I recently ran into a guy with a custom all matte black beach cruser B*ike with a custom spoking pattern to resemble a Pentagram spoke pattern, got me thinking about artistic spoking.
Has anyone had a custom creative spoke patern built onto a wheel?
I have heard of downhill riders using twisted spoke paterns and various other paterns to improve wheel strength and areodynamics. Does anyone have oppinions on this or have had different patterns built for reasons other then impressing non riders with artistic spoking?
Any kind of fancy spoke patterns on a uni wheel would not be a good idea. I use to chickenwire lace my front wheels on my mtn bikes with not real loss in strenght…but one time i laced a rear wheel chicken wire (drive and non-drive) with terrible results…stick with cross patterns…they are the most used for a reason.
I have one picture of a custom-spoked unicycle on my Garage page: http://www.unicycling.com/garage/special.htm
That’s a triple-spoked 24" Schwinn. Back in those days, double-spoking a Schwinn wheel made it a lot stronger (it only came with 28). Triple-spoking was mostly for looks. The owner of that wheel liked the extra weight because he felt it made him go straighter in races. And he was really fast. But all those spokes probably start compromising the strength in the hub by having too many holes in there.
Custom spoke patterns should be used for looks, but will not improve upon the normal crossed and laced patterns of normal wheels. As someone mentioned, they are done that way for a reason, with more than a hundred years’ of development and experimentation behind it.
Most of what’s done in the sport bicycling arena is designed to make wheels lighter and/or more aerodynamic while keeping the weight down. Generally road racing wheels are not super-strong, they are super-light. They are not good role models for unicycle wheels.
Cruiser wheels (and bikes) tend to be a lot heavier than average bikes. That’s okay because they’re just for cruising around (if even that). For a display or light-riding-only unicycle, you can try all sorts of stuff.
Radial wheels are beautiful. The earlier Semcycle Deluxes came with 36 radial spokes, which looked really cool. Unfortunately this is not a good pattern for unicycles. Simple idling would make the spokes loosen up many times faster than a normal wheel. Also if you broke one spoke in a radial wheel, the others would follow a lot faster.
But I’ve seen bikes on display with huge numbers of radial spokes and they look really cool. Usually this is on the front wheel, where no torque gets applied, but you can still do it on a unicycle, and ride it, just remember to keep them tight.