The wheelbuilding thread

Everything about building wheels, glueing tubs, etc.
Posts: 2196
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 9:47 pm
Location: Santa Cruz, California, USA

by eric

" If your riding style is not smooth then simply learn to be smoother."

For me it's not an issue of slamming into stuff. I don't hit much and I'm pretty smooth over obstacles. Even though I'm getting old I can still bunny hop. I'm only 146 lbs or so.

I've tried to not rock the bike side to side when standing but it feels unnatural. I expect that even if I could manage to learn that I'd still be putting side force into the wheel when I stand on climbs. I'm not willing to stand less or do less climbing. To my mind wheels should be able to withstand the riding I'm doing. Even if I have to build them myself to figure it out.

Klabs- different hubs give different tension balance. It's mostly driven by the DS flange spacing. The NDS spacing also has an effect. I've seen hubs that have a nice wide DS flange approaching 20mm but a narrow NDS. American Classic hubs did that. Their idea was to minimize the tension differential. It worked but the narrow NDS spacing reduced the lateral stiffness. I could bounce the rear rim off the brake blocks at will, on a 32 spoke wheel (albeit built with their 350 rim which is not stiff). It's a compromise, you get to figure out what direction you want to go. You can use spokecalc to figure out the tension difference on the hubs you're interested in.

Posts: 380
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:29 am

by KLabs

Actually it is all a little confusing ...

Why is it so important that DS/NDS spoke tensions are nearly equal ... which apparently you get with the 2:1 lacing, and is apparently good laterally until a spoke breaks, but because it can only be laced 2xDS and Radial NDS it has torque/radial issues for heavier/strong riders.

Lacing 2xDS and 3xNDS or 2xNDS, gives high DS spoke tension and low NDS spoke tension, which gives good torque stiffness but average/bad lateral stiffness.

Have I got this right???

Hmmm ... can 2:1 be done in a 3xDS and Radial NDS lacing???

by Weenie

User avatar
Posts: 1158
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2008 9:07 pm
Location: Slovenia---that forest land

by kavitator

2:1 with 24 hole rim - 3x DS, NDS radial

I am now in dilema for 28 hole rim - for torque transfer is ideal to get 90degre angle spoke to axle - that gives you 3X cross
and kinlin xr200 (bitex hubs) with 28 spokes (cx rays) 3xDS and 2x NDS is ok for 75kg rider (no complainments on rubbing in brake pads)

in the industry
Posts: 3709
Joined: Sat May 12, 2012 7:25 pm
Location: Glermsford, Suffolk U.K

by bm0p700f

2:1 lacing is is designed to combat low NDS tension caused by some hub geometries. 2:1 lacing however means less spokes which unless you are using a heavy stiff rim or are very light the loss in lateral stiff can be a problem.
Tension balance of 45-46% applies to the BHS hubs and all hubs with the same or very similar dimensions. Novatec F482 hubs will give wheels for example that have a tensions balance of nearly 50%.

2:1 lacing may work for you but I can't remember your details now.

Eric I may ride smoothly and I don't stand up much and if I do I tend to keep the bike upright (as rocking it feels un natural to me) but I do hit things. Too many holes in the road here to avoid all of them. The low tension wheel for some reason don't seem to mind.

Posts: 380
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:29 am

by KLabs

I am 90kgs, not aggressive, like to stand up when climbing, and I try to resist but like to rock the bike a little just for rhythm :=)

I thought 2:1 lacing give near equal DS/NDS spoke tensions which means lateral stiffness should be good but torque/radial stiffness can be an issue.
But if I use a 3xDS lacing perhaps radial stiffness might be ok ...

Do the Novatec F482 hubs support S11spd ...

Posts: 38
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:47 am

by kya

Thanks for the pointers guys, I'll be giving the spoke alignment a try...and some spoke freeze for good measure.

Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:26 am

by ethan44

Thanks for the help. (XR-200 front and rear, Novatec A291SB and F482SB hubs), I'm ~70kg ~150pound, easy on equipment as not really a power rider)

I think I've decided on Sapim Laser (24, 2cross) for the front (unsure on nipples though, alloy or brass)
I've got a few options for the rear (All 28 spoke 2x both sides, unless someone has a better suggestion):

Lasers on DS and NDS alloy nipples
Lasers on DS and NDS alloy nipples NDS, brass DS
Lasers on DS and NDS brass nipples
Lasers on NDS, Sapim Race on DS (again with the 3 options of nipples)

From the calculations I've done I've got front spokes at 290.6mm, DS 281.7mm, NDS 285.8mm, so round to 291, 281 and 285? Are 12mm nipples fine or 14mm easier/better to use?

Sorry for all the questions, first time build and don't want to have to reorder things.

Posts: 380
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:29 am

by KLabs

Hi all, thoughts on this idea, please ...

