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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 02-10-06, 09:45 AM   #1
pricklycommute
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How long do wheel last?

Hey guys.

I have a set of wheels that have about 7,500 miles on them. They are 36-spoke Bontrager rims with shimano LX hubs. Lately the rear wheel just will not stay in true, and has to be touched up about once a week. I seem to break a spoke in the rear wheel every 500-1,000 miles now too. Do I just need to have the wheel retensioned, or do wheels have some kind of inherent lifetime? The front wheel is just fine, by the way. What does a rethreading of a wheel usually cost?

I may also look at getting another, faster wheelset. Any recommendations from durable, relatively light road wheels for commuting?

Thanks for your help.
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Old 02-10-06, 09:48 AM   #2
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To piggy back on prickly's question,

and by comparison how long do speciality wheels like Hed 3's or Zipps last. Same time, or less, or more.

thanks
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Old 02-10-06, 10:08 AM   #3
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Usually when a wheel starts requiring regular truing and regularly breaks spokes the rim needs to be replaced. There is probably a crack in the rim you have not noticed or it has been bent. Rims do wear out due to braking but that won't necessarily cause the problems you describe. Those problems are more likely due to a broken wheel caused by an impact.
You should be able to get your wheels rebuilt for $25-$40 and decent rims are $25-$50.
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Old 02-10-06, 10:16 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
To piggy back on prickly's question,

and by comparison how long do speciality wheels like Hed 3's or Zipps last. Same time, or less, or more.

thanks
Wear due to braking should be similar. These wheels maybe slightly more resistant to damage from impacts but once they are out of true they cannot be retrued nor can you replace the rims. Aerospoke wheels are similar but are heavier and built for touring. These are considered to be extremely tough and more aerodynamic than spoked wheels but you pay a weight penalty. The expense of Hed 3's and Zipps make them difficult to justify for daily use.
Craig
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Old 02-10-06, 10:39 AM   #5
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Thanks for the info, I'll have to give the wheel a closer look tonight.

BTW, anyone have experience with FSA RD-200 wheels? Do they hold up ok for commuting? Thanks again.

http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=
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Old 02-10-06, 11:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CBBaron
The expense of Hed 3's and Zipps make them difficult to justify for daily use.Craig
Thanks. It's definitely a shame they are so pricey. Probably not set up for volume manufacturing so set the price artificially high. I'm surprised no one has tried a mass market appeal for aero wheels. If they were cheaper, I would already have a set. At current price point, they are on wish list. Who knows if they will ever move off wish list.
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Old 02-10-06, 11:37 AM   #7
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Take a look at the rim of your wheels, if there is noticible bowing or the guide line is noticibly raised then it's time to consider a replacement. If not, place your thumb on the rim and roll it round to the inside. If the corner between the rim and the inside feels particularly sharp then the rim is worn and replacement is imminent.

Naturally if you see cracks then replacement is an urgent requirement, it may not even be safe to ride it.
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Old 02-10-06, 12:06 PM   #8
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Cost up a rebuild of your LX hubs.
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Old 02-10-06, 12:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
Thanks. It's definitely a shame they are so pricey. Probably not set up for volume manufacturing so set the price artificially high. I'm surprised no one has tried a mass market appeal for aero wheels. If they were cheaper, I would already have a set. At current price point, they are on wish list. Who knows if they will ever move off wish list.
AeroSpoke wheels are less expensive and durable enough for everyday use.
http://www.aerospoke.com/
The big problem with race wheels like the HED and Zipp is that if you have an accident like might cause a broke spoke on a traditional wheel you can completely ruin the carbon wheel. The carbon wheels are not repairable. Plus even the race carbon spoke wheels are not as light as good quality spoked wheels. Thats why they are only used for time trials where aerodynamics are more important than weight.
Craig
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Old 02-10-06, 02:02 PM   #10
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Interesting. $700 for a set.
Unknown: how much weight they can handle.
Advantage: handles disc brakes.
Disadvantage: height only 21mm. I was looking for something in the 60-80 mm range.
Disadvantage: 1 yr warranty.

