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  1. #1
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    rear wheel for heavy guy

    i'm around 275 lbs and ride a fuji saratoga pedal forward bike. have had 4 busted spokes in the rear wheel in the last two months. should i go for a rear wheel with more spokes than the 36 the fuji's wheels come with?

  2. #2
    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
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    36 Hole is fine...

    Sounds to me like the spokes in general are undertensioned...

    Did they break at the heads (where they reside in the hub)???

    =8-)

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    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Once you break two or three spokes, you know that you have many fatigued (i.e. weakened) spokes. You can bet that more will break. However, if you rebuild your wheel with all-new spokes, your problem will not necessarily recur. If you replace spokes one by one, it will recur.

    It's hard to say whether you need a wheel with more spokes. At your weight, I would recommend at least 32 spokes. What kind of riding do you do? What are your wheel's components? Who built the wheel?

    The fatigue's greatest contributor might be the fact that the spokes were not tight enough to begin with or they were not uniformly tight.
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

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    Type 1 Racer rydaddy's Avatar
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    I don't know the specs on this wheel but my guess is it's probably a combo of cheap spokes, machine build, and a weak rim. I'd look for a deeper rim ~30mm and 32 or 36 double butted spokes, preferably hand built.

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    The spokes were either undertensioned or of poor quality. I'd be willing to bet it's the tension that's the problem. I have friends with new bikes who have wheels that have as little as 60kg of tension on a 36 spoked wheel. With 275 pounds that can be a big problem.

  6. #6
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    The OP needs a 36h handbuilt wheel (by somebody competent) on a strong rim - sun rhynolite or other, with a shimano cassette rear hub. Which Fuji Saratoga does the OP have?

    Some of them are 7 speed freewheel rears which is ******** for someone weight 275lbs.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  7. #7
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Where are you, elarrecostao? If you're in the NYC area, I'll build it for you cheaper than anyone else, and I will do as good a job as anyone can. I have experience at this. Or I can teach you how. I love to teach this stuff.
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

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  8. #8
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    If you're really concerned you could go with a 36h tandem rim such as a daVinci V-22. The 40h version is holding up our tandem and team @ 390 lbs just fine. Probably overkill: there are many folks at your weight using well-built wheels with 1/2-bike rims.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    The OP needs a 36h handbuilt wheel (by somebody competent) on a strong rim - sun rhynolite or other, with a shimano cassette rear hub.
    That's what I would suggest too.

  10. #10
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    A 48 spoke wheel would be even more assurance. It would be mighty expensive, but it would also be mighty reliable and durable. It would be an investment that would not require re-investment.
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

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  11. #11
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    those bikes appear to have a more significant rear wheel weighting than your average bike. Go whole hog with a custom build and 13g spokes. 14g should be strong enough for a regular bike but I'm thinking of 275lbs coming off of a curb sitting on the seat and not on the pedals. Your weight and the bikes design require more attention on the rear wheel than a simple out of the box assembly. The wheel should have been checked out at time of sale and immediately in the first few weeks of riding. Even then it may not have been sufficient over a years use. I wouldn't bother with more spokes given the 26" rims,just put in some big spokes and have a custom rebuild.
    Last edited by LeeG; 11-03-09 at 11:24 AM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Jasmijo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    Where are you, elarrecostao? If you're in the NYC area, I'll build it for you cheaper than anyone else, and I will do as good a job as anyone can. I have experience at this. Or I can teach you how. I love to teach this stuff.
    Oh man! What a cool offer. I wish I knew a guy with your attitude in Chicago.

  13. #13
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Aw, shucks. I just love doing this and don't get enough opportunity, which is why I'm willing to do it without making a profit on it. And if word gets out, enough people will hire me, and I WILL make money at it, right?

    If you can shoulder the shipping costs, I'll ship a wheel to Chicago, if you need it.
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

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  14. #14
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    A 48 spoke wheel would be even more assurance. It would be mighty expensive, but it would also be mighty reliable and durable. It would be an investment that would not require re-investment.
    I don't think that's necessary and it's probably not such a good plan anyway.

    Starting with a tandem hub you are going to have to modify either the bike frame or the hub. 275 lbs. isn't too much weight for a properly built 36 spoke wheel.

  15. #15
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Agreed, it's not necessary, but sometimes, overkill is the best route to sleeping at night, to mix metaphors.
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

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  16. #16
    Senior Member Jasmijo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    If you can shoulder the shipping costs, I'll ship a wheel to Chicago, if you need it.
    That's a cool offer, but I think the learning from an experienced dude how to do it yourself was the best part. There are probably kids and hipsters in your area that would pay a little bit to learn from you.

