's Forum Archives - General

Archive Home >> General(1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 )

A few questions for wheel builders(6 posts)

A few questions for wheel buildersPeterRider
Jun 16, 2002 9:26 PM
A few questions, I am reading the Brandt book, but didn't finish yet, so maybe I missed some answers in the book...

- where do you buy your spokes, is there any place where you can get them for cheap ? It doesn't seem that this is the kind of stuff that you find much on ebay...
- what spokes would you recommend in the DB range ? This would be for building CXP33/shimano setup. Maybe put a chorus hub in front and a dura ace in rear.
- what is the advantage of different cross patterns ? I don't believe much in a weight factor, rather in efficiency. 2cross ? 3cross ? I have the impression that 3 cross is more common now, am I right ?
- how do you calculate the spoke length ? Maybe I could check on my open pros wheels and calculate the difference with CXP33 rims... is there tables calculating this depending on rim/hub/cross pattern ?


re: A few answersmja
Jun 17, 2002 4:00 AM
Here is a popular spoke-length calculator: . I always measure my components -- especially the ERD -- and substitute the actual dimensions, to ensure accuracy.

I have used for spoke purchases. Many cycling e-tailers don't carry spokes, but I believe SpeedGoat and Performance are exceptions.
WellSpoke Wrench
Jun 17, 2002 6:02 AM
Accumulating the components, to me, is the most difficult part of wheel building. Lots of shops and mail order outlets don't like to sell spokes because it's a high labor, low profit sale and the potential for customer dissatisfaction is real high. They get the wrong spokes, bend the hell out of them, then want to exchange them for another, guessed-at, size.

Everybody worries about the number of crosses, but they just seem to skip over the spoke length issue. Basically you have a plus or minus 1mm window on spoke length. That's not much margin. It's hard to measure hubs and rims with the necessary accuracy. If you are using reasonably common components, I've had the best luck using one of the computer programs that has a data base of hubs and rims.

I am convinced that crossed wheels are more reliable than redially laced ones. The maximum number of crosses you can theoretically build is the number of spokes divided by 9. More than that and the spokes exit the hub at such an angle that they block the adjacent hole in the hub. That's why so many 36 and 32 and even 28 hole hubs are laced cross 3.

If you cross too many, the spokes enter the rim at too great of an angle and break off at the nipple. That usually only happens when using real large flanged hubs like Atom hub brakes and some internally geared hubs.

I like 14/15 double butted spokes for most applications. Most hubs are drilled for 14 gauge spokes so you get a nice, firm fit at the hub. Every shop has 14 gauge nipples on hand so you can always get immediate replacements. The 15 gauge center section has enough torsional strength that they aren't a pain to build.

Good luck.
re: A few questions for wheel builderssprockets2
Jun 17, 2002 8:32 AM
I concur with the Well.. response and I just want to add a few details.

I buy spokes in a variety of places. Online is ok if they do it right, but its a pain if they screw it up. I have started using the local bike shop who build a lot of wheels. You pay pennies more but if there is a problem you can take it back quickly. I MAKE THEM CALCULATE THE SPOKE LENGTH. I walk in with the hub and rim-sometimes I may even buy some of it from them-and make them do all of the work. I find that for precise measuring of rims not in the book, having an experienced hand with precise tools is a good thing.

I like 3x on the the rear for power transfer reasons. Some of the new theories using radial on NDS or DS may or may not be reasonable. If you are lighter, this may not be as critical, unless you ride hard, then it might. Up front I usually use 3x but have tried 2x and radial, and I may settle on 2x on 32 h rims. I do not like the radial phase we are in.

I use 14/15 spokes even on mountain wheels, where they hold up very well. The only trouble I have had with them is that the radial lacing on MTB doesn't seem to hold true as long. has good prices on DT DB spokes.Ken of Fresno
Jun 17, 2002 8:54 AM
They price match too. I used to buy more stuff from Nashbar until they started charging tax to CA. I just rebuilt a pair of Ultegra/Open Pros. The hubs were replaced under warr, but labor was not included. Did the work myself and saved a bunch. The Brandt book is a good resource. I also have a 1991 issue of Bicycling Magazine that has a very detailed article on wheelbuilding. There's some great info on wheel building at Sheldon Brown's site. I think my next wheelset to build will be CXP33 with King or Dura Ace hubs.

Best of luck,
thanks dudesPeterRider
Jun 17, 2002 11:32 AM