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  1. #1
    Senior Member EKW in DC's Avatar
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    How much are we looking at? - Wheel advice

    I'm looking into getting a new rear wheel built for my hybrid since I just broke my third spoke in about as many months last Friday. (I'm a 6'1", 300# and slowly dropping, daily commuter w/ over 1500 miles on the bike since June. I had bought some spare spokes at the LBS and was able to pull the freewheel and replace the spoke for free this weekend at a bike co-op, so no expense there (spare the spoke, the time, and the aggravation) and no commuting time lost.

    I e-mailed a local wheelbuilder who I've heard has a good history of building strong wheels for touring, tandems, and, of course, clydes. I explained my situation, and his recommendation basically boils down to this:

    I think a minimum of 36 spokes are in order, and 40 would be better. I built a similar wheel for another guy a few days ago using a Velocity Deep V rim and velocity mountain bike, 135mm cassette hub. Which rim is best would depend on the widest size tire you would want to use.


    He charges $60 labor per wheel, plus the cost of components. I did a little quick searching around last night and this is my preliminary estimate on the wheel:

    Velocity Deep V Rim (700c, running up to 40 mm tires) - $70
    Spokes (36-40) - $40
    Cassette - $30 (hopefully 7 speed so as to be compatible with my current derailluer and indexed trigger shifter)
    Mountain bike freehub - $50 (???-This I'm having a hard time finding a price on this one, since I hope to go seven speed)
    The cassette and freehub would have to be new, b/c my current config is a freewheel, which he is advising against due to the likelihood of bending (or already having bent) the axle
    Labor - $60

    TOTAL: $250+tax

    Now, this amount seems almost a bit silly since I bought my whole bike new for just over $200 (it's a big box store Schwinn, but not a complete el cheapo). I know crappy wheels kept the price down (I already replaced them once with some lightly used MTB wheels from a bike co-op), and I also know that a good wheel is not cheap and should last me for a long time. That said, this would still be a BIG outlay. I plan on going in to the shop to talk to this guy at some point and getting his sense of how much this would cost and what my options are, but I was wondering if anyone could offer any ideas as to the following:

    1. Is my above estimate realistic, too high, too low?

    2. What kind of price range should I reasonably expect to have to pay for a decent quality rear wheel, even if using other components?

    2. Are there other options equipment-wise I should ask him about that might be a little more affordable?

    Thanks in advance for any responses.

  2. #2
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Just about spot on. Maybe that co-op will have a nice MTB rear hub that the wheel can be built around. 7-speed cassettes can be used on an 8/9/10 speed freehub body with a 4mm spacer. You will not be able to put a freehub body on a freewheel threaded hub.
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  3. #3
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EKW in DC View Post
    I'm looking into getting a new rear wheel built for my hybrid since I just broke my third spoke in about as many months last Friday. (I'm a 6'1", 300# and slowly dropping, daily commuter w/ over 1500 miles on the bike since June. I had bought some spare spokes at the LBS and was able to pull the freewheel and replace the spoke for free this weekend at a bike co-op, so no expense there (spare the spoke, the time, and the aggravation) and no commuting time lost.

    I e-mailed a local wheelbuilder who I've heard has a good history of building strong wheels for touring, tandems, and, of course, clydes. I explained my situation, and his recommendation basically boils down to this:

    I think a minimum of 36 spokes are in order, and 40 would be better. I built a similar wheel for another guy a few days ago using a Velocity Deep V rim and velocity mountain bike, 135mm cassette hub. Which rim is best would depend on the widest size tire you would want to use.


