Wheel build advice

Carrying on from my uni build thread I am after some thought on a strange wheel build issue.

I have used the stated manufacturer measurements below which had given me 181mm ish spoke length in 3 different spoke calculators but in a 32 hole 3 cross set up the spokes bottom out with 1mm or so gap before they even touch the rim.

I posted a question with tarty bikes who have sated the ERD is correct and that it must be my lacing, I have re-laced it again and come up with the same issue.

I have posted a picture of my lace and I can’t see any issue, it is the same as other wheels I have built or had built :thinking:

I have some shorter 176mm spokes coming as thes will put the spoke at 50% thread depth once the initial slack is taken out.

If anyone would kindly have a look at the picture to see if I have been a complete chopper and missed something it would be appreciated :stuck_out_tongue:

Measurements are stated as

Mad4one site
Hub Diameter: 30 mm
Width: 68 mm
Spoke hole: 2,9 mm

Rim ERD: 372mm, spoke hole offset 11mm (for spoke calculation, subtract 11mm from both hub offsets)

Did you measure the spokes you have? How long are they? Did you double check the measurements on your hub? If your going to keep building wheels and you don’t have a caliper for measuring it might come in handy.

Since it looks like you did a good job lacing the wheel, I’ll state the obvious… either the spokes they sent you are too long or the measurements are wrong.

Your build is messed up, the spokes and heads should not touch they way they appear to be doing. Get your LBS to look at the lacing, but it appears your rim “skip hole” count is off, of course then why are the spokes so long?

Don’t feel bad, I’ve messed up a few myself.

If you could post a pic of the rim and spokes, someone here could probably tell you what was messed.

I have a digital vernier caliper from my engineering days actually

I think the ERD is dubious as I did find a forum that suggested a 368 ERD and my measurements although rough point to a 366mm ish if I use that ERD and still take the 11mm off each flange width for rim spoke hole offset I get a 177mm spoke length which is roughly what I have guessed based on the failed build with the 182mm spokes

I know a few people have used this rim now so would be interested if they had this issue and what ERD they used

Fingers crossed for the 176mm (you can se how much gap I have with the bottomed out nipples and the rim so losing 6mm will allow for that and set the spoke at about 50% in the the threaded section with the spokes starting to tighten

Looks like I am not completely useless :stuck_out_tongue:

Found Eddbmxdude’s post building that rim and he has use 176mm spokes as well but on a slightly large flange, it does look like his spokes are pretty much at the top of the nipple in the completed wheel picture (with that hub I calculated 174mm for spoke length) so I am still confident 176mm spokes will be fine for my build as well


Those nipples were maxed out on the threads? I’ve always had the end of the spoke come through the other side of the nipple before I ran out of threads. Good luck with the new spokes, hopefully that will work.

maybe the spokes had short threads (or the nipples had a long threaded section) as they were binding and twisting the spoke just as the spoke reached the nipple slot

lol 176mm were too small

It seems the thread on the db spokes I got are shorter than most hence them not poking through the top of the nipple before they bottom out, this meant the guessemate of 176mm was going to be flawed :stuck_out_tongue:

I had a good long chat with a very helpful chap at Tarty bikes who looked at this thread to check my lacing pictures and took all the measurements recommended 180mm spokes that at worst would poke through and could be filled down but was positive they would be spot on as is.

The spokes come with black brass nipples as well which have good reviews and complete the black wheel look :smiley:

Had a little chinwag about the strength of the single walled rim and 32hole in general as well and he also thought that the rim would hold up fine on a Trials Uni

So as ever a big thanks and thumbs up for Tarty Bikes :slight_smile:

I might actually get to ride this wheel this week lol


go to you tube,thats how i built mine,you can stop it and rewind.it took me 4 trys, but i finally got it

The spoke heads and adjacent spokes look incredibly tight, like they might overlap, so take a look at that, maybe it’s just the angle of the pictures or the wheel being untensioned. If they do touch, the risks is that the head would wear a groove in the spokes and cause them to break.

I’m curious, is the build problem due to the extremely small hub flange?

It’d be cool is someone did a straight pull hub to avoid the J Bend altogether.

The head and spoke is very close due the tiny flanges but are not touching, you could do a 2 cross setup.

I think the db bmx spokes I got were a bit odd in the length of their threaded section as they were definitely topping out before they got to the nipple slot let alone getting anywhere near to poking through. I even tried some DT nipples and they did the same.

The Mutiny Plain 14 Gauge spokes are what Tarty Bikes use a lot of along with that rim so using the Mad4one measurements as confirmed in my photos they are happy “Proper” 180mm spokes will be fine as will have the correct range of adjustment.

