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  1. #1
    Senior Member EKW in DC's Avatar
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    Wheel recommendations

    Was commuting to work regularly for several weeks and had racked up 200-300 miles on my Schwinn hybrid when the first spoke broke (rear, drive side). Turns out it was two broken spokes (one was being held in place by the reflector). LBS replaced the two spokes, retensioned and trued the wheel last weekend. Next day, excited to have my bike back, I’m out on a new (for me) MUP on a Sunday morning ride. *PING* Another spoke bites the dust.

    I’ve come to the realization that the spoke issues are probably due to the low spoke count on the bike, something that, in my noobiness, I didn’t realize would be such an issue when I bought the bike, despite my solid Clyde credentials (6’1”, 290-300#).

    So, I know there are 100,000,000 threads on wheels for clydes, but I didn’t want to hijack any other threads. Apologies for any repetition.

    I may end up replacing the rear wheel entirely. I’m thinking I need 36 spoke wheels. From what I’ve read, the cheapest option seems to be the Sun CR-18 700c. Here’s what I’m wondering. If I were to have an LBS build me a new wheel with this rim:

    1. How much of what I already own could be re-used? Hub enclosure would have to be new since it’ll be more spokes, but what about the axle, freewheel, cassette, etc.?

    2. Assuming I can reuse some parts, how much would I be looking at in cost to have this wheel made? From online prices, it seems that the rim retails for around $30. I’m guessing another $40 or so for spokes, plus some labor expenses, but don’t know how much I should expect to pay in labor for a new wheel.

    3. Does anyone have other suggestions for other options I should pursue? e.g., other brands, any decent, machine-made wheels (is that an oxymoron?) with 36 spokes anyone can recommend that I could just have the LBS check the tension on and switch the cassette over on? One recommendation was for a 700c wheel by Alex. Anyone have a history (good or bad) with these?

    [EDIT]
    4. On a somewhat related note, anyone have any experience w/ trying to get wheels fixed/replaced under warranty? Or, as I fear, does spoke breakage just fall under "wear and tear" even though I've never even been off of pavement with my hybrid?
    [/EDIT]

    I’m on a tight budget after a recent wedding/honeymoon and other debts, so need to maximize the affordable part of the equation as much as is reasonably and effectively possible. Besides, the bike itself cost just over $200. So selling the idea of a $100+ wheel job to my wife is not easy, debts aside…

    Thanks in advance for any information anyone can share!
    Last edited by EKW in DC; 05-27-09 at 12:53 PM.

  2. #2
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    Is that a 7 speed hybrid?

  3. #3
    Senior Member EKW in DC's Avatar
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    Yes, it's seven speed rear cassette, three up front - so 21 speeds, but yes, seven on rear.

  4. #4
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    There's a chance that the cassette can be re-used. As for the rest of the wheel, you'll need new hub, spokes and rim. So, a pre-built wheel is probably going to be cheaper than anything your lbs puts together. There's really no reason a machine built wheel can't be hand tensioned after the intitial breakin and be every bit as good as one that was hand built to begin with. Personally, i feel as though the whole "hand-built" thing is a bit over rated when you consider that we expect the wheel to loosen a little within the first few hundred miles and then get retensioned. just my 2c
    Birth Certificate, Passport, Marriage License Driver's License and Residency Permit all say I'm a Fred. I guess there's no denying it.

  5. #5
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    breaking spokes

    I'm having the same issue and had the LBS put a 36 spoke wheel on the back for me as well. Note of caution: After you ride the new wheel a couple of times take it back and have it re-trued. I rode mine for a week and by the time I noticed it didn't feel right, a spoke went on it. So now they are replacing the spoke and truing it again.

    From what I can gather there is a sort of break-in period and you may need to have the wheel trued a couple of times after you first get it in order to get it set correctly. BTW I'm 6 foot 285 and have a Trek 7100 Hybrid. I had a new cassette put on my new wheel and kept the old wheel complete as a spare so I can just switch the rear wheels if one needs a new spoke or truing and that way still ride the bike. It cost me $250 and that included a new chain. I also bought a spin doctor truing stand from Performance bike so I can start learning to do the truing and tensioning myself!Good luck!

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    What you have is a freewheel hub, not a cassette. The typical freewheel of today offers the axle no support at all and you wind up bending or breaking axles pretty quick.

    They have not made 7 speed freehubs (the strong kind of hub) in years. You can still buy a 7 speed cassette which will fit a modern 8/9/10 freehub with a spacer, but I don't know if your shifters will work with it because I don't know if the space between the sprockets is the same.

    If you had a means of making custom spacers or found a source of stackable spacers, you could drill out the rivets of a cassette and reassemble it with new spacers to preserve the correct distance between the sprockets.

  7. #7
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    *EKW in DC*

    I would find an old school bike shop and have them set you up with a 40 spoke touring rear wheel. They may even have to build you one. No worries for a good old school bike shop!
    Life is good O^o

  8. #8
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    I did a quick search online, and found one prebuilt wheel with 36 spokes for freewheels, and you can get it to your door UPS ground for $70. about $15 more for 2nd day air or Priority Mail.

    http://bicyclewarehouse.com/itemdeta...te=google_base

    I don't know what rear spacing is on your bike.

    These are cheap wheels, and while they are 36 spokes, there is no guarantee that they will hold up as well as a nicely built clyde approved wheel...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Darwin View Post
    I did a quick search online, and found one prebuilt wheel with 36 spokes for freewheels, and you can get it to your door UPS ground for $70. about $15 more for 2nd day air or Priority Mail.

    http://bicyclewarehouse.com/itemdeta...te=google_base

    I don't know what rear spacing is on your bike.

