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radial lacing, what are the advantages?(23 posts)

radial lacing, what are the advantages?radiate
Feb 7, 2002 8:12 AM
I know it looks cool, but are there any siginificant advantages to radial lacing? I am 145-150 pounds, and looking at lacing up either 28 hole cxp33 or 32 hole open pro with dura-ace hubs. I know that radial lacing voids the dura ace warranty, is that reason enought to forget about it? Comments anyone?
No real advantagesColnagoFE
Feb 7, 2002 8:19 AM
Maybe slightly lighter, but it rides rougher and voids the warranty on your hub. I say no.
Then why are there so many radial laced wheels?(nm)radiate
Feb 7, 2002 8:44 AM
Then why are there so many radial laced wheels?(
Cause they look cool and save a little weight(nm)ColnagoFE
Feb 7, 2002 8:52 AM
i agree with no real advantages but rides rougher - not!johan burnt eels
Feb 7, 2002 9:19 AM

i think the advice is well reasoned and true. and my experience tells me the same. just make sure your hub is forged and not cnc'ed. it will be fine. and make sure you build it with fresh hubs and not relaced hubs that were once crossed.

whats wrong with liking the way they look if you have enough spokes to do it and build it well. i wouldn't do it on my rear wheel even though i have a factory 2x drive - radial non-drive on one of my bikes. id leave that for the the experts to build.
re: radial lacing, what are the advantages?JabaTheButt
Feb 7, 2002 8:47 AM
Radial lacing is a stiffer lacing pattern when compared with a comparable laced 2x, 3X cross pattern etc.. In theory, because it is stiffer, it results in better power transfer to the tires during the pedal stroke and also stiffens up the front end for more precise handling versus X lacing. Most guys who lace their tires radially will do it on the front wheel only or the front wheel and the nondrive side of the rear wheel. Whether it actually results in better power transfer I'm not sure, but I know a lot of guys who train on 2X and 3X laced front wheels, but when it comes time to race, they switch to a radial pattern. Whether they are doing it for feel or more true power transmission I'm not sure if its fact or the individual perception of the rider using it.

Most bike shops suggest 2X or 3X crossing patterns for a more durable wheel. Hope this helped.
Larger riders often like Radial wheelsJabaTheButt
Feb 7, 2002 9:05 AM
Large riders often ride Radial spoke pattern wheels because they are stiff and not easy to flex and they want this in their wheelset as well.
Gives u good excuse to replace/rebuild later. nmDog Breath
Feb 7, 2002 9:09 AM
Have heliums, and like some other radial laced wheelsPaul
Feb 7, 2002 9:12 AM
get wheel shudder upon braking due to the rim not being strongly supported by the spokes. My friends experience the same. I super-trued them, and still got shudder when braking. It would stop okay, but shudder during the initial braking.

I checked my friends radial laced (Cane Creek) wheels, and experience the same thing. This only happens on the front wheel.

Shorter spokes, less weight is but all I can see in radial laced wheels. I don't have shudder with my Ksyriums probably due to the super strong spokes they use, and the more rigid rim. I don't advise these type of wheels (except ksyriums or something like them).

Shudder? I never feel that.McAndrus
Feb 7, 2002 9:59 AM
I ride Protons which are radial in front and radial-3x in back. Some people say radials are harsher but I can't tell. I think they build a stronger wheel because of the shortened spoke length - but I'm not a wheel expert.

