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WANT TO KNOW THE TRUTH!!!!!!!!!(19 posts)

WANT TO KNOW THE TRUTH!!!!!!!!!Woof the dog
Dec 21, 2002 3:04 PM

CAN SOMEBODY EXPLAIN TO ME ONCE AND FOR EVER what is the f***ing difference between 2 cross lacing and 3 cross lacing in terms of the durability/riding characteristics etc. I know how each one is laced up, i do undersand the concept. 3 cross need longer spokes. But come on, I was told by a shop that there is no real difference in the resulting product. I call it bull when some say they can tell a difference in comfort and stiffness. Why then people just keep on building 3 cross? WHY?

GEEEZ what kind of difference in durability can it possibly make? How often do you teer through the flange? Two times a life time? its not 1 cross or radial, right? 2 cross would save weight and looks cleaner imho.

I am ALL DOG EARS!!!!!!! Be sure to answer all of my questions, PLEASE!!!!!!! I WANT TO KNOW THE DAMN TRUTH.

Woof the dog that eats fat cheeseburgers.

P.S. I obviously didn't read any of the books on building wheels.
Dec 21, 2002 4:22 PM
Spokes laced 3 cross meet the hub nearly tangentially, which is ideal for response to drive forces, and effectively reduces the chance of spoke flange failure to zero. A 2 cross pattern is broadly similar, but theoretically less ideal in both cases. 3 cross has become standardized but it doesn't really matter; 2 or 4 cross are fine if you really care. Radial spoking incurs obvious drive load problems in the rear wheels and is prone to causing flange failure in the front hub, a real problem which manufacturers know about and for which they will not warranty their hubs. None of this has any consequence for 'ride characteristics': durability is the only concern.

Your aggressive tone seems inconsonant with the insignificance of the subject. Read one of the books on building wheels. It may relieve some frustration.

re: WANT TO KNOW THE TRUTH!!!!!!!!!fredthebiker
Dec 21, 2002 4:24 PM
Ok, here is a simple version...

A 3 cross allows the spokes to be more tangential or parallel. What this does is make a stronger and stiffer wheel. What I mean by stronger is that when the spokes are parallel, they have a greater tension on them and a more equal amount of force. What i mean by stiffer is that they will flex less side to side.

Ok, who ever told you that there is no difference is f'ed and I would NOT buy a wheel built by them.

There is a difference, trust me. I know.

Now, neither cross will tear through a hub flange. The flanges break because of the material they use, the way they are made and the tension they are put under. If you have a low spoke count wheel with 200 kg of force, like a Rolf wheel, you are putting alot more tension on it then a traditional wheelset. A traditional usually has 100 to 120 on the front and rear. Normally, a radial wheel is going to break the flange over a 2 or 3 crossed wheel. Again, because of higher tensions.

Now, a 2 cross does save weight, not much. Only about 10 to 15 grams. As for looking cleaner, nope. they look fine both ways.

I am hopeing that helps out. If not, read this, and let me know. I have built alot, and I really mean ALOT of wheels!

"trust me. I know"Jofa
Dec 22, 2002 6:04 AM
That phrase is the last solace of the mis- or un-informed. One characteristic of wheels built with more spoke crossings is that the spokes themselves must be fractionally longer, and consequently must elongate fractionally more under load: yet you claim the effect is to make the wheel 'stiffer'.

However, the difference in deflection between a radially spoked wheel and a tangential one has been calculated to be about equivalent to riding over a sheet of copier paper. Such an event is clearly undetectable to the rider in use. The difference is meaningless in any terms other than practicality of building, and durability.

No part of building wheels teaches the builder about their dynamic behaviour. It is perfectly possible to build hundreds of wheels and never come any closer to understanding how they work: sadly, I fear this is still the norm. Millons of wheels had been built before their function was properly investigated and documented by an engineer, in the 1970's. That document - The Bicycle Wheel- is thorough on points such as these: Jobst Brandt may have naively hoped, over twenty years ago, that he had put paid to the rag-bag of mythology that surrounded bicycle wheels. No such luck.

"trust me. I know"fredthebiker
Dec 22, 2002 7:07 AM
Well, for your information, I happen to know Jobst, as well as Gerd from DT and Ric from Wheelsmith. I have built over 30,000 wheels and have only had a literal handful come back due to a bad build. Those that have come back is usually because the person I built them for wanted too light a wheel built for them. I ofcourse advised them against the build, but, unfortunately, the customer is always right.

