Amir Avitzur wrote:
Thanks to everyone for their suggestions about how to rejuvinate old saddles.
The archives, on the whole, recommend against 4x wheels. The general feeling is that they have no advantage over 3x wheels. If that is so, why did so many 50' and 60's British bikes use 4x patterns on their 32/40 wheelsets?
I'd like to build an Airlite Large Flange Hub - Fiamme Red Label rim wheelset. Should I expect any problems when I lace old hubs with old rims like these using a 4x pattern? ++++++++++++++++++++ Amir, I would suggest that much of what has been written on the "proper" number of xrosses for spokes is folklore, although some consider it almost scriptural. I remember my surprise at seeing E-Ritchie's paired 71 Masis, with the ultimate bike blasphemy: 4x low-flange, so the spoke ends "interfered" with the spokes from teh other side. Since then, I've seen lots more, and have some myself. Seems like nobody told the hubs and rims (or spokes) that it couldn't work well.
So, here's what I deeply believe:
1) None of us can really tell the difference in the ride. Good Buddy Dr. Jim Papadopoulos has rather well shown that the differences, all the way from zero- to 4-cross, have no more effect on wheel rigidity than a pump stroke or so of air pressure (assuming identical rims, tires, etc, and that I understood the statement correctly).
2) If the distance between the outer edge of the spoke hole and the outer edge of the hub flange is very small, and substantially less than the distance between adjacent spoke holes, going 4x or 3x will be more resistant to the rare cracking of the flange between spoke hole and flange edge. Common sense: more meat, more resistant.
3) rear hubs do work better if at least one side has at least one crossing of the spokes. This lesson goes back to high-wheelers. Otherwise, see points 1 & 2.
4) Lazy-man's-law: 4x uses essentially the same length spokes high or low flange (at least for 36 hole, and I think for 32 and 40, but I'm too lazy to check now.
5) Corrollary of Rule #1: When I'm getting ready to build a wheel or pair, I get out the spreadsheet and calculate what lengths work with the combination of rim and hub that I have. Unless it is a special vintage wheel, I write down everything, from radial through 4x. Then I build up with whatever I have on the shelf that day.
6) Some rims, starting with wood ones, have spoke holes that are very directional. Remember the Weinmanns with pimples or bulges at the spoke holes? These dictate pattern, for better or worse.
Your mileage may vary, but it's ok if you use the right spoke wrench.