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  1. #1
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    Fat rim design, spoke triangulation, and wheel strength

    I was looking at the Marge Lite recently and noticed that it is designed to be laced offset or straight. The thing that mystifies me is the straight laced version requires your spokes to be offset from each other by a few centimeters or so. Isn't this counter to the concept that higher triangulation makes a stronger wheel?

    Wouldn't a third set of holes right in the middle make the most sense or heck get rid of the ones on one side and have a centered set and an offset set. Then the wheel build would be properly triangulated in both configurations and would be designed to take advantage of the inherent strength and rigidity of the wider hubs of fat bikes.

    Seems like a missed opportunity for a stronger wheel build for the non-offset crowd and on a rim like the marge lite that strength could be needed for non-snow riding.
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    I couldn't agree with you more, and was actually thinking of starting this very thread. I've always been curious about the claims of those who say, "symmetrically laced wheels are stronger" when they're lacing up trapezoids. What's up with that?

  3. #3
    That Unicycle Guy
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    I am also curious about this, but think that the wide spoke spacing makes sense with these wide single walled rims.

    The sidewalls are the strongest part of the rim and it makes sense from a spoke tension standpoint to have the spoke heads near the sidewalls so they don't pull the centre of the rim too far inward.

    having said that a higher spoke angle should mean a laterally stiffer wheel.

    I have a GFS cross laced and I thought it would be the best of both worlds but it is one of the most unstable wheels I have ever built. When stress relieving you could see the rim twist.

    I want to re-build it with a regular lacing pattern but I don't have the right spokes.


    Has anyone had issues with lateral flex with almost-vertical spokes on these kind of rims?

  4. #4
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    Wide rims - nothing to stop you drilling a new set of holes.

    I've done all my fat wheels with a crossover lacing so the right flange goes to the lhs spoke holes. Makes for a very stiff wheel.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    Wide rims - nothing to stop you drilling a new set of holes.

    I've done all my fat wheels with a crossover lacing so the right flange goes to the lhs spoke holes. Makes for a very stiff wheel.
    I would be ok with drilling it just seems surly an all the manufacturers that don't offer just holes down the middle are missing the point behind building up wheels. If you have more triangulation you can have less tension which means that everything is less stressed. Ultimately that would lead to a longer lasting wheel and less failures due to less tension in the wheel at the spoke holes and less tension at the hubs.

    If i upgrade to the marge lites I will probably drill them to lace them straight anyways but it would be nice to not have to drill a new rim just to make it like it should have come.
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    @rockcrusher, it sounds like you're building a symmetrically laced wheel, yes? Is it "conventional" gearing (ie cassette/derailler)? If you are, a typical (135mm) 9-speed, disc hub has the midpoint between the flanges "offset" from the midpoint between the dropouts approximately 14 mm (I'm not sure about 170mm hubs, if you're using one, but I would assume this still holds pretty accurate). Thus, you should be able to build a wheel with much less dish if you build to the non-drive side holes in the rim. If you're working on a Pug with a 9-spd hub, your lacing to the center of the rim would be optimal, IMO.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JR Z View Post
    @rockcrusher, it sounds like you're building a symmetrically laced wheel, yes? Is it "conventional" gearing (ie cassette/derailler)? If you are, a typical (135mm) 9-speed, disc hub has the midpoint between the flanges "offset" from the midpoint between the dropouts approximately 14 mm (I'm not sure about 170mm hubs, if you're using one, but I would assume this still holds pretty accurate). Thus, you should be able to build a wheel with much less dish if you build to the non-drive side holes in the rim. If you're working on a Pug with a 9-spd hub, your lacing to the center of the rim would be optimal, IMO.
    Actually I am future planning for an asymmetrical 135mm front hub for a Jones. I would like something less heavy than the current double walled rim I have now and something cooler looking as a bonus. The Marge Lite seems to fit this criteria but I am also weary of its strength in a non-snow bike format but in a rockcrawler rigid singlespeed AZ bike format.
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    Ah, gotcha. I e-mailed Surly a while back about the durability of their wheels and what would be acceptable to ride on them. I was told that, "the original Large Marges are the only 'fatbike' wheels they made rated for moderate drops" and generally rough terrain. I'm not saying, "single-walls won't hold up" as there's plenty of proof to the contrary on these forums. I am saying that I was told the single walls weren't meant for summer-type abuse. I'm sure you've already thought about all this, just putting it out there, though.

