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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 03-11-07, 08:29 PM   #1
Stoeger
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Bontrager wheel sets

Do the Bontrager Race or Select wheel sets hold up for us? I'm 220 and the roads around here aren't too smooth so I have some concerns.
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Old 03-11-07, 10:27 PM   #2
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I'm at 220 myself and didnt have much luck with the Bontrager Race wheelset that came with my Lemond. They came out of true on me every 200 miles or so. I switched over to an open pro set from colorado cyclist and haven been happier. No truing needed yet with about 500 miles on them...
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Old 03-12-07, 03:17 AM   #3
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I had a Trek/Bontranger sales rep garuntee me that all Bontranger wheel will hold up to 350 pounds.
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Old 03-12-07, 07:37 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DieselDan
I had a Trek/Bontranger sales rep garuntee me that all Bontranger wheel will hold up to 350 pounds.
Same here. I'm about to take mine back for the second trueing in a month. Three rides, and less than 100 miles.

Yeah, so basically, the plague. Avoid them like the plague. If my bank account was a little fatter I'd just replace the !@#!@# right now.

I have the Bontrager Camino 32h wheels. Note that I also have a Specialized MTB with the cheapo 36h Alexrims and they have withstood 700+ miles of hardcore abuse. Not a hint of being anything but completely true.
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Old 03-12-07, 08:17 AM   #5
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Hate to say it, but paired spoke wheels are a fad.

Quote:
From: jbrandt@hpl.hp.com (Jobst Brandt)
Newsgroups: rec.bicycles.tech
Subject: Paired spokes (aka Rolf)
Date: 8 Dec 2000 21:22:39 GMT

The whole paired spoke idea grew out of Rolf Dietrich's
dissatisfaction with the 'overweight' low spoke count wheels of
Campagnolo as I see it. In his patent and from observing his first
wheels, he seemed to believe that the aero rim profile depth was there
for the aero effect and didn't gain much but lost a lot in too much
weight. So he got a light weight rim and spoked it up with 16 spokes.

Well, that won't do because the spokes have to be damn tight to hold a
load when there are so few. So when the spokes got tight enough the
wheel was a wavy-S from spoke to spoke. Oops! That's when the idea
for paired spokes surfaced and there would be no zig zag. That may be
the case but now, unbeknownst to Rolf, he had humps in the long span
between spokes and these actually went to market. I don't know what
Trek did about them but they cracked at the spokes because the humps
flexed enough to fatigue the rim in bending. Subsequently the rims
got heavier and we are back to square one.

Since wheels building is done by machine, paired spokes come with
added expense because a machine doesn't get to such closely paired
spoke nipples. Hence, we have the Sestrier and Vector wheels that are
getting close to conventional 20 spoke wheels. The feature is
gradually evolving into the tried and true.

Jobst Brandt <jbrandt@hpl.hp.com>
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Old 03-12-07, 02:43 PM   #6
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Okay, hate to say it, but Bontrager wheels are #@!#@ junk! The Caminos on my 7.3FX are AGAIN out of true and have another loose spoke with barely 50 miles on them. One spoke was loose so over lunch I tightened it and the wheel was true. Rode the two miles back to work, not it's so bad it's rubbing the brakes.

I'm a big guy, but this is ridiculous.

I'll be going to the LBS after work and taking them up on their "guarantee" that these wheels will be fine. I'll let them true them again, but the next time this happens, I"ll just get a new wheelset.

And to think.. my big butt jumping curbs on the cheap (but HEAVY) alexrims on my Specialized couldn't do anything to knock them out of true. 36 holes versus 32. Coincidence?

(In the future I'll take the advice fo the forum and stick to heavier wheelsets..)
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Old 03-12-07, 02:44 PM   #7
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Oh, and I"ll add, it took almost 1000 miles last summer for me to knock the 32h el-cheapo wheels on the ancient Raleigh MTB I was riding out of true. In fact, they were probably still true, but the busted spoke kind of did 'em in.

