The lengths of the spokes are the same and I did not have to drill out holes to get them in. The apple all fit nicely in the holes. I did end up using all 18 of the original “thinner” outer spokes and they went in without a push and did not have near the bow the news ones had. They also straighten up after a couple turns of the nipple. I believe the chrome coating on the new spokes was the issue. The original shine up but do not have as thick a coating on them . Also, all spokes had the same angles. This was just a totally different experience thank the front wheel which I laced and tried in an hour. Thanks for you feedback especially since you are certified at working on them.