  17. #17
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Right now, I'm mentoring an 11 year old boy and a 13 year old boy. The younger one is mowing my lawn and patching tubes in exchange. I told him I didn't want anything in return, but he insists.
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

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  18. #18
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    elarrecostao, not that the guys in this thread don't know what they're talking about, but if you want opinions on your wheel from people who have a lot more experience with what wheels are necessary for the heavier person, go ask this same question in the Clydesdale forum.

  19. #19
    surly old man jgedwa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    those bikes appear to have a more significant rear wheel weighting than your average bike. Go whole hog with a custom build and 13g spokes. 14g should be strong enough for a regular bike but I'm thinking of 275lbs coming off of a curb sitting on the seat and not on the pedals. Your weight and the bikes design require more attention on the rear wheel than a simple out of the box assembly. The wheel should have been checked out at time of sale and immediately in the first few weeks of riding. Even then it may not have been sufficient over a years use. I wouldn't bother with more spokes given the 26" rims,just put in some big spokes and have a custom rebuild.
    Yeah, pedal forward bikes have you sitting on the saddle with no weight carried by the feet or hands. So virtually every once of your mighty self is on that rear wheel. On a traditional geometry bike, a significant portion of your weight is on the front wheel. Plus, you can't really unweight the rear wheel of a pedal forward bike if you need to. Think about how jarring it would be for a large rider to go over a pothole without unweighting the rear wheel. You are asking a lot of that wheel.

    I vote for the beefiest wheel you can put back there.

    jim
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  20. #20
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    Agreed, it's not necessary, but sometimes, overkill is the best route to sleeping at night, to mix metaphors.
    I'll admit to not having taken the time to work through the design, but I'm thinking that taking 10 mm, all from the non-drive side, of a Shimano tandem hub is likely to require enough dishing to seriously upset my sleep.

    Spokes are easier to count, but I'd rather place my bet on better build quality.

  21. #21
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    You have a valid point, and I won't refute it. Another problem with my suggestion is that there don't seem to be any 130mm 48hole hubs. And tandem hubs are expensive! I just looked, and they're around $200.
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

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  22. #22
    Senior Member clydeosaur's Avatar
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    I went threw hell on my hybrid with spokes / wheels. I'm 6'4 @ 235. My factory wheel blew spokes every so often. Once I went to 28mm tires, it was a constant thing. I talked to the shop about replacement / retensioning, etc.....Due to warranty (I'm assuming) they just kept replacing spokes. I finally had enough & asked for a wheel that would be bomb proof and set no budget. I was given an "O.K." option and a wheel that would definitely take care of the problem - a Sun CR 18 36spoke. That wheel blew 5 spokes in a month and the bike shop was of no help (even tried to charge me the last time, which was two days between repairs). I am extremely careful of pot holes, don't jump curbs, etc......

    So, I got pissed, sold the hybrid. Bought a used road bike, went to another bike shop and after popping a spoke on my Vueletta, the mechanic hand build a 32 spoke Mavic CXP 33 with heavy gauge spokes. The wheel is on the heavy side, however, I've been riding instead of walking ever since.

    So, find a good wheel builder.
    Last edited by clydeosaur; 11-04-09 at 04:41 PM.

  23. #23
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    What gauge spokes, clydeosaur? 14 gauge is standard, and I don't know any modern hubs that accept 13 gauge.
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

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  24. #24
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    What gauge spokes, clydeosaur? 14 gauge is standard, and I don't know any modern hubs that accept 13 gauge.
    I built my tandem wheels with Alpine III (13/15/14 gauge) spokes. The rolled threads on a 14 gauge spoke are actually a bit larger in diameter than the body of the spoke so the 13 gauge elbow section will fit nice and snugly in most hubs. The 14 gauge threaded section takes common nipples and spoke wrenches.

    You might have to shop around to find a vendor. I bought mine from Wheelbuilder.com.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    You have a valid point, and I won't refute it. Another problem with my suggestion is that there don't seem to be any 130mm 48hole hubs. And tandem hubs are expensive! I just looked, and they're around $200.
    There are definitely 48h 130mm hubs.

    Phil Wood makes 'em. Heck they make a 48 drill in 120 5/6 speed spacing.

    As for Mr. Fattypants busting spokes here, I think that the junk OEM wheel is the problem. A good rear rim (Velocity Chukker, Dyad or Mavic a719) and 14g straight built with proper tension by a good wheelbuilder would work.

    However, with wheel building you get what you pay for. I always say get a truing stand lace 'em and learn to build 'em yourself or go to Peter White. The local 'master wheelbuilder' is the reason that the market for pre-built wheels exploded in the first place.

    The LAST place I would ever go for a handbuilt wheel is a local bike shop. You don't take a transmission to a mechanic, don't let a bike wrench build you a wheel, its an art and there are hundreds of people that are very bad at building wheels, and there are a handful that are good at it. Build 'em yourself, you'll get just as good of a wheel as half the hacks could produce at shop rates.
    Last edited by mtnbke; 11-04-09 at 10:11 PM.

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