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  1. #1
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    Wheel stregth for heavy rider

    Greeting all,

    I recently sold a vintage trek road bike to a heavy rider. The frame is a 52 cm wheels were true and had good tension before I sold it. Bike came back a few days later with the rear wheel completely out of true. It had not occurred to me that the rider maybe too heavy for the vintage wheels. wheels are 32 hole front and rear. Rider is probably 200 lbs ... frame size was right for him.

    Is there anything I can do make sure the wheels stay true. Or should I just take the bike back and tell him unfortunately his is too heavy for the wheels and I can't say the wheels will stay true. Should I advise him to get a higher spoke count wheelset?

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    They don't stay fine permanently, have them make a friend of their local bike shop
    and have the spoke tensions and truing maintained, at regular intervals..

    but a hand made set of wheels is a nice thing, but they also must be looked after, over time.

    I have my wheel builder under my hat.

  3. #3
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    I just don't want to be rude and tell the guy the bike was fine until your road it and it probably because you weight over 200 lbs.

  4. #4
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    The being ridden exposes a bike to stresses just by being used for its intended purpose.

    you just sent it on to the next person , who made an assumption,
    it would not ever need looking after, since you did not do any.

    I was not always 200# , but I am now.. and 64 ..

  5. #5
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    200 pounds is too much for a wheel?

    Better tell my 380 pound mass not to be riding on stock 32 to 36 spoke count wheels. LOL

  6. #6
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    Check the rim for cracks near the spoke holes. Fine cracks can be hard to see and can be the cause of the wheel going out of true.

  7. #7
    Senior Member gyozadude's Avatar
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    Could have been insufficient/improper spoke tension initially. But it could also be the rider. Jumping curbs incorrectly, closing truck doors on rims, and dropping bikes off the back of the truck, riding with full load over pot holes, etc. can all put the wheels out of true. FWIW, I'm around 280, and sometimes ride 32 hole mtb and road vintage rims (e.g. Ritchey Vantage Comps and Araya 20A) and they stay true. Well, at least for a few thousand miles so far. Your wheels could vary.
    Yes, I can roll my own potsticker skins!

  8. #8
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    I just want to make sure once I tension and true the wheel again... the guy can ride it for a while with no issues. He said it went out when he was riding up hill and really putting some stress on the bike. I don't have a spoke tension gauge

  9. #9
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    Sounds to me like it may have been either a poorly built wheel, or really rough riding style. I have always been a heavy rider. In the 1970s as a teenage racer (crit and track, I was never a good climber) I was heavy at 170# or so. Now, at 54, I am hovering around 200 (down from 280 when I started riding again). I commute on a converted MTB, own many bikes including light road bikes and a tandem, and honestly I seldom have to use a spoke wrench. Most often was then I had a low spoke count wheel on the back of my commute bike that kept breaking spokes, and even then it would always true right back up. I do not have problems with wheels except for that one, and I ride pretty much every day on some really bad roads.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by septacycles View Post
    I don't have a spoke tension gauge
    Get one. Without it, you don't really know what you're achieving. Yours "pretty tight" might well be somebody elses "fairly slack" and of a heavy rider, you need to be up there.

    Oh, you might consider threadlock too. It is a way of improving the margins for a borderline build.

  11. #11
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    without knowing the PO and their weight, terrain, amount of riding, maintenance, etc, etc, it is hard to tell what's what. but i wouldn't be surprised that the new owner put more stress on the wheels than they were accustomed to. but i shouldn't think that 32 hole vintage rim couldn't be built and stay true long enough to satisfy a normal 200 lb road rider for a while.

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    I was 355 when I started riding. I was going only 70 miles between wheel truing on my 700C fuji. I took a hard tail MTB and had wheels made on Velocity Chukkers, and they were the solution.

    I'm down 30+ pounds but still am hard on wheels. On my MTB with the chukkers I have not needed truing but my cruiser bike goes about 100-150 between truings.

    I do not ride hard or hit curbs, but I am lot of weight on 36 spokes.

    You may be able to get a good bike shop to true that wheel, or he may need to get a stronger wheel made. That is a fact of being a clyde, that sometimes standard wheels will not cut it.

    Ted

  13. #13
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Bah, the guy probably crashed it. I got off my @ss a couple years ago and pulled down my 20-year old racing bike. It had 32-hole Ultegra wheels and MA-40 rims with over 50k-miles on them. I had ballooned to 245-lbs and abused the heck out of those wheels with riding off kerbs and bunny-hopping speed-bumps like a school kid. Wheels stayed perfectly true for many months. Spokes finally started snapping, but that's to be expected with the amount of mileage and fatigue over the decades and miles.

  14. #14
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    I think you should ride with him and check out his riding style. Does he just hammer over everything on in his path or does he watch the road and avoid bumps and debries
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto (2), '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '88 Trofeo, '86 Volpe, '89 Axis, '79 Mixte SOLD, '99 Mega Pro XL Ti, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

    Others but still loved,; '80 RIGI, '80 Batavus Professional, '87 Cornelo, '86 Bertoni (sold), '09 Motobecane SS, '98 Hetchins M.O., '09 K2 Mainframe, '89 Trek 2000, '?? Jane Doe (still on the drawing board), '90ish Haro Escape

  15. #15
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    I'm pretty much with the rest here.

