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killsurfcity 10-27-05 08:05 AM

question for wheel builders...
i'm going to embark on my first wheel building project... i have ordered a truing stand, and i have procured my hubs and rims, and now i need to select spokes. i have 20" wheels, and 36 hole high flange hubs. i'm not sure what lacing pattern to use, but it seems like 3x or 4x are good candidates. i'd prefer to do 4x as it is supposed to be very strong, but being new at this, it may not be the best option. can anyone advise me on spoke length and lacing pattern? thanks!

Dave Hickey 10-27-05 10:47 AM

In my opinion 3x is plenty. The spoke length is so short with a 20" wheel, 14ga, 36 holes, 3x will be absolutely bullet proof..

killsurfcity 10-27-05 11:22 AM

any idea of spoke length, or do i need to measure everything? i'm not sure how standard this stuff is...

Dave Hickey 10-27-05 11:42 AM

You're going to have to measure expecially since you are using large flange hubs. My Bike Friday wheels are using between 182 and 192mm spokes depending on the rim and hub..

One of my BF is using 32 hole XT hubs with 14ga spokes, laced 3x to Velocity rims. I took the bike on a trip and ,while riding, I kept hearing a ticking sound. I made mental note to check out the source when I returned from my trip. 200 miles later, I discovered a broken spoke was the problem. The spoke broke right at the nipple(probably during transit). The wheel stayed true even with a broken spoke...

volcker 10-27-05 11:57 AM

Sheldon Says:

"Cross 3. There's no benefit whatever to cross 4 for a 36 spoke wheel, just heavier and uses oddball length spokes. Also makes lacing/spoke replacement harder because the leading/trailing spokes cross over the heads of the trailing/leading spokes, getting in the way."


So, for your first wheel, 4x doesn't sound like a good idea...


killsurfcity 10-27-05 12:10 PM

i figured 4x might be overkill, just due to the small size of the wheels. i guess i have some measuring to do. thanks for you help guys.

v1nce 10-28-05 05:25 PM

The first wheel i build was not hard to do but def. not easy either!! Make sure you get as many on-line manuals/how to's as you can, that the spoke length is correct (there is nothing more frustrating than lacing most of the spokes and then finding out the length is not going to work) and if at all possible involve someone with experience. Any time you are unsure about the next thing just lay down that wheel and consult.

CaptainSpalding 10-28-05 08:24 PM

Before I built my first wheel I read this book: The Bicycle Wheel. It was written a while ago, and I don't know if it has been updated to include Rolf-style wheels or radial lacing. After you have read it you will be able to make sense of the many online spoke-length calculators available.

A dish tool will save you a lot of frustration as well.

CPcyclist 10-28-05 08:35 PM

I use the free spreedsheet from here has not failed me on any of the road/mtb wheels I have built. It has the numbers for lots of rims and hubs don't know about for 20" rims.

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