Bicycle Mechanics - wheels for big boys
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06-02-03, 06:33 PM
I'm constantly on a quest for a sturdy rear wheel.
I'm a big boy - 6'3" and 240lbs or thereabouts - and the Achilles' heel seems to be the back wheel.
I'm currently riding a Cannondale T2000 "touring" bike - switched from a real road bike - because there's more room for fatter tires, which I figure will give better shock-absorption properties. (During the winter, I ride with 35-38 width "touring" tires; when the weather is nice, I pare down to a 28-32. My old Cannondale road bike would max out at 25, due to the tight geometry. I HAVE been getting more miles since I switched to the slightly-fatter tires, but would love to get more.)
I've always used standard laced-up 36-spoke wheels. Currently I'm trying an MA3 rim, after somebody suggested the hard-anodized rims may actually be more brittle. I've used MA40s, T520s, Open Pro, various Sun, Campagnolo, etc. Seems like after a year, or less (I average 4800-5500 miles/year), I've got an eyelet or two pulling out of the rim. Or spokes breaking at the right-angle hub end. (Which I generally attribute to a poorly-tensioned wheel.)
I try to exercise all possible caution - I avoid road hazards wherever possible, etc. I think I'm just outside the design-specs. (Road bike stuff seems designed for guys who are 6 inches shorter and 80 pounds lighter.)
I'd be willing to pay a premium price for a long-lasting rim. I was looking at the Spinergy, etc., etc., but non-spoke designs seem to come and go.
Any excellent advice from y'all would be appreciated. (Worst case scenario - I go on like I am, replacing the back rim once or twice a year. Sure beats the alternative - driving somewhere in a car! GAG!!!)
06-02-03, 06:39 PM
Have you looked into 48 spoke wheels? If money was not much of an object, I would give peter white a call, and have him build up a 48-spoke "tandem" rear wheel.
06-02-03, 07:17 PM
I assume that you are having all of these wheels built by hand by someone who is a reputable builder? Also you should probably have them checked several times a year for tension given your track record with your wheel lifespans. Find a local shop that has a good wheelbuilder on staff and who will guarantee their wheels for a couple of years and use their free truings/ tensionings to your advantage.
06-02-03, 07:42 PM
Most tandem hubs will not fit as they are spaced wider(140mm/145mm), altho you might be able to respace it.
The Ma3 is a lower priced rim, it is OK but the Open Pro is(much) better, we use them for tandem rims(36hole) all the time. The CXP33 would be a good choice, it is an aero section rim and really strong. Mavic also makes some trekking/touring rims that are pretty tough.
I think I would go Mavic CXP33(36 hole), butted 14/15 spokes (to put a little give in the system),brass nipples, tied and soldered, with a decent hub(Using spoke washers if it is being rebuilt) Run around $150 with your hub.
06-02-03, 08:16 PM
The first thing that comes to mind is what BikerRyan already said. Got to keep those spokes tensioned! :) You might consider the DT Alpine III butted spokes (http://www.dtswiss.com/index.asp?fuseaction=spokes.bikedetail&id=6) for your next build, which are like a 14-15ga. spoke but with a 2.34mm-thick elbow at the hub, instead of 2.0mm thick.
Also, Open Pros are probably too light IMHO for someone of your size/weight/strength to be putting 5000mi/year on; it doesn't surprise me to hear that they're having eyelets pull out after that much mileage. You've got a big engine, you can afford a little more weight on the rims :) Of the current crop of Mavics, the T520's seem to make the most sense. 520 grams isn't exactly light, but it's not THAT bad. If you tend to wear the sidewalls down a lot, they've got a Ceramic option, but at much higher cost.
As another option, you could go hog-wild and use a Sun Metal Rhyolite 700C (http://www.sun-ringle.com/ShowRoom/ROAD/Rims/rhynoroad.html). I wouldn't try them with anything smaller than a 32mm tire, though.
The 48-spoke route is always a possibility too! :)
06-02-03, 08:21 PM
To use the Alpines the hub has to be redrilled.
06-02-03, 10:36 PM
I'd agree with the above comments about using a GOOD wheelbuilder who tensions the spokes nice and tight and EVENLY (does he have a spoke tension meter?)...on a Shimano style hub which is wider/stronger than Campag...using good double butted stainless spokes (14/15) like DT.
I'm also a Mavic fan...and selecting a heavier model rim will definately help. I have an old MA40(?) rim, 36 hole, on the REAR, built on the principles outlined above....it just FLAT REFUSES TO DIE!!! And I never touch it!!! It does everything, including jump gutters when I'm 80kg carrying a 10kg pack. Has a really tough and durable braking surface too.
Nothing worse than a rear wheel which needs constant attention. Get it built right with only slightly heavier than race components and you'll be amazed how trouble free life can be.
PS. I think those low spoke count wheels are an expensive pain in the butt.
06-03-03, 04:26 AM
40 spoke used to be the standard for touring bikes many years ago. A 40 back, 32 front would put the strength where it is needed. It sounds like the right spoke count for you.
Who makes touring grade 40spoke hubs and rims?
You have a build problem, if you found a good builder and had him build you a set of Mavic t-520's 36 hole using shimano ultegra hubs and DT- 14/15 db spokes using a cross 3 pattern with the correct and even tension, you would get many years of service from them with little or no maintenance. You can have the heaviest duty rim built using all the heaviest components and if they are improperly tensioned and unevenly tensioned, the rim will fail prematurely. I've built many set of wheels for riders quite heavier then you and they ride them year after year and even on loaded tours without issue. The build really matters, a good builder will build you a great wheel, although they cost a little more to have custom built, they will save you time, money and aggrivation in the years to come.
06-03-03, 02:18 PM
Originally posted by Rev.Chuck
To use the Alpines the hub has to be redrilled.
Rev.Chuck-I've put Alpines in a few hubs without drilling. They went in the spokes holes ok, but there was barely any play...if any at all. Is that too tight? Should there be some "air space"?
06-13-03, 04:29 PM
Thanks for the excellent info.
Sounds like my biggest challenge is to find an expert wheelsmith.
06-13-03, 09:05 PM
Big wheel, the Alpines J-hook is 2.3mm and the reccomended drilling is 2.8mm. They fit some hubs with out drilling, but I would go ahead and over size the hub to keep from bending the hook to much when tensioning up.
performance bikes stocks the t520 rim with 105 hubs, and peter white cycles and harris cyclery have wheelbuilding services for tourers.
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