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  1. #1
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    How long do your wheels last, and how do they meet their end?

    What do you do with them after they've seen their last ride?

    We've had a lot of wheel threads lately, and I thought this would be a good thing to talk about. I also think it'll be good for perspective.

    I've had a pair of Fulcrum Racing 7 wheels for about 14 months, and put around 4,700 miles on them. The brake tracks are noticeably concave, and LBS says they'll get me through the winter, but I'll need to replace them or my teeth soon. These go for $200 to $250, and I've seen them for less, so, buying new rims and having them rebuilt probably isn't cost effective. And I'd like lighter wheels anyway. So my plan is to use them through the rainy season, then donate them to Seattle Bike Works, who (I hope) can benefit from the hubs and spokes.

    While ~5,500 miles doesn't sound like a glowing endorsement, I've only had them trued twice, and it wasn't serious enough to touch the pads either time. The Pacific Northwet is hell on rims; I've done about 135,000 feet of climbing this year, and 90 % of that has been on these wheels, with a lot of long descents in the rain, a lot of braking from riding in traffic, etc. Also, I neglected to have them retensioned early in their life.

    That's my story ... now it's your turn.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  2. #2
    Fat Guy Rolling dcrowell's Avatar
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    I only "used up" one wheelset and it was a low-end one on a cheap bike. I gave up on them after too many broken spokes. I gave them away.

    Every bike I've had since has stout wheels. I don't have a light road bike. My LHT has the original wheels and about 6000 miles on it. Even the rims are still good, although I know they'll eventually wear out. I may replace the entire wheelset just for new hubs when that happens. I want a dyno wheel on the front (again - I bought one for it, but moved it to my commuter bike).

    Although I just got a Big Dummy, it was used and has the original wheels. Those are very stout wheels. It has disc brakes, so conceivably, I could ride them forever.
    Car-Free IT Geek
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  3. #3
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Posted many times before, I've had 3 different Mavic OP's built by local shops and none lasted over 2000 miles. One year was only 4 months for me. Broken brake surfaces, popped eyelets, broken spokes, no good!

    One guy built a set of Deep V's for me back in 98 (?). They lasted for years till I sold the bike (still ok but riders doesn't ride much). Builder is still my buddy and was a clyde racer.

    I had another guy build a Deep V for me that lasted only 40 miles. It fell apart so I took it back and the builder said it was supposed to be that way. I could nearly squeeze spokes touching one another.

    Figuring good stuff but lack of quality by the builder I figured I'd try my own. I used a Deep V and first wheel lasted 20,000+ miles. Not much grinding since Ca weather is usually fair. The brake surface wore out. It blistered causing a lump. I thought maybe I hit something so I tried to straighten it out then realized it was just worn thin. So I retired it. I now have a set of Mavic CXP30 rims (30 mm like the V) with 8000 miles no problems (minor true at 5000). These are only 28 spoke wheels vs the 32 of my usual wheels.

    Not bad, Deep V, 32 spoke 20,000 miles, one MINOR truing at 13,000 miles.

    Surface wore thin in this area.

    I figure most of my 32 spoke wheels will last 20,000 miles under normal conditions. The 28 spoke wheels, if I get 15,000 I'll be happy.



    badrim by gulpxtreme, on Flickr


    What is cool is that I buy a Deep V at Jenson for $60, new spokes for $20 and have a newly built wheel for $80. I could go cheaper but I don't re use spokes. Some people on the forums do but with all the wheel problems I've had in the past, I'm not willing to experiment with my wheels.


    I built all these wheels plus a couple more. Along with 2 that I had to rebuild that the shops screwed up.






  4. #4
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Hey Forrest, there are places online where you can get rims for those Fulcrum 7 wheels for about $50/ea. If you're any bit handy with truing and tensioning, you can do a 1-for-1 swap by just zip tying the new rim to the old one and swapping the spokes over when the rims wear out. No need for relacing or new spokes.
    I've done this with a few of my wheels and they're still going strong.

    My wheels usually last about 9000 miles. The winters are hard on wheels up here and the road grit is an evil sanding paste that tears things up. The wheels that have lasted the longest are my Sun CR18 mirror finish rims which have 10,000 miles and no signs of significant wear.

    I've never (knock on wood) had a hub failure, and only once did I beat a wheel so badly that the spokes were the main failure point.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
    - Mandi M.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    What do you do with them after they've seen their last ride?
    Buy a new rim, lubricate its nipple sockets with anti-seize via an acid brush with half the bristle length chopped off, remove rim tape, loosen the spokes so they're on their last few threads, tape the new rim to the old, transfer spokes one at a time re-lubricating as I go and replacing any nipples dinged in road side repairs, tension, true, re-use rim tape.

    I've had a pair of Fulcrum Racing 7 wheels for about 14 months, and put around 4,700 miles on them.
    I have 15 years on my favorite set of Mavic Open pros (originally Reflex clinchers) laced cross-three to Campagnolo Chorus hubs with DT Revolution 2.0/1.5 spokes front and rear non-drive side and DT Competition 2.0/1.8 spokes rear drive side and alloy nipples. I never true them except to get home after bending one and when replacing rims. I've never broken a spoke on them either.

    I was computer free for a bunch of years, but measured about 4000 last year and couldn't ride less than 1500 a year if all I did was commute.

    They're on the second (or maybe third?) front rim due to crash damage (although the ten year old front was getting concave - living in an alpine dessert or Silicon Valley you don't get much rain and grit on the wheels, and I built a second set on which I mounted cyclocross tires for Boulder, CO snow days) and at least the third rear.

