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  1. #1
    Clyde that Rides Aeneas's Avatar
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    Clyde- happy touring hub/ Wheel rebuild

    Sorry for the length, but I've found that the more details I include, the better recommendations/ advice I receive.

    It's looking like I'm needing to rebuild/ have rebuilt the rear wheel on my 2007 Jamis Aurora. Most of my riding is commuting but this summer I'm planning a couple 3-5 day fully loaded tours, probably the GAP/C&O Canal and some time in the Adirondacks. I'm 6'2" and about 320 lbs. I anticipate carrying 50 lbs of gear. The stock rear wheel is a 9 speed cassette Shimano Tiaga.

    It seems that I'm pretty rough on my rear wheels. I had the rear wheel on my Trek 7300FX rebuilt after less than 500 miles (over 3 years, wasn't riding much.) I've been popping spokes on the NDS of Aurora wheel and have been replacing them myself throughout the fall (haven't been riding it much over the winter.) Now, I'm pretty sure the current hub seems to be in decent shape, but I'm not sure if I should rebuild the wheel or replace wheel. Reading Peter White's recommendation he suggests going to a Phil Wood Touring Hub, but my thrifty side balks at the possibly $600 cost of a new wheel built around a Phil Wood Touring Hub. I could have the wheel rebuilt for about $120 or do it myself for less. If I upgrade the wheel, I'll go from a 3-cross 36 spoke wheel to a 3 or 4 cross 48 spoke hub, which is probably a better choice for my weight.

    Alternatively, I could go with a freewheel hub but that would require changing the Tiaga STI system to something else and probably end up costing me near the cost of the Phil Wood cassette hub-based wheel.

    So what I'm looking for is the experience of my fellow clydes in this regard. Is the Phil Wood cassette hub worth the cost? What are the advantages of having a custom wheel built. Peter White's reputation is not in question as a wheel builder (haven't found any good local wheel builders that do more than a handful of touring wheels each year,) but what are the advantages/ disadvantages of a professionally built wheel vs a home built wheel? Is the change to a freewheel hub worth considering?

    Your advice/ experience is appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Junior Member
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    Get a strong rim with lots of spokes (36 or more) and have it built by somebody who knows what they are doing. I toured on Mavic 721 wheels with Shimano XT hubs with no problems when almost the same weight as you.

    I'm sure the Phil Wood hub is excellent but I doubt you need to spend that amount of money to get a strong wheel.

    Pete

  3. #3
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    The Phil is worth the money, but it doesn't sound like the hub is your issue so you're probably better off spending the money in other ways for a strong and more economical wheel.

    A 40h DT Swiss 540 tandem hub will save you around $100 vs. the Phil Touring.
    Throw that spare $100 at a wider rim like the Salsa Gordo ($50) and a set of DT Champion 2.0 spokes and you'll come up with a wheel that's around the same price as the Phil hub all by its lonesome.
    Wrap the whole thing with a 35mm or 37mm tire for some extra cushion from impact damage in case you hit a pot hole or tour on washboard fire roads, and you should be fine.

    The advantage to a pro-built wheel is having someone else do the work if you're not comfortable with doing it yourself.
    The advantage to building it yourself is knowing that you're the only person who's done the work on it, and being able to tune things precisely how you want them. If you know what tension you want on your spokes, there's no having to check or guess if the builder did it to your spec. It's also cheaper than having a custom wheel built for you, and in the case of a non-local builder, there's no worry about damage during shipping.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
    - Mandi M.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    '89 66cm Cannondale 3.0, '92 22" Cannondale M2000, '92 JxL Cannondale R1000 Tandem, '86 Cannondale ST800 27" (68.5cm) Touring bike w/Superbe Pro components and Phil Wood hubs.
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    You don't need the Phil Wood cassette hub. In fact if you're serious about touring you don't really want a modern 9/10 speed drivetrain at all.

    8 speed is absolutely the stuff that serious tourists rely on for a variety of reasons. First of all its absolutely bombproof compared to 9/10 speed kit. The chains are wider and stronger by far, when comparing same quality level. You can still get Wipperman 6/7/8 speed nickel plated chains and SRAM still makes a high end 6/7/8 speed chain (PC890). The chainrings are wider and will hold up much longer. The shifting (in index mode) is MUCH less finicky, and will stay in tune for a much longer period of time. With modern 9/10 speed setups the tolerances are much narrower trying to get more cogs into the same space. Any variance out of tune makes 9/10 speed setups act up. The last thing you want when touring is shifting that doesn't shift perfectly every time.

    So I'd seriously consider going the route of an 8 speed Phil Wood freewheel hub. Much much cheaper, and absolutely as strong. With any other freewheel hub there are issues of the freewheel hub not being as strong as a cassette hub. Not so with a Phil Wood due to the design. Heck a Phil Wood freewheel tandem hub will support you and a stoker!

    A Phil Wood freewheel hub in 48 drill will only set you back around $165 compared to $465 for a cassette Phil Wood.

    However, I wouldn't throw any of that at a Jamis. Get yourself a nice vintage Cannondale ST touring bike. Think Rivendell only stronger, faster, and lighter.

    If you're serious about wanting an absolutely bombproof rear wheel have Peter White build you up a 48h hub with a Velocity Chukker. That's going to build an even stronger wheel than a Mavic A719. The Chukker is one of the most robust rims out there.

    What you really need are 48 spokes, not a high zoot hub. Any 48 drill rear hub would work. A Phil Wood won't build into a stronger wheel than any other quality hub.

    Make sure you're getting 2.0 spokes or even 2.3 Alpine triple butted spokes. Don't go for the nonsense that pervades that weaker spokes build a stronger wheel. That doesn't apply to outlier weight requirement wheels.

  5. #5
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbke View Post
    So I'd seriously consider going the route of an 8 speed Phil Wood freewheel hub. Much much cheaper, and absolutely as strong. With any other freewheel hub there are issues of the freewheel hub not being as strong as a cassette hub. Not so with a Phil Wood due to the design. Heck a Phil Wood freewheel tandem hub will support you and a stoker!
    You're spot on with much of your info. Stronger spokes, higher drilling (althought 48 is going to be overkill on a well built wheel), but I haven't noticed too many touring or long-distance (randonneuring) bikes rolling 8spd drivetrains anymore. 9 speed equipment can be finicky for shifting if you're indexing it, but running in full friction mode you can get just as solid a shift without the instances of jumping-under-load as you can with an 8spd setup. The durability and strength difference between a solid pinned 9spd chain and a quality 8spd chain isn't so great as to make it a detriment for a larger rider.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
    - Mandi M.

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