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  1. #1
    Geezer Clyde
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    Wheels for commuter clyde

    I put a new 2008 Specialized Sirrus Pro into service last year as a commuter bike. I ride to 36 mi RT work 3-4 days a week and really enjoy it. The commute is almost all on paved roads - a couple of miles of paved MUP and about 1/4 mile of gravel shoulder. I am 6'4" and weight about 250 lbs.

    After about 1000 miles I took the bike into the LBS for a general tune up. Although I hadn't noticed it myself they spotted and showed me where the metal on the back rim was actually cracking around near the spoke holes. The great news is that Specialized immediately replaced the wheels with some upgraded ones that are stronger. I now have about 2200 miles on the bike. I'm using Specialized Armadillo 700 x 28 tires (they are awesome).

    Yesterday I had one of the spokes on the rear wheel break, and the wheel went a bit out of true - bad enough that I had to loosen the rear brake cable to stop it from dragging. I dropped the bike off at the LBS on the way home and as always they will repair and adjust the bike.

    My question - does anyone have specific wheel recommendations for a heavily loaded high use commuter bike? I have really come to enjoy the commute and its personal benefits and am willing to spend a little to upgrade to a stronger wheel if it will improve reliability and dependability.

    Thanks in advance for any feedback you have.
    Bicycle Commuting ROCKS!

  2. #2
    POWERCRANK addict markhr's Avatar
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    shameless POWERCRANK plug
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  3. #3
    Chubby super biker bdinger's Avatar
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    ^^^ What he said. I'll chime in, though. Last year I spent pretty much the entire year with either a spoke broken, waiting to be broke, or in fear of breakage. I've got about 100lbs on you, and legs that could be mistaken for tree trunks - I *really* put down the power.

    This year I'm still undecided what to do. If I keep my current bike (similar to yours, but the Trek version, the FX) I'm going to swap the rear wheel out (handbuilt 32h Sun RhynoLite with Deore hub) with a new 36h RhynoLite with a XT hub, and move the rear wheel up front, except on a new front XT hub. I'm also going to go from 700x32 Bontragers to 700x35 'dillos (I got some for my MTB, and you are completely right, they are *awesome*) to give just a little more cushion, and dump down from 110psi in the tires to 80 for commuting.

    Be warned, however ,my solution won't take anything smaller than a 700x32c. In fact, even then I worry about the tire being too small on those gigantic RhynoLites. For a more road oriented approach, the Velocity Deep-V is absolutely bombproof. Get a 36h rear while keeping the current front, and ride the wheels off.

  4. #4
    Lanterne Rouge
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    If you can fit larger tires in, that would be one step to reduce stress on the wheel.

    In addition (though I'm not sure what kind of spokes/pattern you currently have) you might want to look at something like a standard 36 spoke three cross pattern, possibly with Deep V rims (very tough, as far as I understand.)

    I have Mavic T519 36/3x wheels for fatter tires on my touring bike, and Ultegra Open Pro/XTR Open Pro with 32 spoke 3 cross for skinny rubber that I'm just getting really broken in. No trouble with either yet, knock on wood.

    FWIW I'm about 215-220, and ride with cracked roads/potholes etc. through Brooklyn. Your needs will change based on your conditions...
    "Having modest aspirations RULES." --patentcad
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  5. #5
    Senior Member adrien's Avatar
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    I had major issues for a while, and ended up with deep Vs, hand-made.

    My experience broken out in more detail here:

    Deep Vs 1,000 miles in

    Bottom line -- I'm now another 700 miles in, zero issues. Part of the key is a good hand build, good brass nipples, etc. Best money I've spent on the bike, period (ok, I didn't need the front deep v but it looks great).

    Thier only issue is they make the ride skittish in high winds (imagine a sail attached directly to the steerer tube, which is basically whjat the v section is).
    "how do you know you can't swim until you have drowned?"

  6. #6
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Hand built, multi-stressed, with either a deep profile rim (Velocity Deep V, Alex DA28, DT RR1.2, Mavic CXP-33) or a wider trekking/touring rim.
    Since you're breaking the rim at the spoke nipples, look for an eyeletted rim to help strengthen that junction and relieve some rim stress.
    You mention that it's a heavily loaded and stressed setup, so you might want to consider a heavier touring wheel: Velocity Dyad or Mavic A719 rims on 40 spoke hubs. The time it will save you at the shop should make up for the extra weight on the bike.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Ray Dockrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdinger View Post
    ^^^ What he said. I'll chime in, though. Last year I spent pretty much the entire year with either a spoke broken, waiting to be broke, or in fear of breakage. I've got about 100lbs on you, and legs that could be mistaken for tree trunks - I *really* put down the power.

