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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 10-04-07, 09:44 AM   #1
calderp
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Low spoke count on a commuter?

I'm sure this has come up before, but I couldn't find anything by searching, too many matches to dig through. What do you guys think of low spoke count wheel on a commuter/work bike? I picked up a Bontrager Race Lite front wheel for free and am thinking of throwing it on but the low spoke count (only 20) worries me. I did find this review site http://www.roadbikereview.com/cat/wh...6_2490crx.aspx and a lot of people seem to be sayig they're bombproof but I don't know how many are putting them through what I would, ie. many miles on bad city streets and probably the occasional curb...
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Old 10-04-07, 09:46 AM   #2
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I wouldn't do it, but that's just me. Especially if you are loading bike down with more than you.
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Old 10-04-07, 10:05 AM   #3
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Depends on you, the load you carry, and the riding conditions. But I'd say anything that was free is good to use as long as it remains relatively safe to do so. Assuming the wheel is in good condition and built properly, try it and if the wheel performs to your satisfaction, I wouldn't worry about it.
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Old 10-04-07, 10:08 AM   #4
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Yea, free is kind of the key here, I busted the rim on my set of Trek Matrix so I'm thinking if I just switch the front rim to the rear hub and ride the Bontrager on front I can have a full wheelset again without buying anything. Just wanted to check with those who know more than me to see if anyone thought it was doomed to break right away.
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Old 10-04-07, 10:21 AM   #5
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I've been commuting lately with 16 on the front.
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Old 10-04-07, 10:26 AM   #6
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Don't do it if you are a fatty
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Old 10-04-07, 10:37 AM   #7
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Front wheel doesn't carry too much weight does it? Not as much as the rear anyway. I'd chuck it on 'specially since it was free.
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Old 10-04-07, 10:48 AM   #8
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I had a set of the bontrager Race wheels. They work OK on the front., But I would not use them on the back as the paired low spoke count wheels are not for bigger riders (190). But, since its free, you don't have anything to lose. I now have the Mavic Open Pro Ultegera wheels. They are great.
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Old 10-04-07, 11:30 AM   #9
Brian T
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Don't do it if you are a fatty
that's funny, I almost pee'ed my pants....
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Old 10-04-07, 11:32 AM   #10
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that's funny, I almost pee'ed my pants....
Yea, my favorite too. I'm 150 so I'm gonna go fot it, worst comes to worst I break my free rim..
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Old 10-04-07, 12:40 PM   #11
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I have Ksyrium ES wheels on the road bike I've been commuting on lately and they've been bombproof. Never even had them trued once. 18 spoke front/20 spoke rear.
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Old 10-04-07, 12:54 PM   #12
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I found a couple of those Bontrager wheels in the trash a few years ago; 20 spokes radial front, 28 2-x rear, 9-speed hub. They were a bit worn out by brake wear, but perfectly true; I really don't know why someone chucked them. So I put my summer tires on them and in stead of switching tires when the weather got nasty, I switched the whole wheels. It worked fine, except that I got to liking the lighter wheels so much I didn't switch back to the winter ones. I ended up a whole nother bike as a winter commuter, with dynamo lights and snow tires, and using the one with the Bontragers only during the summer; and more recently I've been riding my folding bike with 16" wheels almost exclusively; so I guess I haven't even put 1000 miles on them yet. But they're holding up fine. I weigh about 165.
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Old 10-04-07, 01:56 PM   #13
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I run 18\20 on one bike and slightly more on my touring bike. No issues for me. I do weigh slightly under 160.
Still, with such a low spoke count if one breaks I am afraid the wheel will go significantly out of true. On my next online gear order I plan on adding an emergency kevlar spoke for both bikes.
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Old 10-04-07, 02:04 PM   #14
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low spoke, well built = great wheels.

Zillions of miles on my low spoke count Cane Creek wheelsets, very little truing needed, 250-275lb total load. cheers
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Old 10-04-07, 06:49 PM   #15
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Quote:
I'm sure this has come up before, but I couldn't find anything by searching, too many matches to dig through. What do you guys think of low spoke count wheel on a commuter/work bike? I picked up a Bontrager Race Lite front wheel for free and am thinking of throwing it on but the low spoke count (only 20) worries me.
Biggest problem is that if you do break a spoke the bike will probably not be rideable. That means a long walk or calling for a ride.

I run 36 spokes, and I've ridden home with two broken on one wheel.

To me, commuting is about the hardest thing you can do to wheels (besides bombing downhill off road). It's a day-in day-out grind of high miles, heavy loads and usually (at least here) bad pavement. Plus I ride in the dark so much that even with my lights I tend to hit a lot of potholes.

I like a wheel that can take a broken spoke in stride, cause the last thing I want is to have my wife load the four kids in the van to come get me.
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Old 10-04-07, 07:06 PM   #16
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I wondered the same thing and asked Bontrager. here is the reply I got.

Quote:
The selects are strong wheels but we do
make a stronger wheel the Bontrager Classic. I recommend to most people
ride what the bike comes with and then upgrade when it is time to
replace. Most times you will be shocked how well the stock bike
performs.
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Old 10-04-07, 08:25 PM   #17
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I ran Rolf Satellites on my MTB for a while. I'm over 200lbs and didn't have any problems.
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Old 10-04-07, 09:14 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calderp View Post
I'm sure this has come up before, but I couldn't find anything by searching, too many matches to dig through. What do you guys think of low spoke count wheel on a commuter/work bike? I picked up a Bontrager Race Lite front wheel for free and am thinking of throwing it on but the low spoke count (only 20) worries me. I did find this review site http://www.roadbikereview.com/cat/wh...6_2490crx.aspx and a lot of people seem to be sayig they're bombproof but I don't know how many are putting them through what I would, ie. many miles on bad city streets and probably the occasional curb...
Bontrager rims on the front are fine. I rode 4 double centuries on the 20 spoke without a problem. The back rim is the problem and will not stay true. I have a set in my garage - probably save them for a swap meet.

I have commuted 3,000 miles this year on Cane Creek Volos wheel set. The back rim is great.
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Old 10-05-07, 08:05 AM   #19
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I'm commuting on those very wheels with 160lb bodyweight and 20lbs in the backpack, over typical roads (loads of variation, from tons of sealer to busted-up MUPs to silky smooth roads). Not a single problem yet.
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Old 10-09-07, 02:40 PM   #20
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Giant has low spoke count wheels on both their cross bikes. You should be fine as long as you watch the potholes and curb surfing.

http://www.giant-bicycle.com/en-US/b...ad/1239/29259/
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