I'd like to know of all the 'normal' ways to spoke a wheel. Currently, if you want to use a non-standard pattern, you have to run the length computations a number of times; for example, in a 3-spoke crow's foot, you'd have to compute the lengths for a radial spoking, and then again for 2x). Also, some patterns are manufacturer specific or rare and there don't exist calculators for them (G3, Paired, Twin Pair, etc.). I'd like to simplify this calculation and account for non-standard spoking patterns as well as the regular ones, however I'm not sure what patterns are out there.

To limit the question some, I'm only concerned with proper lacing patterns - a term I'll have to define:

  • It has to make a working, rideable wheel. Some spokes must oppose the tension of other spokes.
  • The number of leading spokes is equal to the number of trailing spokes (both 0 for radial). I realize they could just be placed randomly to make a wheel, but this isn't a pattern.
  • Unless there's a reason for it (or someone's done it before), every leading spoke should be matched equally to a trailing spoke. Sure, the leading spokes could be 1x and the trailing 3x, but why do this? (If you can state a reason, then it would count)
  • The spokes are all straight from a spoke hole to a rim seat, which takes any of the twisted patterns that bend spokes around other spokes (not just crossing) off the table. I suspect there are only a few ways to do this, but it's in the realm of possibility to buy ten foot spokes and go crazy, so I'm not considering them a proper lacing pattern.

In this context, I don't really care if it sucks, or has disadvantages x, y, and z, or get into a discussion of why bother with a certain pattern. However, any more details on them, or WHY they suck/rule I'm very interested in. I'm using this for my wheel spoking application to view them and calculate lengths in a much more detailed, accurate and customizable way, which is why I'm not interested in practicality, just possibility. If you have any to add, a picture would be nice or at least a description enough for me to draw a wheel with it would be appreciated.

The obvious ones that don't need to be mentioned:

  • Radial
  • Crossings (1x, 2x, 3x, 4x, ...)
  • See What kind of questions can I ask here? This Question violates at least 3 of the items on that list. Besides which, you've got the books and other resources to get this info on your own. Vote to Close.
    – zenbike
    Commented May 2, 2012 at 7:25
  • 2
    - You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. - If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much. - your answer is provided along with the question, and you expect more answers: “I use ______ for ______, what do you use?”
    – zenbike
    Commented May 2, 2012 at 7:30
  • +1 "There isn't a complete list. The examples you've given cover a wide spectrum of possibilities, each of which can be permuted in so many different ways that making such a list would be a huge undertaking and it would have so many millions of entries that it would be useless." This is exactly what I mean. Closing the question.
    – zenbike
    Commented May 2, 2012 at 7:33
  • This is an actual question! It is both practical, as I explained why above, and easily answerable. If anyone knows of one, add it. Thus a complete-ish list has been formed, which helps both me and anyone looking for a list like this. I've looked at many sources, and nowhere has a single unified source. Not only that, there are only a finite number of 'patterns' - I'd guess about 20 tops. There WOULD be a decently complete list, over time, if you open the question and others contribute.
    – Ehryk
    Commented May 2, 2012 at 9:21
  • 2
    I already did. See my second comment above. I'll not argue with you about it. Your first two viewers down voted the post, and I closed it. Doesn't that tell you that you might be wrong here? As for whether there is an entire book on the subject, I believe you own it. I recommended it to you, it's called "The Bicycle Wheel" by Jobst Brandt, and it's where you got your original photos.
    – zenbike
    Commented May 2, 2012 at 17:51

1 Answer 1


There isn't a complete list. The examples you've given cover a wide spectrum of possibilities, each of which can be permuted in so many different ways that making such a list would be a huge undertaking and it would have so many millions of entries that it would be useless.

  • If you mistook me to mean any way to connect spokes to rims, you would arrive at (n/2)!/n possibilities, or 39 million for a 24 spoke wheel. I could then constrain this down to less than a million if I wished but this is not what I'm asking for. Patterns get repeated 4 - (n/2) times per side, and have restrictions such that I doubt there are more than 20-25 that fit the definition above. I can support this further if you like.
    – Ehryk
    Commented May 5, 2012 at 9:16
  • No. Each pair of spokes can be crossed, or not crossed. A simple example is a wheel where spokes are in triplets, a pair crossed then a single radial spoke. For each triplet there are two possibilities (single spoke before or after the pair), so in a 36 spoke wheel there are 2^6 possible spoke patterns. That's just using the simplest radial/1x alternation. But you could also use groups of 4 spokes, allowing 4 options over 6 groups on a 24 spoke wheel. Wheels also come in 1..100-ish spoke counts, and while they're generally multiples of 4 that's not essential.
    – Móż
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 23:18

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