Lacing a Rear 32 Spoke Wheel | How to Build a Bicycle Wheel

In this tutorial we show you how to lace the drive side spokes of a rear bicycle wheel. It's important to remember that on the rear wheel the drive side spokes are slightly shorter than the non-drive side, due to the dish of the wheel. You should also prep your spokes with linseed oil or spoke prep before lacing.

At this point we have assembled everything need to start lacing the spokes onto the rear wheel.  Our drive-side and non-drive side have been prepped in two different colors to help us note that they are different lengths.

The first step is to lace through the drive side of the hub, doing "outies" every other hole.  "Outies" means pushing the spokes through the hub towards the outer edge of the hub flange. 

The initial location of the hub in relation to the rim is critical in order to maintain the lacing pattern.  If the hub has a logo, ideally the valve hole of the rim will line up with logo, so when you look through the valve hole, you will be looking down onto the hubs logo.  This doesn't necessarily affect the performance of the wheel, but does show a high level of professionalism, which is always good, unless you are totally immature like me....

Most rims are drilled with offset holes, so that each hole is angled slightly toward one side or the other.  To  place the first spoke you find the valve hole and then use the whichever adjacent hole is drilled towards the flange you just dropped the spokes through.   After placing the first spoke, skip three holes moving away from the valve hole and place the next spoke.  Do this for the rest of the spokes, until you have placed the first eight.  Remember to check the spokes to make sure they are all in rim holes that are angled to the correct side of the hub. 

You want to make sure that the two spokes adjacent to the valve hole run parallel to each other so you can get the the valve with a pump.  To make that happen you rotate the hub to "pre-load" the spokes, by rotating the hub away from the valve hole. 

The next set of spokes you lace are also on the drive sidea and will be "innies" or laced going towards the inside of the hub.  Just fill up all the remaining holes with spokes. 

So, now we have the first set of eight spokes laced in with the hub rotated away from the valve hole.  The next step is to lace the second set of drive side spokes "under, under, over" and into the corresonding rim hole.  It will be apparent where to place the spoke once you begin lacing.  The length of the spoke will guide you to the correct hole, which will be directly in between two of the first set of spokes that were laced. 

If this is you first wheel it is a good idea to grab another wheel to take a look at the patter.  If you are working with a deep section rim, such as a Velocity Deep-V, you will have to use a little trick where you thread a nipple a few turns onto a "feeder spoke", which is just a normal spoke use to feed the nipple into the rim and onto the actual spoke being laced.  With deep rims, you can't drop the nipples in or you might lose them, and you NEVER want to lose your nipples.  If your rim is eyeleted then you don't need to worry about it, unless you are really careless.  

If you have a new rim, shake it around a little and see if you can shake any shrapnel remnants out of the rim.