Rob started building wheels over 35 years ago and has constantly kept up with developing trends. His philosophy has been translated into hundreds of wheels custom built for both the pleasure and racing cyclist.
The basic theory of a successful wheel build is to keep the hub as the central weighted area whereas the rim should contain the lightest possible components. Eg one might buy lightweight titanium spokes, but brass nipples will have to be used which will add weight to the outer rim, a factor one must avoid.
An interesting time line
Long ago, British wheel builders favoured a 32 spoke front wheel with a 40 spoke rear wheel, while other countries preferred 36 spokes on both wheels. Racing wheels, however, tended to use 32 spokes front and rear.
As time went by, it became “fashionable” to build all wheels with 32 spokes. All kinds of trends set in, from twisting spokes “for extra stiffness” to the using the flattened aero dynamic spokes.
And nowadays, spokes are either straight gauge, double butted or triple butted, the butted spokes having a certain amount of elasticity when built into a correctly tensioned wheel. This prevents rims from cracking and ensures maximum durability. Although the 32/32 spoke combination has become the industrial standard, wheels are also built with a lesser number of spokes.
The fewer the spokes, the stronger the rim needs to be.
A large variety of materials is used in spoke making, some do have their draw backs
Loose spokes allow the hub to twist inside the wheel & the tightest spokes tend to break.