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Building a wheel (part 2)

The next step in building a wheel is the lacing of the spokes. In this step you have the greatest chance to make a mistake. The most common mistake is that there is no room for the valve. In any bicycle wheel, you have three different spaces between adjacent spokes. A small space, a medium-sized spacer, and the most space. You want your valve there where you have the most space. On with small wheels, this is especially important. Otherwise, it is difficult to get your pump head to fit on the valve. You want the valve in the green space on the picture below.

Space for the valve

Space for the valve

The theory

To achieve this it is important to start off the right way. First some necessary theoretical explanation. A hub has four ways to place your spokes. Right side from the outside to the inside, left side from outside to inside , right side  from the inside to the outside and left side from the inside to the outside. Also, a rim has a distinct right-hand and left-hand side. The spoke holes are not exactly in the middle of a rim. Next to valve hole one of  the spoke holes is more to the right and one is more to the left.

spoke holes

Spoke holes

On the hub the spoke holes are left and right not exactly opposite each other. The holes left to sit exactly half staggered with respect to the holes on the right. This will  be the thing to look for once you are going to add the second set of spokes.

Spoke holes in the hub

Spoke holes in the hub

Practice

You start with putting the spokes in the spokes in the hub. It's easiest if you start with the shortest spokes. Put them from outside to the middle of the hub. At which hole you start in the hub does not matter. Skip a hole between each spoke you put in.  So with a 36-hole rim take nine spokes (36/4) and pit them as the picture4 below.

The first spokes

The first spokes

I put the wheel on my lap and insert the first spoke in the spoke hole next to the valve hole. Make sure you take the spoke hole which is the highest. On the picture below it is the hole on the right of the valve hole. But it can be that on your rim it is to the left. Turn a spoke nipple about 4-5 turns on the spoke. Take the next spoke and skip 3 holes on the rim. Put the spoke in the fourth hole and again turn a spoke nipple 4-5 turns on it. Do this for all the spokes. Skip every third hole and in the  fourth hole put a spoke and the spoke nipple. If you have done it correctly your wheel look like this.

Start next to the valve hole

Start next to the valve hole

The first spokes mounted

The first spokes mounted

Now it's time for the second set of spokes. Turn the wheel over. When you first spoke is now to the left of the valve hole, put your next spoke also to the left of the bottom spoke. Again you stick them form the outside to the inside of the hub.  The spoke then comes to the left of the spoke in the rim. Do this again for all 9 spokes. If you have done it right your wheel looks as follows.

The second set of spokes

The second set of spokes

The next step is the step that determines whether you have room for your valve. To make the spokes crosses you will need to rotate the hub left or right relative to the rim. The rule here is that the two spokes that are  next to the valve hole that are pointing away from this hole. In this way you make sure that there is large space for your valve. The picture above it is turned to the left. Then insert the spokes in the bottom flange of the hub. Again nine spokes from the inside to the outside.  Now turn the wheel over.  L et the first spoke cross as many times as you calculated. In this example it is crossed 2 times. The first cross is over underlying spoke. At the 2nd (last) cross you go underneath  the underlying spoke. This is only possible if you have a wheel that crosses two or more times.

Putting the third set in

Putting the third set in

Lacing the spokes

Lacing the spokes

The third set of spokes

The fourth step is essentially the same as the previous one. You put the spokes in the last remaining holes of the hub form the inside to the outside and the turn the wheel over again. Then you lace the spokes again. The first cross over and the last cross under the spoke that is already in place. If you have done everything right your wheel looks like this.

Wheel completely laced

Wheel completely laced

The tools

For all of these steps and the steps in next part you will need the following tools. A spoke tool , a screwdriver and a nipple driver. If you want to make more than one wheel it makes sense to buy quality tools. I use a Spokey spoke tool , a Cyclus spoke bit for turning the nipples all equal using a cordless drill. The nipple driver is especially important if you have a double walled  rim. You  can make it yourself  with an old spoke and nipple. Turn the nipple on the spoke so that there is about 3-4 mm of the tread exposed. You can then tread the new nipple on this exposed tread and easily put it on the new spoke.

My spoke tools
Diy spoke tools

Diy spoke tools

Diy spoke driver

Diy spoke driver

In the next (and last)  part we will true the wheel and put tension on the spokes

Part 1 calculation spoke lengths

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