3 Cross Wheel Lacing - Page 1 of 9


Figure 1

This tutorial will show you how to remove all of the spokes in a wheel and then reinstall them in the common 3-cross lacing pattern. This tutorial will also demonstrate some of the techniques used to true the wheel after it has been put back together. To follow along, you will need a wheel of any diameter with 36 spokes and a sharp flat head screwdriver.

Figure 2

The 3-cross lacing pattern is the most commonly used wheel lacing pattern, and it will yield a strong wheel that will work well on both a 2 wheel cycle as well as a trike or quadcycle. Building a wheel from scratch is not a difficult job; it just requires some careful counting and patience. Your first try may take several hours, but once you memorize the lacing pattern, you will be able to build up your own wheels in less than an hour from start to finish. Learning to lace your own wheels is both cost effective and fun, so grab a wheel, lean back, and enjoy this tutorial.




Figure 3

The bicycle hub consists of a central axle, 2 bearing cups, a set of ball bearings, and 2 discs called the hub flanges (A). The number of spokes are divided equally between both flanges so that a 36 spoke wheel will have flanges that contain 18 holes each. On each flange, spokes are installed in alternate directions so that the spoke head is either facing you (B) or facing away from you (C). To install a spoke so that the head is facing you (B), you push the spoke through the hole in the flange. To install a spoke so that the head is not facing you (C), you pull the spoke through the flange towards you.

Figure 4

Spokes are threaded at the ends so that the spoke nipples (A) can be threaded onto the spoke like a nut, tightening or loosening the tension on the spoke between the hub flange and the rim. The spoke nipples are slotted at the top so that they can be turned with a flat head screwdriver. Spoke nipples also have flat sides so they can be turned with a spoke wrench, but we will not be using this method in this tutorial. The valve hole (B) is the hole in the rim that allows the inner tube valve stem to fit into. This will be used as a reference point while working around the entire rim on each spoke.




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You can build it yourself from our easy to follow DIY plans!