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Old 05-13-10, 12:20 PM   #1
sprocket47
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wheels for clydesdale

I apologize for the duplicate post (also in the clydesdale forum). But I figured there may be some experts on this forum that don't read the other - and this one has more detail, as I've learned people in this forum appreciate.

I currently ride a touring bike with very strong wheels (Mavic A319 with 36 spoke count) and have had little problem other than a loose spoke now and then. I'm upgrading to a speedier lighter bike and the LBS guy is trying to push me up the price chain and as they get higher in cost the spoke count goes down. Specifically I'm looking at the Trek 1.5, 2.1 or 2.3 (see below for the wheels on each model). He reassures me that the reduced spoke count from the 1.5 (32) to 2.1 (24) does not affect the strength of the wheel because the rim is deeper which compensates the lack of spokes for strength and saves rolling weight and says I won't have a problem. Is this legit? Will I end up spending $1000 - $1700 on a bike then a month later another $$$$ on new stronger wheels? I would rather not so could someone give this a look and let me know if I'd be safe on any of these models without an immediate costly wheel upgrade?

I'm 6'4" and 260 lbs and I commute on sometimes rough city streets.

1.5 - Bontrager alloy rims 32 spoke count ($1000)
2.1 - Bontrager SSR 24 spoke count ($1300)
2.3 - Bontrager Race 24 spoke count ($1600)
Another options:
Motobecane Sprint with Vuelta XPR PRO wheel 24 spoke count ($1000)
Kestrel Evoke with FSA Gossamer wheel 24 spoke count ($1300)

Last edited by sprocket47; 05-13-10 at 01:21 PM.
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Old 05-13-10, 12:34 PM   #2
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Two points:

1. Spoke count doesn't tell the whole story. You have to evaluate the wheel as a whole. Several years ago I rebuilt a 16 spoke tandem rear wheel for an acquaintance. Every single part of this wheel, hub, spokes and rim were purpose designed for this use and it specified a TON of tension. The last time that I talked with the owner it was still going strong.

2. I don't have any personal experience with any of the wheels that you mentioned so I have no opinion regarding them.
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Old 05-13-10, 11:58 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by sprocket47 View Post
I apologize for the duplicate post (also in the clydesdale forum). But I figured there may be some experts on this forum that don't read the other - and this one has more detail, as I've learned people in this forum appreciate.

I currently ride a touring bike with very strong wheels (Mavic A319 with 36 spoke count) and have had little problem other than a loose spoke now and then. I'm upgrading to a speedier lighter bike and the LBS guy is trying to push me up the price chain and as they get higher in cost the spoke count goes down. Specifically I'm looking at the Trek 1.5, 2.1 or 2.3 (see below for the wheels on each model). He reassures me that the reduced spoke count from the 1.5 (32) to 2.1 (24) does not affect the strength of the wheel because the rim is deeper which compensates the lack of spokes for strength and saves rolling weight and says I won't have a problem. Is this legit? Will I end up spending $1000 - $1700 on a bike then a month later another $$$$ on new stronger wheels? I would rather not so could someone give this a look and let me know if I'd be safe on any of these models without an immediate costly wheel upgrade?

I'm 6'4" and 260 lbs and I commute on sometimes rough city streets.

1.5 - Bontrager alloy rims 32 spoke count ($1000)
2.1 - Bontrager SSR 24 spoke count ($1300)
2.3 - Bontrager Race 24 spoke count ($1600)
Another options:
Motobecane Sprint with Vuelta XPR PRO wheel 24 spoke count ($1000)
Kestrel Evoke with FSA Gossamer wheel 24 spoke count ($1300)
If reliability on rough streets is the issue, why not go with a high spoke count and deep V-rim? Perhaps a tandem wheelset?

As retrogrouch points out, the spoke count is part of the wheel strength equation, not nill as this bike salesman asserts-sounds as if he is not a credible source.

Is there a reason such as hills or competition or trying to keep up with strong riding mates you are trying to knock off a couple of pounds on the bike and wheelset? If not, don't get over enthralled with a bike salesman's attempts to get you into a lightweight bike.