Just curious on the shuddering thing. I've never, ever felt that. Maybe it's just the Cane Creeks and Heliums that suffer this problem?
Mavic cosmo also (nm)Paul
Feb 7, 2002 11:56 AM
Maybe if you do it right...Ernesto Pinarello
Feb 7, 2002 12:05 PM
The idea behind radial lacing is that you can use shorter spokes, and that the shape they form most resembles the shape of a triangle, which has the most solid, stiffest base of any form in nature. First, check out Excel Sports' site and look at their spoke length chart to see the difference between the different spoke patterns. In most cases, radially lacing saves the weight of about one or two spokes, depending on how many spokes you have. In general, it makes more difference to do say, 28 hole 2x instead of 32 radial, as the wheel will be stronger and lighter. That said, radial lacing can sometimes be stiffer than other patterns, as the connection to the rim is a straight triangle. When you start crossing spokes, you are taking away this triangular connection, which makes the wheel less rigid vertically. However, it stiffens the wheel laterally. So, if you stay seated and hammer, radial lacing is stiffer and lighter. If you do a lot of climbing and sprinting standing up over the front, the crossed patterns are stiffer and stronger. Something like a 2x would probably be good if this is the case. Another consideration is the rim you are using. Mavic rims by far not the strongest rims out there, as they have a thin face and to make up for it they throw on a single eyelet. However, other companies like Velocity and Sunn simply beef up the face of the rim and put a secon eyelet in back, so you can have more spoke tension without the common Mavic problem of the rim cracking. Also, you say you would like to lace up a CXP-33 rim. This is a pretty beefy rim, listed at about 475 if my memory is correct. Now, you would be far better off if you went with a lighter weight rim and more spokes than a heavy rim with radial lacing and 28, as rotating weight is everything. That said, you should also consider what the use of the wheel will be. If you are not racing, forget about fancy lacing patterns and few spokes... you will only be disapointed. I train on CXP33's 32 hole 3x with Chorus hubs and they are great wheels. I wish I had gotten the Velocity rims, something like the 30mm versions, simply because they are so strong that I don't have to worry about them while training. If you are racing, I would go tubular for lower rolling resistance, lighter weight, better control, and more safety. As for hubs, definetely do not get Dura Ace. If you do decide to go radial lacing, I would get a nice hub that is made for radial lacing patterns and has a thick flange, like the American Classic Micro hub. It is a tiny little hub that has raised questions of durability, but everyone I've talked to just says that it works and that's all there is to it. I would not, however, get this hub or lace radially if you do not intend this wheelset to be a race set. As for the back, the American Classic Ultralight is also, in my opinion, the best hub on the market for the price. Shimano only uses two tiny little pawls to engage the freewheel, and all your torque rests on these tiny little ratcheters. Campy uses a third one, and improves it somewhat. American Classic uses six of them, and if you have the money, spring for a Chris King and get their fancy unlimited-ratio-whatever hub. AM Classic also put a huge flange on the hub that distributes the weight more evenly, and any company that makes a campy compatible hub is a good one in my book.
So, in sum, do not lace radially if you don't race or you stand a lot, Spring for some American Classic hubs if you want quality or radial lacing, buy tubular rims if you are racing, and get some quality 14/15 g spokes with alloy nipples. The dumbest thing you could do is get a nice radially laced wheel with light spokes, and throw brass nipples on. Nipples are entirely rotating weight, and are usually about 20g heavier (for 32) than alloys. So, if you don't race, get a wheelset with American Classic hubs, 14/15 g DT spokes with alloy nipples, 3-cross with a Velocity deep-section rim. If you do race, get American Classic hubs with 14/15 or 15/16 spokes (14/17 are also okay), alloy nipples, a nice tubular rim like the Velocity Escape or the Sunn 1911 or a clincher other than from Mavic, and lace radially if you don't stand much, 2x if you do (in front) and stick with 3x in back. Hope you understood all that, but if you didn't, go to a nice, small shop that isn't a chain and talk to the smartest shop techie you can find there about wheels. If they are reluctant to talk to you it is because they don't know anything. If they really know there S they will be happy to flaunt the knowledge. Get them to build them up, and ride happy knowing that you supported the local shop and that you probably got something like a 3-year warranty on them since it was from a local shop (Excel etc. usually only do about 90 day). Best of luck,

Maybe if you do it right...radiate
Feb 7, 2002 1:24 PM
Thanks for the info, I am not racing now, but may be in the spring. Currently I just participate in centuries and such.

