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  1. #1
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quality of wheels.

    I am fairly particular about my wheels and find that they only last me about a year to 18 months before I have to replace them. I suppose this is about 2 to 3,000 miles but I had better expand a bit. I ride a mountain bike and use rim brakes. I am particular about the quality of my wheels and use an XT hub- 32 double butted spokes onto a light weight Mavic 517 rim. They make into a good set of wheels and I always use a particular wheelbuilder and these wheels work out to around 100 per pair. Occasionally buy a bit better on special offers, but the XT,32 spoke and mavic rim is my norm. I may have to retrue the wheels occasionally, and reset the hub bearings but a good set of wheels are worth it. My problem is that I wear out the rims by braking effect, and it is cheaper to buy a new set of rims at discounted wheelbuilder prices. I then have a set of wheels to get my mates out of trouble with my old ones.

    Then along came the Tandem-- This thing requires some super duper wheels and the set that came with the beast only lasted about 6 months before the rims started to get thin. Knew I was going to go disc brake eventually so I contacted my wheelbuilder and and he built up a "Strong" Tandem wheel set for me. I went with Hope Big un Hubs- 36 straight gauge spokes and the Full downhill Mavic rim that was suitable for Rim brakes. The hubs would take disc brakes eventually, so were suitable for that upgrade. A year later I had the disc brakes so went for another wheel set- only difference being the rims were disc only and I trusted my LBS to build them. Cost for second set was 350 and due to the price increase and the upgraded rim- was comparable to the 1st set I bought at 300
    2 years later and I put the new set of wheels in for a rebuild. Now a rebuild will be a strip down of the hubs and freebody and retrue and tension the spokes. I left it all in my LBS's hands and just left it to them to rebuild whatever is necessary. I picked them up this morning and They handed them over the counter to look at while they dealt with another customer. I got worried- There was a new freebody on the rear wheel and this is expensive. They gave me the bill and I looked at it- and could not believe my eyes. 3 new bearings- two new spokes and 2 hours labour. Total bill 50. Hold on- you've forgotten the new Freebody. No we haven't- It had 2 broken teeth on the pawl rachet so we phoned Hope and they have replaced it FOC. They put it in the post and we got it the next day. They want the old one back but we did warn them it was on a tandem wheel so they may not want to cover the warranty due to exceptional use but they said it still should not have failed.

    The wheels themselves were apparantly not in bad condition. The front wheel was only just a bit out of true and that was after a nasty blowout at 35mph that did mark the rim. The rear wheel was well out of true, and the bearings were badly corroded, but that is down to me washing the bike too often. The teeth that were broken was probably down to some of our horrendous gear changes that we occasionally have- but Hope said that it would be warranty so I am happy. 2 teeth broken would not be a problem as there are 3 pawls to connect on the teeth so if we did hit a missing tooth- there would still be two more to make contact.

    I now have to think about a spare set of wheels for the road bike- Yes I know I have only just got the thing but the wheels on it are not up to the quality that I would like. A lighter better set of wheels will improve the bike and the original set can go as spares. So time to get all the catalogues out and find the "Quality" hub that I want and the rim to do the sort of riding that I will be doing. To be quite honest- I think i will leave it in the hands of my LBS- leave them the credit card and just say "fetch". I know they will treat me right and quality of the wheels that Max- the mechanic- is building, means that I will have a set of wheels to be proud of.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  2. #2
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    Well, ok, Step. Happy wheel building to you. What at this early juncture causes you such concern with the wheels that came with your road bike? Are they out of round already? . . . loose spokes? What?

    If you are willing to spend the money and know what you want in a set of wheels, then, go for it.

    I really wonder if it's necessary - especially on a road bike. If you start with a good wheel and avoid all but the most vicious pot holes, you should not really have an issue with your wheels unless they were absolute junk to start with - that doesn't really seem to be the case.

    I'm sure you'll sort it out.

    Have fun.