Smaller people also fail to understand the effect of rider weight on bikes, so they often fail to factor in a heavy rider's capacity for breaking parts designed for lightweight riders.
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Old 05-14-10, 12:16 AM   #4
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use the wheels that come with the bike.
when problems arise, you can easily have a set of strong and reliable wheels built for under $400

personally, I would recommend something like tiagra, 105 or ultegra hubs laced to DT RR585, kinlin XR-300 or velocity deep-V rims using DT competition 2.0/1.8mm DB spokes. Even better if the rear non drive side uses 2.0/1.6mm DB spokes. 28h front and 32h rear.
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Old 05-14-10, 10:38 AM   #5
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I would say that 260# is getting into clydesdale territory, but is well within the loads a wheel can handle. When I got back into cycling a couple years ago, I was 245# and hopped on my bike with old wheels that had over 50k-miles on them that had been built over 15-years ago. I was riding off kerbs, bunny-hopping potholes and running over speed-bumps at full-speed without any problems. It's more about the build-quality than specs of the wheels.

If you've had spokes come loose, that's a sign that the entire wheel was undertension; as most stock factory wheels are. This usually can be fixed by having a competent wheel-builder re-tension the wheel to the high-end of the recommended range specified by the rim-manufacturer for that model rim. Most stock wheels I've seen have only 50-60% of the necessary tension to stay true and strong.

Personally I would go with both design ideas; a deep-V rim with a high spoke-count 32-36h for the ultimate in durability. But yea, ride your stock wheels into the ground first while you have the 2nd set built by a pro.
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Old 05-14-10, 11:43 AM   #6
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I'm 235 lbs and had a hand built wheel. Mavic A 719 36 hole laced to a shimano 105 hub for my every day commuter. The mavic is their touring rim , they use the term bombproof. Very solid and strong, not light. 3000+ miles , no truing, durable for the Boston area potholes and rough roads.
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Old 05-14-10, 11:58 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by AEO View Post
use the wheels that come with the bike.
when problems arise, you can easily have a set of strong and reliable wheels built for under $400

personally, I would recommend something like tiagra, 105 or ultegra hubs laced to DT RR585, kinlin XR-300 or velocity deep-V rims using DT competition 2.0/1.8mm DB spokes. Even better if the rear non drive side uses 2.0/1.6mm DB spokes. 28h front and 32h rear.
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Old 05-14-10, 12:07 PM   #8
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Ask them to guarantee the wheel if they insist there will be no problem. A 24-spoke 'Race' wheel isn't the right equipment for a 260# commuter and saying the wheel is strong enough is mis-leading, IMO. Sure, it won't collapse on you but I'd bet you will be breaking spokes in no time.

The spokes need to stay in tension while riding or they will fail due to fatigue. The spoke tension is usually limited by the strength of the rim. As RetroGrouch said, it's possible to build low spoke wheels that can handle lots of weight but it requires rims, spokes and hubs made to handle the higher tension. This probably isn't something you'd find in a 'Race' wheelset where reducing weight is usually the over-riding concern.
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Old 05-14-10, 12:14 PM   #9
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Stick with 36 spokes. If at 260 you are skin and bones, your leg strength alone will be hard on the wheels.
The total tension of 36 spokes on the rim is about 4000kg. Lower spoke counts must make up that tension to be nearly as strong.
Even taking a few pounds off of the bike is such a small percentage of the total weight of the vehicle as to be of no consiquence.
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Old 05-14-10, 01:26 PM   #10
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Sprocket47,

You may reconsider what you're looking for.

At your weight and rough road commuting, you should be on wider tires (32-35mm), which the Trek bike cannot take. Your LBS is doing you no service trying to sell you such a bike for commuting .

Honestly , your touring rig is built for crap road and larger tires, why do you need another bike?

Skinny tires will make you marginally faster, but also at your weight and on rough roads, you'll likely have wheel and/or tires problems. This is from experience.
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Old 05-14-10, 02:36 PM   #11
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Trek HAS made some changes to the Bontrager "Race" wheelset a year or two ago. But as far as I've seen those changes may or may not be limited to standard spoke spacing rather than the previous "paired spoke" design.

I weigh 150 at most, and have two other close friends who also weighed well under 200lbs. and we've all had our 'bontrager race' rear wheels fail within 2 years of riding. As said above, in order to get enough tension that the spoke never go slack under load, they have to go to higher tension than is recommended, and then you're adding rider weight to fewer spokes that are already under more tension than they probably should be. This arrangement doesn't make for a long lasting wheel build, as the rim is sure to fail eventually.