So, you are recommending the american classic hubs even if I am not a racer? I thought those hubs were a strickly "race day" hub and that they would wear out quickly. I live in mississippi, so no good LBS to talk to about all of this, in fact, my lbs would rather sell a pre-built wheel than build one (they refused to build a wheel on my XTR mountain bike hub). I have heard that the chris king hubs require alot of maintainence, any thought?

some things you should understand...johan burnt eels
Feb 7, 2002 1:42 PM
tubulars do not have better rolling resistance than clinchers.

no velocity rims have eyelets. suns have one. mavic open pro have two and from what i can tell cxp33's have one long sleeve.

i fail to see what # of pawls has to do with radial lacing.

rotating weight is important but not everything. way too generalised.

any forged hub is suitable for radial lacing. shimano hubs are fine. phil wood perhaps has the best hubs for radial lacing as the flanges are angled in towards the rim and support the spoke bend/angle.

generally since the spokes are trailing straight outward on the hub flange, they can possibly rip the outer edge of the flange right off along the line of the spoke holes. This is most likely to happen with small flange 36 hole hubs, because there is less metal between the spoke holes. higher flanges/ more metal between holes makes a stronger hub for radially laced wheels.

i ride tubulars exclusively but would not say that you can only race on tubulars. far from the truth. bad advice.

i am trying to understand you logic regarding standing. i suppose downhill braking places too much weight on the front wheel as well?

there are so many ways to build great rims. every persons needs are different and thats why there are so many styles of wheels built. more important is who builds them and choosing the right wheels for the purpose.

and regarding radial wheels being stiffer i will let the words and wisdom of of sheldon brown and jobst brandt be a better judge:

(following is an excerpt)

Radial Lacing.

The oldest and simplest of spoke patterns. The spokes run straight outward from the hub to the rim. This is called "direct" or "radial" spoking. This pattern is not well suited for transmitting the torque of pedaling, or of a hub brake, but is suitable for front wheels.

Traditional cycling folklore holds that radial-spoked wheels give a "harsh" ride, due to the slightly shorter spokes they use. Jobst Brandt demolishes this fallacy nicely:

"...'radial spoking also gives you a very stiff wheel. You can actually feel increased bumpiness compared to a three- or four-cross wheel.'

"I think you are imagining all this. There is no change in radial elasticity between a radial and crossed spoke wheel with the same components, other than the length of the spokes. A 290mm spoke is 3% stiffer than a 300mm spoke of the same type. Since spokes stretch elastically about 0.1mm on a hard bump (not ordinary road ripples), the elastic difference between the radial and cross-three wheel is 3% x 0.1mm = 0.003mm. Copier paper is 0.075mm thick, and if you can feel that when you ride over it on a glassy smooth concrete surface, please let me know. You have greater sensitivity than the lady in "the princess and the pea" fable.

"If your story weren't so common, I would assume it to be a put-on, but it isn't. I find it amazing how humans love to believe unbelievable things, the more unbelievable the stronger the belief. It isn't new."

I would add that the deflection of the tire, the flex of the fork, stem and handlebars are each an order of magnitude greater than this theoretical deflection difference in the spokes. The difference in elasticity between spokes of different thicknesses is also much greater than the difference between spokes which differ in length by 3 %, but you don't hear the same complaints about wheels built with spokes of different thickness.

(end of quote)

here is some info on half radial for rear wheels

i have two front wheels, both radial, one 14 spoke high flange "boutique-factory" wheel and a track hub 36 spoke straight guage home made wheel. both ar well built, strong and confortable to ride. and everything about them is completely different in the way they are built.

the best thing you have added is to spend some money in a local shop; but they wont necessarily build you a better wheel.