    Caruso

  3. #3
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carusoswi
    Well, ok, Step. Happy wheel building to you. What at this early juncture causes you such concern with the wheels that came with your road bike? Are they out of round already? . . . loose spokes? What?

    If you are willing to spend the money and know what you want in a set of wheels, then, go for it.

    I really wonder if it's necessary - especially on a road bike. If you start with a good wheel and avoid all but the most vicious pot holes, you should not really have an issue with your wheels unless they were absolute junk to start with - that doesn't really seem to be the case.

    I'm sure you'll sort it out.

    Have fun.

    Caruso
    You haven't seen me ride on the trails round here. I still go out with the mountain bikers on the road bike and we still hit the gentler trails. Seems only fair after 25 miles of road that we take a detour for their MTB's to work. Use my loaf on the downhills- but still go for the uphills. Wheels on the bike are Formula hubs with alex rims- They will not last long, so before they give out- I might aswell get a new set and have the originals as spares.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  4. #4
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Mavic Open Pro rims on Ultegra (or equivlent) hubs are the standard to which all other road wheels are compared. There are lighter wheels, tougher wheels, and more aero wheels, but Open Pros make a pretty complete package. Internet cost is usually around $200.00 to $250.00 USD per set. If you have them hand laced locally plan on paying a bit more.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
    Mavic Open Pro rims on Ultegra (or equivlent) hubs are the standard to which all other road wheels are compared. There are lighter wheels, tougher wheels, and more aero wheels, but Open Pros make a pretty complete package. Internet cost is usually around $200.00 to $250.00 USD per set. If you have them hand laced locally plan on paying a bit more.
    Those wheels came on my bike. With my previous bike, I used to schedule regular visits to the LBS to have them trued and used to curse at myself whenever I got careless and hit a hole or crossed a RR crossing with too much speed - because I knew those obstructions would cause my wheels to go out of round - a little bit with each bump.

    The Open Pro's have made this concern a thing of the past. They seem to just keep going and going, no matter the abuse to which I subject them.

    Step, I like to move off road some, myself. It would be interesting to compare trails. I don't do any stump jumping, but the trails I ride from time to time get pretty rough. There is one spot where I have to pick my way through sharp boulders protruding from the ground. The surrounding topography is full of large stones and the whole affair is down a hill that, on my bike with its high-ish gearing, I could not ride back up.

    I flatted on that hill once, but have yet to damage the wheels.

    Before getting the new bike, I used to drool at those sleek carbon affairs thinking how wonderful it must be to have a set of wheels that, by definition, cannot go out of round.

    I still think they must be neat to ride although I've never studied them seriously.

    I suppose the drawback is that they can be damaged by way of actually breaking the wheel - and, then, its off to the LBS for an expensivie repair or replacement.

    Let us know what you decide on.

    Caruso

  6. #6
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    Just some personal comments on wheels & wheelbuilding:

    1. Deep "V" profile rims resist deformation better (I believe much better) than non deep-Vs.

    2. With the deeper V profiles, you can get away with fewer spokes (unless you're a 275# clydesdale like me). I found the 24/28 spoke Campagnolo "Vento" wheels almost tough enough for even me (and they use a radial spoking pattern!)

    3. Numerous shops in numerous states have told me that Mavic's quality control isn't what it used to be. Some shops have stopped carrying Mavic. Here's my experience with a premium Mavic CXP-33: catastrophic wheel failure - why?. Mavic has yet to determine the cause of failure, but they (Mavic) have already announced that "it wasn't their fault." Surprise!...

    4. Rims with ferrules or other devices to spread the tension of the spoke over a larger area of the rim have fewer cracking problems than rims that lack such devices.

    5. Large, 13 Ga. spoke heads are available on Alpine DT spokes if you really want to stop spoke breakage. To use these larger spokes, the hub will need to be drilled & chamfered to accept the larger diameters.

    6. For durability, more spokes is better spokes and more crosses are stronger.

    7. Higher spoke tensions (within the rim manufacturer's limits) make for a more damage-resistant wheel and tend to break fewer spokes.