    He charges $60 labor per wheel, plus the cost of components. I did a little quick searching around last night and this is my preliminary estimate on the wheel:

    Velocity Deep V Rim (700c, running up to 40 mm tires) - $70
    Spokes (36-40) - $40
    Cassette - $30 (hopefully 7 speed so as to be compatible with my current derailluer and indexed trigger shifter)
    Mountain bike freehub - $50 (???-This I'm having a hard time finding a price on this one, since I hope to go seven speed)
    The cassette and freehub would have to be new, b/c my current config is a freewheel, which he is advising against due to the likelihood of bending (or already having bent) the axle
    Labor - $60

    TOTAL: $250+tax

    Now, this amount seems almost a bit silly since I bought my whole bike new for just over $200 (it's a big box store Schwinn, but not a complete el cheapo). I know crappy wheels kept the price down (I already replaced them once with some lightly used MTB wheels from a bike co-op), and I also know that a good wheel is not cheap and should last me for a long time. That said, this would still be a BIG outlay. I plan on going in to the shop to talk to this guy at some point and getting his sense of how much this would cost and what my options are, but I was wondering if anyone could offer any ideas as to the following:

    1. Is my above estimate realistic, too high, too low?

    2. What kind of price range should I reasonably expect to have to pay for a decent quality rear wheel, even if using other components?

    2. Are there other options equipment-wise I should ask him about that might be a little more affordable?

    Thanks in advance for any responses.
    That's about right for a hand built wheel and components. However, considering the bike you are putting them on, it's probably not worth the expenditure. Talk to the wheel guy and see if he can retension the wheels you have now ($25 to $50). That may get you some life on your wheels. If you can keep finding used wheels, you can probably get more life out of your bike. Then start saving for a higher quality bike with better wheels.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    If you are going to be running 40mm tires I would go ahead and get the Velocity Chukker.. Just think of it as the bigger, wider brother to the deep. V.. 24mm wide - 32mm deep.. deep v is 30mm high and 19mm wide.. It weighs 130 grams more.. Your price for a custom wheel is right on the mark..

    http://www.velocityusa.com/default.asp?contentID=700

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by socalrider View Post
    If you are going to be running 40mm tires I would go ahead and get the Velocity Chukker..
    Ouch! That's heavy... I'm a big fan of the Velocity Synergy OC. It's almost as wide as the Chukker (23mm vs 24mm) and 160g lighter. OC drilling leads to more even tension between the drive and non-drive spokes which may lead to longer wheel life. They're what I built for my touring bike...

  6. #6
    Senior Member EKW in DC's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feeback, one and all. I've been refreshing occasionally during the day to read responsed, but have been quite busy today at work, so little time to respond.

    You will not be able to put a freehub body on a freewheel threaded hub.
    That I knew. I'm sorry if I wasn't clear in my terminology. I'd be looking at a whole new hub w/ a freehub body on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel
    Ouch! That's heavy...
    I'm not worried about a few ounces of weight in the wheel. I'm mostly interested in getting from point A to point B w/o wheels falling apart! And if it's a little heavier, all the better in some ways - more effort = better exercise= more weight loss = even less stress on the spokes! The OC drilling is interesting, though. I'd seen it in wheel profile images, but wasn't quite sure what it was for. Now it makes sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by socalrider
    If you are going to be running 40mm tires...
    I run a 40 right now and probably will for the foreseeable future. I ended up with a 35mm cyclocross tire on the front wheel, and the stock wheels used to have skinnier tires (32s I think), and I liked both. While I imagine I'll mostly be running 40s, I wouldn't want to limit myself to that or wider. I kind of like the potential flexibility of being able to go down to a 35, or maybe even a 32 some day, though I doubt the latter.

    Quote Originally Posted by socalrider
    Talk to the wheel guy and see if he can retension the wheels you have now ($25 to $50). That may get you some life on your wheels.
    That's an option I'm considering, although he has already stated that he "[doesn't] think going with a rebuild is a good idea." Besides the fact that they're already suspect components given my history, he mentioned that axles in freewheel hubs are much more likely to get bent than on freehub assemblies, especially for heavier riders.

    At a $250 price tag, rebuild might be my only option, though. I don't want to offend his professional opinion, and I know that a new wheel would certainly be best, but I do face certain very real financial constraints. All new spokes with proper high tensioning done by him might be the ticket if he's willing to accept the job. That'd be in the $100 range, I'd guess.

