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I just laced a new 32 spoke rear wheel following this Park Tool tutorial: https://www.parktool.com/en-int/blog/repair-help/how-to-build-a-wheel

I don’t have any other 32 spoke rear wheel to compare to. Unfortunately the Shimano FH-5600 rear hub was previously laced with the key spoke J-bend facing outwards which seems to be less common (apparently it’s said to have very small disadvantages in strength or long term durability). This makes comparisons hard and also made following the instructions harder.

In the past I’ve had problems with broken nipples on wheels I built myself. Only recently did I realize that the holes through the rim have a sideways angle to them and are not just drilled straight into the rim. I think I always mixed up the non-drive-side and drive-side holes which caused high sideways bending stress in the nipples.

So my question is: Did I lace it correctly this time?

Components (if it matters):

  • DT Swiss RR411 asymmetric rim with 32 holes
  • Shimano FH-5600 rear hub (used)
  • Silver DT Swiss Revolution (2mm/1.5mm/2mm) spokes on the non-drive side
  • Black DT Swiss Competition (2mm/1.8mm/2mm) spokes on the drive side
  • DT Swiss Pro Lock brass nipples

The wheel is not yet trued or dished, I’ve only tightened the nipples slightly.

Here are a few photos, the valve hole is marked with white paint.

Non-drive side: enter image description here Drive side: enter image description here Nipple angles. They look much better this time, but on the silver non-drive side spokes you can still see a slight bent where they exit the nipple. Is it a problem?: enter image description here enter image description here Crossings: enter image description here

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This looks like a correctly laced cross-3 32-spoke wheel. It seems you have tightened the spokes too somewhat, as without tightening every wheel looks incorrectly laced.

The bends at the nipple should ideally be abrupt, not smooth. The picture you took shows that they seem to be smooth in your build. It seems that the nipple can't swivel enough in the spoke hole, and thus the nipple doesn't point into the direction of the spoke.

You may be able to make the bends abrupt by bending them manually, but I'm not sure if the smooth bend angle in this case is too much. It may be possible the wheel will be durable without any spoke line adjustments.

However, I see one problem in the specification of the wheel: 2.0/1.5/2.0 mm spokes shouldn't be used. The 1.5mm cross section in the middle is prone to too much twist, and the 2.0mm threads provide enough torque to cause the twist. Usually 1.6mm is the minimum used cross section, and it's used with 1.8mm threads not with 2.0mm threads that would cause more twist. Expect to have problems tightening the 2.0/1.5/2.0 mm spokes. Fortunately, the 1.5mm spokes are on the non-drive-side so you may succeed in tightening the spokes.

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  • Thanks! The 2.0/1.5/2.0mm spokes are a first for me, I’m kind of scared of the wind-up, but I guess if it gets hard to deal with I could try to gently hold the spoke end with pliers. I picked them because they should be plenty strong enough for the non-drive side and should have more elasticity to ensure they are always under tension despite the lower tension on the non-drive side.
    – Michael
    Aug 13, 2022 at 8:15
  • I'm worried that serrated pliers could damage the spoke surface, thus making future failures more likely. I'm not sure though if spoke surface is so hard steel that serrated pliers wouldn't damage it. I haven't tried using pliers to hold the spoke, I only use spokes that don't need to be held in place when tightening.
    – juhist
    Aug 13, 2022 at 8:30
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    @Michael as the tension is so light on the non-drive side, the thinner spokes should be quite easy to work with. Sapim, in the literature for the Laser spoke, say it should be held with locking pliers or similar during building to avoid wind up. It is worth reading through this before the final tensioning phase.
    – Noise
    Aug 13, 2022 at 9:22
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    I don’t see anything wrong with using 2.0/1.5/2.0mm spokes. The twist you get when tensioning up a wheel during a build can be easily addressed during the build. In all my builds I have used a Sharpie (permanent marker) and left a semi-permanent mark on the spike close to the nipple to “index” the spoke. It works like this: to put 1/4 turn on a nipple and if the spike twists 1/8 of a turn while doing so, I turn it 3/8 of a turn, then back off 1/8, which returns the spoke to its untwisted state. All spokes will twist some during tensioning. This method takes the twist out of play.
    – Ted Hohl
    Aug 13, 2022 at 16:37
  • Finished building the wheel yesterday. All the spoke and nipple angles now look perfect (much better than the previous one where I messed up the left/right side). Tension on the left side is 750N, on the right side 1200–1250N. Wind-up of the 1.5mm spokes was quite manageable, just had to twist back by almost ¼ turn (it was easy to feel because while it’s twisted it turns almost by itself, and then you suddenly need force). Thanks for the answer and discussion!
    – Michael
    Aug 20, 2022 at 6:19

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