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spoke patterns


Well Known and Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
hi folks,
i'm a little confused about the spoking patterns to use on my c series rapide.
i went to 19 front and 18 inch rear after much soul searching and interested to know what the correct pattern is and the spoke lengths required.

from new zealand

Andrew Rackstraw

New Website User
Non-VOC Member
Spoke length

Hi Rachel - Tell your bloke 'He will loose points in a concours if he didn,t have a three cross over pattern' and tell him to buy his stainless spokes from a 'Vincent' spares shop and he will get the required length - Your neighbor
Spoke lacing.

Cross three? I think NOT. Look in Know Thy Beast, All pre and post war models had wheels laced in a 'four-cross' pattern, ie with spokes crossing each other 4 times from spoke flange to rim.

Russell (your 'Vincent' spares shop):D

Phil Mahood

VOC Hon. Computer Officer
VOC Member
Cross 4

Yup, it has to be Cross 4 pattern. I've laced up many sets. My guess is that, between correct spoke lengths, and the drill pattern on any "standard" rim, Cross 3 would be impossible. By the way, spokes and rims from Russell have laced up correctly, no hassles.
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Well Known and Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
thanks folks. after much soul searching i've figured that what i thought was the 3 cross over system is in fact 4 as i wasn't counting the two spokes crossing over each side of the spoke flange just the ones out in thin air...
since feburary in little old new zealand i've carefully studied the wheels on around fifteen bikes and been confused by the 3-4 pattern and spoke lengths.
thanks also ron, i did try to order spokes from you a few weeks back but june told me one set is out of stock and no delivery date hence making my own in the end. the drilling will be down tonight.


Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Spoke Glitches

Hopefully, jellywrestler, you haven't laced-up your wheels yet. There's a couple of potential glitches you might wish to be aware of. :eek:

1. On the 'Cross 4' spoke pattern (the Vincent std) there is a conflict between certain of the spokes and the head (at the bent end) of the adjacent one. This usually only occurs with the 8 gauge spokes (about 0.158 dia) or of course 8/10 butted. The effect is to bend the spokes passing over the outside face of the spoke-flange; (it doesn't affect the inside ones). This occurs probably because the "head" at the bent end of replacement spokes has increased in size over the years from 1/4 to 9/32 approx. This is hard to explain so I'm going to try and insert a picture.....

[You didn't manage to upload your photo - Ed!]

The fix is to take each spoke in turn and hold it up looking at the head with the rest of the spoke pointing up vertically. (Only 20 of each wheel-set need the following treatment). At the 10 o'clock point on the head you need to remove about 20-30 thou of metal from the head circumference in the form of a flat. This will provide sufficient clearance for the adjacent spoke to pass by without being bent and stressed. I found that the easiest way to do it was to carefully touch the side of the head against my belt sander fitted with a smooth worn belt; but be careful!

2. The next glitch is with some (not all) pattern brake drums which have a little too much material on the back. Instead of fitting flush up against the spoke flange, the drum contacts the 8-gauge spokes first - just by a few thou. When you tighten the drum down with the nylocs, this condition is likely to crack the inner drum flange- as well as stress the spokes. Anyone can check their wheels for this problem with the wheels still in the bike; just put a 5 thou feeler gauge between drum and spokes to ensure there is clearance. If you have the problem there are 2 simple fixes: A. Machine away material from the back of the drum. B. Insert a thin shim between the spoke-flange and the drum (I'm currently having some made in SS - with 10 holes so they'll fit Shadow rears as well).

Ducking for cover now..... :p
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Dean Grace

Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
Just to get this straight in my head.....For my rear 18" Borrani rim going with a cross 4 pattern I'd need 40 x 8 5/16 spokes in length? or in metric 211.2mm?
The reason I ask is I have spoke blanks here and am going to cut and roll them to do the wheel lace and would like to get it right first go, My father did the front but never got the rear done before he fell off the perch.

Robert Watson

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member

Confession time.

I ordered new rims and spokes for my A twin, from a supplier from whom I had previously ordered spokes and rims. The rear from the first set had broken a couple of spokes but had been fine since they had been replaced, which I mentioned to the supplier.

When the new set arrived, they were set up for cross 3 lacing, and not cross 4. I was outraged, phoned the man and told him so. He said he had done so as he presumed they previous ones had broken because of the interference as A_HRD has mentioned above, which did not appear to be the case. Surely said I, a note of an e mail or a quick phone call could have ascertained my preference. The response of course was to send them back and he would replace them with cross 4 bits. All well and fine to say but by the time one has paid the freight to the west coast of Canada, and the tax on the import (no duty but 12% VAT, plus a "handling fee") and then paid to return them, and then pay more tax (which may or may not be added as they are replacements) and freight again and "handling fee", it becomes a very costly effort. Sooooooooooooo I suck it up and go to replace my rims. I had not taken the wheels apart yet, and when I do attack what appears by any investigation to be the original from the factory, it is laced cross3!!!!!!!! Really??? Yup really.

So they are laced cross 3, and if they are set up for cross 3, of course it can be done.

Dean Grace

Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
Well I took a punt and got some spokes, the rear wheel has been laced up and looks good, I even got the valve hole in the right spot :D


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