    Certainly frustrating at best. I know I'm certainly outside the bell curve weight-wise, especially among cyclists, BUT it seems like these things should just be engineered to handle heavier weights by default, especially on a bike or a wheel that will never see racing action. Guess I got what I paid for to begin with, though.

    I do appreciate the wheel builder's non-dismissive (of clydes) sentiment, though: "There is no reason you can't have strong wheels on which you will be able to ride with confidence." To that, I say AMEN!

    Thanks again all for your feedback!

  7. #7
    Clyde that Rides Aeneas's Avatar
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    I had a wheel rebuilt a couple years ago, cost about $100. The rebuilt wheel carried me just fine (all 340 lbs of me), but it started off with better components than your big box Schwinn, (I've sold that bike). I am now saving for a new rear wheel to replace the stock wheel that's giving me some trouble on my Aurora and I'm expecting it to be in the $300 range, so I think your estimate of $250 is reasonable.
    I'm probably also gonna try my hand at lacing a generator hub to a new front wheel this winter. My rationale is to determine if the labor costs associated with wheelbuilding are justified.

  8. #8
    Senior Member EKW in DC's Avatar
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    Aeneas,

    FWIW, I don't have the stock wheels on my Schwinn anymore. Over the summer, I ended up with a lightly used 36H Hoopsters wheelset, which I gather was originally on a Giant MTB. (The stock wheels on my bike were 24 spokes of total garbage. They lasted only a couple months.) Still probably not really great stuff, especially for a clyde, but better than the junk that was originally on my bike and more likely to be worth rebuilding than what I had.

    When will I hit the lottery?! LOL Then I'll get a set of very nice handmade custom wheels to go on that Surly LHT I want, right? Tricked out with all the coolest accessories and gadgets... I can dream, can't I?

  9. #9
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    Even with the wider 24mm chukker rim, you could easily go down to a 700x28 tires and as big as 700x45.. You have the right attitude, get a tough rim built up to last for years.. A lot of people will try to convince you low spoke count wheels are fine, then you ask them how many miles do you have on them, usually it is 500, get to 5000 and then we'll see how those wheels are doing..

    I just had a wheel built up by my friend Mark at Comp Edge, he asked how I wanted it built.. I said strong, 14g straight gauge spokes, brass nipples.. Sure you add a little weight but you do not have wheel issues when you do this.. Even going this route, the Velo Aerohead wheel came out at 950grams for a 36 hole rear wheel..
    Last edited by socalrider; 12-08-09 at 03:38 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member EKW in DC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by socalrider View Post
    Even with the wider 24mm chukker rim, you could easily go down to a 700x28 tires and as big as 700x45..
    Well, I'll keep it in mind then. I thought that smaller tires wouldn't work based on Sheldon Brown's chart: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tire_sizing.html#width

    Quote Originally Posted by socalrider View Post
    You have the right attitude, get a tough rim built up to last for years.. A lot of people will try to convince you low spoke count wheels are fine, then you ask them how many miles do you have on them, usually it is 500, get to 5000 and then we'll see how those wheels are doing..
    Yeah, just commuting I put over 500 miles on my wheels on two months, so I certainly need something that can stand the test of time. Ideally I'd do more weekend fun rides, too, and I'm thinking of trying out some short weekend/one-night self-supported camping touring. Of course, I'd rather have a solid wheel under me before I do that...

    Quote Originally Posted by socalrider View Post
    I just had a wheel built up by my friend Mark at Comp Edge, he asked how I wanted it built.. I said strong, 14g straight gauge spokes, brass nipples.. Sure you add a little weight but you do not have wheel issues when you do this.. Even going this route, the Velo Aerohead wheel came out at 950grams for a 36 hole rear wheel..
    Yeah, I can handle a two pound wheel. I'm not a weight weenie... (No offense to anyone)

  11. #11
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    Check out http://aebike.com/product/handspun-r...e7099-qc30.htm

    QBP's Handspun can do it cheaper because they pay a LOT less for the parts than does your local wheelbuilder. I used to build my own and cut out the wheelbuilding fee when I had access to parts at wholesale. But now, it seems silly to try if you have to buy the parts at retail.

