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Radial Lacing v. 3-cross(12 posts)

Radial Lacing v. 3-crossMatno
May 22, 2002 12:49 PM
Any reason not to use radial lacing on my front wheel? I want a durable wheelset, but I'm not a heavy rider, and I would like lighter wheels if possible. Only reason I've ever heard not to do it is "stiffness" which Sheldon Brown refers to as a myth that is "hooey!" (And makes a good argument for it). What about durability?

How about radial lacing on the non-drive side of the rear wheel? There is supposedly little torque there so 3-cross seems unnecessary.
Should work fineMcAndrus
May 22, 2002 1:06 PM
Radial laced front wheels work fine. They have a reputation for being stiffer but I can't tell from my set of Campagnolo Protons vs my set of custom Open Pros which are 2-cross in front.

On the rear the Protons are radial on the left and 3-cross on the drive side for the power torque that comes off of the cassette.

My Open Pros rear wheel is actually lighter than the Proton rear, even though it has 3-cross on both sides so obviously there are other factors than number of spokes in the weight.

All-in-all, the durability, handling, etc., are just fine. I'm happy with mine.
You may void your hub warranty.Spoke Wrench
May 22, 2002 2:59 PM
Campy and Shimano will not warranty radially laced hubs for breaking out at the eyelet.

Other than style, is there any reason for a radially laced front wheel?
May 23, 2002 8:16 AM
Nothing in Shimano's general warranty policy or warranty claim form says anything about that. Is that something I would have to look for in the hub-specific instructions? How would they know the difference if I just sent them the hub?

I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who have used radially lacing on Shimano Ultegra hubs. I only weigh 140 so I'm not terribly worried about the durability of the hubs. Plus, I've never heard of "normal" hubs ripping out their eyelets. Turbo light race-specific hubs perhaps, but not standard hubs. Especially not with a rider my size who rides as smoothly as I do (no racing).
May 23, 2002 3:15 PM
The radial lacing thing for Shimano stuff is some where - probably with the info sheet that comes with the hub. If you check on some of the wheel building sites it's often listed as being not suitable for radial lacing. Sure people do it, but as an engineer it pretty easy to understand the failure mode when you examine it. I've seen quite a few failed hubs and it's obvious - the tear out is symetrical and not at al like what a 2x or 3x spoke would do pulling to one side. The part to understand is that the spoke tension is the precursor and then wacking something is the last straw - time and faitgue alos play a role. It isn't always a function of rider weight, but if you're light, ride carefully and make damn sure that your wheel isn't over tensioned you may be fine. OR you could go with a hub that is rated for radial lacing and ride with complete abandon. You wouldn't be the first person that would be trying to do a warranty claim on a failed radial laced hub. The Shimano folks might have been born at night, but it wasn't last night.
Correction. What about 2-cross?Matno
May 23, 2002 8:20 PM
Just wanted to make it clear that I would never try to warranty something that was my own fault.

I guess it does make sense that there is greater strength when you pull sideways on the flange rather than straight out. Maybe I'll go with a cross pattern after all. I was mostly just thinking that radial lacing would be easier. (This is my first attempt at wheelbuilding and I don't want my second attempt to be any time soon!)

How does 2-cross compare to 3-cross? I assume that it wouldn't void any warranties, but might still be a bit easier to set up? Hmmmm.
May 24, 2002 8:55 AM
>Just wanted to make it clear that I would never try to warranty something that was my own fault.

You know this makes you eligible for sainthood don't you? It's always worth a try!

2 cross is not quite as stiff laterally, but quite acceptable for all hubs that don't allow radial lacing. 3 cross is a standard bomber setup and since this is your first set of wheels you should try and stick to generally accepted techniques. I highly reccomend the you read some of the wheelbuilding books and The Bicycle Wheel in particualar - you'll have an appreciation and some new found insight to the whole process. Think of the spokes as little springs - the longer spring is going to be more fogiving in terms of both taking hits and trying to get uniform tension (F=kx if this means anything to you). 2x vs. 3x isn't really any easier to setup - it's a very definite pattern and you can screw either one up without a lot of thought.
Correction. What about 2-cross?curlybike
May 24, 2002 11:31 AM
Tell us what you are using for components and we will tell you what spokes to use, lengthwise, that is.
Tried them all and...Quack
May 22, 2002 6:50 PM
I have tried all the conventional wheel configurations out there except the funky twisting spoke patterns and have never been able to feel the difference while riding. Suprisingly, the fastest average speeds I get are on some old deep-dish Mavic CXP-30s laced 3x with 36 spokes and brass nipples. Talk about heavy. Rims and tires/tubes make all the difference in my opinion.

Spoke Wrench is absolutely right with his warranty comment, and even more important is the potential for flange tearout on hubs with weaker flanges. I have an ultralight front climbing wheel that is radial laced using a light aluminum hub not built for radial lacing and the thing always makes me nervous on descents. Flange tearout is fine at slow speed but as speed increases, so does the load in corners, and wheel collapse at 30+ on a descent never sounds cool. If you are looking to shave a little weight by using shorter spokes, go 2 cross on the front and stay safe. Or buy hubs that are up to radial lacing.

As far as the rear wheel goes, I always build wheels with radially laced non-drive side spokes, mainly for aesthetics. At 140 lbs., I'm not exactly pushing the load limits of my wheels and have never broken a non-drive spoke in my life.
re: Radial Lacing v. 3-crossmerckx56
May 23, 2002 6:32 AM
radial is a bit lighter since the spokes are shorter.
looks cool.
easier to build and maintain(truing the wheel.)
a bit harsh on rough roads (personal experience speaks here, sheldon brown notwithstanding!)
not as laterally stiff as a 3x.
for the rear, never do radial unless they are specific event wheels (climbing). i built a set with 3x drive and 1x non-drive and just that single cross seemed to make the wheel stay truer longer.
I realize sheldon brown is a svengali to many on this board and i'm not trying to refute him, but years as a wrench and rider have told ME that the above holds true.
re: Radial Lacing v. 3-crosssprockets2
May 23, 2002 7:56 AM
I agree completely, especially about good old Sheldon, who I believe sometimes substitutes opinion for experience.

I find that radials are more harsh, but not so that it would matter if all else were equal, but it ain't: hub failure is a fairly serious matter.

The bottom line for me is that radial offers no distinct advantage in any meaningful sense, and has some downsides. Duh.
May 23, 2002 8:58 AM
Radial lacing is really all about fashion disguised in arguements about weight and aerodynamics. Shorter spokes, no crosses etc. The other person that debunks it fairly well is Jobst Brandt.

Dunno about your rear wheel, but the whole thing has torque - it's just less than the drive side due to dishing concerns. Ultimately it's a good way to increase stress on the hub and it will not be as stiff laterally as a 3 cross (the cross is the key), but neither will it be as compliant since the spokes are shorter which equates to a shorter spring. The aero dynamics are many orders of magnatude lower than other contributors like body position. Many hubs are not designed for radial lacing and there is a significant risk that you will fail the flange.

Light, durable and cheap - pick any two.