    This year I'm still undecided what to do. If I keep my current bike (similar to yours, but the Trek version, the FX) I'm going to swap the rear wheel out (handbuilt 32h Sun RhynoLite with Deore hub) with a new 36h RhynoLite with a XT hub, and move the rear wheel up front, except on a new front XT hub. I'm also going to go from 700x32 Bontragers to 700x35 'dillos (I got some for my MTB, and you are completely right, they are *awesome*) to give just a little more cushion, and dump down from 110psi in the tires to 80 for commuting.

    Be warned, however ,my solution won't take anything smaller than a 700x32c. In fact, even then I worry about the tire being too small on those gigantic RhynoLites. For a more road oriented approach, the Velocity Deep-V is absolutely bombproof. Get a 36h rear while keeping the current front, and ride the wheels off.
    I was wondering about the setup you propose. Aren't the Rhynolites 26" wheels? Also, don't the FX series bikes have road spacing for the hubs? I was just wondering.

  8. #8
    Chubby super biker bdinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Dockrey View Post
    I was wondering about the setup you propose. Aren't the Rhynolites 26" wheels? Also, don't the FX series bikes have road spacing for the hubs? I was just wondering.
    They make both 700c and 26in RhynoLites, apparently. My rear is a 700c, while the front is the stock (and crappy) Bontrager. They both are 32h because, well, I didn't hold my ground and get a 36h . Anyway, the rear has held up pretty good, but the front is now out of true. Still not completely sure what I'm going to do, as I wouldn't mind getting Deep-V's.

    Also, the FX series seems to have MTB rear spacing (135mm) from what I'm told.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Dyad rims on ultegra hubs (Peter white Cycles) took me through several thousand miles at my heaviest weight, including an unitentional drop of nearly a foot and they are almost perfectly true. Also a wide enough rim to let you run a pretty good size tire. They are on my touring bike now, though I'm going to get a new rear with an XT or Phil hub before my trans-con next year.

    And to answer the above, yes the Trek FX series does have 135mm spacing, most of those hybrid/bike-path type bikes run 700c rims with 135mm hub spacing, I believe that the OP's Sirrius does as well.

  10. #10
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    The builder also makes a big difference. Just because someone works in a bike shop doesn't mean they know or are good at building wheels. Find someone with a rep for building!

  11. #11
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdinger View Post
    They make both 700c and 26in RhynoLites, apparently. My rear is a 700c, while the front is the stock (and crappy) Bontrager. They both are 32h because, well, I didn't hold my ground and get a 36h . Anyway, the rear has held up pretty good, but the front is now out of true. Still not completely sure what I'm going to do, as I wouldn't mind getting Deep-V's.

    Also, the FX series seems to have MTB rear spacing (135mm) from what I'm told.

    Lots of stock wheels go out cause they have never been retensioned. Maybe take it to a good wheel guy at a local shop, have him retension and retrue. If the wheel is good, should still hold for some time. IF it's cracked and shabby, you need a new one. Front wheels are cheap though!

  12. #12
    POWERCRANK addict markhr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    The builder also makes a big difference. Just because someone works in a bike shop doesn't mean they know or are good at building wheels. Find someone with a rep for building!
    +1
    shameless POWERCRANK plug
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  13. #13
    Geezer Clyde
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    First: thanks to all for your responses - the information is much appreciated.

    I stopped by the LBS yesterday evening to pick up the bike. I talked with the store manager who commutes 50 mi RT on a fixie and he is running the deep V wheels front and back. He has over 7,000 miles on them and has never even had to true them up! His wheels are a vivid lime green in color; I'm hoping they are available in a more traditional and conservative color.

    It turns out my back wheel had quite a few loose spokes on it besides the broken one. They serviced the wheel and I rode in today without any problems. At this point I'm going to stick with the wheels I have until another problem occurs, at which time I will likely pursue the deep V solution.
    Bicycle Commuting ROCKS!

  14. #14
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hankbrandenburg View Post
    First: thanks to all for your responses - the information is much appreciated.

    I stopped by the LBS yesterday evening to pick up the bike. I talked with the store manager who commutes 50 mi RT on a fixie and he is running the deep V wheels front and back. He has over 7,000 miles on them and has never even had to true them up! His wheels are a vivid lime green in color; I'm hoping they are available in a more traditional and conservative color.

    It turns out my back wheel had quite a few loose spokes on it besides the broken one. They serviced the wheel and I rode in today without any problems. At this point I'm going to stick with the wheels I have until another problem occurs, at which time I will likely pursue the deep V solution.
    Deep V rims come in a ton of colours, including plain old black or sliver.