With a low spoke count and a heavy rider, I would expect that you have two options. Either not quite enough tension causing spoke breakage...OR...too much tension causing you to crack the rims at the nipples (which is what happened to our wheels). Either way, the low count isn't going to serve you well no matter what a LBS guy tells you. These wheels DO NOT fit the catagory of wheels described above by RetroGrouch and his success with low spoke count. Those were purpose built for heavy use, these Bontrager Race wheels are not.

-Jeremy
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Old 05-14-10, 05:42 PM   #12
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I would agree that the stock wheel is inappropriate for the combination of rider and roads. It's not just strength, as noted above. The smaller section tires will potentiallhy cause you both flat and rim damage problem. It matters not that the rim does not collapse when you hit a bad section of pavement - a flat spot and bulge ruins it just as much. The problems you will face will take away any speed advantage and the joy of riding as well. You can't get in better/faster shape sitting on the side of the road.
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Old 05-14-10, 06:04 PM   #13
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"use the wheels that come with the bike.
when problems arise, you can easily have a set of strong and reliable wheels built for under $400"

+1

I ride at #260 and have no problems with low spoke count wheels/23cm tires other than I wear my rear tires out pretty quick. I'd stay away from composite spokes for sure.
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Old 05-14-10, 06:16 PM   #14
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The biggest factor in a wheel is the quality of the build. You can have top grade components and have a **** wheel that collapses in a stiff breeze.

I've had both store bought and handbuilt wheels, all have performed well. Probably the best store bought set is my Rhyno-Lite / Shimano Deore 32 hole combo. Best handbuilt would be Phil Wood Kiss / Mavic CXP33 32 hole.

Suprising was the dirt cheap Shimano 2200 hubs and Mavic CXP22 rims. With zero maintenance, ridden in the worst of conditions they gave me over 4000 miles. At $100 for the set, that was quite a return.
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Old 05-15-10, 09:21 PM   #15
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I'm 225 pounds and I ride wheels that I built myself 20 years ago using 32h deep v rims. I have not had any problems with my rims, but occasionally I have tire problems. Over that time period I've used Specialized and Michelin tires mostly. The tire sizes have changed but almost all of the tires actually measured about 25mm wide.

I'm gathering parts to build a new set of wheels and I'll probably try a slightly larger tire this time.

(I've also had problems with axles. My wheels are old enough that they are freewheel hubs and not freehubs, so the axles have a lot more bending stress and hence develop fatigue cracks. My new wheels will have freehub hubs so hopefully I will have fewer problems in the future.)
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Old 05-18-10, 02:25 PM   #16
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@garthr

One point I left out regarding the desire to change bikes is that the more I ride this touring bike and the higher my fitness level gets, it is more than apparent that this bike is too small for me. I need a bigger, and I was hoping for a faster, ride.

Thought: Since I currently have strong wheel, that need re-tentioned and trued by a pro, decent components for commuting and weekend rides...what if I just pick up a bigger frame and swap over the parts. A cyclecross frame should be able to take my touring wheels without a problem. I tried to stick them on an old (early to mid 90's) Cannondale road frame and it would be a tight fit even with smaller tires on the big rim. So I could get a new frame and go from there with just a few new parts to make the swap work, or get new wheels and move the parts over to my Cannondale frame that's 2cm bigger than the one I'm currently riding. Either way will save me some money and get me where I want to go. Right?
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Old 05-18-10, 03:03 PM   #17
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@garthr

One point I left out regarding the desire to change bikes is that the more I ride this touring bike and the higher my fitness level gets, it is more than apparent that this bike is too small for me. I need a bigger, and I was hoping for a faster, ride.

Thought: Since I currently have strong wheel, that need re-tentioned and trued by a pro, decent components for commuting and weekend rides...what if I just pick up a bigger frame and swap over the parts. A cyclecross frame should be able to take my touring wheels without a problem. I tried to stick them on an old (early to mid 90's) Cannondale road frame and it would be a tight fit even with smaller tires on the big rim. So I could get a new frame and go from there with just a few new parts to make the swap work, or get new wheels and move the parts over to my Cannondale frame that's 2cm bigger than the one I'm currently riding. Either way will save me some money and get me where I want to go. Right?

What would be helpful is if you made a list of what your touring rig has on it for parts. Be specific ..... what kind of brakes, integrated or threaded stem, rear wheel spacing, size of wheels(700c or 27") ... things like that. This will give you an idea of the viability of swapping parts to a new frame.

