Lace A Bike Wheel With 48 Spokes

Lace your own bike wheels.

Invented by W.H.J. Grout in 1870, the spoke bicycle wheel is still the most popular way to construct bike wheels. Forty-eight spoke wheels used for BMX (Bicycle Moto Cross) bikes are designed to withstand extreme forces. Building these wheels at home can be a complicated task, requiring specialist tools and knowledge of lacing patterns. With practice, however, you can lace your own bike wheels and have the satisfaction that you just pulled a stunt on wheels hand-made by you.


1. Hold the rim of the wheel horizontally with the valve hole directly opposite. On the rim, the holes that accept the spokes are offset from each other. Look at the hole directly next to the valve hole, which is slightly larger than the spoke holes, the lowest hole is the first hole to be laced.

2. Pass a spoke through the wheel hub, pushing it from the outside of the wheel so that the spoke sits inside the hub flange. The hub flange holds all the spokes at the center of the wheel.

3. Count nine holes round to the right from the first spoke and insert another one, again pushing through from the outside of the flange. These are the valve spokes and will attach to the rim either side of the valve hole.

4. Push the two spokes through the holes either side of the valve hole on the rim and screw on the spoke nipples to hold them in place.

5. Add the next spoke by skipping a hole on the hub flange moving in a counter-clockwise direction. Insert the spoke from the outside push all the way through when attaching it to the rim count four holes counter-clockwise from the previous spoke. Continue to do this with the remaining spokes but do not put a spoke in every hole, always count one hole on the flange and four on the rim until you have laced enough spokes to reach the point where you started.

6. Turn the wheel over and lace this side of the wheel in exactly the same way, remembering to lace in a counter clockwise motion counting one hole on the hub and four on the rim and inserting the spokes from the outside of the hub flange.

7. Pick a hole in the flange and start lacing the outer spokes, it does not matter where you start. Thread a spoke from the inside of the hub flange and lay it across three spokes to its left. Lace the spoke underneath the fourth spoke to its left and insert into the available hole on the rim and screw on a spoke nipple. If there are two to choose from, pick the hole furthest left. Continue to do this until all the holes on this side of the wheel’s hub flange have spokes.

8. Turn the wheel over and lace the spokes, starting with any hole on the hub flange and inserting spokes from the inside. Lay them across three spokes to the left, then under the fourth and insert into the rim through the left-most hole. Attach a nipple and continue to lace the remaining spokes until all the flange and rim holes are filled.

9. Tighten the spoke nipples with the spoke key starting from the left of the valve hole. Rotate the wheel until all spokes are tight and the wheel feels stiff if held by the hub alone.