Now here are some things YOU should understand...Ernesto Pinarello
Feb 7, 2002 4:04 PM
I never said Velocity rims have eyelets, only that they have a beefed up rim face, which even you might be able to see if you visit their website.

It is generally agreed upon that tubulars have a lower rolling resistance, because there is less tire deformation because of 1) the shape of the tire, and 2) the increased pressures you can reach with tubies.

# of pawls has nothing to do with radial lacing, but I was merely advising "Radiate" on what kind of hubs to buy. You need to simmer down, son.

Rotating weight IS very important, and maybe if you had been in a physics class once or twice instead of writing contemptfull letters online you would realize why.

American Classic hubs are specifically designed for radial lacing, and they too have angled flanges. They are also significantly cheaper and easier to come by than Phil's. Shimano would certainly hold up, but not nearly as well and they have voided warranties. And since not everyone is as perfect as you are, Johann, that is definetely a consideration.

I must have missed the part where I said, as you quote me, "you can only race on tubulars." Maybe you could point that out, Johann. Maybe you are confusing it with where I systematically set out the pro's of riding tubulars?

Standing when climbing places more weight over the front wheel, and when you rock the bike there is more lateral force exerted on the wheel. Perhaps if you could leave your contemptful existence for a few minutes and go ride your bike you would notice when you climb that the front tire is more deformed than sitting, as there is more weight on the front wheel.

There have many attempts to attack contemporary cycling knowledge/common notions with mathematical evalutations. Keith Bontrager has some of the best, which are on his website. Among these, Keith proved mathematically that the weight of the bike is not very significant, nor is the stiffness. Now, mathematically the difference is not significant, and there is little diference in the mechanical efficency. However, one cannot discount the feeling of "stiffness" or "being fast." Both of these attributes add to the mental aspect of cycling, and can improve your cycling more than simply mechanical. Now, think about riding different types of wheels. There is likely very little mathematical difference between them, yet most wheels have distinctive feels that are definetely distinctive. Whether or not this is mathematically significant is irrevelent in many circumstances.

Now, Mr. Johann Burnt-Eels... what have you contributed to this discussion other than making yourself feel good by criticizing the opionions of another rider?
Feb 7, 2002 6:14 PM
... it is generally agreed upon that tubulars have significantly higher rolling resistance, due to the soft glue used (it causes loss through "squirm" on the rim), now that clinchers can reach as high pressures as you would reasonably want on the road, and are using higher quality casings. This is not true if you're using shellac (track cement), but who uses shellac outside of a velodrome? You'll have to explain your "shape of the tire" theory, because last time I checked, the business end of all road tires forms a pretty perfect half circle.

Tubulars are slightly lighter, but even that gap is narrowing.
tubular vs. clincher by weight heheWoof the dog
Feb 7, 2002 9:30 PM
I have a regular clincher wheelset at 1550 grams: revo spokes, alloy nips, heavier WS spokes brass on rear drive side, velocity aerohead rims - 28hole fr, rear 2x everywhere, durace hubs + weight of two tires + two tubes(~620 grams). Total of ~2200 grams (with tires + tubes)


Tubulars: Mavic gel 280 rims (~300 grams a piece really) or Zipp 280s, pretty light spokes (118 grams per 28 or so), AM classic front micro hub, durace hub rear. Two tubular tires at 250 grams/each (you can go 210 if you want). Alloy nips. Radial front, 2X rear drive side, radial nondrive. Should be around 1800 grams (if not 1750!) with tires mounted.

tubular glue cancels out rim tape

That cuts it to 400+ grams of saved weight, which is what, almost a pound if I am not mistaking. !!!!

There may be big problems with clinchers at 1300 grams: very flexy laterally! Lower spoke count sucks! Rims better be light and thus wouldn't hold up as well as your regular cxp33s.

I hear tubulars are nice for crits, as I am soon to find out. A narrower, aerodynamic profile of a tubular tire helps counter the higher rolling resistance, because everybody knows that narrower tires are indeed faster!