    BTW, the part linked above has been VERY reliable and have not required ANY maintenance. That has been with by 280# body riding them extensively, sometimes on mountain bike trails.

  12. #12
    Senior Member EKW in DC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BearSquirrel View Post
    Check out http://aebike.com/product/handspun-r...e7099-qc30.htm

    QBP's Handspun can do it cheaper because they pay a LOT less for the parts than does your local wheelbuilder. I used to build my own and cut out the wheelbuilding fee when I had access to parts at wholesale. But now, it seems silly to try if you have to buy the parts at retail.

    BTW, the part linked above has been VERY reliable and have not required ANY maintenance. That has been with by 280# body riding them extensively, sometimes on mountain bike trails.
    Intriguing. Part of me really wants to support the LBS in this (since I didn't when I bought my bike) but maybe not to the tune of $250 for one wheel. If I had the $$$, I probably wouldn't think twice, but reality being what it is, this might be a better option. When you order, do they ask your weight and set tension accordingly? Heavier riders need more tension as I've been led to understand by BF and other internet resources...

    The other thing I like about the LBS is I'll have a place to go back to if something's not right. With the aebike.com wheel, I might be a bit up the creek w/o a paddle (oh, and $150) if the wheel's not working out. I suppose that's the risk you take for a cheaper price...? I'd still have to get a 7 speed cassette and proper spacers, too, which is probably another 30 or so (altough I don't even know exactly what spacers I'd need)...

    BTW, can you quantify extensively? I'm likely to put 3000-4000 miles on this wheel next year, so just wanted to make sure "extensively" is more than a couple hundred miles in your book.

    Anyone else w/ experience on these kind of hand-made Internet-order wheels, these rims/hubs or with customer service at aebikes?

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    All that been stated here's OK. I do take exception with the price. The price for the wheel is fine but a 36sp. NON V..Vel.. etc. anything of the sort with a new Ultegra hub could cost a hudred less. If your old hub can be salvaged and the LBS doin' it up, perhaps 100 to 175 at most. The wheel I'd quoted can be ordered. Low Profile box rims are stronger for reg. riding and as much as half the price of "V"s. I don't discourage the purchase of the priced wheel discussed, you yourself sight ........
    Frankly, I can't imagine your LBS not even mentioning a regular Sun rimmed wheel. I bought such on two occasions at very low prices as well as ordering cheaper wheelsets than that. Low priced wheels often = strong ones. New bikes are not known for strong wheels. Even low prices bikes tend to have light ones. Cheap & light or good & light. The buying public consists of weight weenies.

  14. #14
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    I bought a set of 36 hole wheels for my cross bike a couple years back from Rocky Mountain cyclery on ebay - 135mm spaced.. They have been very solid.. They have a bunch of options available.. It's worth a look

    http://shop.ebay.com/rockymountaincy...dkw=&_osacat=0

  15. #15
    Senior Member EKW in DC's Avatar
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    Thanks, socalrider! I'll take a look at that eBay shop. A voice inside my head is still leary about the internet-purchased wheel (and I'm generally not internet purchase averse at all), but that's probably just because that same voice in my head has become too used to hearing the ping (or pop, or thwack) of breaking spokes every month or two.

    old and new, I'll ask the LBS about a box profile rim when I manage to get in and meet with the wheel builder face to face and see what options I might have there.

    I'll keep these online options in mind, too, since they seem to have some satisfied customers here on BF.

    Thanks guys!

  16. #16
    Senior Member funrover's Avatar
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    My MTB set up for the rear is about that same price. I'd say get it now and when it's time for a bike upgrade you already have your wheels!

  17. #17
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EKW in DC View Post
    Thanks, socalrider! I'll take a look at that eBay shop. A voice inside my head is still leary about the internet-purchased wheel (and I'm generally not internet purchase averse at all), but that's probably just because that same voice in my head has become too used to hearing the ping (or pop, or thwack) of breaking spokes every month or two.

    old and new, I'll ask the LBS about a box profile rim when I manage to get in and meet with the wheel builder face to face and see what options I might have there.