It is odd as although i have only built one wheel from scratch I have bought spokes for my other builds (and got a pro to build them) and never had any size issues :thinking:

Shame there is a lack of double butted spokes at the smaller lengths though :frowning:

It is hard to tell from the pictures you’ve provided, but it looks to me like you do have a lacing problem. Your pattern looks good, but I think you chose the wrong holes in the rim.

Compare the spokes that come off the outside of the flanges. When you look at the hub, you’ll notice a 1/2 hole offset from the left and right flanges. Be sure that the spoke which emanates from the hold 1/2 a spoke in one rotational direction ends up in the rim 1 hole away in the same direction as compared to the similar outside spoke on the opposite flange.

If you’re not sure, shoot me a picture shot from an angle where I can see both flanges of the hub as well as the rim where those spokes end up.


If it wasn’t becoming so funny I would be getting cross by now, 180mm looked far better to the point bearings were pressed and tensioning/truing commenced, only to run out of adjustment well before I got near actually truing so my I think I need 178mm when all the measurements pointed to 180mm on Tarty Bikes calculator was spot on lol.

Seriously this wheel hub combo is just not friendly I am sure the ERD is dodgy on the rim as the hub measures up correctly.

Again wheel laced up fine the rim is heavily offset so no chance of using the wrong side etc, spokes 3 crossed and valve hole nicely between posing crossed pairs first sided spoke is the opposite to sheldon browns guide (as is every rim I have) so allowed for that

Luckily I had a bearing puller and the bearings feel as good as new after removal.

178mm spokes seem an odd size between 19" and 20" wheels so no fecker has them so after much rooting about I had to buy a pack of 100 so if anyone needs some 178mm spokes :stuck_out_tongue: (or 180, 182, 176mm lol)

4th time lucky lol

180mm wheel.jpg

180mm hub.jpg

180m hub 2.jpg

Those look better (lacing pattern wise). The original photo looks like you put the second set of spokes (of the four) into the wrong hole in the hub for the hole in the rim that you used (to get the spoke cross/valve hole relationship correct).

Looks like. Hard to tell exactly from the photo.


Yes the original wasn’t ideal (although no impact on the spoke length) as the second side was on the "wrong side " of the other spokes so crossed over the valve hole (it was a quick second side lace as I knew already the spokes were too long so didn’t pay much attention).

It is gutting as it is pretty close to being done, I already had to wait 8 days for the hub to come from France and now a weeks worth of messing about with spokes :roll_eyes:

I forgot to say although not there fault Tartybikes offered to refund me the spokes if I returned (even having been used).

Oh well this is a second wheel so it isn’t stopping me riding or anything

I wasn’t just talking about valve-hole placement. I think the original photo showed an error where the left-side spokes and right-side spokes were off-by-one at the hub (or rim) in relationship to each other. That would definitely affect the spoke lengths.


I used 184mm on mine I think, it’s built 4-cross on a Echo Urban rim with the same Mad4One hub (32 spokes). I dont have any problems with mine, even at the first build. I got my spokes directly from a local bikeshop so I guess they must’ve been BMX spokes since they dont have a cutting and threading machine for spokes.

@ Nurse_Ben: All my spokes are going over the head of another spoke since it’s 4-cross. I never had any problems with that. I rode my wheel for ~7 months, I broke my rim (but none of my spokes were damaged because of the broken rim), I used the same spokes and I didn’t see any kind of wear near the head of the spoke.

Jaco, that’s the wrong way to build a wheel, having the spokes limited in their ability to move will stress other components such as the hub and RIM.

Seriously, there is a lot of engineering that goes into a wheel, defeating it with an improper build is just going to reduce the longevity of the wheel.

Anyway, why do you need a 4x for such a small wheel?

I dont think it makes it weaker in anyway. This is the first wheel I built with 4-cross spokes, and it’s also the first wheel that stayed round and true for such a long time, when my rim broke (only the sidewall), it was still round and true. I am not gentle on my wheels and I wanted 4-cross to be stronger.

All I can say is that I dont have any problems with it. I never broke a spoke, my rim stays round and true for way longer than my older wheels with 36 spokes and a 3-cross pattern and THE guy at the local bike shop told me there’s nothing wrong with it.

I’ve been building my wheels for about 4 years now, I’ve built wheels for other unicyclists and cyclists. I’ve never had a bad experience yet.

It does seem to me to me that my rim erd must be out

yours is a 20" build on a 4 cross where mine is 19" on a 3 cross so the 180-182mm I was getting originally is far too close to what you have used on a bigger wheel, hence 178mm being the ticket after much trial an error

From all the things I have read online increasing spoke crossing is a case of diminishing returns depending on spoke count and if the spoke crosses over the head then it becomes a weaker build hence 32 hole 3x being optimum.

Although maybe over lapping helps stop the hub breaking spoke heads :stuck_out_tongue:

How have you found the single walled rim holding up? I assume you give it a lot of stick :wink: