This is my first time posting here.

I have been biking for a few years now and learning little by little how to repair my ride myself.

My latest problem is 4 spokes of my rear wheel (36 spokes) broke, making it like a potato-chip.

It's a pretty old aluminum wheel but people told me the rim and hub were good, so I figured I might as well try to repair it, considering how cheap a spoke is, at least it would be a good learning experience.

I tried the traditional 3x cross but half way through I read about the powerwheel pattern on Sheldon Brown's website, 2 pulling spokes for 1 pushing. But that is the only information I got.

I'd really want to try lacing my wheel that way but am clueless of how to cross spokes (over, under...) and I don't know what length to buy, etc.

Would anyone know how to do or is it held secret because patented and my only option is to buy one somewhere?


  • BTW, the "official" term is "tacoed" -- your wheel is tacoed. Oct 25, 2018 at 17:11
  • 1
    As to replacing the spokes, it's hard enough for a beginner to do a simple pattern. I'd recommend you first simply try to replace broken spokes, and if they keep breaking (usually because the wheel is "worn out" at 20-50k miles) then re-lace using the original pattern. Using the 2x1 cross that you describe would be very tricky and likely cause more problems than it would solve. (And, as Rider_X hints, Sheldon is given to jokes and may be making one here.) Oct 25, 2018 at 17:16
  • ok, thank you for the advice. I'll relace it like it was originally, a 3x cross pattern. Oct 25, 2018 at 17:50
  • @francesrhodes did you unlace the wheel completely or something?
    – Criggie
    Oct 25, 2018 at 19:03
  • 4
    If it's not obvious from the POWerwheel page itself, it and other joke ShelBroCo products are listed on sheldonbrown.com/bicycleHumor.html
    – ojs
    Oct 25, 2018 at 20:24

2 Answers 2


If you are only replacing the 4 broken spokes then you will need to duplicate the wheel's spoke pattern.

If you are re-lacing the wheel with new spokes, a 3-cross spoke pattern is time proven pattern that is great for a first time wheel build. It is easy to implement, it builds a very strong wheel and it makes re-truing the wheel a straightforward. All of these are great features for your first wheel build.

After building, ride it a bit, and see how you did before trying to chase more exotic spoke patterns.

My reading of Sheldon's POWerwheel page is that the pattern is a bit of a joke, but may actually work. Even if it does work, it wouldn't be a good first time build as tension the wheel would be more difficult than a standard symmetrical pattern such as a 3-cross.


Update: check Jeffery Bell’s answer this was an April fools day joke (it’s a bit hard to spot now with all the ads, but at the bottom it is dated for April 1. Crazy that some have apparently tried the pattern in real life.

Please give Jeffery an upvote.

  • ok, thanks for answering so fast. I already laced the wheel with a 3x pattern (the way it was laced originally) but wanted to try a supposedly better one, so I disassembled everything to start a new one... I'll relace it with a standard 3x crossing pattern and see how it turns out. Oct 25, 2018 at 16:40
  • Are you planning to true the wheel yourself?
    – P. Barney
    Oct 25, 2018 at 19:46
  • The idea of the POWerwheel is new to me, but it does fit with my experience: There are two factors that make a spoke likely to fail, 1. that the spoke attaches to the hub from the inside (higher bending force at the bend), and 2. that the spoke is an accelerating one mounted on the rear wheel. I already mitigate these two factors by ensuring that no spoke is both an inner one and an accelerating one, but the accelerating ones remain the ones that break. However, the only benefit of a POWerwheel should be less danger of breaking spokes. Also: Disk brakes may change this into the opposite. Oct 25, 2018 at 20:13
  • @p-barney yes, I want to do it myself, I want to learn how to fix everything alone to eventually be able to build bikes from scratch Oct 25, 2018 at 22:12
  • @cmaster I looked into changing the breaks to a more modern system but my bike is from the 70s, so it would require serious modifications in order to do that, including replacing parts such as the fork... which I don't want to do Oct 25, 2018 at 22:28

The most important part of the page is "Since April 1".

This is Sheldon Brown's annual April Fool prank.

Search for the rest of the ShelBroCo articles in rec.bicycles.tech and they were all posted on April 1.

  • Good catch! I missed that date reference at the bottom of the page (there is so much advertising, it’s almost unreadable now). The crazy part is that people claim it worked in real life
    – Rider_X
    Oct 25, 2018 at 23:59

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