As for the book the bicycle wheel, Jobst also talks about how a paired spoke design is a bad idea. I am also very good friends with Rolf. Oddly enough, those two have never talked and I believe that the two would never agree upon anything. Which is where this debate is going.

All I can say is that I have more experience in wheel building than almost anyone else on this or any other board. I have built wheels for professional racers, wether it be a triathlete/duathlete, road racer or mountain racer. I have also built wheels for national champion cyclocross racers, and they have never broken a spoke or put a wheel out of wack.

So, when I tell someone to trust me, I know. I mean it. I am a designer of bicycle components, yes a rim or two has come out of me.

So, again, this debate is going no where. Other then to argue more.

Now, I am not being hostile. I am being honest. If a wheel built properly, it should not go out of wack. And by the way, NONE OF MINE DO!! including my 8 spoke front wheel and 12 spoke back wheel!

"trust me. I know"Jofa
Dec 22, 2002 4:04 PM
Given that you know Jobst perhaps you might respect him. Furthermore you might register the difference between the paired spoke designs seen in Rolf wheels and previously in the early 20th century, and the parallel spokes which naturally occur in tangentially spoked wheels.

This is nonsense of course. 30,000 wheels equates to an average of 3 a day for 30 years. Perhaps, like Frank Auerbach, you take Christmas Day off. As I expained earlier in the thread, experience of building wheels doesn't constitute an understanding of their function. With the company you apparently keep you should know better.

"trust me. I know"fredthebiker
Dec 22, 2002 5:18 PM
Are you trying to insight a fight?

Is that your job on the forums?

Personally, I am here to tell people things they may or may not know and to help them out.

As for the company I keep, I never once said that I did not respect them.

As for the building of wheels, I have not been in the industry for 30 years, only half that in fact. Which equates to an average 8 wheels a day. If you account for the taking of time off to race and travel to events.

As for not understanding function of a product, that is bull. I have had on more then one occasion bicycle companies call me and ask for my opinion on an item. Most recently, Cervelo Cycles.

So, like I said before. I am MORE then qualified to render an opinion on something.

But, If you so desire to belittle someone because you feel inadequate for some reason, so be it. I will be more then happy to be a punching bag for you.

That doesn't forget the facts though.

So, like I have told my customers for the last 15 yrs, Ride happy!

You have time for customers?TJeanloz
Dec 25, 2002 11:55 AM
Frankly, I don't care about this dispute one bit, I just want to congratulate you on your wheel building prowess, as 8 wheels a day is truly an amazing feat. And your endurance, keeping this pace for 15 years, is truly to be commended. And you still have time to post here. My question though, is who do you work for that requires 8 wheels a day? I assume it must be Mavic or Chronometro, or Zipp?

And the unverifiable celebrity encounters are also adding to your credibility. I was just talking to Tulio Campagnolo about the new electronic Record, and he was telling me about the day he went to ask for your advice. Amazing really.
You have time for customers?gtx
Dec 25, 2002 1:51 PM
8 wheels a day isn't a big deal, and possible if he was working for Wheelsmith (before they got bought or moved or whatever), or Palo Alto Bikes back in the days when they did mail order (not since the late 80s) or, I assume, Colorado Cyclist or Excel. Of course, doing it consistently for 15 years is another matter. Also, the "celebrities" you mention are just normal guys in the bike scene in the Palo Alto area (except for Gerd, I'm not sure about him).
You have time for customers?fredthebiker
Dec 25, 2002 4:29 PM
As for whom I work, I own a shop. I don't use prebuilt wheels for our bikes. Unless it is a stock bike like a Bianchi or something. All of the framesets get custom wheels, and then some. I do do work for a bicycle parts manufacturer, but that is not for mention here.

As for the Tulio comment, funny. Very funny.

As for the Palo Alto area, never been. But, Rolf lives in my state and the others I have met over the years at many a trade show or event.

What is funny is I don't consider them celebrites. And I only mentioned their names to bring validity to my claim of being knowledgable on wheel building.

As for this discussion, it is pretty much done. If you look at the other replies I have done on this site, you will notice that I have alot of knowledge and am accurate with it.

That is what matters the most.

TJ, normally I agree with you but you've really gone too farlonefrontranger
Dec 29, 2002 7:18 PM
this time.

My CMT, for what it's worth, builds more than 8 wheels a day. He works for Excel, has time to answer the phone and do some customer service as well, take a short lunch ride, and is the best damn wheel builder (and massage therapist) I've ever known. It takes him roughly 90 seconds to lace a 3x rear.

