When i make 3-cross pattern in regular rim with aligned spoke holes i put first green spoke in first hole to the left of air valve (in order to have no cross around air valve) then moving counter clockwise.

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For first time i am lacing rim with offset spoke holes and i cannot figure it out.

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I assume its incorrect to lace as on photo labeled "Version 1"?

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If i use "Version 2" then i get crossing over air valve.

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  • Sheldon address this in the guide I follow starting from "Rims are drilled either *"right handed" or "left handed". That might help
    – Chris H
    Apr 29, 2021 at 15:44
  • 1
    Its not easy for me to follow that article after i learned to lace rims in my own order from scratch. From what i figured so far "Version 2" photo is the right approach. because only other way around would lead to the crossing over air valve postimg.cc/G9LM0vBp
    – LilBro
    Apr 29, 2021 at 16:47
  • Lilbro you are right in V2, the hole used is the one nearer the flange of the hub you're using. I have only seen one type of rim where this pattern is deliberately reversed, and it's marketed that way.
    – Noise
    Apr 29, 2021 at 16:56
  • Sheldon brown's wheelbuilding article is not his strongest work.
    – Noise
    Apr 29, 2021 at 17:01
  • @JoeK it's clear enough for me, helped by the fact all the wheels I've built have been 36 spoke cross 3 matching his example
    – Chris H
    Apr 29, 2021 at 20:43

1 Answer 1


In your second photo, which shows the valve area, you see that the spoke hole left of the valve is offset down and to the right is offset up.

This is the opposite of how most modern rims are made. It's almost universally the other way. That's what's throwing you off. Variance here was once more common and wheelbuilders looked at this orientation at the start of the process, but people who learned recently and/or don't handle vintage parts much are understandably often lulled into skipping that step.

Ordinarily, from the perspective shown in that image, the first hole to the left will be running to the top hub flange (imagining the hub to be in its normal position relative to the rim) and the first hole on the right will be running to the lower. That will be opposite here. Also opposite will be which comes first in each pair of pushing and pulling spokes.

In other words, your "version 2" photo is right, but you're going to do the other flange's spokes in a way where you don't get spokes crossing under the valve. From the blue spoke to the right of the valve, you're going to find the next hole clockwise on the other flange and it will go to the next rim hole after that first blue one.

  • Doesn’t version 2 decrease spoke angle and therefore lateral stiffness?
    – Michael
    Apr 30, 2021 at 11:27
  • @Michael There are some rims and prefab wheelsets that play in the sandbox you are talking about by running the spokes from one side of the rim's hole offsets to the other side's hub flange, because yes it is a way of increasing bracing angle and it's actually pretty smart. Shimano has done it as well as a few BMX companies, and others. But most rims are the opposite, and have each side's holes drilled at an angle through the rim wall pointing at that side's hub flange. Thus if you do it the other way, the nipples can't swivel in the holes right and run bowed at the nipple. Apr 30, 2021 at 14:37

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