  9. #9
    That Unicycle Guy
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    Quote Originally Posted by JR Z View Post
    Ah, gotcha. I e-mailed Surly a while back about the durability of their wheels and what would be acceptable to ride on them. I was told that, "the original Large Marges are the only 'fatbike' wheels they made rated for moderate drops" and generally rough terrain. I'm not saying, "single-walls won't hold up" as there's plenty of proof to the contrary on these forums. I am saying that I was told the single walls weren't meant for summer-type abuse. I'm sure you've already thought about all this, just putting it out there, though.
    I think they are being over conservative with that answer. A LM can easily handle "moderate drops" and more. It is probably the most bomber bike rim ever built.


    It appears that the fat bike industry is taking some cues from trials bikes on rim design. makes sense since both want wide light strong rims. Trials rims used to be all double walled, now they are mostly single. started off with no holes, then round holes, and now square holes are common...

  10. #10
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    I've seen Large Marge wheels take 8-foot drops (to transition) and cheerfully survive impacts that have bent forks and snapped frames.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockcrusher View Post
    I would be ok with drilling it just seems surly an all the manufacturers that don't offer just holes down the middle are missing the point behind building up wheels. If you have more triangulation you can have less tension which means that everything is less stressed. Ultimately that would lead to a longer lasting wheel and less failures due to less tension in the wheel at the spoke holes and less tension at the hubs.
    Less tension might not be such a good thing. It would work to resist the lateral loads but your wheel also needs to resist brake and drive forces, if you have less tension the wheel could flex in rotation. Repeated flex is not usually a good thing. In addition more triangulation can lead to more extreme bend at the spoke nipples and where the spoke comes over the hub flange, neither are totally desireable. Like everything alse the wheel is made up af tradeoffs. Enough triangulation to resist lateral loads but not so much as to lead to other problems.
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  12. #12
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    Good quality fat rims are hard to manufacture. When I originally designed the Uma 70mm rims, the spoke holes were down the center. I found that by moving them off center (both directions), it is easier to true them radially/laterally.
    Speedway Cycles owner http://fatbackbikes.com

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    Wide rims - nothing to stop you drilling a new set of holes.

    I've done all my fat wheels with a crossover lacing so the right flange goes to the lhs spoke holes. Makes for a very stiff wheel.
    Yeah, I'm with you - but what rims are you using? I'm running undrilled double wall 100's.

    I did just build up a 28mm offset moonlander rear wheel - and cross lacing just had too much angle from drive flange across to the other side. I drilled another set of holes between the existing ones on one side. If I had read this first, I would have drilled them on the centerline - and crosslaced.

    I'm going to agree with the OP that 3 full lines of spoke holes would be a good "all purpose" rim layout - but the strength of the centerline set could be an issue with large cutouts on a singlewall rim. Something like this would be excellent:
    This isn't a "you're doing it wrong" topic.

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by wadester View Post
    Yeah, I'm with you - but what rims are you using? I'm running undrilled double wall 100's.[/IMG]
    These DHL 80mm



    I've done a 100mm but I haven't used it yet (only just got a suitable frame)


    SX-RK3 hub with 100mm rim, 2 cross spoking and crossover - before final tension.
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  15. #15
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    Wow, this all great info! Some stuff I hadn't thought of, yet. Awesome.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockcrusher View Post
    Seems like a missed opportunity for a stronger wheel build for the non-offset crowd and on a rim like the marge lite that strength could be needed for non-snow riding.
    You have to keep in mind that fat-specific products (not including Little Debbie) are still very low volume. Doing as you suggest (two different drilling options) means two sku's to order, keep track of in inventory, and reorder--for Surly as well as your LBS.

    I suppose it's possible that on-center drilling these rims could be beneficial in some measurable-by-enginerds way, but I think it's also as likely that it could be detrimental. In short, having built many flavors of single wall rims both on center and offset over the past decade, I don't currently see a good reason to alter them from their stock state.

    But if you do, let us know how it goes.

    Cheers,

    MC

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    You have to keep in mind that fat-specific products (not including Little Debbie) are still very low volume. Doing as you suggest (two different drilling options) means two sku's to order, keep track of in inventory, and reorder--for Surly as well as your LBS.

    I suppose it's possible that on-center drilling these rims could be beneficial in some measurable-by-enginerds way, but I think it's also as likely that it could be detrimental. In short, having built many flavors of single wall rims both on center and offset over the past decade, I don't currently see a good reason to alter them from their stock state.

    But if you do, let us know how it goes.