So yeah, see if they will credit you the cost of the wheels toward some Mavics.
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Old 03-12-07, 04:31 PM   #8
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I have the Bontrager Race Lights since November and they now have almost 1000 miles on them in that time. They have been great, but I'm telling you I was nervous when I got them until the LBS guaranteed a 100% money back if not satisfied. I like them better cause they have the eyelets versus the Select and Race models. I was 330 +/- a few when I started on them, down to 300 and not a lick of trouble. I had my old 32 spoke wheels in the shop all the time due to popped spokes. Dumped them at 975 miles. Would I buy the again? Can't say, but I can say the Race Lights have been good for me so far.
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Old 03-12-07, 04:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoeger
Do the Bontrager Race or Select wheel sets hold up for us? I'm 220 and the roads around here aren't too smooth so I have some concerns.
Absolutley! The Select came stock on my GF Utopia and I have ridden trails/rolled down stairs/crashed for going on 6 years. Totally round and true...never needed any maintenance whatsoever.
My weight has been as high as 245 lbs.
I'm very impressed.
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Old 03-12-07, 05:06 PM   #10
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I called the LBS & they said they would give me credit towards another set of wheels if that's what I wanted to do. Tomorrow may be the day I pull the trigger on the bike purchase so we'll see just how much credit they'll give me and how much they'd charge for a set of Open Pros.
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Old 03-12-07, 05:36 PM   #11
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Nipples pulled out of the rims on mine after about 750 miles. Can't remember details about the wheels (it was three years ago), but they came from Rivendell and were built by them, not by me. I had to true them three or four times in the first 500 miles (I'm a lousy wheelbuilder, but I've trued my own for more than 25 years and never had a problem, so I don't think it was my hamhandedness). Eventually I looked at them closely to see if I could spot a problem, and the nipples were pulling through the aluminum of the rim.
FWIW, Rivendell was great about it--they gave me a credit and recommended a new rear wheel, which has been fine for 3000 miles or so. But last time I looked in the catalog, they weren't carrying Bontragers anymore.
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Old 03-12-07, 07:53 PM   #12
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Bontrager Selects came with my Lemond and they have lasted over 4 years and a lot of miles.

Just bought a new replacement set this this week.

I have been from 200-240lbs over those years.
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Old 03-13-07, 12:10 AM   #13
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I had the bontrager race wheels. 24 spokes in the back / 20 front. I rode on them for a few hundred miles and didn't have any problems. But this was on excellent roads and bike paths, no curb jumping. I'm 225 lbs. The owner of the LBS said that I shouldn't be riding such a low spoke count wheel at my weight with a load of gear over the rear wheel (rack and panniers for commuting.) I respect his opinion very much, and for my own peace of mind I switched out the bontrager race wheels for 36 hole Mavic Open Pro's with Ultegra hubs. I did notice a bit of difference in speed due to the heavier wheel, but never had any problems the Open Pro's. I sold the bontragers on Craigslist to 140 lb rider who was elated to get a great deal (poor guy, had his $1800 Zipps stolen off his bike in downtown Seattle and wanted good wheels that wouldn't attract quite so much attention.)

I dunno what us clydesdales are doing on low spoke count wheels anyway. If we are truly after speed, it's alot cheaper to lose the weight on our guts than it is try to lose it on the bicycle. I'm rewarding myself with some really nice light weight wheels as soon as I get down to below 170 lbs... what the hell! at that point I'm gonna get me a whole new carbon fiber bike!
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Old 03-13-07, 05:46 AM   #14
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I guess it realy depends on what YOU would consider "good" or "serviceable" in a wheel set.

The experence I have had, 245-265, over the past 5 years has been this. On my Bontrager selects the only problem I have had was in the bearings on the rear wheel. The wheels have held up OK, with some tweeking here and there. I mostly use them in winter, so they get less miles and usually 25 size tires.

On my Bontrager race wheels, I ran them for over 3000 miles with no problem, untill a spoke broke. Fine I'll just get it replaced. NO bike shop with in 100 miles of me had a proper spoke! One was finaly robbed from a crashed wheel at a shop. OK, started riding again, out of true in a few hundred miles. Took to bike shop, only to find that the eyes where pulling through the rim. Replaced the rear rim, more broken spokes. Finally replaced the bladed with round butted spokes and have only put a couple of hundred miles on the wheel since.

I just recently bought a set of American Classic Hurricanes. I have a few hundred on them already and I can tell you one thing for sure. They ride much better than the paired spoke wheels and to be honest, I can't tell I have lost any speed due to the round spokes. Matter of fact they are lighter than the Bontrager race wheels. I wouldn't have beleaved how much of a difference that the cross spoke patern would make in the way the wheels ride. Now how will they hold up?? Call me in another 5000 miles!
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Old 03-13-07, 09:02 AM   #15
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My new Lemond CDF has those Bontrager Selectss, but the weather has been lousy up my way and I haven't put much mileage one to have an opinion either way.

My commuter (Kona hybrid) has velocity Deep V rims. These weren't a set, rather built by my LBS. They are super strong, almost never need truing (think my LBS dude really knows how to lace a wheel) and are somehow amazingly easy to change a tire on. The electric red makes a statement too. Not a bad set for around $200 (recycled my old hubs). I know a few local clydes who ride on them on all sorts of bikes.

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Old 03-13-07, 01:11 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mammut
I'm at 220 myself and didnt have much luck with the Bontrager Race wheelset that came with my Lemond. They came out of true on me every 200 miles or so. I switched over to an open pro set from colorado cyclist and haven been happier. No truing needed yet with about 500 miles on them...
Same scenario happened to me except I haven't switched to Open Pros...yet!
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Old 03-13-07, 04:07 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mammut
I'm at 220 myself and didnt have much luck with the Bontrager Race wheelset that came with my Lemond. They came out of true on me every 200 miles or so. I switched over to an open pro set from colorado cyclist and haven been happier. No truing needed yet with about 500 miles on them...
I think it more depends on who trues the wheel, then who makes the wheel. If the wheels are taken out of the box, a tire gets slapped on, and it gets put on the bike, then it will come out of true, fairly quickly. Most wheels are machine made these days, and the machines are not that good at truing and tensioning. Fact is, the machine is more about quantity then quality.

