English production wheels, was [CR]Mt Diablo Ride and English wheels

(Example: Racing:Jacques Boyer)

Date: Fri, 2 Jan 2009 07:32:14 -0500
From: "Harvey Sachs" <hmsachs@verizon.net>
Subject: English production wheels, was [CR]Mt Diablo Ride and English wheels
To: <tedtrambley@gmail.com>, Classic Rendezvous <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>


Ted Trambley wrote <snip>:

I have a question regarding the wheels of English bicycles. My '69 Raleigh Sprite, '51 Raleigh Clubman and '51 Humber Clubman all came with wheels that are built without tucking the spokes in when crossing them in the pattern which I would think is substantially weaker. Jobst Brandt calls this interlacing. Why were English wheels not interlaced? I have two sets of Spence Wolf tied and soldered wheels for vintage Italian bikes and Jobst says that was unnecessary. I am going to build up some new wheels for the Humber I'm restoring using Bayless Wiley track hubs on some NOS Dunlop Special Lightweight Steel rims. I have always interlaced spokes on my wheels. Is there a reason I shouldn't on these? Also, did the British tie and solder?

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Ted, maybe a couple of thoughts will be helpful:

1) WRT interlacing, I suspect that some distinctions don't make a significant difference in the real world, for almost all riders in almost all situations. I interlace my wheels, because that has been a hallmark of quality wheels. But it wouldn't surprise me to learn that some industrial engineer with a stopwatch learned that they saved 15 seconds/wheel by skipping that, and so the change was made. Didn't get more callbacks, so kept it that way.

2) As a further example of distinctions that don't make a difference, note that the British "standard", 32/40 front/rear, coexisted for many decades with the continental 36/36, w/o either establishing enough advantage to shift the inertia of the market (even though 36/36 cuts out two stocking items (one length each of spokes and rims). Maybe the British would have found even greater production economies by shifting to 36/36 before the industry disappeared?

A nice illustration of a real-world consequence: At L'Eroica, one vendor had a number of sets of NOS Campy 3-piece 32/40 road hubsets. Only one issue: shells only. I infer that they were overstocks that got cannibalized to keep some 36/36 wheels on the road.

harvey sachs mcLean va usa. Where yesterday the Hamel finally got a few miles, lots of smiles, and some admiring questions from folks with 60 year younger bikes.