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What Is Radial Lacing?| Radial Lacing Of Front And Rear Wheels

Radial lacing means wheels are laced without crossing them from each other, they are directly installed from the hub flange holes into the rim holes, 2 and 3 crosses spoke patterns are crossed in the midline of their spokes but radial lacing wheels are not crossed and their spokes are straight forward. all the spokes are parallel with each other due to radial wheel spokes are not better shock absorber wheels as compared to cross pattern wheels, because in radial lacing tension and load are not spread to other spokes because of the non-contact of radial spokes.

All the modern wheels are manufactured by Mavic and other companies have both cross pattern and radial patterns installed in their wheels and their wheels would also perform better with the mixture, if you know the exact skill of installation of the spokes within a single wheel with cross and radial pattern, because drive side of rear wheels is not laced with the radial pattern, due to the load issues, non-drive side of the wheels are laced with the radial pattern and drive side is laced with 2 and 3 cross pattern.

A large weight is lifted by the drive side of the wheel and there are risks of breaking of spokes on the drive side with radial lacing because the spokes are not crossed into each other and the load and weight are not spreading with the other spokes. all the weight is exerted on single spokes of the radial lacing and spoke nipples would sometimes break and it is common for spokes to break from the elbow of the j bend heads, due to which offroad riders usually do not lace their wheels with radial lacing, they always choose a cross pattern.

How Wheels Become Stronger By Mixture Of Radial And Cross Pattern?

When one side of the wheels is laced with the radial and the other side with the cross pattern, then both sides of the spokes are constantly creating tension and repelling the force towards each other on every rotation of the wheel, due to which if any pattern is loose and is not tensioned properly, by receiving the force from the side mixture of spokes, this pattern will also become much harder and provides a large grip to the rim to rotate smoothly, this is the reason mostly 80% of riders have both patterns laced in their wheels.

Which Pattern Is Stronger Radial Or Cross?

Cross pattern is much stronger as compared to the radial lacing, this is the main reason, radial lacing is prevented for lacing on rear wheels due to their heaviness as compared to the front wheels. radial lacing does not give better tensioning as compared to the cross pattern.

Hub Choice For Radial Lacing?

hub wheels have smaller and larger flange holes, small flange holes are specific for j bend and bladed spokes, and large hub holes are specific for the radial lacing pattern, and will perform much better compared to the smaller flange holes. there is a theory behind the scene, that smaller flange holes do not allow the j bend and other cross pattern spokes to come out from the hub holes when these are rotated at 90-degree angles for installation within the rim holes, but for radial lacing, spokes do not need to make even 1-2 degree of angle because these are not installed at different angled rim holes, these are directly inserted on the front rim holes without rotating and wrapping of flange hub.

Is Radial Lacing Common For All Hub And Rims?

The difference in weight between the rims would differ in their lacing pattern between them. quality brand rims are stiffer with a longer warranty because of the difference in their high prices as compared to the cheap rims, radial lacing is recommended for expensive rims but if your wheel is old traditional and you are living in offroad places, then avoid radial lacing always follow crossing pattern of spokes.

There are hub wheels that are also different in their thickness and quality, lower quality and thin hubs are not specific hubs for radial lacing, it is a must to buy an expensive DT Swiss hub for off-roading if you are a mountain biker.

quality difference of wheels and hubs matters a lot, the reason is that when spokes are laced radially within the wheels, these are continuously pushing applying force towards the upward direction into the spoke nipples and also in a downward direction towards the holes of flange hubs, this is the reason quality products are must for radial lacing of wheels.

Weight Difference Between Radial And Cross Spokes:

Weight is a big issue if we compare the number of spokes within the rim, those rims which have a larger number of spokes are 36-hole rims and 32-hole rims, these larger numbers of spokes have less weight because heavier weight spokes are not recommended if the number of spokes is higher within the wheel, now if we discuss the radial lacing for which the rim needs less number of spokes and it is must and necessary that the spokes for radial lacing should be heavier than that of the other cross pattern wheels.

Brake Effect On Radial Wheel Lacing:

When you pull the levers of brakes of the radial wheel, the resistance force of the spokes continuously forces themselves towards the center of the wheel within the hub, while in cross pattern wheels, it does not happen because the stopping force which is generated within the spokes disperses within in the wheel and does not transfer all the forces towards the center of the wheel, cross X pattern of wheels absorb all the forces, but radial lacing response opposite to that of cross pattern, as a result, radial lacing spokes would ruin flange holes and hub of the wheel, there are many chances of retrieving of the flange spoke heads from the hub and sometimes radial lacing cause breaking of spokes due to same forces transferring through spokes in the center of the wheel.

The main reason is that all the weight of the rider and the bike is directly staying on the spokes, and when you are at a higher speed and you applied a brake to stop your bike, surely all the weight directly pushes on the spokes due to which radial lacing works differently as compared to the cross pattern.

When the wheel rotates, resistance forces are generated from rubbing the wheel with the trail surfaces, all of this rubbing of the wheel generates a large number of forces that directly hit on the rim and the spokes, and radial laced wheels do not support these forces, these will break and come out from the hub flanges.

All the central forces which are present within the spokes when braking, there is no cross pattern between radial laced spokes due to which these for es would not disperse from the wheel and these will loose from the hub places.

What’s the Right Way To Inserting Radial Spokes Within The Flange Hole Of Hub?

Radial spokes are inserted with their heads facing the inward of the flanges which means these are inserted from the outside of the flange holes. when you watch the head of the spokes all of their head would be facing in inward of the flange towards the center of the wheel.

although radial lacing is also done by inserting the heads in an inward direction and facing outward towards the frame and there is also another method, you can insert one side of the spokes of a radial wheel from the outward direction and the other side of the wheel through inward direction, but these methods are not authentic and are not longlasting, also these would not give better tensioning within the rim.

Is It Better To Lace Front Wheel With Radial Spokes?

Yes you can bike the front wheel with the radial spokes because it has an advantage, radial spokes are not heavier as compared to the cross pattern spokes, and also for biking front wheels contains a lesser number of spokes due to weight issues, that’s why for front wheels, radial lacing is preferred.

The main purpose of front radial lacing is that these spokes are short in length as compared to cross pattern spokes, which also play a major role in saving weight.

Is It Possible To Mix Front And Rear Radial Spokes?

It is possible in a single way if both front and rear wheels have the same size of hubs and same flange hole sizes for both wheels, then you can mix them without any confusion, and further you can easily lace both wheels by picking one by one spoke from this mixture, but if your bike wheel has different size of spokes for both front and rear wheels and also the hub sizes are different in front and rear wheels then it is not possible to mix radial spokes into each other.

Can I Use Radial Hub For Cross Pattern Wheel?

Yes, it is possible to use radial hubs for 2 and 3 cross patterns of wheels because radial hubs are much stiffer and more durable and their flanges are also high as compared to cross pattern wheels, these come with a warranty which is much better than cross pattern spokes, but if you want to install cross pattern hub for radial lacing, then according to my opinion it is not a good idea, because radial lacing wheels have many tensioning issues and all the forces are directly hitting on the central area of the hub, many chances are present that these hubs would break and crack.