I have one wheel that has lacing pattern like #1 and other wheel is lacing pattern #2?

What is the right way to make 3 cross lacing pattern?

Blue spokes cross over green enter image description here

Green spokes cross over blue enter image description here

  • 1
    I think they're both right, but I've never built a wheel from scratch so I only have theoretical knowledge.
    – DavidW
    May 4, 2021 at 19:27
  • 1
    Not a duplicate, but related bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/42662/… I accidentally built a wheel with one of each.
    – Criggie
    May 4, 2021 at 20:43
  • 2
    I don’t feel like writing a full answer, but general advice is to put loaded spokes heads out. That would be the blue spokes on both sides.
    – MaplePanda
    May 4, 2021 at 22:44

3 Answers 3


The second variant (where you lace the outer spokes under the inner spokes at the last cross, I'll call it cross-under lacing in the following) has a slight wheel stability advantages:

  • When you transmit torque over the spokes, you are putting tension on one half of the spokes while removing tension from the other half.

  • The cross-under couples the tension of one leading spoke with one trailing spoke.

  • As such, the cross-under reduces the likelihood of one spoke loosing all its tension during acceleration/braking, and thus serves to make the wheel more robust.

On the other hand, the cross under has a significant wheel-building disadvantage:

  • Since it couples the tension of two spokes, you cannot adjust the tension of one spoke without affecting the tension of the other.

  • Since two spokes are coupled at the cross-under point, they cannot vibrate individually. This makes it impossible to equalize spoke tension by ear.

  • The cross-under simply makes wheel building a bit harder.

Since I personally prefer to tune my spokes by ear, I never use a cross-under. Other people have other preferences. Afaik, factory laced wheels often come with cross-under, I guess that's because they have the equipment that makes cross-under lacing easy. And because such wheels are known to be a bit more robust, they sell better.

  • This answer explains interlaced spoking. All decent wheels have interlaced spokes. I suspect the question was about whether leading spokes should be heads in and trailing spokes heads out or vice versa. There are some rules for that: bicycles.stackexchange.com/a/76342/33932
    – juhist
    May 5, 2021 at 18:54
  • 1
    @juhist I'm pretty certain that I nailed the topic of the question. For one thing, the images only differ in whether the spokes cross over or under at the third cross (you need to look very closely due to the thin lines they use for the spokes). And for another, the OP pretty quickly accepted my answer after I posted it. I guess, LilBro would not have done that if I had entirely missed the point... May 5, 2021 at 19:28
  • This answer is what i was looking for thanks.
    – LilBro
    May 8, 2021 at 6:33

I build wheels frequently. It is so unimportant that I don't pay attention.


Jobst Brandt says it doesn't matter so long as the pattern is mirrored over the hub. There is an argument (small) for having pattern #1 on the drive-side rear to reduce the chances of the chain getting stuck in an over-the -cassette disaster situation.

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