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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 03-23-10, 01:51 PM   #1
DoubleTap
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Life expectancy of wheels for clydes

I know there are several variables to this question, but I'm looking for some general guidelines. I'm about 330 and ride a Trek 7.2FX and an Orbea Onix, both with Mavic Aksium wheels. A friend mentioned that I'd likely only get about 1,500 miles from these wheels, and that surprised me. I've got a big ride coming up in June, right about the time I'll likely hit about 1,500 miles on both wheelsets.

1. Is my friends mileage life estimate about right?

2. Should I be concerned about wheelset replacement on the road bike prior to my big ride?

I appreciate the advice and enjoy the boards.
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Old 03-23-10, 02:01 PM   #2
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watch the spoke tension and avoid huge potholes and I don't see why they would die that soon on you.
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Old 03-23-10, 02:17 PM   #3
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24 mm deep 20/24 spokes under a 330 lb guy? I myself wouldn't do it after thrashing 24 spoke wheels within 2,000 miles at 20 lbs.

If I did ride those wheels, I'd take them to a wheel guy to check and adjust the wheel tension. Not sure if Aksiums are handbuilt but I'd have them checked out. Many wheels, even handbuilt lose some tension after 200/300 miles. If they do, they are more likely to break a spoke. Your chance of getting more mileage out of them would be better having them retensioned.

I used a deeper rim while building my wheels. 30 mm Velicoty Deep V. I got 20,000 out of the rim before the braking surface wore down to blister. Still true but not worth the risk of riding. I've read several positngs that a wheel should live for 20,000 plus befor wearing out the brake surface.

I'd say your chances would be better having them checked EVEN if you haven't had an problems yet. Spoke tension may be low and it's not something most riders will notice till it's too late. By then, you've already compromised the integrity of the other spokes and face future breaks.
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Old 03-23-10, 05:50 PM   #4
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I have a set of 16 spoke Shimano 7700's that I bought in 2000-2001ish and just broke the first spoke on the rear wheel a couple months ago. I ride as much as 10K+ miles/year. No, those wheels don't have 90k miles on them. I have several sets of wheels but to say they have way over 10k miles on them probably isn't an overstatement.

If you have a set of wheels with decent quality parts built by a competent wheel builder you should be able to get many thousands of miles out of on your wheels. The key here being built by a competent wheel builder. I'd do as Beanz suggested and have a good wheel builder give them a once through.
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Old 03-23-10, 07:25 PM   #5
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I have a set of 16 spoke Shimano 7700's that I bought in 2000-2001ish and just broke the first spoke on the rear wheel a couple months ago. I ride as much as 10K+ miles/year. No, those wheels don't have 90k miles on them. I have several sets of wheels but to say they have way over 10k miles on them probably isn't an overstatement.

If you have a set of wheels with decent quality parts built by a competent wheel builder you should be able to get many thousands of miles out of on your wheels. The key here being built by a competent wheel builder.
I'd do as Beanz suggested and have a good wheel builder give them a once through.
+1 Most important thing with wheels for clydes is that they are well made by competent wheel builder. I've got a set of Ultegra Open Pros with over 7k miles on them still going strong. Cheap factory made wheels might not last 1k.
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Old 03-23-10, 08:48 PM   #6
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I got a replacement Aksium rear wheel on sale for $89.00, so I'm sure these are machine built wheels. However, the drive side spoke tension was pretty even when I received them. They use straight pull bladed spokes, instead of J-bend spokes, which might help keep them from breaking.

My Park tension meter has a chart for each diameter spoke, to convert meter readings into kgf values. It appears these are close to the 3.2x1mm size. If so, the drive side is at about 120 kgf--good.

I like the "have a local wheel builder check them" idea. He'll be able to fine tune the side-to-side alignment, too.

Still, with just 20 spokes, if one spoke breaks, the wheel will probably be quite out of true, rubbing on the brake pads with each revolution.

Watching the road and getting off your seat if you can't avoid a bump or a hole in the road will help a lot, too.

Last edited by rm -rf; 03-23-10 at 09:00 PM.
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Old 03-23-10, 08:55 PM   #7
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If one spoke breaks the wheel will probably be unrideable, especially with only 24 spokes.

