Bike rear wheel assembly

I am assembling my rear wheel and I have question related the lengths of spokes. Is there a big difference between the length of spokes taken from right and left sides. Can I get into big problems if I didn't separate the long and short spokes ?

• Yes, you must sort the longs and the shorts. Aug 24, 2014 at 3:23

Yes. The shorter spokes go on the drive side. Satisfy yourself by looking at the picture below:

Imagine two right-angled triangles sharing a common side (the red-dashed line). The hypotenuse of the left triangle (non-drive side) is longer than the hypotenuse of the right triangle (drive side). Generally only by a couple of mm, but it makes a difference.

Failure to observe this will mean in the first place that you might not be able to attach all the spokes to the rim. Even if you manage this, you'll likely not get the wheel in dish. Assuming that you asked the question because you've actually done this, my advice is to undo it and to start building the wheel again. On the plus side it is likely you won't make this mistake again ;-)

• but when I take them off all the spokes are so bent that I can't figure out which one is longer and which is shorter , because the difference is very tiny Aug 23, 2014 at 20:26
• Yes that can be a problem. There is a special tool (a spoke ruler) which can help you measure. Alternatively maybe its time for new spokes? Aug 23, 2014 at 20:31
• Can't that issue be fixed by tightening the spokes from one side more than others ? Aug 23, 2014 at 20:33
• Er...let me see. You've tried building a wheel, it won't go into dish, you've come on here and asked if you've built it wrong, you don't like the answer, so you're going to continue building it anyway? Go for it! Seriously, look again at that diagram and imagine what's going to happen. Aug 23, 2014 at 20:36
• Actually I haven't finished building the wheel yet. I have only screwed the spokes , and I am only asking for every possible way of solving this. Aug 23, 2014 at 20:42