Recently I had to replace a hub on the front wheel of my workhorse bike. That meant unlace it and lace it again. Since the hubs were identical, I used the same old spokes, same not-so-old rim and same lacing pattern (3-crossings).
However, I noticed (already noticed it many times) the contact point between spokes around the 3rd crossing (where they actually touch one another) was a bit stained (even being stainless steel spokes) and a tiny bit worn.
I know it is traditional to cross the spokes this way, and Sheldon Brown explicitly advises to BEND the spokes against one anoter (which I heartily recommend everybody to do, increases wheel durability very very much.)
BUT since there are so much fancy wheels and even alternative lacing patterns (radial lacing, for example) where the spokes go straight from hub to rim, I wonder if it is really necessary to interlace the spokes in the first place.
Anyway, I can number some hypothetical pros and cons of INTERLACING:
- Provides an extra contact point for the spoke, reducing mobility and flexion, and improving lateral stability;
- Reduces resonance noises;
- Allows for fixation of spoke-cards ;o)
- Makes assembly a bit more difficult;
- Creates a potential stress point due to friction and flexion;
- Creates an initial bending around the contact point, which might allow for fatigue-inducing flexion around the spoke elbow;
- Makes cleaning a lot more difficult.
EDIT: due to the confusion that arose between crossing vs. radial (which wasn't what I meant) and different ways to lace the same crossing pattern (what I intend actually), I made a drawing (out of scale) showing the two possibilities. At left, the "physically touching crossing". Please note that in the frontal view (bottom left) the spokes are not actually twisted against one another like the view might induce to think, but are only flexing against one another).
I am very prone to lace my next wheel without physical crossings, since there seems to be enough evidence it is not actually necessary. Some months later, I could be sure if that works or not. But even if it is not necessary, it might still be better.
So, have you any information/link/knowledge/experience about?