How to Lace a Bicycle Wheel 36 Spokes? – 10 Steps to Remember

The building or lacing of a bicycle wheel may seem complicated for some cyclists. You need to follow the step-by-step procedure right from the beginning in order to not mess up the aesthetics of your bike wheels.

You will find it complex at first, and there are instances where you might get lacing the wheels wrong. But if you consider lacing bike wheels on your own, you can save money and will find it enjoyable.

So, we came up with a guide on how to lace a bicycle wheel 36 spokes to help you build your bike wheels. We ensure that the procedure is simple and easy to follow with basic steps of making the inbound spokes, outbound spokes, and cross spokes.

For fuller details, you can read this guide below:

Why is Lacing Your Bike Wheel Important?


Bicycle wheel lacing does not only make your bike aesthetically pleasing but also keeps the balance of your wheels and makes it more sturdy. There are different ways to lace your bike wheel, but the most common is the three-cross spoking. With 36 spoke wheels, the three-cross pattern allows your bike to look solid and stable.

To do this, you can follow the essential steps:

  • Preparation
  • Start with inbound spokes
  • Working on the outbound spokes
  • Make the cross spokes
  • Tighten the lace and touch it up

Pro Tools

Before you proceed, you need to prepare the following tools in lacing a wheel:

  • Spoke wrench
  • Hole rim
  • Hole hub
  • Spokes
  • Spoke nipples

How to Lace a Bicycle Wheel 36 Spokes


Step 1: Preparation is key

Wheel lacing or building a bike wheel will be easier if you have prepared everything you need for the process. The rim, hub, and spokes are the most important things you should have on hand before you start. It is important that the bike rim and hub have the same number of holes and you get high-grade spokes with the right lengths to ensure durability.

We recommend using Sapim or DT double-butted spokes and brass nipples to get the best quality of materials. Then, take note of the length of the spoke as it depends on whether you are lacing a front or rear bike wheel. You can refer to a spoke length calculator online to get the correct measurement.

Step 2: Getting the first step right is vital

The first step will direct you to the end result of lacing your bike wheels. It is critical to get the first step right in order to not mess up the following procedures.

In doing so, you should place the bike rim on your lap with the spoke hole in the opposite direction. Take note that the arrangement of spoke holes is staggered up and down. It is important that you position the rim wherein the right of the valve hole is way lower than the one to the left. Then, start to hold the hub in the middle of the rim and ensure that the right-hand end is down.

Step 3: Starting with the inbound spokes

Now, it is time to lace your bike wheels: put the spokes into the holes. Initially, you should start the set with the ‘inbound’ spokes. Meaning, the head of the spoke should be positioned outside the hub flange.

Then, you can drop a spoke into the hole in the hub flange in an alternate sequence. After dropping each spoke, thread a nipple onto the spoke to tie them up together. You should do this process three to four times a turn.

Step 4: Work on the rest of the wheel

Repeat the process to the rest of the wheel where each spoke is placed in every fourth of the hole, tying and threading them using nipples.

Pro tip: Every spoke should be put in a hole that is offset upwards. If it is not the case, you have to check your process, as you might have done something wrong

Step 5: Work on the other side of the wheel

After you finish the first side, you can turn the wheels and lace it as well. Make sure that the valve hole is facing away from you wherein the first set of spokes in the hole is on the right side.

Then, you can start dropping the spokes in alternate holes on the upper flange and repeat the process alternately.

Pro tip: It is important to drop the spokes to the right hole. To do this, always look for the holes on the opposite side of the occupied by the spokes from one side of the wheel

It is essential that you take the spoke positioned in the hole of the right of the very spoke you are working on, and ensure that you put the threaded end through the next hole to the right in the rim. You should take note that the spoke is always a hole away from the valve hole.

Then, you can go around the wheel, while paying attention that the second set of spokes should go to the holes on the right side of the first spoke you made. Thread and tie them with nipples after.

Step 6: Work on the outbound spokes

Once you finish the inbound spokes, you can work on the outbound spokes. This time, turn the wheel over and try to flatten the spokes out. Look for spokes with the heads in on the left-hand flange, which normally is positioned upwards.

Then, you should hold the rib and twist the hub counterclockwise. Find the first spoke that you put in, usually located to the left of the valve hole. Ensure that this spoke is pulling away from the valve itself. Make sure that the spoke nipples are nicely dropped in the rim to keep the lace tight.

Step 7: Start threading the crossing spokes

By this time, you already completed both the inbound and outbound spokes. You can now proceed to lace the crossing spokes. The crossing spokes are the ones still not attached to the rim. In this pattern, the spokes must cross over the three-over spokes creating the so-called three-cross wheel.

To do this, you can take one spoke and place it in the counter direction to the others. You should take note that the first crossing must pass through the inbound spoke in the flange hole, then the next inbound spoke round, and the last one must still be in the next inbound spoke again.

Repeat the process with the rest of the spokes.

How to Lace a Bicycle Wheel 36 Spokes

Step 8: Repeat step 7

Do the same with the other side of the wheel using step 7.

Step 9: Ensure that all nipples are well-seated on the wheel

Using a screwdriver, push the outermost spoke crossing towards the direction of the hub. Ensure that the spokes are tight and the pattern is even on both sides of your bike wheel.

Step 10: Tighten the spokes and start touching up

By this time, you already made the 36 spoke wheel lacing patterns. All you need is to secure the spokes you made until they become as tight as the comparison wheel. Also, ensure that there are no wobbles in the wheels and tighten them up if necessary.


There are plenty of ways to lace your bike wheel, the procedure we mentioned above is one of the most widely used and the simplest. The pattern is more even, while the steps are not too complicated.

May you find this guide on how to lace a bicycle wheel 36 spokes helpful, and may it give you more confidence to build and lace your bike wheel in the future.