial front, but it voids almost all hub warranties. The only advantage of the aero spokes would really be mud clearence which would be minimal. As far as the rear I wouldn't do a radial non-drive. I would stick with 3x, but you could get away w/ 2x for some race wheels. good luck!

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    I have my road bike rims laced this way and have never had any problems, but for cyclocross that might present some conflict. I've spoked my Velocity aerohead with an offset radial lace for the front rims and on the rear straight radial on non-drive and 3x drive side. I've had them for three years now and only had one broken spoke so far and it was on the drive side. Using DT Revolution 14/17/14 for the radial and 14/15 on the drive spokes. I weigh in at 170 lbs and ride 100 miles a week.

  10. #10
    Wher'd u Get That Jacket? flythebike's Avatar
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    I do a radial non-drive based on what Sheldon Brown has to say. But I think radial front is bad, makes the wheel vertically rigid, but flexy in turns and on climbs. If you don't overtension the non-drive side, you won't rip out a spoke through the flange. Good to have a tensiometer to build a wheel this way...Park makes one for $50.
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    Quote Originally Posted by flythebike
    I do a radial non-drive based on what Sheldon Brown has to say. But I think radial front is bad, makes the wheel vertically rigid, but flexy in turns and on climbs.
    well I sure have not noticed that. I think this is ome of those things that get a bit out to left field type of arguments.

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    Wher'd u Get That Jacket? flythebike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steveknight
    well I sure have not noticed that. I think this is ome of those things that get a bit out to left field type of arguments.
    www.sheldonbrown.com

    Well, God lives in the details...
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  13. #13
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    I agree with 3x lacing for anything off-road. Radially lacing is o.k. if you are light and ride on-road. Off road riding produces too many tangential forces on the rims.

    I don't see the purpose of 2x. I mean if you are going to go radially, then go radially. If you are going to cross spokes, go with 3x. It's the best pattern for strength and the weight difference is almost negligible.

    I like Velocity rims. I'm also a big fan of Mavic rims. From a builder's point of view, they come perfectly round from the factory so it makes building them easier and stronger as all the spokes are equally tensioned and you don't fight an egg shaped wheel from the get-go.

    I really like a set of CPX-33 laced with DT Revolution spokes to some quality hubs. American Classics, Phil Woods, Chris Kings....etc.

    I've built up wheels using aluminum nipples for racers and honestly prefer brass. I'll acknowledge the theory that for downhill racing rims alloys are better because they'll break before ripping through the rim. That is analygous to 'Crumple Zones' for automobile design. You engineer into the product a weak point! Still, I use brass on all my personal wheels.

    Sapim, DT and Wheelsmith are the only spokes I'll use. In that order of preference.

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  14. #14
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    well my 32 radial arrowhead sure is holding up well and I am or was 280 when I got it. it gets a good pounding on the road and I put 20 miles a day on it nto sure what spokesi th as but they are a bit thinner then my rear and the wheel is still nice and true.

  15. #15
    Wher'd u Get That Jacket? flythebike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by a2psyklnut
    I agree with 3x lacing for anything off-road. Radially lacing is o.k. if you are light and ride on-road. Off road riding produces too many tangential forces on the rims.

    I don't see the purpose of 2x. I mean if you are going to go radially, then go radially. If you are going to cross spokes, go with 3x. It's the best pattern for strength and the weight difference is almost negligible.
    Much of this has to do with personal preference. But, never underestimate the power of tradition in cycling. That is, people will continue to do 3x and preach for 3x because they have build and ridden good wheels with three cross. But that does not prove that other spoking patterns lack viability.

    The point with crossing patterns is spoke angle. If you have fewer spokes, you don't need to cross as much to get the same angle. That is why a 28 2x has a similar angle to 32 3x and if you want that same angle with a 36 you need to go 4x. If you are not tearing around off-camber turns and braking etc. putting lots of twisting forces on your wheel, then you can do it radially, or if you rims and spokes are strong enough - the Bontrager Select wheelset that came with my cross bike is spoked radially on the front and it is a perfectly rigid wheel - but it is very heavy.

    I tend to be light on my wheels and do smash them up. Also, I don't mind throwing them onto the truing stand and making small adjustments that may be necessary because I built with a more agressive spoking pattern. But that is usually only necessary while the wheel settles.

    The nice thing with brass nipples is you can do a slightly higher tension. For me, I'd prefer that on a rear wheel because that takes 70% of the weight & thus, most of the abuse.

    I have a 28F/32R King/Mavic Reflex/DT Revolution spokes wheelset to put to the test tomorrow. I'll let you know how it fares.
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  16. #16
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    Hey thanks for all the great suggestions. Based on consensus, it seems building a strong set of wheels is more important than weight or aerodynamics.

    BTW, I had a pair of road race wheels built in the past with 28 spoke radial front, and I do remember them being flexy (side to side) on turns. Kind of unsettling, although I did get used to it. Those wheels were used mostly for time trialing so it was okay at the time.

  17. #17
    Wher'd u Get That Jacket? flythebike's Avatar
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    The thing is that you've got a big tire on an off road bike so your rim/spoke aerodynamics don't mean that much. I think cyclocross pros use aero wheels for vertical stiffness as much as anything else.
    WeBlog: http://flythebike.blogspot.com
    "Then know, that I have little wealth to lose. A man I am, crossed with adversity; My riches are these poor habiliments, Of which if you should here disfurnish me, You take the sum and substance that I have." Shakespeare: The Two Gentlemen of Verona
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