    If you had a bunch of loose spokes besides the broken one, I'm guessing that's what was responsible for the break. (Poorly tensioned wheel). Since having it fixed, what you need to do every couple of rides is check the tension on the spokes. It's really simple: Just grab two spokes above their last crossover and give them a little squeeze. They shouldn't wiggle around. If they do, then something is loose.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halthane View Post
    Dyad rims on ultegra hubs (Peter white Cycles) took me through several thousand miles at my heaviest weight, including an unitentional drop of nearly a foot and they are almost perfectly true. Also a wide enough rim to let you run a pretty good size tire. They are on my touring bike now, though I'm going to get a new rear with an XT or Phil hub before my trans-con next year.
    <SNIP>
    +1 on the workmanship from Peter White. I got a replacement front wheel from him as I was upgrading to a Shimano Generator hub. I hot the Dyad Velocity rim and it is holding up beautifully. This was my first year riding through a Buffalo Winter so the wheel gets plenty of abuse. I did need a replacement rear wheel after I kept breaking spokes. Since the rear wheel is under warrantee I've just had the LBS replace it. Once out of warrentee I'll get Peter to build me a wheel. The funny thing is that the Generator hub wheel (Ultegra bearings) actually turned smoother and the stock Bontrager wheel.

    You can read all about Peter's philosphy on wheels at his site. To get a wheel you can tell him your weight, the type of riding you do, and what kind of bike it is going on and he will tell you what he thinks will hold up.

    Happy riding,
    André

  16. #16
    bicycle crusher
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    If I pluck up the courage to go into a bike shop and if they somehow have a bicycle that's built like a dump truck, is it reasonable to ask them to check/tension the wheels on a new bike? What's a fair price for that, on top of the cost of the bike?

  17. #17
    POWERCRANK addict markhr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ball View Post
    If I pluck up the courage to go into a bike shop and if they somehow have a bicycle that's built like a dump truck, is it reasonable to ask them to check/tension the wheels on a new bike? What's a fair price for that, on top of the cost of the bike?
    Most of the LBSs around here do that as a matter of course free for new bike purchases. Usually after 500miles or a month, whichever is sooner.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member jaxgtr's Avatar
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    I would and I did. By the way, I heard this from a couple of people at different LBS's, the 700C Rhynolites are a real bear to keep true as they are super soft. One wheel builder told me to avoid them at my size and I was in the 325 area at the time. I've also heard this about some of the lower end Mavic wheels.
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  19. #19
    POWERCRANK addict markhr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaxgtr View Post
    I would and I did. By the way, I heard this from a couple of people at different LBS's, the 700C Rhynolites are a real bear to keep true as they are super soft. One wheel builder told me to avoid them at my size and I was in the 325 area at the time. I've also heard this about some of the lower end Mavic wheels.
    good to know - thanks for posting

    +1 on the lowend mavics (and MA40 rims)
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  20. #20
    Senior Member jaxgtr's Avatar
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    I have a set of Mavic A119's on my hybrid and why the LBS had a hell of a time getting them to true due to the softness, they have been a good rim for me. I have about 900 miles on them now and they have only been trued once, but at the same time, I have them re-tensioned. I tried to true them up, but I just did not have the skill to deal with the soft rim. They have LX hubs and down the road, I'm thinking of buying another set of the Deep V rims and have them lace them up to these hubs.
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  21. #21
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    I have been running my MA-40's since my build up in 1988. No problems. I had it re-laced on a 9speed Dura-Ace hub about a year ago and still no problems. As others have said, I think it is more how they are built.

  22. #22
    POWERCRANK addict markhr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Antelope 70cm View Post
    I have been running my MA-40's since my build up in 1988. No problems. I had it re-laced on a 9speed Dura-Ace hub about a year ago and still no problems. As others have said, I think it is more how they are built.
    Check them regularly for cracks at the spoke holes - it's a combination of an already soft rim with punched holes in brittle hard anodizing.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by markhr View Post
    Check them regularly for cracks at the spoke holes - it's a combination of an already soft rim with punched holes in brittle hard anodizing.
    Thanks i'll keep an eye out. Are there any differences in MA-40's through the years? Mine are gray with silver eyelets in the spoke holes.

  24. #24
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    Just wanted to once again thank markhr.

    I must have jinxed myself by saying I had no problems with my MA-40's. This last week my rear wouldn't stay true. After a close inspection today, I do have a crack at a spoke hole. The hubs are off getting Deep V's and DT Swiss Alpine spokes. Can't wait. I guess I will have to get my 25" Giant Yukon ready to go while waiting.

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