Lacing Bike Wheel : 36 Holes Hub to 32 Holes Rim





Introduction: Lacing Bike Wheel : 36 Holes Hub to 32 Holes Rim

About: Just an ordinary person who loves #thinking and #tinkering

Do you buy a mismatch hub and rim of a bike wheel? I just did. I never noticed that the new Shimano hub I ordered has 36 holes. If only that store had a pair of rims available, it would have been easier to lace the wheels. Then I ordered a new pair of rims from separate store. I am new to bike's parts and technology. I do carefully count the spokes on my old wheel and yes I ordered 32 holes 26" rims. When both parts arrived, it felt like doomed.

Searching around the web gave me no workaround. I read that there are many out there, and the senior/pro keep telling us to get a new pair of rims. This is not working for us who live in a small town where local bike stores do not sell fancy rims.

Then I give it a try by myself, building my first pair of wheel. Not bad. For those who have the same problem you can give this a try.Some said we need some spokes with different length, but I would say that you need not if you have a double wall rims. Some spokes do pop out about few millimeters from the nipples but I would say no worry for they are still under the second wall of the rim.

I adopted a new method, similar to "three cross pattern" but differ from the conventional wheel building method found on the web. You need "the working sheet" above to follow this instructable easier and clearly, print it out if possible. It will help you lacing the wheel easier.

Step 1: Preparation

  • Rim (32 holes).
  • Hub (36 holes, 18 holes at each flange).
  • 32 pieces of spokes.
  • 32 pieces of nipples.
  • Few foam boards from refrigerator or tv set will help reducing scratches on the floor and rim.
  • A flat head screwdriver.

Place the hub in the middle and the rim around it. I start with the non-driving side up (the left side of wheel). I will use the terms Inside-out spoke that is coming from the inside of the hub flange and the vice versa Outside-in spoke where you can differ them from the picture above.

Step 2: Initial Spoke and the Red Spokes

I use the color code "red spokes" regarding to my working sheet. Find the valve hole for it is our guide for the initial spoke. The holes on the rim are slightly offset, if you look at them carefully. You can see that they are slightly up or down alternately.

First we are working with all the outside-in spokes. Put your first spoke in one hole of the hub then go through the hole on the rim that is slightly up (either on the left or right of valve hole, it is on the left in my case). Then put the nipple on the spoke to lock it on the rim. Five or six turns on the nipple is good.

Then go on with all the red spokes namely on hole 4, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 17 on the hub counting clockwise. On the hub flange we leave 2 holes between 1-4 and 10-13. On the rim, we leave 3 holes in between two spokes.

For easier to read on my working sheet, I mark the number on flange with colors. If a number has two colors it means one color is put on top flange and the other is put on the lower flange.

Step 3: The Blue Spokes

Flip the wheel over so that the driving side facing up. Locate your hole #1 and counting clockwise we get the hole #2 on the left. We are building based on our working sheet, the colors, the numbers on hub. We are still working with the outside-in-spokes.

The first blue spoke goes to the right side of the initial red spoke on the rim. In my working sheet, the blues are on the left of the reds because it is viewed from non-driving side, we have flipped the rim remember? It is good if you can imagine that your spokes have colors, otherwise.. you can mark it with color sticky notes. Now put all the other blue spokes on the hub namely hole number 3, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 17. All blue spokes goes to the next right holes of reds on the rims.

Step 4: The Orange Spokes

Flip your wheel over so that the non-driving side is facing up. Turn the hub counter clockwise. For orange spokes we are now working on inside-out spokes. These orange spokes are red spokes partners on one flange.

Start from the hole #3 on the hub (from the inside out), the orange spoke goes clockwise and make three cross to three red spokes. The first cross is from the above (up), the second cross is from above (up) and the third cross is from the below (down) the red spoke it passes. You might need to bend the spoke a little to bring it down the other spoke. Do not bend too much. Then it goes to the left of the blue spoke on the rim . So it is between a blue spoke and a blank hole on the rim after crossing three red spokes.

Put all the orange spokes on namely on hole 5, 7, 9, 12, 14, 16, 18 on the hub. They are all goes to the left of the blue spokes on the rim. There you can see we leave two holes blank on the flange without spoke.

Step 5: The Green Spokes

Flip the wheel again so that the driving side is on top. We are working with the inside-out spokes. Note that these green spokes are partners to blue spokes on the other flange.