Hope this will give you something to think about pple!


Woof, the tubdog.
tubular vs. clincher by weight hehejohan burnt eels
Feb 8, 2002 12:46 AM
woof, nice of you to contribute.

just a point of view but i think it perhaps more fitting to argue a more similar and current spec. perhaps current mavic open pro clinchers to current reflexs etc etc. same hubs, same spokes and lacing patterns.

or to make perhaps an even better case in point perhaps use manufacturer data of the same wheels in clincher and tubular data.

such as
zipp 303's
1480 grams pair clincher
1214 grams pair tubular

mavic K's ssc sl's
1530 grams pair clincher
1510 grams pair tubular

campy neutron's
1580 grams pair clincher
1540 grams pair tubular

now the comparison is a little more fair.

i have glued tubulars for more than 18 years and am very methodical and elaborate when gluing a new pair of tubulars to a new set of rims. the process typically takes around 48 hours and several coats. even then i still only use 1 tube of mastik 1. in reading the glue tube it states that the contents (glue) weighs only 30 grams.

as a pair of velox rims strips weighs 40 grams that puts tubulars ahead by another 10 grams.

now the hard part. tires.
i have chosen veloflex as their clinchers have been to my experience as close to ride and feel as their tubulars. they have quality and comparable tires in both categories and are suited to mostly racing and pure applications.

their 4th string clincher 700 x 22 is the pave quoted as weighing 165 grams each. an average tube made of latex (as in the tubulars) is 70 grams each.

their 3rd string tubular 700 x 22 is the criterium quoted as weighing 240 grams each.

so we have a set of clincher tires, tubes and rim strips
weighing in at 510 grams.

a set of tubulars and glue weigh in at 510 grams.

so with a fair comparison a tubular wheelset total is still ahead of a set of clincher wheels in terms of weight.

the actual difference is basically down to the savings in weight offered by rim design due to tire requirements. this is due to the fact as you have pointed out that clincher rims will be heavier as the design merits extra material in building clinchers to equal strength as a tubular rim.

i will be the first to admit that if i had a flat i would rather it happen on a tubular. my experience with clinchers has been very little and i am hopeless at repairing a flat and remounting a tube and clincher tire with any great haste. but recently i had ridden a friends similarly specced wheels with veloflex pave's and i must say i was very impressed. i was expecting to notice a disparity of these clinchers to my tubulars. i felt confident on either and both rode well.

according to manufactruer data the difference between
a open pro wheelset and and a same specced reflex wheelset will amount to 60 grams. zipp 303's 264 grams, mavic K sl's 20 grams, campy neutron's 40 grams. averaging these 4 examples still puts tubulars ahead by 96 grams. and i wont discount that these 96 grams are of the golden and important circumferential 96 grams in relation to rotating mass. but with the general view that clinchers have less rolling resistance
i am asking myself what is the real advantage of one over the other over a given course.

with regards to general pro's and con's it is simpler to provide a link

i had always been particularly biased about the ride and feel of tubulars. and still to this day tubulars is all i ride on. i have very few flats but cannot properly compare as i dont have a clincher wheelset. but the difference now is very little and i have done a lot of research into it lately.

in fact a previous thread which you enthusiastically contributed in arguing about rolling resistance made me think so much that i sought as many opinions and read as much as possible on the matter. in doing so i have to side with the other side (clinchers) but i do respect your arguements on the matter.

i for one have no idea nor have read much info on aerodynamic profile of tubular vs clincher tires and would appreciate a little enlightenmenton this matter or perhaps a link.

i would also appreciate if anyone has experience or opinions on whether the same wheel but a clincher or tubular version feels more or less secure or sturdy to ride all things being equal. i dont have enough experience of a similar nature to offer or go by nor have i read qualified reports of back to back testing. this i would be most interested in.