    Cheers,

    MC
    Thanks! I appreciate a highly experienced builder input. I am leery of the Lites performance as a rockcrawler type wheel, only in so much as my experiences with singlewall rims is limited to cheap bikes and the unknown. I know surly doesn't recommend them to be used off snow environments but I think as Fat bikes evolve and become not just the domain of the snow and beach but start to venture out onto rocky trails and other environs people will be more demanding of the wheel. I would like to use this rim to offset the increased weight cost of using the Larry Fat front option on my bike, not that I would probably notice it directly but mentally the weight is there and sometimes that is enough.

    Of course i suspect a good wide 26" trials rim would be more than sturdy I suspect. Although it might not be any lighter than the Large Marge I have now.

    Anyway thanks for all your inputs all!
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  18. #18
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    Hi Velobike, I saw you had some postings on the DHL 80 rim. I just bought some Weinmann DHL 100mm rims and want to use them on my Pugsley. I was planning on re drilling offset to the right and lace them all to the drive side. Any thoughts on drilling new holes? I was just planning on offsetting the new hole set 20mm offcenter. I was also planning on using the Orgin8 26x4.0 tires that are out now. I've mounted BFL's on the Pug and only saw minor drivetrain interference. I'll be running a 1x9 drivetrain. Thanks for any input you may have.
    -Shawn

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    Wide rims - nothing to stop you drilling a new set of holes.

    I've done all my fat wheels with a crossover lacing so the right flange goes to the lhs spoke holes. Makes for a very stiff wheel.
    Hey VB--do you have any means for quantifying the stiffness you say comes with cross lacing?

    I ask because I have an idea.

    This idea came as a result of experimenting with cross lacing years ago, and then again recently. And my experience is that it's just the opposite of stiff: Aside from the whacked angles the spokes take from hub to rim, and forgetting about the odd angle the nips sit at, what I found was that a cross laced wheel was substantially *less* stiff, less stable than a "normal" (non-cross-laced) wheel. The only reason it works (I think) on fat rims is when you use doublewalled rims--they are so freaking burly to begin with that you could skip half the spokes and most of the tenison and still end up with a rideable wheel.

    I'll share my idea, if appropriate, after you've had a chance to answer. I think you'll like it.

    Cheers,

    MC

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by namaste1978 View Post
    Hi Velobike, I saw you had some postings on the DHL 80 rim. I just bought some Weinmann DHL 100mm rims and want to use them on my Pugsley. I was planning on re drilling offset to the right and lace them all to the drive side. Any thoughts on drilling new holes? I was just planning on offsetting the new hole set 20mm offcenter. I was also planning on using the Orgin8 26x4.0 tires that are out now. I've mounted BFL's on the Pug and only saw minor drivetrain interference. I'll be running a 1x9 drivetrain. Thanks for any input you may have.
    -Shawn
    99.9% certain that the extrusion on that rim is thick in the plane the spoke holes are drilled in, and thin elsewhere. In other words, they can be redrilled, but you gotta stay in line with the existing holes or you'll (likely, soon) see cracks around the spoke holes and (eventually) they'll pull through.

    MC

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    Quote Originally Posted by namaste1978 View Post
    Weinmann DHL 100mm rims. I was planning on re drilling offset to the right and lace them all to the drive side. Any thoughts on drilling new holes? I was just planning on offsetting the new hole set 20mm offcenter. Thanks for any input you may have.
    -Shawn
    These rims have 2 ribs that tie the inner&outer together - so as long as you miss those ribs, you're golden. Should be able to locate them with a probe thru the existing holes.

    The existing spoke holes are +/- 25mm from centerline, so drilling a new set 5mm closer to center shouldn't hit the rib - but still worth checking because you need the diameter of the inner access hole to clear too.

    I recently built up a moonlander rear wheel - but I just drilled the new holes in line with the existing on that side.

    Also, 3/16" plastic furniture hole plugs fill empty spoke holes snugly.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Fat rim design, spoke triangulation, and wheel strength-img_1830s.jpg  

    This isn't a "you're doing it wrong" topic.

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    That's exactly what I wanted to do but these rims came with spoke holes just like that but on these rims they are much closer to the center. If I drilled another hole inline with one set, they would be less than 10mm offcenter. For some reason these rims have a much tighter lacing pattern. They are not as widely spaced as yours appear to be. I tried to upload a pic but i don't have enough posts yet...lol...jeez If you go to SeattleFatbike, you can see the pic that I just posted there.

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    Sorry, the pic is on SeattleFatbike on Facebook. I have a page there.

