Old 07-30-15, 11:59 AM
  #38  
FBinNY 
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
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Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter

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Originally Posted by McBTC View Post
Forget about "standing" and "hanging" if that only invokes thoughts of nothing more than a debate over semantics. The real question is which spokes are actually doing the work and that has been calculated by engineers using finite element analysis. The spokes at the bottom are carrying the load so that evokes the use of a word like 'stands' to connote something being supported by something else that is resting on the ground, as opposed to the word 'hangs' that might seem more appropriate if the physics of the matter were more like a hub being supported from something else above the hub. Jobst Brandt ("The Bicycle Wheel") is pointed to as the seminal work on the structural mechanics underlying the functioning of the bicycle wheel.
I suspect that you're someone without direct expertise in these issues, but apologize if wrong.

You characterize the lower spokes as doing the work, but would be fairer to say that the lower spokes are doing less work.

Imagine a tug of war. Two teams are pulling equally on the rope with the flag centered over the mud hole. On a signal, all the members of one team let go and send the others back onto their asses, taking the flag with them. So how would you describe this. Would you say they pushed the rope? Maybe, and the effect is as if they did, but they didn't push, they simply failed to pull and that was enough.

Likewise with a bicycle wheel. The lower spokes don't support the hub, they simply don't pull it down as hard, and the rest happens. Notice that like with tug of war, the upper spokes don't have to pull any harder, they just have to keep doing what they were all along.

That's why I hate the up from the bottom or down from the top argument. Neither is true.
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