    I'll keep these online options in mind, too, since they seem to have some satisfied customers here on BF.

    Thanks guys!
    They have been on ebay selling years for several years and all there wheels are handbuilt.. I bought a set of Mavic A119's on LX Hubs for my Surly Crosscheck.. They have handled a lot of rough terrain offroad with no issues.

  18. #18
    Senior Member EKW in DC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by funrover View Post
    My MTB set up for the rear is about that same price. I'd say get it now and when it's time for a bike upgrade you already have your wheels!
    I was thinking about that. If I were to buy new, the upgrade I would make would be to a Surly LHT, which also has 135mm spacing, so whatever wheel I get could easily be moved over to the new ride... That still doesn't necessatrily mean I can throw $250 at it right now, but it does help me rationalize when it comes to the idea of potentially doing so...

  19. #19
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    Buy a machine built 36 spoke rear wheel with V rims (Alex). This should be under $100, cassette & spacer $40. Also buy a Park Tensiometer $60. Put the wheel in the trueing stand at your co-op, check drive side tension is even all around between 100 and 110 kg; non drive side tension awaen at whatever it takes to keep the rim running in the middle. Stress relieve spokes, recheck tension, put on your bike and ride. With your tensiometer you can recheck tension after hitting potholes. Building a quality wheel from scratch is highly skilled work, but tweaking tension with the aid of the Park instrument is easy and very satisfying.

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    If $250 is too steep don't do it. The reason you had a problem was a machine built wheel that was probably never re-trued from day one. Go ahead and get a regular 135mm mtn. wheel and put an 8spd cassette on it, assuming the rear triangle is 130mm and not 126mm.

    http://www.bikeman.com/WE7095.html $125 plus shipping.

    If I was building for a 300lb person I'd be inclined to go to 13g butted spokes and wider rim like the rhyno for 40mm tires.

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    I picked a used set of 700c rims from a local coop that seemed to be in good shape, rebuilt the hub and had the guys at the local bike shop retention the spokes and its been solid for 2500 miles with no complaints and it only cost me $20 bucks labor.

  22. #22
    Bikesman RedWhiteandRed's Avatar
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    Hello -

    Do not discount machine built wheels or the likelihood of spending more on "upgrades" and bike issues in the coming months. You might consider a whole new - higher quality - bicycle. I am amazed at the trueness, strength and reliability of the wheels on the Giant Seek series of bikes.

    I am/was well over 300 - well over - and have ridden thousands of rough and ready miles on machine built Giant wheels on the Seek bike.


    You might like this bike.

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    SPEND the coin with your local builder and get it done right. It's the MOST cost efficent route.. by far. Spend your time riding... not fixing and messing with the wheel.

    I've screwed around NOT getting a high end wheel built.. a BIG mistake. And I'm 'only' 246..............

    Someone makes a stainless steel rim.... I believe inherently stronger for us heavy wts.

  24. #24
    Senior Member EKW in DC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedWhiteandRed View Post
    I am/was well over 300 - well over - and have ridden thousands of rough and ready miles on machine built Giant wheels on the Seek bike.You might like this bike.
    If I had the money to spend on that bike, I'd get a second job if need be to come up with the extra $400 to get that LHT Thanks for the recommendation, though.

  25. #25
    Senior Member EKW in DC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SortaGrey View Post
    Spend your time riding... not fixing and messing with the wheel.
    That's my end goal in all this.

    Quote Originally Posted by SortaGrey View Post
    I've screwed around NOT getting a high end wheel built.. a BIG mistake. And I'm 'only' 246...
    It'll all come down to necessaity and what the budget can bear. At this point, not too much. In a kind of perverse way, I wish these issues were more serious earlier. Could have asked all family to donate to the "get Eric a custom wheel" fund. Too late for that now.

    Quote Originally Posted by SortaGrey View Post
    Someone makes a stainless steel rim.... I believe inherently stronger for us heavy wts.
    I'd seriously consider it if that were true and there were one out there. Quick Google search turned up nothin'...

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