Sturmey Archer XL-FDD hub with Alex 26″ rim

I’ve just built up a Sturmey Archer XL-FDD hub  into an 26″ Alex rim for a customer. This wheel is my first Sturmey Archer and my first drum brake. It’s an interesting hub that combines a drum brake with a dynamo generator. A perfect hub for utility all-weather riding. With the wide spoke hole circle diameter (109mm), the spokes were aligning with the rim holes at a steep angle. It was interesting to note how much better I found the Sapim Polyax nipples with my previous Rohloff wheel build. The Sapim nipples seem to provide a much better nipple/spoke alignment than the DT nipples.

I laced the wheel following Gerd Schraner’s lacing pattern for disc brakes as the drum brake torque arm would effectively be acting in a similar way when attached to the left fork blade. There are a lot of different opinions/philosophies over how to lace wheels in terms of which spokes (pushing or pulling) are laced with their heads inside or outside the flange. I’m not going to add to the discussion right now but it might be something worth discussing in a future blog post!
Rim: Alex DH 26″ rim (unlabeled)
Hub: Sturmey Archer XL-FDD (36 hole)
Spokes: DT Competition (Silver) Straight Gauge , 248mm
Nipples: DT nipples, 12mm, brass (Silver)
Pattern: 3-cross