31 October 2017

Creative wheel building

From building my new bike, I am left over with a 20-hole hub and from another old project, a 28 hole rim. (For readers who are already confused: those counts are normal in the 20 inch and folding bike world, where the typical 36 spokes are not needed to make a strong and lasting wheel.)
While thinking how those could be combined, I came up with a new spoke pattern which I had never seen before:
IMG_20170803_092232314.jpg
Solid lines are spokes from the facing side of the hub, dashed is the other side. This pattern uses five spokes of three different lengths and is repeated four times around the hub for full twenty spokes. It has lots of nice properties:
  • Unused holes on the rim (empty circles in the picture) are equally spaced with two and three spokes alternating in between.
  • Every second spoke arriving on the rim will be from one side of the hub, every other from the other side.
  • Spokes only need to be of three different lengths as opposed to seven different lengths when interleaving the non-used rim-holes with a regular 4-spoke pattern.
To achieve this, every second instance of the pattern is laced with 3 spokes on one side and every other with two spokes on that side (pattern reversed). The left sketch shows how this leads to the proper alteration of left (dashed) and right (solid) spokes on the rim.
Note that the right picture shows only the facing ten holes of the hub, and only a quarter (one pattern instance) of the spoke and rim.

I think that this would look quite intriguing in an actual wheel, especially if some of the spokes were of a different color. Either do the four radial spokes in white, rest in black; or do the eight single-crossed spokes in white, rest in black. In both cases, half the white spoke would emerge from each side of the hub and would form a cross when looking the wheel from the side.

And the best thing I realized later: although designed for a 20/28 hub/rim recycling, this would work as well on straight 20/20 and even yield a quite durable front wheel(*)!

(*) As long as no disc-brakes are involved.

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