HUB: 36H - BHS sl211/sl218, or Novatec F482SB

RIM: 36H - H+Son Archetype, BHS C472w, or VelocityA23

SPOKES: DS/Sapim Laser (18), NDS/Sapim CX-Ray (9)

LACING: 2:1 pattern leaving every 4th hole on the RIM vacant, 4xDS 0xNDS or 3xDS 0xNDS

Am I right in thinking that a 18:9 (2:1) 4xDS 0xNDS, should produce a wheel which is laterally stiffer (due to balanced DS/NDS spoke tensions), and radial stiffness which is at least as good, as a 3xDS 2xNDS or 2xDS 3xNDS wheel?

Edit: Just looked - not many hubs or rims come in 36H ... nonetheless do you like the idea?
Last edited by KLabs on Wed Jan 09, 2013 3:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

Shop Owner
Posts: 1980
Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2009 4:02 am
Location: NoVA/DC

by thisisatest

kya wrote:
@thisisatest: Really, spoke freeze can be added after all is done even if oil was used? I'm going to have to give that a go. Sounds like a much faster/easier than rebuilding with self-locking nipples. I see you mentioned tire air pressure lowering the tensions, so in case there was any doubt -- yes, I'm checking the tensions with the tires removed. Also, thanks for the tip on spoke alignment. I'll give that a go. Slightly kinking the spokes at the flange and crosses I know how to do, but how do you do it at the nipple junction?

Edit: This is the DT Swiss spoke freeze right?

Yup, DT Swiss spoke freeze. Made by Loctite, they make similar products but none that check all the boxes. It is intended to be applied after building, on oiled nipples. It is wicking. After it dries, the resistance is similar to a small screw with Loctite 222, manageable, you don't have to fight it. Applying it on a dry nipple is considered permanent. I've used it on a dropout screw when the 222 was out of reach, and it was VERY tough to move afterwards.
Another benefit of spoke freeze on alloy nipples is that it separates the dissimilar materials. There is less chance of corrosion locking the nipple to the spoke.

P.S. are my posts too long?

Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:19 pm

by MarkThailand

eric wrote:.....

Mark, there's two problems caused by smaller DS flange width. One is the reduction in lateral stiffness. If the flanges are moved in the bracing angle is less which make the wheel flex more laterally. Second is increased tension differential vs the NDS.

The spokes need to be a certain tension so they don't detension completely as the rim flattens out very slightly where the wheel meets the road or when the wheel flexes as it receives side force, as when you are out of the saddle and rocking the bike side to side. A detensioned spoke is no longer supporting anything as spokes support by being a pre-stressed member. When its detensioned the spoke flexes especially at the elbow. Because of the wheel dish the NDS spokes are always at a lower tension. A classic sign of a wheel with too low NDS tension is NDS spokes breaking at the elbow.

Somewhere around 60 kgf is the minimum to keep the spokes tensioned. But that depends on the stiffness of the rim and the riding style of the rider- one who rocks the bike a lot will put more stress on the wheel. (that's why I break wheels even though I don't weigh much or make much power but I do climb out of the saddle a lot. Its why I've been reading about wheel building and building my own).

The smaller DS flange spacing on the T11s will make the wheel less stiff laterally and will increase the tension differential. Some hub makers are addressing the latter by also moving the NDS flange out (or simply using the same old shell, shifted to the left with different end cap spacing and a longer freehub). That make the stiffness reduction less but makes the tension differential greater. But many were doing essentially the same thing with their Campy hubs, and they worked ok for the most part.

If your rim can handle more than the typical 120kgf tension then you can crank up the tension on the DS in order to get the NDS high enough. If it's one that's limited to 110kgf, you're probably out of luck. Some people will put locktite on NDS nipples but that only keeps the nipple from looseing when the spoke is detensioned. It does not prevent the flex that will cause the spoke to break at the nipple.

If you have never had a NDS spoke break like that, chances are that you'll be ok with the T11 spacing.


Thank you for your response.

I had also sent an email to White Industries inquiring about this issue and received the two emails from Lynette Toepfer, that I have attached to the bottom of this posting.

Technically, I think there will always be issues with all 11-speed compatible hubs because of two simple factors: the hub shell width limited to 130 or 131 mm and the width of 11-speed cassettes. These issues probably can be mitigated and/or ameliorated by stronger spokes, 2x or 3x lacing patterns, balancing the spoke tension, higher spoke tension, stronger rims, running tubular tires, qualified and experienced wheel builder, ....

So, I have decided to trust my good experience with White Industries which was further confirmed by their great customer service - I have ordered a couple of wheelsets built around the WI T-11 hubs. (For club rides, 195 lb spinner: ENVE 3.4 tubular rims with Veloflex Carbon 23c tires, WI T11 hubs, Sapix CX-Ray spokes, 20F and 24R laced 2x2x, by Richard Craig of Prowheelbuilder. For training, 195 lb spinner: HED C2 clincher rims with Vittoria Open Pave EVO CG 24c tires, WI T11 hubs, Sapim CX-Ray spokes, brass nipples, 32F and 32R laced 3x3x, by Richard Craig of Prowheelbuilder). I ride a fair amount (not a whole lot like some here) and have been forturnate with my wheelsets - 6000 miles a year (riding only on weekends) with about two-three flats a year, due to glass and tread wear.