Back when I was a kid earning some spare tax-free loot doing sulky wheels for a friend of the family (horse racing bike builder) in Ohio, I got to the point where I could lace and true a pair of 36-spoke jog cart wheels in about 45 minutes. They don't require dishing, tho and all the spoke lengths are the same.

My CMT does say he got pretty vicious repetitive stress pain from wheelbuilding until he custom built his own stand. He's been a pro soigneur for a number of well known women's teams for at least 10 years and I know he's worked at Excel for longer than that. You may even know who I'm talking about (his photos are all over their catalog).
re: WANT TO KNOW THE TRUTH!!!!!!!!!Woof the dog
Dec 22, 2002 10:54 PM
The bike guy told me there is a difference but it is extremely small and we both agreed that at my weight and that many spokes, the wheels I had him build for me are equally good in durability in either 2x or 3x. He is an old guy who knows what he is doing.


Woof the dog.
Here you go!Nessism
Dec 21, 2002 4:32 PM
The difference is not much.

In theory, three cross is more durable because the spokes pull on the hub at a more tangental angle than two-cross. In reality though, the difference is only a few degrees and not enough to worry about. And speaking about not enough to worry about, the weight savings due to shorter spokes falls into this catagory. Just build what you want and ride.


Here you go!curlybike
Dec 21, 2002 8:05 PM
If for example you consider the angle of a radial spoke to be 90 degrees, 2x is 42 degrees and 3x is 18 degrees. One might consider that to be more than a few degrees difference. I have seen hubs pull apart at 3x, so anything is possible. This is just posted here for the sake of the facts, not as a disagreement. Everybodys results may vary.
YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (NM)mike r
Dec 22, 2002 5:23 AM
So how many spokes? It makes a difference.Spoke Wrench
Dec 22, 2002 5:25 AM
If left to my own devices, I build wheels with the most crosses that will fit. That's generally 2 on a 24 or 28 spoke wheel, 3 on a 32 or 36 spoke wheel, 4 for a 40 spoke wheel and 5 on a 48 spoke tandem wheel. I think that the more tangential angle and the longer spokes make a better wheel that is less likely to break spokes. Generally, when people ask me to build a wheel for them, it's because they have a history of breaking spokes and they're tired of it.

Sometimes, if you have an unusual rim and hub configuration, it becomes necessary to modify that. I rebuilt a rear wheel with fewer crosses for a Bike Friday triple because the factory build put the spokes at too much of an angle where they entered the rim and they kept breaking at the nipples.

The point is, this is just another variation of the dumb frame material debate. There are more factors that affect a wheel's performance than how the spokes are crossed.

Oh. If you can feel the performance difference due to the lighter weight of the shorter spokes in a cross 2 wheel, you will surely be able to sense a difference in comfort and stiffness too. I think they're both bull!
with front wheels...gtx
Dec 22, 2002 5:06 PM
With front wheels I usually wear out the rim or the hub first. Never had a spoke break with 2x or 3x front wheels that I've built (I don't use radial lacing with my personal wheels). So I don't think it matters. 2x looks kinda cool. If the hub has already been built up before use the original pattern.
to conclude so farWoof the dog
Dec 22, 2002 11:10 PM
Pretty much all of you say that its fine to buld with 2 cross. Somebody mentioned that it depends on how many spokes there are in the wheel, and yes, there is, as I understand from all of your messages, rarely an occasion when a hub flange breaks. And yet the overall message that I get is there is really no difference that would matter. I have looked at my 3x and 2x wheels (in my basement), and to me 2x still looks cleaner and psychologically speaking, I feel very good about saving as much weight as practically was possible.

A really annoying petpeeve of mine has suddenly grown into a huge monster with shiny teeth. If there is virtually no difference, then WHY THE F*CK the standard recommendation about your regular 32hole DA hub, OP rim, revo spokes is THREE CROSS and not 2 cross??? Why don't people recommend to build 2 cross instead? I guess yall don't have an answer, and I understand that.... I will have to face the monster on my own. :-(

Woof the dog (running away feeling disgusted)
I'll tell you why,TJeanloz
Dec 25, 2002 11:44 AM
Why recommend 3 cross instead of 2 cross? If you're a professional wrench/shop, you want to do everything possible to make sure the flange and spokes aren't going to break, because if they do, the owner is going to come back and complain. If you ask your mechanic to build you the lightest possible front wheel, he's going to recommend radial lacing. If you say, weight is important, but durability is more important, he's going to say 3-cross. The weight penalty is so miniscule that it isn't worth worrying about, and a professional mechanic will always prefer to build the strongist wheel he [she] can.