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Old 04-10-06, 10:39 PM   #1
patc
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What's in a wheel?

Ok, that may seem like a dumb question, but hang on a sec. I need a new rear wheel (26" with 9 speed freehub). I don't want to break the bank, but I need something better than the cheapest crap at the store - I often pull a trailer, have loaded panniers, deal with potholes, etc. So what makes a good wheel? What do I need to look for?
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Old 04-11-06, 06:25 AM   #2
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A strong rim (double-walled with good support for the spoke nipples) and spoke tension that is even all the way around the wheel (driveside will have more tension than non-driveside) are the two most important qualities.
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Old 04-11-06, 06:31 AM   #3
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Agree with jm. A Phil Wood hub would help also, but the point here is the price.
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Old 04-11-06, 06:59 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by caotropheus
Agree with jm. A Phil Wood hub would help also
or King, or DT Swiss...... But since price is a concern you will most likely get stuck with a (eeeeek!) Shimano hub. Look for a double wall eyeleted rim.
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Old 04-11-06, 08:17 AM   #5
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Whats wrong with a Shimano MTB hub. I cant recall hearing about hub failure.

The higher level hubs have better better seals and bearings but cup and cone is pretty accomodation anyway. They also use lighter materials and have a better finish.
The most significant factor in the strength of a traditional spokes wheel is the quality of build.
The spokes are the usual point of failure. They should be wide enough for a close fit and thinner in the middle (butted) to distribute stress. DT, Wheelsmith, Sapim all make good spokes.

Last edited by MichaelW; 04-11-06 at 08:54 AM.
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Old 04-11-06, 08:35 AM   #6
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I would look for a double wall rim (mentioned earlier) with a 32 or 36 spoke hub laced into a 3X pattern. Also make sure they are using 14 gauge spokes. I see many rims straight from the factory built with 15 gauge spokes that are constantly under warranty or being recalled because of broken spoke issues.
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Old 04-11-06, 09:13 AM   #7
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36 hole, 4x rear, 3x front, straight 14 gauge stainless steel spokes. Can't go wrong.
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Old 04-11-06, 09:44 AM   #8
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A wheel consists of four things hub, spokes, rim and assembly. While one could spend a lot of time discussing each factor, just keep in mind that the last is by far the most important.

Shimano LX hubs, Sun Rhyno Lite rims, and DT or Wheelsmith 14 gauge spokes with average or better assembly will be all-but-bulletproof.
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Old 04-11-06, 10:10 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by MichaelW
Whats wrong with a Shimano MTB hub.
Nothing other then the more than a few I've seen randomly loosen up in the middle of a ride.
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Old 04-11-06, 10:24 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vw addict
Nothing other then the more than a few I've seen randomly loosen up in the middle of a ride.
Sounds like operator error to me. Properly adjusted Shimano (or Campy for that matter) hubs do not loosen up for no reason.

Are you claiming the hubs loosen up or the wheel (i.e. the spokes) loosen up? If the former, either the hubs weren't adjusted properly from the beginning, the locknuts weren't tightened adequately or the rider hit something awfully hard. If the latter, it's either impact damage or inadequate spoke tension when the wheel was assembled.
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Old 04-11-06, 03:00 PM   #11
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I agree with HillRider, there's nothing to sniff at a decent Shimano hub. I have XT hubs and they are really strong. Not the smoothest hub you'll ever see, but excellent value and quality in every other department IMHO.
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Old 04-11-06, 03:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by San Rensho
36 hole, 4x rear, 3x front, straight 14 gauge stainless steel spokes. Can't go wrong.
This is the best suggestion, although I would just take the extra 10 grams and get the front 4X as well. 4X is for 36 spokes, 3X is for 32.

And I have had no problem with shimano hubs. Properly greased and adjusted, they are just as smooth as any budget sealed hub I've seen. I have tortured Deore LX, XT, XTR, 105, Ultegra, and Dura Ace hubs and none of them ever came loose of started pitting. Neglected hubs see problems after about 10 years though.
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Old 04-11-06, 03:33 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
Shimano LX hubs, Sun Rhyno Lite rims, and DT or Wheelsmith 14 gauge spokes with average or better assembly will be all-but-bulletproof.
That is EXACTLY what I run on the rear of my MTB. I have been 3 or 4 feet in the air at 30MPH on a hardtail with me weighing 205lbs (thinner now) countless times. It stays VERY true. I also have never broken a spoke.

I blew the ratchet out of it at the end of a four mile climb (50 ft to go). But that was after about 3 years of heavy use, so I can't complain. Good thing it was downhill all the way back. Plus, the freehub can be replaced without r

The only issue with that rim is it is a little wide, so tire changes are a little tougher than narrower rims.

Last edited by Avalanche325; 04-11-06 at 04:10 PM.
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Old 04-11-06, 03:37 PM   #14
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I have a lovely LX hub with busted flange from road riding w/ trailers. It happens. Not pretty. Hand-built and perfectly tensioned, too.

But I agree that the build is the most important part of the wheel. As Peter White says on his site, a properly-built wheel using non-crap parts should have the rim sidewalls fail before the spokes.
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Old 04-11-06, 03:57 PM   #15
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Thanks for all the replies, folks. I didn't expect this thread to get this longm good thing I didn't ask about chain lube.
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