You can pluck the spokes like a guitar string before you hop on the bike. if you have a vaguely musical ear, you can hear when one is getting terribly loose. obviously, spokes on the drive side will sound different than ones on the non-drive side for rear wheels.
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Old 03-23-10, 10:40 PM   #8
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If one spoke breaks the wheel will probably be unrideable, especially with only 24 spokes..
I wouldn't continue to ride it but it is rideable to get you back or home. One friend broke a Mavic Cosmic wheel (24) about 15 miles into our ride. I looseend and tightened where needed, opened th brakes and it easily got him back looking somewhat true.
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Old 03-23-10, 11:15 PM   #9
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If one spoke breaks the wheel will probably be unrideable, especially with only 24 spokes...
Not necessarily true for every wheel. I broke a spoke on a 24 spoke wheel on the front of my tandem last month and rode 15miles home without even having to adjust the brakes.
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Old 03-24-10, 11:07 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the helpful replies. I'll talk to a wheel-builder and see what he says. I've already put about 500 miles on one wheelset and about 300 on the other without issue, so it's probably time to have them checked.
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Old 03-24-10, 11:18 AM   #11
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So, you apparently rode road bikes as an infant, then?

(Couldn't resist!)

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Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
24 mm deep 20/24 spokes under a 330 lb guy? I myself wouldn't do it after thrashing 24 spoke wheels within 2,000 miles at 20 lbs.

If I did ride those wheels, I'd take them to a wheel guy to check and adjust the wheel tension. Not sure if Aksiums are handbuilt but I'd have them checked out. Many wheels, even handbuilt lose some tension after 200/300 miles. If they do, they are more likely to break a spoke. Your chance of getting more mileage out of them would be better having them retensioned.

I used a deeper rim while building my wheels. 30 mm Velicoty Deep V. I got 20,000 out of the rim before the braking surface wore down to blister. Still true but not worth the risk of riding. I've read several positngs that a wheel should live for 20,000 plus befor wearing out the brake surface.

I'd say your chances would be better having them checked EVEN if you haven't had an problems yet. Spoke tension may be low and it's not something most riders will notice till it's too late. By then, you've already compromised the integrity of the other spokes and face future breaks.
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Old 03-24-10, 10:05 PM   #12
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Yes! That's not a typo!
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Old 03-24-10, 10:46 PM   #13
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If I sneeze on my first set of 24 spoke Mavic's they go out of true. I like my 36 spoke count wheels...but I do ride a long haul trucker so weight is not an issue.
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Old 03-25-10, 09:41 AM   #14
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My aksium wheelset is starting to go out of true. Only 13k miles on them. Oh well, dirt cheap wheels that I keep riding on dirt paths and never maintain, I suppose it's my own fault.
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Old 03-26-10, 08:47 AM   #15
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I think I have about 10k on my wheels I got from Bicycle Wheel Warehouse and they are as solid as the day I bought them! Hoping they last forever, I love them!

I'm 240-260lbs depending on the time of year.

Wheels are DT Swiss RR1.2
DT Swiss 2.0 spokes
BWW Pure XCR disc hubs
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Old 03-27-10, 10:30 PM   #16
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If by "big ride" you mean being on a road far from home unsupported (or even supported), it is a chance I would not take. That's a lot of weight on a wheel with few spokes. A serious wheel issue away from home could ruin your ride, so I would get some sturdier stuff under me if I were you. When you are passing through 30 mph on a downhill run do you want to have a shadow of a doubt in your mind? The Aksiums will probably be fine for some time for local riding.
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Old 03-28-10, 09:22 AM   #17
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If by "big ride" you mean being on a road far from home unsupported (or even supported), it is a chance I would not take.
The MS150 here in Colorado, so it's supported, 75 miles each day.
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Old 03-28-10, 09:52 AM   #18
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why are heavy riders riding on low spoke count wheels?
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Old 03-28-10, 09:58 AM   #19
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I broke two spokes on the Roval wheels on my Roubaix yesterday. One broke while riding and another went ping while I was beside the road.

Wife gave me a ride home - the LBS gave me a loaner wheel and declared that the original wheel would be replaced under warranty. Proper respect to the LBS in my book.

The was after maybe 1500kms on the Roubaix.

If someone could recommend some cheapish 36 spoke wheels I would appreciate it.
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Old 03-28-10, 10:01 AM   #20
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why are heavy riders riding on low spoke count wheels?
I would say largely because the bikes are sold that way. And, there is a part f me that says the forces exerted by the larger riders going slower are less than the lighter riders going fast.
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