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    Ok, got 10 posts down, now I can post the pic
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Fat rim design, spoke triangulation, and wheel strength-imag0940.jpg  

    Last edited by namaste1978; 02-18-2012 at 06:02 PM.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by namaste1978 View Post
    ...I was planning on re drilling offset to the right and lace them all to the drive side. Any thoughts on drilling new holes?...
    ...I'll be running a 1x9 drivetrain...
    I haven't tried drilling my 100s, but as Mike says watch out for the internal ribs, and also the existing holes will be on the thickest alloy, so it's probably an idea to stay close to that line. If you are going to venture onto the thinner sections but it would be wise to use a nipple washer to spread the load - probably not a good idea though.

    I can't comment on a derailleur drive train as I only run SS or hubgears, so no experience with them on a fatbike.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Hey VB--do you have any means for quantifying the stiffness you say comes with cross lacing?

    I ask because I have an idea.

    This idea came as a result of experimenting with cross lacing years ago, and then again recently. And my experience is that it's just the opposite of stiff: Aside from the whacked angles the spokes take from hub to rim, and forgetting about the odd angle the nips sit at, what I found was that a cross laced wheel was substantially *less* stiff, less stable than a "normal" (non-cross-laced) wheel. The only reason it works (I think) on fat rims is when you use doublewalled rims--they are so freaking burly to begin with that you could skip half the spokes and most of the tenison and still end up with a rideable wheel...
    Never quantified it, but I think you're right about needing a wide rim. There is more side force from the angle of the spoke. A narrow rim is less able to resist these and could very well end up wavy.

    My experience with cross spoking goes back to my early days when my car had wire wheels, so my assumption has been if it's stiff enough for the side loads on a car, then the same principle would be ok on a bike with proportionally lesser side loads.

    My BMW motorbike uses crossover spoking too. and it feels better than my earlier versions of it, but that may simply be because of improvements in tyres/suspension. I'm pretty sure BMW would have quantified it though, and I'm sure I read something about that when they introduced that system.

    Why I say it's stiff is because the wheel starts feeling noticeably stiff long before the spokes get tensioned, and if it isn't set up true when it's still slack, then there's little scope for pulling it into line once tensioning starts.

    Certainly I have had no problem with any of the wheels I've built (so far ). I'm careful to make sure the spoke is well bedded at the flange. I don't like the angle at the nipple though, despite relieving the hole angle to suit. I've been tempted to weld a ballbearing to a steel rod to use as a dimple punch but I suspect that might fatigue the alloy. Might be an idea to try it on an old rim though.
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by namaste1978 View Post
    That's exactly what I wanted to do but these rims came with spoke holes just like that but on these rims they are much closer to the center. If I drilled another hole inline with one set, they would be less than 10mm offcenter. For some reason these rims have a much tighter lacing pattern. They are not as widely spaced as yours appear to be. I tried to upload a pic but i don't have enough posts yet...lol...jeez If you go to SeattleFatbike, you can see the pic that I just posted there.
    Have you run the hubs you plan to use and the rims drilled at 10mm offcenter through a spoke length calculator? Depending on your hubs it might work fine. I think the rear will be very close to perfect at 10mm offset the front maybe not as good.
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  28. #28
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    These are not the same rims -





    Your stock drilling looks like +/-10mm vs my +/-25mm. Based on that, I'd agree you should drill further out, ideally to get symmetrical spoke angles/lengths.

    But you really do need to do the rib-probe if DHL uses this profile:
    This isn't a "you're doing it wrong" topic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by namaste1978 View Post
    Ok, got 10 posts down, now I can post the pic
    Those look to be 10mm offset from each other not from centerline as the spoke calculators would want. That won't be enough for the Pugsley offset. Also depending on the cross section of the rim you could have some spokes entering the rim at a bad angle relative to the curvature of the rim surface. It is hard to tell from the picture but it looks like your rim has a lot of "hills and valleys" as you go from side to side. If your spoke wants to angle to the left and the rim surface slopes the wrong way it may be hard to drill a hole that will let the spoke nipple sit well on the rim surface without quite a bend in the spoke.
    Latitude 61

  30. #30
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    That looks different from my 100mm rims which have 2 raised bits - or is it just reflection on yours?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    Why I say it's stiff is because the wheel starts feeling noticeably stiff long before the spokes get tensioned
    Agreed, though again I think this is a characteristic of the sheer mass of the mondo-wide doublewall rims, and is happening in spite of the cross lacing, not because of it.

    My idea was simply to cover your cost on a relace. I'm happy to send you the spokes and nips to do a "normal" lace with the same hubs and rims. You tension/true as normal, ride it a bunch, then report back.

    Give it some thought, please.

    MC

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Agreed, though again I think this is a characteristic of the sheer mass of the mondo-wide doublewall rims, and is happening in spite of the cross lacing, not because of it.

