How to construct a wheel: spoking and crossings


Many of you have surely wondered about the meaning of “spoking in third, in second” and so on, after reading the data sheets of the different kinds of wheel. Others might have tried to understand how a wheel is made: spoking and crossings are still a dark area in the constructing process.

We would like to give you an overview of the most used systems to understand together how the spoking influences the performance of your MTB wheels.

Let’s divide spoking into different categories:

  • radial spoking
  • spoking in second
  • spoking in third
  • spoking in fourth

Before getting into this topic, let’s explain the function of the spokes in the wheel.

We have rods spokes and stretched spokes that are disposed in the opposite way of the direction of rotation, they “pull” the rim using the force that comes from the hub. The spokes in the opposite way that have “to pull”, are called “strut spokes” or “compressed spokes”. In the modern wheels with discs, the hub undergoes different forces depending on the side, on the transmission side there is going to be a traction toward the direction of rotation, while on the disc side there will be a traction in the opposite way.

So it’s important to define which spokes are going to be inside the hub and which ones outside. The assembly with external compressed spokes is usually suggested for disc wheels. Shimano uses a particular method with external compressed spokes on the disc side and internal ones on the transmission side, but it’s a pretty unique case.

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It is time to help you to understand how a wheel works, let’s analyze the spoking kinds!

We have the radial spoking, generally in the front wheel and used almost only in the 24-spokes road wheel. Mavic uses the Isopulse system that implies a radial spoking on the drive side of the rear wheel, but it’s still an isolated experiment. In the radial spoking a spoke never crosses other spokes going from the hub to the rim. We have an example of this in our Nitro Road  in order to ensure an extreme lightness.


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The spoking in second is generally used into wheels with just a few holes, it’s a light system but with a low resistance against forces of systems like discs and transmissions higher than 10v. The spoke, going from the hub to the rim, crosses other two spokes, it passes ahead the first one and behind the second one. It’s really good for road wheels, we use it in the rear wheel in the Nitro Road Carbon (light and reactive)

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Spoking in third is the most used technique, it’s a system that ensures an excellent rigidity and resistance compared to its weight. The spoke crosses other three spokes in its way to the rim, it passes ahead the first two and behind the third one. It’s our favorite spoking and we frequently use it in our wheels, from the XC-ones (Noxon Nitro) to the gravity models (Noxon Enduro XL.)


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Spoking in fourth is the less used one, it was often used in the past because it is really sturdy, but new technologies has already helped us to increase rigidity and sturdiness by using spoking in third. We find it in wheels with at least 36 holes that are used for biketrial, dirt or cycle tourism. Every spoke crosses four spokes before reaching the rim.

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The introduction of new technologies like  boost , 11 and 12 speeds or pedaling assistance on Ebike have forced constructors to use proper spoking for new efforts.

After spending our energies to ensure lightness, performance and sturdiness depending on the use, we take our time to make the wheel beautiful and harmonious with your bike’s features.

For further information send us an email or contact us on our social media profiles, we are always glad to answer all your questions!

See you soon!