What happend to 48 hole? I remember when I had a complete bike with a 48 rear, and it never came out of true, even with the lame rim. So, why does no one ride 48 any more? Well, I know people don’t because I was shopping the internet and I found Odyssey 7KA rims for $20. How bad is it that a company must sell them for $60 off? Well there are two reasons that thay arnt popular. One is that with 48 spokes, there is not enough room between spokes, so when you do have to true them, a spoke wrench doesn’t really fit so well. The other reason is, wait, weight. Yup. If the spokes say 6 0z for 36, at 185mm, then each spoke is 0.16666667 oz, so 48 would be 8 oz. But, there are some things you have to take into account. If you build a 36 hole wheel, then you will use say 192mm spokes. that same wheel set up with 48 hole will use 186mm spokes. so, a 36 hole would be 6.22 oz and a 48 would be 8.04 oz Now, whats the big deal over 1.82 oz? Well, if you think about a circle and divide it up into 36, so that there is just enough room for 36 spokes, then think about fitting 48 spokes into that same circle. Yup, a 48 has a bigger hub flange, and that equals more weight. But, if you are going to make more holes, then you need to drill more in a rim, so your rim will be lighter. Don’t think a spoke hole in a rim makes a difference? take your bike, flip it upside down and give your wheel a little spin. where does the valve cap end up? on the top, because there is an extra hole in the rim, unless you have a metal valve cap. So, that must make a difference. and one thing to remember, it is all rotating weight, so it feels like more than it is.
So, if you are thinking of upgrading just to save some weight, than just buy a lighter tire, but if you are building a new set of wheels, because of hubs, go for the 36.