If a wheel builder or a wrench who is good at it, takes the wheel out of the box, and hand tensions and trues the wheel, it will hold true much longer. It's possible that the place that sold you the Open Pros does a better job of truing and tensioning then the Lemond dealer. Even with the same dealer, sometimes it's a different guy who does it, and it may be luck more then anything else.
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Old 03-13-07, 04:49 PM   #18
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I have about 850 miles on a set of Bonti Race X-Light Aeros. They are holding up to my 265 pounds just fine. Haven't been touched by a spoke wrench.
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Old 03-14-07, 06:40 PM   #19
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I have had Bontrager Selects on my LeMond since I got it in Feb of '05 and I have not had an ounce of trouble. I run about 207lbs and they have been pretty much bulletproof so far. Now Bontrager Select tires....that is another story.
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Old 03-16-07, 03:19 PM   #20
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A lot of wheel problems can be traced back to the initial build. Sometimes the factory turns out a good pair of wheels, often times they don't. This is why I won't buy wheels from a catalog.

I have an old set of mavic cxp30s on Ultegra hubs that were hand built by an olympic certified mechanic. At 230 lbs, I've trued them twice in 4000 miles.

A good wheel builder is tough to find and expensive, but it worth it if you're a clyde.

So far, so good on my Bontrager races. We'll see if they hold up this summer.

And yeah, Bontrager tires are the absolute worst. Don't ride them unless you're fond of trips to the emergency room.
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Old 03-16-07, 11:10 PM   #21
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My experience with Bonti's on my 5200 were great for the first 2k miles. Then I popped a spoke on the rear wheel (about 20 miles from home) and had the spoke replaced under warranty. Later I developed a crack near one of the rim eyelets and they replaced the rim. I then popped another rear spoke and went to Mavic Open Pros laced to Ultegra hubs with 32 spokes. 4k miles later I have not had a problem. When I first went with the new setup I did have a problem with the rear wheel becoming out of true but I took it to a LBS and they trued it followed by lock-tight on on threads and I have not had a problem since.
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Old 03-17-07, 03:03 PM   #22
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My Bontrager Race rear wheel has held up fine (~260 lbs). In fact, it was recommended by the bike shop after I killed my Mavic Open Pro (rim started cracking around the eyelets).

The only problem I've had is when I have been truing up my wheel. I only need to true the wheel (on my bike) every 200 miles or so, keeping it true in relative terms (the wheel is straight). I think over time, not knowing exactly where the wheel is in relation to the center of the hub (I don't have a stand), the wheel drifts in relation to the hub during the truing processes. Over time, one side gets over-tightened. So, when I had a spoke break, I replaced the spoke and trued it up. Another (no so cheap) spoke from the same side would then break. Etc...

The solution was the take it to a bike shop to true it up (center the wheel). It has been fine since.
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Old 03-17-07, 03:08 PM   #23
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This morning I was into the LBS for a different stem and asked about the Bontrager wheelsets, the guy I spoke w/ said a few years back they were having major probs withm, but since that time they've been fine. Now, I don't know if that's a load of BS or not, but he said I could bring my wheels back at anytime if I wasn't happy with them. Time will tell!
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Old 03-17-07, 09:23 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoeger
This morning I was into the LBS for a different stem and asked about the Bontrager wheelsets, the guy I spoke w/ said a few years back they were having major probs withm, but since that time they've been fine. Now, I don't know if that's a load of BS or not, but he said I could bring my wheels back at anytime if I wasn't happy with them. Time will tell!
My LBS told me the same thing as they were recommending the wheelset. Told me that you are going to hear they were having issues, but they have fixed that and have a great warranty program. Since my last post, I had an issue with my rear hub, bad bearing and was replaced no questioned asked. As I said before, I don't know if I'd buy them again, but I have to give them kudo's for their warranty program as I just saw it in action and it was top rate. Had my new wheel within 3 days.
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Old 03-17-07, 10:10 PM   #25
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Interesting what you guys are reporting about Bonti fixing the problem. Sounds like I could go back to my Bontis and get them upgraded when I pop the next spoke.

Once I started having problems with the rear wheel (broken spokes and cracked rim) I just assumed it was due to my 250 lbs weight and they were just not designed for me. Currently the Bontis are collecting dust on a hook in my garage.

An issue I have with the Bontis is when a spoke pops the wheel is virtually unusable and I am stuck out on the road... not sure its worth it.

Anyone interested in a set of Bontis with 2k miles on em?
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