    My idea was simply to cover your cost on a relace. I'm happy to send you the spokes and nips to do a "normal" lace with the same hubs and rims. You tension/true as normal, ride it a bunch, then report back.
    I've been thinking about this since my last post here and managed to track down the BMW press release for when they introduced the crossover spoking.

    This is an extract

    BMW AG Presse 1988

    Developing the wheels for the second GS generation, BMW's engineers had another new idea: the cross spoke principle. Running through the rim horn, the spokes provide a fully enclosed rim base and thus allow the use of tubeless tyres which are just as easy to change as the spokes themselves. The crosswise arrangement of the spokes gives the wheel superior torsional rigidity quite comparable to the best cast wheels...


    It looks like crossover spoking is very unpopular with wheelbuilders! BMW Tubeless Spoked Wheels Maintenance | Horizons Unlimited

    Thanks for the offer, no need to send anything. I'll do my next build as a plain one - but it will be a front, I'll continue to crossover for the rear because that removes the problem of the offset.

    It looks like I remembered the BMW statement more or less correctly - I had forgotten that they were claiming stiffness on a par with cast wheels. Now to hunt down the actual figures for the torsional rigidity tests...

    Edit: can't find anything with BMW's figures for this. Anyone know where to find it?
    Last edited by Velobike; 02-21-2012 at 03:56 AM.
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    Thanks everyone. Who makes your rims Velobike? The spoke holes are exactly 22mm from each other, 11mm from center. It has the two higher defined bumps that the spokes holes are in and then a smaller bump on either side. It looks like I can just redrill a new set of holes at roughly 20 or 25 offcenter while avoiding the ribs. I may also even just skip drilling these altogether. I will probe them just to check things out. Any idea on what happens if you drill through the ribs? I'm sure I could drill holes inside the ribs and be ok though. I'll give it a whirl and let you know how it works out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by namaste1978 View Post
    Thanks everyone. I will probe them just to check things out. Any idea on what happens if you drill through the ribs? I'm sure I could drill holes inside the ribs and be ok though. I'll give it a whirl and let you know how it works out.
    The extra material of the rib makes your drill want to "walk" away - and you can get an oval hole. Also, you would need to have enough clearance for the nipple head.

    As a note, I used a drill press - with a simple wood "fixture" that kept the upper rim surface perpendicular to the drill chuck, and had an backstop that let me keep the same line on the rim..
    I used a center drill to drill the clearance hole in the inner wall, and would feed it down until it "marked" the outer wall. You could tell when that happened by sound and feel - everything quieted down as the center drill tip touched. If I'd had the right center drill, It would have been 1 step - but mine was a bit large - body made a good clearance hole, but the tip was too big for the spoke hole. I would swap to a standard drill bit for the final hole, but since it had the center started, it went in neat.
    This isn't a "you're doing it wrong" topic.

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    I drilled one small hole in the backside of the rim in the center of the outer ridge area in the rim. Turns out a new set of holes 25mm off center would fit right in between the two internal ribs. Thanks for the idea on the jig for the rim. I have a large Grizzly drill press and was planning on making a wood fixture to hold the rim in one place so all I have to do is rotate the rim while keeping the same line.

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    Quote Originally Posted by namaste1978 View Post
    Ok, got 10 posts down, now I can post the pic
    So how did your drilling experience turn out? I have a Weinmann DHL100 also and have a lefty on the way, so I'm considering cross lacing or drilling. Your experiences would be appreciated.
    Steel Fatback

  37. #37
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    Reputation: damnitman's Avatar
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    ...MikeC, you are exactly spot-on re the thickness and related issues with drilling holes on those hundies...the hoops that TommiSea was sourcing a few years ago were a touch thicker than the choppersUS hoops , but even they get thinner the closer you get to the convex sections...my nipples pulled through my original modified choppersUS hundies rather quickly...

  38. #38
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    Reputation: Weinerts's Avatar
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    Okay I have mostly a noob question about this.

    I built my first asymmetrical rim over the winter holiday break. I had to drill the offset rim holes because i had a non offset graceful fat Sheba rim. What I notice is that I should have drilled the holes at a slight angle - to me the nipples are 90 deg to the rim, but the spokes come out and then bend to the non offset side.

    I have another side of the rim to which I can drill if I need to - and I am going to drill some holes to shed some lbs.... but am I just crazy or should i just let it roll until i start braking things..




    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    These DHL 80mm



    I've done a 100mm but I haven't used it yet (only just got a suitable frame)


    SX-RK3 hub with 100mm rim, 2 cross spoking and crossover - before final tension.
    My bike is heavier than yours - it does not have Carbon or Titanium parts - I love it!

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