this is diverging totally from "radial tires" but its appropriate as many points have touched along this within the thread.

before finishing i would like to say that all the weights are quoted by the manufacturers and not actual. i have weighed my tubulars (conti sprinters 276 not 250, vittoria corsa cx tt's 268 not 250) and rims (reflex 416 not 395) but in most cases these things all even out. i mention this as i wouldnt want anyone to think the quoted weights above were indeed actual.

some things to think about, indeed.
tubular vs. clincher by weight heheWoof the dog
Feb 9, 2002 9:34 AM
i hear what you are saying. Regarding rolling resistance vs. aerodynamics, i think we are clear on the issue: the narrower the tire is the better. So your typical Specialized turbo in 23c vs. your narrower 21?mm tubular: you may see some difference that hopefully will make up at least some of that rolling resistance, i think.

With tubulars, I like the idea that if you can get a light rim, like mavic gel 280, you can save some major weight when compared to your regular wheelset, not some superlight clincher that gets destroyed in two rides. Tubular wheelset may not be as aerodynamic as zipps, but it will be very close by weight.

i gotta go


woofie dg
i actually respect you... just sorting truth from fictionjohan burnt eels
Feb 7, 2002 7:05 PM
in essence you have contributed a lot of usefull agruments. i am not angry or vilified. but there were some points that you brought up that i did not agree with and in all truth why offer opinions if they are not open to questioning and reasoning by logic.

most if not all of my arguments are not mine but rather the opinions of people like Jobst Brandt, Sheldon Brown, damon Rinard, Joe Young et al. people who have dedicated most of their lives and base their professional ethics to debunking myths specifically related to things as seemingly simple as wheels. i dont
offer any of my arguements as my own thought but rather of those who actually know.

dont consider you and me locking horns - think of it as using this forum as a "forum" and trying use a wide array of opinions based on fact to provide usefull information to peers.

>regarding your never mentioning velocity had eyelets:

""However, other companies like Velocity and Sunn simply beef up the face of the rim and put a secon eyelet in back, so you can have more spoke tension without the common Mavic problem of the rim crackin""

i just read your words. i often write stuff and not re-read it - no big deal

>i disagree that tubulars have less rolling resistance as what i have read from knowledgable sources tells a different story. high pressures are important but...
the graph below may help. and the statistical dissertation using the data is on this link

the arguement of higher pressure and shape of the tire are important but most highend clinchers are using kevlar and exotic materials in aid of deflection or deformation and thus proving far lower rolling resistance than all but track tubulars.

> whilst i was not too keen on physics i wasnt ignorant either. i said rotating weight was important but not everything. i said that what you where arguing was too generalised. im not being contemptfull and i hope you arent by question whether i should have paid more attention during school. there has been enough arguements on these pages on where light wheels make the most difference. we all know that rotational mass is important when climbing and accelerating - the question is over a typical course how important is it.
why do mavic K's (no i dont own them) rate so highly even though they are not very light - because they are a good all round solution. aerodynamics and rotational mass are important as well hence disc wheels and such. i never argued about the unimportance of rotational mass but rather the generalisation you put forward.

> and yes the tone of your arguement did suggest that tubulars were the best option for racing - your words ""buy tubular rims if you are racing""
""If you do race, get American Classic hubs with 14/15 or 15/16 spokes (14/17 are also okay), alloy nipples, a nice tubular rim like the Velocity Escape or the Sunn 1911 ""
""If you are racing, I would go tubular for lower rolling resistance""
if you hadn't mentioned it so often i would not have pointed it out. remember that i only ride on tubulars but if i still raced i would be close to tossing a coin as clinchers have caught up so much that it is now not a forgone conclusion.

>im not discrediting american classic. i merely pointing out that most forged hubs with enough metal between the hole spacings on the hub flange are good enough for radial lacing. i am a fan of radial laced wheels as well. perhaps reread my part of the arguement concerning this.