Start from the hole #2 on the hub (from the inside out), the green spoke goes counter clockwise and make three cross to three blue spokes. The first cross is from the above (up), the second cross is from above (up) and the third cross is from the below (down) the blue spoke it passes. As on orange spokes you might need to bend the spoke more to bring it down the other spoke as our wheel is now getting tighter with more spokes. Try not bend too much or straighten it back after reaching the hole on the rim. It goes to the empty hole on the rim after making three crosses to the blue spokes.

Put all the green spokes on namely on hole 5, 7, 9, 11, 14, 16, 18 on the hub. They are all go to empty holes on the rim. Here we leave another two holes blank on the flange without spoke.

We are done. We are heading to the next level that is truing the wheel. Hope I can serve you another instructable on that one later ;)



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    2 Questions


    Hi mate hope you don't mind me asking, i was just wondering how long aproximently were your spokes.

    Feel free to ask ^_^

    They are all 10.5". I was about to get few shorter spokes but I couldn't find them at local stores. Finally I used universal 10.5" on the wheels. Some were half an inch inside the rims but thanks to the double-wall rims prevent the spokes stabbed into the inner tubes :)

    Good Day Sir. I have a Quick ? I'm trying to install a 3 speed Shimano Nexus (36spoke) hub into my rim (48 spoke) I want to try and retain the larger wheel if possible instead of downsizing to a 29. I'm getting mixed reviews that it will/will not work. Can you help me in anyway ? I read where someone was lacing 12 spokes in a radial set up but the lacing and location of the remaing spokes was very misleading. Is this possible ? Thank You Anthony

    6 weeks ago, sorry I missed your question for so long.
    Last year I was building my bike, and that was my first to be honest. Searching on the net put me in the same condition like you "will/will not work".
    This is my advice, if you can get a proper hub (48 holes) to your larger rims, go get it. If you can't because of budget problem or you just can't find that 48H-hub, then start constructing your wheel, you might need different size of spokes or you can try different style of lacing combination :)
    I can't help you further than tis because I don't own the 36H-hub and 48H-rim.


    I tried this with a Shimano Dynamo hub, it almost worked but some of the spokes were too short. On large flange hubs the extra distance between each spoke hole makes a big difference. I have yet to decide whether I buy more spokes, some 2mm longer some 4mm longer or buy a new rim.

    1 reply

    In my case, it turned out to be four (likely, it's been a year) too-long spokes but since I have double wall rims, everything goes well, those too-long spokes won't stab into my inner tube. Buy more spokes at different length instead of rim for cheaper option ^^
    Here I don't have the option to "buy more spokes" because they are selling standard size of spokes only.
    My wheels are good until today ;)

    Tenho aro 700 perfil alto 32 e cubo 36f qual e a medida dos raios ?

    1 reply

    Well, I myself do not do the math on the length of the spoke. The local bike store here has only one size of spoke for each size of the rim. So let's say I am using a 22" rim and I use only 10.5" spokes. Some spokes get into the rim much, so double wall rim is good. With single wall, they will stab into your inner tube for sure, so better get the appropriate rim to the hub instead ^^


    Hi, I have a thin wall rim (vintage type) so the spoke lengths are important. Are the lengths of a certain color spoke the same ? Or is that just to specify order ? I have 27 1.25 rim 32h rim and an old french 36h hub. Thanks

    3 replies

    Is it the vintage rims you want to keep? I mean you have the option to get a new rim (36h) with spokes or just get new spokes and use your favorite old strong rims :)
    Local bike stores in my city gives me no option. They simply ask you the size of your rims and they give you the spokes.
    My advice is : if your vintage rims are in bad rusty condition, then go get new shiny 36h alloy rims. But if the old rims are in good condition and bear some memories to keep, then go ahead, get the spokes and start lacing :)
    I have been using these rims until now and no single problem so far ^^


    I bought a new old stock 32h rim on ebay thinking it was 36h, and I want to use my French hub, so I want to make it work. I will see if I can do the math to determine length variation. Thanks

    Ouch.. same case as mine. If you are using single wall rims, then you need some shorter spokes so that they will not stab into your inner tube. I have double wall rims and they do not pass the second wall, so there won't be any trouble with my inner tube :)
    Good luck with yours ;)

    You are welcome. This is an experiment wheel lacing but I see no problem on the pattern. We have two blank holes at the opposite sides on each flange and forming a cross with the blank holes on the other flange so that there will be equal stress on every spoke around the rim. If you find any problem, I think that must be truing problem, then consult your bike mechanic ;)