    A properly built/tensioned 32 spoke wheel can handle 200 lb rider without a lot of problems.

    A 36 hole would do much better, and I would not consider 28 hole for anyone but a conscientious rider who maintains his wheels regularly.

    The first statemement notwithstanding any rider can abuse any wheel sufficient to send it out of true, so no there's nothing you can do to make sure they stay true, only to make it more likely.

  16. #16
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    36-spokes wheels hold up fine under this 220-pound recumbent-riding rider. I haven't broken a spoke in 20 years- but then I build my own wheels with high, even tension.
    Jeff Wills

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  17. #17
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    I have bikes that have 20 spokes per wheel and I haven't had to true them in a couple of years. And I weigh 230 lbs. A properly built wheel can handle the weight of a 200+ lb rider.
    I don't do vintage, I bought them new, rode them, kept them. Now they are just old bikes
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bustercrb/sets/72157623483647522/

  18. #18
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    Sounds a lot like the first wheel set I built, it was true, but the spoke tension was likely all over the place. I don't think I had read that even spoke tension was important. When I rode it the first time, I looked at them when I got home and nearly cried because they were so out of true.

  19. #19
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    I'd de-tension the wheel and wind it back up from scratch, paying particular attention to developing even tension and cranking it up to just before it seems like too much.

    If you don't know what too much tension in a wheel feels like, go ahead and find a crappy wheel to do the experiment. Then you'll have an idea how far you can go before you cross the line, although you need to consider how much the particular rim can handle.

  20. #20
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    I have very little trouble with any of my wheels, which include alsomst everyting 36h, 32h, mostly 3x with some radial and even a set of crowsfoot, HF hubs, both clincher and tubular rims. I am no shrinking violet thanks to my generous helping of my Mummies Dutch/German heritage so that leads me to believe that riding style has much more to do with wheel performance than weight.

    When I was in the business I saw both new light and heavy riders have trouble with wheels until they learned to gracefully avoid various road debris, holes and frost heaves. I had the same issue until I started riding with a few people and learned to ride 'softer' on the bike.
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto (2), '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '88 Trofeo, '86 Volpe, '89 Axis, '79 Mixte SOLD, '99 Mega Pro XL Ti, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

    Others but still loved,; '80 RIGI, '80 Batavus Professional, '87 Cornelo, '86 Bertoni (sold), '09 Motobecane SS, '98 Hetchins M.O., '09 K2 Mainframe, '89 Trek 2000, '?? Jane Doe (still on the drawing board), '90ish Haro Escape

  21. #21
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
    ...leads me to believe that riding style has much more to do with wheel performance than weight.
    You mean wheel durability, right?

    For sure, up to a point. By all means, developing the habit of riding easy on your wheels is to be encouraged, but there are always going to be the odd moments when you're caught unaware and pound the crap out of the rear (IME front wheels can take huge amounts of abuse, at least 32h and up)...

    My approach is to spec the wheelset to withstand pretty much anything the rider can throw at it, given their weight and riding style. This means paying particular attention to the rear, perhaps even using a heavier rim, given its dish and it takes twice as much weight (60/40). Off-centre rims are a huge boon here, since they reduce the dish for free - they're not nearly popular enough yet. I predict they'll be standard fare in 5-10 years, patent issues permitting.

    When it comes to a race wheelset, you'd obviously tend to forego ultimate durability, but the same principles apply.

  22. #22
    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    I'm 220 lbs and was much heavier than that. Both my road bike and my touring have 700c 32-spoke wheels and I've had no problem keeping them true. Both have straight gauge SS spokes on double walled mid-grade rims, one with eyelets, one without, and both wheelsets are more than 15 years old. Took both sets, on the bikes, to the LBS when I bought them and had them tensioned and trued. Now just touch up slightly as needed with spoke wrench. My first bike was an old MTB with 36-spoke entry level wheels and I rode the heck out of it and only trued the wheels once or twice.
    Lead, follow or get out of the way

  23. #23
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    The real question is: "What should I do now?"

    1. It's a private sale. Tell the buyer the bike was good when you sold it so now it's his problem.
    2. True and tension the wheel for him. If you detension all of the spokes how true will the rim be? This might involve more time and money than you want to invest.
    3. Give the man his money back.

    Frankly, I don't like any of those options.

  24. #24
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
    You mean wheel durability, right?
    Yes
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto (2), '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '88 Trofeo, '86 Volpe, '89 Axis, '79 Mixte SOLD, '99 Mega Pro XL Ti, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

    Others but still loved,; '80 RIGI, '80 Batavus Professional, '87 Cornelo, '86 Bertoni (sold), '09 Motobecane SS, '98 Hetchins M.O., '09 K2 Mainframe, '89 Trek 2000, '?? Jane Doe (still on the drawing board), '90ish Haro Escape

  25. #25
    Retro Grouch onespeedbiker's Avatar
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    When I put a bike together for my daughter who weighs well over over 200lbs and I used a 48 spoke tandem wheelset just to be safe..http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blo...72739336961399

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