Here is a question, don't know the answer but I am curious to see what others say.
The background: I ride two bikes, a 1996 Simonetti with Campagnolo and a 1999 Rivendell Ramboullet with assorted Riv components. Wheels on both are 700's with 32 f and 36 r spokes. The Simo has Campy wheels and hubs.
So , what is with the minimal number of spokes used on bike wheels today? If one breaks, it takes the rim out of alignment. I ride the cross state rides and have stopped to help many people with broken spokes, you used to just wrap the broken spoke around an adjacent spoke and carry on, seldom have to try to align a wheel by the side of the road. Now, to help someone with these minimal spoke wheels, it seems that I always end up straightening the rim after the person rides a little farther, and its tough to keep these straight for very long.
I asked my local bike shop owner and he just dismissed my old steel bikes and 32/36 wheels as the way of the past and told me wheels were better made now and you didn't need 32/36 spokes.
i look at high end bikes now, Colnagos, De Rosas etc and they all have minimal spokes. I looked at new Campy wheels....the same , few spokes.
So these are expensive wheels, I wouldn't think this was just a way to make cheap stuff.
So how about the opinions of people who deal with the new wheels?