I'm not concerned about wheelset weight, but highly intererested in aero characteristics.

Anyway, thanks for the lead. They are interesting. More interesting would be accounts of difference made by users who tried these wheels.

Cross out unknown. Can handle 250+ lbs.
Lighter than Hed's and Zipps. Now is 1/3 the aero worth the lower cost?
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Old 02-10-06, 02:17 PM   #11
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Most accounts I have read about the AeroSpoke wheels come from recumbent riders, most of whom were looking for boom proof wheels and not necessarily the fastest wheelset. Some claim small to moderate performance advantages but all the accounts I have read rave on the durability. Including several tandem recumbent riders.
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Old 02-10-06, 03:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CBBaron
You should be able to get your wheels rebuilt for $25-$40 and decent rims are $25-$50.
Wow. I need to find an LBS that will work for those prices. Mine charges more like $60 to rebuild and $85 for a new wheel.
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Old 02-10-06, 03:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pricklycommute
Hey guys.

I have a set of wheels that have about 7,500 miles on them. They are 36-spoke Bontrager rims with shimano LX hubs. Lately the rear wheel just will not stay in true, and has to be touched up about once a week. I seem to break a spoke in the rear wheel every 500-1,000 miles now too. Do I just need to have the wheel retensioned, or do wheels have some kind of inherent lifetime? The front wheel is just fine, by the way. What does a rethreading of a wheel usually cost?

I may also look at getting another, faster wheelset. Any recommendations from durable, relatively light road wheels for commuting?

Thanks for your help.
Given the front wheel is fine, I'd opt for getting the rear wheel rebuilt. And if you don't want mix matched wheels, then get them both rebuilt. If you do get them rebuilt I do have one suggestion. Get the wheels checked out for tension and true after you put some miles on the wheels. Sometimes it is just cheaper to get a wheelset, but you can get something better getting them rebuilt.

I tend to tear up a wheelset before they see the kind of mileage you have on your wheelset. I do have a friend that has a wheelset that makes me cringe everytime I see it. He has older mountain bike, and is still on the original wheels. You can actually see the groove in the rim wall from years of braking!!! I keep mentioning replace or rebuild. He keeps giving the excuse that he only uses it for bar hopping or going to friends houses in the neighborhood.
So I guess its a matter of luck when it comes to wheel longevity.
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Old 02-10-06, 04:24 PM   #14
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Am I getting this right? Most people have to buy new wheelsets because they insist on using rim brakes?
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Old 02-10-06, 08:59 PM   #15
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Wow. I need to find an LBS that will work for those prices. Mine charges more like $60 to rebuild and $85 for a new wheel.
Try Norcal Bike Sport on College Avenue in Sana Rosa for those prices . That included the 14 gage spoke I broke on the drive side (of course) of the rear wheel. The rim was fine, I expect to get 50,000 miles or more before I even start thinking about new rims on my bomb-proof touring bike. Sure it is a little heavier but I trash lesser bikes. Seriously for those repair prices start looking for another shop and not just for wheels.
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Old 02-12-06, 03:55 PM   #16
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Thanks for all of the replies.

I took a good look at the wheel this morning. The braking surface shows a little wear, but it is very minor, just barely noticeable when running a finger over it. I also found another broken spoke, which was causing the brake rub.. again. Inspecting for cracks found a nice scratch that looks like a crack near one of the replaced spokes, but after looking at it under a magnifying glass it definitely doesn't appear to be a crack. Probably a scratch made during the replacement.

I took the wheel to an LBS and they are going to rethread it with all new 14 guage spokes. Total cost is $52, $12 for the spokes and $40 labor. They promised to inspect the rim very closely too - no reason to build up a bad rim, and check the hub cones and replace/regrease the bearings if they need it.

Thanks again guys.
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