    These are cheap wheels, and while they are 36 spokes, there is no guarantee that they will hold up as well as a nicely built clyde approved wheel...
    I think I would recommend looking for a double walled rim before going for a wheel like the one above. For just a few dollars more, you could go for a Mavic CXP22 on a shimano hub, albeit 32 spoke, it would probably still be a stronger wheel:

    http://www.bicyclewheelwarehouse.com...d&productId=49

    If I get the chance, I'll look around for any other deals that would work. There are alsort of take-off wheels that can be had for little money. The only problem is they tend to be 32 spoke.
    Birth Certificate, Passport, Marriage License Driver's License and Residency Permit all say I'm a Fred. I guess there's no denying it.

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    I suggest that you walk into the bike shop that's been doing the spokes for you and ask them what they can do. Try to pick the person in charge, as this is the person with the power to cut you a deal. Bike shops often have take-offs and other extra wheels around the shop that they don't need to make a lot of money on.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member EKW in DC's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your replies! And sorry I seem to have dropped off the face of the planet. I haven't been posting, but I have been reading all your replies and doing some research based on your suggestions. All your advice is appreciated!!!

    Thanks to the generosity of a fellow BFer, I should be getting a used set of 36 spoke wheels that should work nicely with my bike (700c, freewheel, from a hybrid). I hope to get the bike up to a community, non-profit bike shop for their monthly Community Shop Nights/Adult Instruction session tomorrow night so I can use their tools, learn a little something, and get professional help swapping out the freewheel for my own, checking the hub/frame spacing, and tensioning the spokes/truing the wheel as needed. If that all works out, my total bill (for now) will be a $5 donation to a worthwhile cause and a huge debt of gratitude to a fellow forum member...

    As this "benefactor" has said, the wheels should keep me on the road while I try to save up some $$$ to buy or build something else, and for that part, all your suggestions will come in handy. I've already bookmarked the links you've all sent and taken note of recommended brands, etc. Again, thank you all.

    I look forward to being back out on two wheels again very soon and finally bike commuting to work again (instead of just sitting like a bump on a log on the train, looking longingly at the MUP I use for my primary commute route as it passes by)!!!

    Cheers and thanks!

  12. #12
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    assuming you've got a 130mm spacing out back this would be a good inexpensive way to go https://www.universalcycles.com/shop...s.php?id=29039

    it'll keep the freewheel and everything... have your shop true and properly re tension the wheelset and it should rock on for ya nicely
    Last edited by donalson; 06-03-09 at 11:57 AM.
    mtbr clyd moderator

  13. #13
    Mike the Bike
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    And on a higher end way to go would be to get a Phil Wood touring hub, 36 or 40 spoke will run you $160 then put a mavic A719 around it. The rim can be drilled for 32 36 or 40 spokes.

    Who puts aero wheels with low spoke count on a hybrid?

  14. #14
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    ...people who sell LOTS of bikes and see how big of a difference it makes when you save 20 spokes per bike... figure that most people will never put more then 100 miles on their bike and are on the smaller side (weight) you can get away with it...
    mtbr clyd moderator

  15. #15
    Senior Member EKW in DC's Avatar
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    If only I'd found BF and people with opinions like you BEFORE I decided to get back into cycling, I would have probably been much more inclined to go the Craigslist/used bike route and found something more becoming of a clyde like myself, but, alas.

    Quote Originally Posted by donalson View Post
    ...people who sell LOTS of bikes and see how big of a difference it makes when you save 20 spokes per bike... figure that most people will never put more then 100 miles on their bike and are on the smaller side (weight) you can get away with it...
    Probably true. Oh well, live and learn. What surprises me, knowing what I know now, is that I made it the 200-ish mile mark on that wheel before I had any problems!

  16. #16
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    did the spokes snap down at the J hook part?...

    anyway this is a good little tidbit from sheldon browns web page

    Up until the early 1980s, virtually all adult bikes had 72 spokes.

    32 front/40 rear was the standard for British bikes, 36 front and rear for other countries. The exception was super-fancy special purpose racing wheels, which might have 32 spokes front and rear.

    The Great Spoke Scam: In the early '80s a clever marketeer hit upon the idea of using only 32 spokes in wheels for production bikes. Because of the association of 32 spoke wheels with exotic high performance bikes, the manufacturers were able to cut corners and save money while presenting it as an "upgrade!" The resulting wheels were noticeably weaker than comparable 36 spoke wheels, but held up well enough for most customers.

    Since then this practice has been carried to an extreme, with 28, 24, even 16 spoke wheels being offered, and presented as it they were somehow an "upgrade."

    Actually, such wheels normally are not an upgrade in practice. When the spokes are farther apart on the rim, it is necessary to use a heavier rim to compensate, so there isn't usually even a weight benefit from these newer wheels!

    This type of wheel requires unusually high spoke tension, since the load is carried by fewer spokes. If a spoke does break, the wheel generally becomes instantly unridable.

    If you want highest performance, it is generally best to have more spokes in the rear wheel than the front. For instance, 28/36 is better than 32/32 People very rarely have trouble with front wheels:

    * Front wheels are symmetrically dished

    * Front wheels carry less weight

    * Front wheels don't have to deal with torsional loads (unless there's a hub brake)

    If you have the same number of spokes front and rear, either the front wheel is heavier than it needs to be, or the rear wheel is weaker than it should be.
    mtbr clyd moderator

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