    The brake tracks are noticeably concave, and LBS says they'll get me through the winter, but I'll need to replace them or my teeth soon. These go for $200 to $250, and I've seen them for less, so, buying new rims and having them rebuilt probably isn't cost effective.
    I'm now paying $75 a rim including shipping for replacement rims. Four alloy nipples around the bends at my last replacement had become trapezoidal from an incompletely seated spoke wrench so I replaced them for $0.52. I don't bother re-using the acid brush so that adds another $0.20. Probably a few cents worth of anti-seize - a $4 tube lasts a very long time even when applied to other uses like building engines.

    The labor is free (I like building wheels).

    Velocity or Kinlin rims would keep the price closer to $50 at rebuild time and something deeper would be more bend resistant.
    Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 10-27-11 at 08:19 PM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    True "wearing out" it took 8 years to wear out a stupidly expensive touring rear rim hand built in the PNW by one of the boutique shops. It's replacement is on year 5 and it's just about time. 1 spoke broken over the 13 years and never had to true the wheels so I guess it's money well spent.

    The fronts tend to meet their demise in some sort of incident and a replaced with something "off the shelf."

  7. #7
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    Hey Forrest, there are places online where you can get rims for those Fulcrum 7 wheels for about $50/ea.
    I figured it would cost about that ($100 for new rims), and about $100 to have the wheels rebuilt; there's no way I would ever consider trusting my life to my own work on something like this. That brings me up to about the same price as an entirely new set. I'm glad Bike Works will/should have an easy time breathing new life into them, though.

    But I wasn't trying to con you out of advice about how to solve my wheel issue. It's just my answer to the question. ( I've never popped a spoke on any wheel, knock on wood. ) I'm just trying to figure out how much mileage Clydes (and Athenas) are getting in general, and how wheels die for us.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  8. #8
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    there's no way I would ever consider trusting my life to my own work on something like this.
    If you're ever interested in trying your hand at it, give me a PM. About once a quarter I give an informal wheelbuilding session. It's only scary if you really really think hard about it when you're ripping down something like Novelty Hill at 40+ That's when I got the most scared about it, at least. Built my first pair, tested them in the parking lot by leaning the bike really hard side to side, hopping and bouncing on the pedals, doing all sorts of stuff to try and get them to make a noise and they did fine. But it's still spooky on that first really fast descent and you tap the brakes...
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
    - Mandi M.

  9. #9
    Senior Member nkfrench's Avatar
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    My bike odomoter was 4 miles shy of 10,000 miles when I noticed a hairline crack in my rear DA wheel. The purchase date was 2 years 11 months previous so Shimano is honoring the 3-year warrantee on the wheelSET. Crack is probably due to spoke tensioning. Never broke a spoke or had them checked, although the bike was a frequent flier at the LBS where I bought it whenever a cable broke or the derailleur needed adjusting (lifetime free adjustments). I do try to be nice to my wheels despite having bike + luggage + cyclist weight towards 250lb at some times and I don't clean the bike as much as it deserves. The original brake pads look fine despite plenty of city riding and actual stops at stopsigns, so I assume the wheels aren't getting worn out from braking either. I try to pick routes where I have a nice long runout coming down steep hills.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    I had just about worn out one rim at 8,000 miles (about the time I moved to Koolstop Salmon) brake pads when the freehub gave up the ghost. Built one, bought one, the replacement rear wheels have some 20,000 miles between them. I'm lazy; it's easier to swap out wheels when I notice something's seriously out of true, and fix it when I've nothing better to do. Winter commuting is hard on the wheel, because I don't see that pothole before I feel it.

    I had 24,000 miles on the front wheel when I got a dynohub wheel. The old one still works, although it needs a couple new cones.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Gravity Aided's Avatar
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    I inherited some old Super Champion wheels on an old bike I bought, and rode them for about 1,000 miles when I noticed a wobble after an early spring day that was unseasonably warm. I had ridden down an oil-and gravel road, and found the wobbling was due to the fact that the old alloy had given way and I had ripped the spokes out of the hub, probably due to the age of the alloy and resistance from the sticky road. Live and Learn

  12. #12
    Senior Member
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    The replacement is finished. 0 dish, Mavic A719. After installation I realized I needed a new middle chainring and rear canti's.




  13. #13
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    I've killed 4 with potholes/rocks (Wolber GTX, Sun CR18, Sun Zero Degree Lite, Araya something), had one brake surface crack and bulge out (Sun Zero Degree Lite), had one Mavic 192 fail at the seam, have some cracks developing around spoke holes in one of my Nisi Contachs. Worn several brake tracks down to concave before replacing.

    Unfortunately I've never tracked mileage on any of my rims. I had a collection of rims hanging in the garage that I'd intended to recycle but I just left them hanging in the garage when I moved out of that house. I was just going to put them in the curbside recycling bin and see if they'd take them but never got around to it.

    Here's a dented rim of unknown make/model. Some kinda RM-20 clone. I'm still going to ride it for a while. Must be about 300 miles on since the dent.

    Dented rim by Lester Of Puppets, on Flickr

    Mavic 192 - blew out while airing up to 110 psi.

    PB100029 by Lester Of Puppets, on Flickr
    Last edited by LesterOfPuppets; 11-11-11 at 12:51 AM.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  14. #14
    Senior Member
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    SF, Even with clyde esque stress this is a hard question to answer. The wheelset on my recently sold distance bike had over 10K miles on it and showed very little wear and no damage. That wheelset on a commuter bike where the rider has to brake a lot and doesn't always have an option of riding around a pot hole wouldn't have lasted nearly so long. So far the only rim it looks like I'm going to wear out is the mountain bike's rear. On the subject of the mountain bike; I didn't think the radially spoked front would last long, happily I was wrong. None of this applies to an improperly built/spec'd wheel, of course.

    Brad

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