Building Bicycle Wheels


Structure — how a wheel supports a load

Flex under load

Three loads

Radial loads

Load support

Load distribution

Side (lateral) load

Side loads more complex

Side loads

Radial strength limit

Strength is affected by stiffness!

Summary — strength

Spoke tension

How high?


Less dish

Summary — tension and dish

Torsion loads — pedaling, hub brakes

Torsion load from pedaling

Torsion load from hub brakes

Maximum torsion load from braking?

Hub brake recommendations

Summary — hub brake loads

Are skinny spokes strong enough?


Stress relieving

Load-carrying summary


What wheel to build?

Your needs

Let your experiences be a guide

Lack of published data

Let experiences of others be a guide

Requirements and desirables


Lacing pattern


Head-in or head-out