48 Hole 4X Rear Wheel Build Guide

Lastnight whilst watching a few DVD's (Fantastic Mr Fox is rad BTW), I had an epic wheel building sesh and built a front 36 and a rear 48.

So here's my guide to building the all important48 4x style polo rear wheel - excuse me if my pics aren't great!

Okay, so to get things going you will need the following items (my selections are in brackets) ...

  • 48H rim of your choice (Deep V Black/Machined)

  • 48H hub of your choice (Goldtech Black)

  • Spokes cut to correct length to suit rim/hub and lacing style (281mm). Note, have some spare spokes to hand incase you bend or brake any during the build.

  • Bag of nipples

  • Decent spoke key

  • Small flat head screw driver

  • Pot of teflon grease (Halfords)

  • Wheel truing stand (Park Tool)

  • Comfy chair (Beanbag on floor)

  • Good music or DVD's to hand + plenty of Tea or Coffee

Okay, so now you've got everything you need, get comfy with a cup of tea in hand and some entertainment playing to help pass the time.

I prefer to sit on a bean bag on the floor. This way I can move my legs into what ever position feels best to hold the wheel during the build.

Stage 1 - putting in the first 'inbound' spokes.

Pic up the hub and starting with the drive side, put in the first run of spokes (grease up each spoke thread as you put in) in every other hole, with the head of the spoke showing on the outside of the flange. These will be your 'inbound' spokes.

Once you have put all spokes in, it should look this this...

Stage 2 - putting in the 'key spoke'.

Now rest the rim on your lap, so that the valve hole is at the top opposite you. Place the hub inbetween your knees, so that the drive side and 'inbound' spokes face up - these are also known as the trailing spokes. Rotate the hub so that any text on the hub sits directly inline with the valve hole (this is just for asthetics). Once in position, take the first corresonding spoke that lines up with the first hole to the right of the valve hole. This will be your 'key spoke'. Ensure that the hole is on the correct side of the rim. This is very important to check, as the holes will feed to the flanges of the hub on the same side of the wheel.

Once sure all lines up, get a spare spoke, bend it at an angle and screw a nipple from the head end onto the spoke (this makes putting the nipple into the rim hole a lot easier). Put the nipple in the hole so that it lines up onto the thread of the 'key spoke'. Then get a flat head screw driver and tighten nipple so it's firmly on spoke.

Once done, the 'key spoke' should look like this...

Stage 3 - lacing the 'trailing spokes'.

Take the next spoke to the right of the 'key spoke' and place in the forth rim hole along to the right of the valve hole. Repeat this process until all the 'inbound' spokes are in place.

Once done, the wheel begins to take shape by looking like this...

Stage 4 - lacing the 'trailing spokes' on the nondrive side.

Turn the wheel over to the nondrive side. Notice how the spoke holes on this side of the flange do not line up with the spoke holes on the other side.

We are now going to put the 'inbound' spokes in on this opposite side (nondrive side).

Placing the first spoke correctly is very important to building the wheel. It must sit away to the left (as we are looking from the nondrive side) of the 'key spoke' on the drive side that sits next to the valve hole. To find this correct position, take a spoke and poke through the flange hole. You'll see that the spoke end hits the opposite flange inbetween two spokes that you put in on the drive side flange. Ensure that the spoke hits the flange to the left side of the 'key spoke'. Once the correct position is found, run the spoke in the hole to the left of the 'key spoke'. Now repeat stage 3.

Once complete, the wheel will have all 24 of the 'inbound' trailing spokes in place. In the rim, there will be two spokes, two empty holes, two spokes, two empty holes etc... and should look like this...

Here are a few other angles...

Stage 5 - lacing the 'outbound' / 'leading' spokes.

Now all 'inbound' /'leading' spokes are in place, we need to put in all 'outbound' / 'leading' spokes. To do this, turn the wheel back so it sits in your lap driveside up. Twist the hub clockwise as far as it will go. Insert a spoke into any hole from the inside of the flange on the drive side, so that the head of the spoke is on the inside. Since we are building a 4 x wheel, this new spoke will x 4 trailing spokes that go to the same flange of the hub. The pattern here is over 2 spokes, under the next spoke, then over the final spoke and into the next available rim hole next.

Following this 4 x pattern, the spoke is 'weaved' under the third crossing and then over the forth. As you put more spokes in, the weaving get's harder and you will have to bend the spokes under and over. This is not a problem as when at the wheel tentioning stage, the spokes will straighten out. Although be sure not to kink the spokes as you instert, as this will be make it harder to straighten out during truing.

See the following pics for the 'weaving' technique...

First bend the spoke back towards yourself...

Then 'weave' it under the third spoke...

Then over the forth till it meets up with the hole which is positioned in the rim on the same side as that on the flange the spoke has come from. The spoke will sit next to 'inbound' spoke from the other side.

Repeat till all are in. The last one will always a bit tricky as the interlacing makes the spokes bow out a bit, but this will all come together when you add tension.

Stage 6 - adding the 'outbound spokes' on the nondrive side.

Turn the wheel over and repeat stage 5 to the nondrive side flange.

Hopefully, when finished, it will look like this lovely bowed star pattern...

Stage 7 - initial spoke adjustment.

Now all the spokes are in place, start with the 'key spoke' and begin to tension all the nipples with a screwdriver just to the point where the thread on the spoke disappears into the nipple. Some might be tighter or looser than others, but this just gives a good baseline. Some spokes may also be a bit bowed, but these will all straighten out once truing begins.
Before you start applying tension to the spokes, you should bend them by hand so that they fit snugly against the sides of the hub flanges. This can be done easily by pressing on each spoke in turn with your thumb about an inch out from the hub.

Stage 8 - tentioning and truing.

Now the wheel needs to be tensioned and trued. This is best done by placing the wheel in a truing stand, set up and measured to the correct size for the wheel and hub.

Starting from the 'key spoke' next to the valve hole, begin to tighten each spoke up using a spoke key. I tend to do between 5 - 6 turns or till the tension feels good.
Once you've done each spoke, spin the wheel to see where the untrued spots are. Then line up the markers against the rim and begin to tighten or loosen each spoke until the wheel is true.
If you need to pull the rim out to the left, tighten the spokes on that side and vice versa if you need to pull the rim to the right.

Truing can take a bit of time and patience, but it's important for the wheel to spin true esp if you are running a brake or on a frame with tight clearance.

When you are happy with the tenstion and trueness of the wheel, you are ready to whack on some rim tape, an inner tube, a tyre and drive cog (fixed or freewheel) . Note, make sure the tyres tread runs the correct way.

Once done, bish, bash, bosh, your new wheel should look like this...

Now you're ready to roll and play polo on 48's man!!!


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