It sounds like the C'dale is a road frame and not for wider tires,probably no more that a 26-28mm? You don't want to ride too narrow of tires on a wide rim, you'll get pinch flats and likely trash your rims. Even if you got new wheels, your tire size will always be limited.

If your touring rig has parts that'll swap to a current frame, I'd say go that route. It's always good to get a frame that can handle wider tires than you think you may use. In your case a frame that can take 35mm tires would be great. For example..... I never thought I'd use wider than a 28mm tire. Then, after not riding for awhile, I tried a slick 35mm tire. Woah ..... it was just as fast(subjective, yes), but it could soak up so much more rough road. I wish I could use a wider one, but my frame is limited to 35's. It's not something I would have ever considered when I had the frame built, but now I would make a requirement.

Your tire choice has everything to do with a faster ride. What tires are on your touring bike? Brand/model/width
For example, I tried two tires from Performance Bike in 35c. One weighed a whopping 700g. It rode like a tank, soaking up everything, but noticeably slower on any incline. Then I got one that had a nice round profile, weighed about 450g. Night and day. Low rolling resistance, took corners very well, and didn't feel slow on hills. I ride rollers as a warm up, and the difference in drag was quite noticeable between the two tires. So yeah .... just getting a low rolling resistance tire will help a lot.
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Old 05-18-10, 03:40 PM   #18
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I've been down this road. At 6'4 240lbs, I've beat up a few wheels. My latest bike (last year's Cannondale roadie) came with low spoke count Shimano RS 20's (I believe). They held up for the time I had them but I really felt the back 24spoke flex when I cranked out a hill or tried to sprint. So I knew it was a matter of time. A few months later, I was hit by a car & had to replace wheels any way. I've had good luck in the past with hand built 32 spoke Mavic CXP 22's and 33's on 105 hubs. They might be heavier, bit I've not had one spoke go on me with either set. Price isn't to bad either.
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Old 05-18-10, 05:53 PM   #19
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What would be helpful is if you made a list of what your touring rig has on it for parts. Be specific ..... what kind of brakes, integrated or threaded stem, rear wheel spacing, size of wheels(700c or 27") ... things like that. This will give you an idea of the viability of swapping parts to a new frame.
I'm currently riding a 2007? Novara Randonee from REI. It's an XL or 56cm center to top of top tube or 59 center to top of seat tube. 700c wheels, with Victoria Randeneur 38mm tires. Tiagra shifters and front derailleur, shimano xt rear, 8 speed cog (wide range, not sure of tooth count), Shimano triple crank. 1 1/8 headset (I think) threadless, steel fork, richey seat post, brooks saddle (best part of the bike), shimano linear pull brakes. Anything else?

The 62cm cannondale frame is old style (early 90's). It was the mass produced cannondale road frame that everyone had, at least it seemed like it. No headset or fork 1 1/8 (I had the LBS confirm that). When installing the rear wheel I had to stretch the cannondale frame a few mm to get the axle in. Nothing severe but I would assume I have a slight wheel width varience. The wheel with my touring tire won't fit. I imagine I will have to drop down to a 25-28mm?

From what I can see, I will need new brakes (since it doesn't have linear pull mounts on the frame) and a new fork (mine will be too short), new wheels?

So...is it worth it to swap over or for the $$ I'll dish out for the converstion or should I just sell my bike whole and add the $$ and get a new bike? Or pick up a cycle cross frame/fork my size and swap over the parts since it will work with the brakes and bigger tires?

Thanks for your help!

Last edited by sprocket47; 05-18-10 at 05:57 PM.
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Old 05-19-10, 07:02 AM   #20
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Since the tires are the limiting factor with the C'dale, I would rule that out.

Since your Randonee is pretty new, it appears all your parts and wheels will work fit on another frame without issues.


Knowing how few complete cross bike there are out there, knowing the wheels won't have the sturdy rims you Randonee has, and that a cross bike comes with cross tires(that you don't need) .... just buying a new cross frame may be best. It would give you more options to choose from, as there's many more cross frames that complete cross bikes.

These frames both have 62cm. sizes.
A Surly Cross check comes to mind, takes up to 45mm tires.
Soma Double Cross, up to 38mm tires.

A Salsa Chili con Crosso is made large enough, but max. tire is unknown. 35mm is standard on a complete.

I wouldn't bother with Trek. They have proprietary Bontrager wheels. Tire max is probably 35mm.

I'm sure there's more .....
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