-----Original Message-----
From: Lynette Toepfer []
Sent: 06 January 2013 01:30
To: Mark S. Tang
Subject: Re: White Industries T11 hubs - "poorest tension ratio" - what is the significance of this?

Hi Mark

I'm not in the office so I apologize for my short note back - difficult with the phone. I pulled up the blog and read through it. As you were able to read there are a lot of challenges with the new 11 speed system that Shimano introduced and it has been a difficulty for all hub manufacturers. The bracing angle isn't going to be as good as with the ten speed cassette which is true, however, we have had the same offset for the Campy 11 speed hubs for the last two years with absolutely no problems so we are confident in the design. As far as comparing against the other manufacturers, I'll have to call Fairwheel on Monday to question them. The only other manufacture that has a compatible hub in production is DT with an 3.5mm vs our 3.3mm as reported by them. I'm not sure how they can compare the production hubs specifications against the other manufactures 11 speed hubs that have not been introduced or manufactured as if yet. It seems only fair that comparisons would be finished product to finished product. Like I said, I'll give them a call when I'm back in the office



Sent from my iPhone

-----Original Message-----
From: Lynette Toepfer []
Sent: 08 January 2013 05:57
To: 'Mark S. Tang'
Subject: RE: White Industries T11 hubs - "poorest tension ratio" - what is the significance of this?

Hi Mark,

I don't think I got back to you after receiving your follow up e-mail. Thank you for being such a supporter of our products. I’m delighted that you have been using our hubs in your wheels. Rich is a good guy and puts a lot of time and effort into his wheel builds.

A quick comment about the Campy 11 speed, while it is true that the largest cog cantilevers over the shell a bit, the offset still needed to be different for Campy vs Shimano (10 speed) for clearance reasons. This Campy configuration was even needed for our H2 model previous to the H3 so this same bracing angle has been in production for many years and we have never had one problem. We are confident in the integrity of the hub and wheel if properly laced.

Enjoy your wheels and keep riding!


Posts: 91
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:07 am

by Dimitri

Planning my 2013 race wheel set.

Here for critique/thoughts.

Use - Criterium, maybe the odd fast group ride/KOM attempt.

Rider weight - 80-87 kg (185cm, do contest as many sprint finishes as i can).

Rims - Gigantex 50mm Tubular 20H front, 24H rear.

Front hub - BHS SLF71W 20H.

Rear hub - Still under consideration. I am leaning towards using a ZIPP traditional 208 rear in 32H - which i will lace 24 triplet (i already own this hub).

dimensions -

L PCD 46.25mm L center to Flange 37.32mm

R PCD 58.25mm R center to Flange 17.18mm ... sy-001.jpg

i guess the NDS spacing is the possible issue???

Spokes is another concern. I want to use an aero spoke, CX-ray is the usual first choice but im wanting/thinking i'd prefer to use a heavier guage NDS spoke my last wheelset was a similar build and i did pop one NDS spoke on an off track excursion, but i also think using a heavier guage NDS spoke will build a stiffer wheel?
Normal CX/DT new aero etc dont seem to be available anywhere i can find.

So i'm considering MAC 494 for the NDS (and then 424 for the DS) some input on these would be good too.

Posts: 483
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 2:02 pm

by Mackers

I love the 494.
Cheap, easy to work with, and looks and feels like you could build a tank wheel with them :)
Such a shame that they need slotted spoke holes, or I'd put them on everything.

The 424 is more delicate, obviously, and a little harder to work with, but cheap and light.
However, I have had one batch of the black 424 spokes that I didn't like at all, they felt flimsy and thinner than the silver ones. Twisted very quickly too. No idea if it was the process that colored them black, a bad batch, or just imagination.

Posts: 2196
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 9:47 pm
Location: Santa Cruz, California, USA

by eric

Mark- I think that front wheels don't need as many spokes as rears since they have better bracing angle. I build my training wheels 24f/28r or 20f/28r and race wheels 20f/24r. You might consider 28f/32r. It'll save about 25g.

I'd go with Race spokes on the DS instead of CXrays. I like CXrays but they are no stiffer than Lasers- they are Lasers that have had their center section further worked to flatten them for an aerodynamic shape. They have the same cross section therefore the same stiffness. The working makes them a bit stronger in the center section but that's rarely where spokes break. When I use them it's on aero wheels and I use them all around.

Posts: 2292
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:08 am
Location: Pedal Square

by HillRPete

I'm considering a custom build with American Classic 350 rims and Novatec hubs, for longer self-supported rides. Being around 77kg, would you recommend 28/28 spokes, or 32/32? (I prefer my wheels to match, unless the front is radial, and that's the two available configurations). Would I get away with 28/28 3x ? Thanks.

by Weenie

Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Sep 27, 2012 6:06 pm

by jaketim114

I need some help from the experts. I have a handbuilt set of velocity escape tubulars using BHS hubs. Spokes are 24 radially laces aerolites in the front, and 28 2x DT comps in the back. I keep breaking rear spoke nipples every few weeks, and it's getting really annoying. All the nipples are alloy. Would changing to brass keep them from breaking, or is there something else to this?

Post Reply
  • Similar Topics
    Last post