>regarding my questioning as to why standing matters any? and your counter that ""Standing when climbing places more weight over the front wheel, and when you rock the bike there is more lateral force exerted on the wheel"". that i understand but i dont think is much of a conivincing arguement. i have never felt lateral flex in either of my radially laced front wheels, nor my half radialy laced rear wheel. wheels are built stronger than this. we have cross or tangental designs on mostly the drive side rear wheel due to greater stresses.

your original statement of ""do not lace radially if you don't race or you stand a lot"" naturally had me asking what your logic was as i have seen great succes by many racers and non-racers who stand a lot. i wheel that fails "laterally" fails because of bad build not due radial lacing.

>cycling knowledge and common notions are not fact and science and maths have greatly improved not only the understanding of wheel design but also the ability for people to ascertain what makes one thing perhaps better than another.

if this is not true then high end wheel product manufacturers and race teams would be still be riding straight guage, soldered and tied, 3 cross laced, 36 spoke, light weight rims. science and mathematical data has affected all our decision with regard to wheels as is evident for most of your arguements.

the whole industry could save billions on designers and engineers and statistical data and research and solely go on ""cycling knowledge/common notions"" as you infer.

the better and more esoteric and technologically extreme wheel design gets the better it is for us average joe cyclists as there is always a trickle down effect. cycling is after all an extension of many scientific principles and the clearer the information the better we can all enjoy the sport and spend less time with breakdowns and failures.

>i still feel i have contributed correctly to this discussion. i did not offer comment, as you suggest, to feel good by criticizing the opinions of another rider. i am not smarter or more knowledgeable than you on this subject but the people and sources i use as reference are.

all i wanted to do and have done is address some issues which you have brought up that i feel aren't as correct as they should be. please dont feel slighted or attacked personally but rather appreciate that i read what you had to say and felt that perhaps i could offer a different view and perhaps helped your understanding as others have mine.

im a cyclist and a nice guy after all.
some things you should understand...curlybike
Feb 7, 2002 5:50 PM
Well big mouth. there are some Velocity rims that are single Eyeletted
ahh...truejohan burnt eels
Feb 7, 2002 7:19 PM
but when most are talking of velocity rims they are talking of the aerohead and the deep v rims as mentioned by ernesto pinarello himself. these do not have eyelets as was indicated. yes some of their range have eyelets but not the ones mentioned.

i dont have any issues against velocity rims but i thought the statement was incorrect as it was put and addressed it.

besides, i aint a big mouth. i would rather people have the most truthfull and consistent information possible.

wouldn't you.
Less than two spokes-worth in weight.Leisure
Feb 8, 2002 2:16 AM
You can measure it yourself. Just take a ruler and measure the difference in length from the rim to the flange holes that the spoke would go through in radial versus 2x or 3x lacing. Multiply the difference in length by the number of spokes the hub has and it will be under two spokes in total length. Pretty small.
Radial lacing will void most factory warranties; Chris King is the only company I know of off-hand that will warranty their hubs for it. It does significantly lower the loading a hub can withstand.
My experience with radial lacing has been similar to everyone else's. It feels flexy, even sloppy. It has nothing to do with differences in tensile strain due to marginally shorter spoke length; it's about fatigue applied to the hubs that decreases spoke tension as the wheel breaks-in. It's the same fatigue that can lead to premature failure in the hub flange. You could test-ride two freshly laced wheels in each format on road wheels and not feel too much of a difference right off the bat, but try the same comparison with two well-worn mountainbike wheels and things become quite obvious. Steering with a radially laced mountainbike wheel is like steering with an Indy fork; you turn the handlebar but the bike doesn't seem to want to turn with you. A lot of people aren't bothered by this, and the effect is subdued on smooth (road) surfaces, but I'm neurotic about steering precision and the feel of radial-lacing bugs me. That, along with the reliability risks, is why I don't use radial lacing.