    8. Less wheel dish makes for stronger rear wheels (good luck with this one - all "modern" hubs have severe dish for the wider cassettes).

    9. DT-Swiss / DT-Hugi freehubs have more (but smaller) pawls than the usual Shimanolo stuff. The DT's also require more frequent cleaning and maintenance but last much longer (this is the opinion of two different LBSs).

    10. Wider tires call for wider rims. I know it is common for cyclocross riders (and other lightweights) to use tractor-width tires on 19mm wide racing rims, but the manufacturers don't recommend it.

    Overall, I'm sure I haven't told you anything you didn't already know, but maybe someone can benefit from the above. I just loved my Campagnolo Vento wheels, and would recommend them to you but they probably won't work for you unless you have Campy components otherwise. Good luck with your backup wheelset!
    Last edited by FarHorizon; 07-23-06 at 06:29 AM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarHorizon
    Numerous shops in numerous states have told me that Mavic's quality control isn't what it used to be. Some shops have stopped carrying Mavic. Here's my experience with a premium Mavic CXP-33: catastrophic wheel failure - why?. Mavic has yet to determine the cause of failure, but they (Mavic) have already announced that "it wasn't their fault." Surprise!...
    +1

    I've had a bad experience with failed Mavic's. No dealer or manufacturer support whatsoever. And the wheels were less than 6 months old when they started to fail, and only ridden on pavement.
    Last edited by Big Paulie; 07-23-06 at 04:12 PM.

  8. #8
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    Stapfam,

    Considering the riding you are doing on that road bike, maybe you need the wheels which originally came on my '79 Schwinn Traveler. They have never needed truing, are perfectly round, have a four cross spoke pattern, and 36 hole hubs. Very sturdy! The only problem is they weigh more than you do! "Steel is real" they say over on Classic and Vintage, yea, real heavy.

    I can just picture you now, riding in the drops while all your MTB blokes are bombing down a hill. Here comes Stapfam, flying through the air, bike crossed up as if he is on a BMX. You have to be the official 50+ trail riding monster! You go Bro!
    Bob
    Dreaming of Summertime in NH!

    Visit my websites:
    FreeWheelSpa.com orpastorbobnlnh.com

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarHorizon View Post
    Just some personal comments on wheels & wheelbuilding:

    1. Deep "V" profile rims resist deformation better (I believe much better) than non deep-Vs.

    2. With the deeper V profiles, you can get away with fewer spokes (unless you're a 275# clydesdale like me). I found the 24/28 spoke Campagnolo "Vento" wheels almost tough enough for even me (and they use a radial spoking pattern!)

    3. Numerous shops in numerous states have told me that Mavic's quality control isn't what it used to be. Some shops have stopped carrying Mavic. Here's my experience with a premium Mavic CXP-33: catastrophic wheel failure - why?. Mavic has yet to determine the cause of failure, but they (Mavic) have already announced that "it wasn't their fault." Surprise!...

    4. Rims with ferrules or other devices to spread the tension of the spoke over a larger area of the rim have fewer cracking problems than rims that lack such devices.

    5. Large, 13 Ga. spoke heads are available on Alpine DT spokes if you really want to stop spoke breakage. To use these larger spokes, the hub will need to be drilled & chamfered to accept the larger diameters.

    6. For durability, more spokes is better spokes and more crosses are stronger.

    7. Higher spoke tensions (within the rim manufacturer's limits) make for a more damage-resistant wheel and tend to break fewer spokes.

    8. Less wheel dish makes for stronger rear wheels (good luck with this one - all "modern" hubs have severe dish for the wider cassettes).

    9. DT-Swiss / DT-Hugi freehubs have more (but smaller) pawls than the usual Shimanolo stuff. The DT's also require more frequent cleaning and maintenance but last much longer (this is the opinion of two different LBSs).

    10. Wider tires call for wider rims. I know it is common for cyclocross riders (and other lightweights) to use tractor-width tires on 19mm wide racing rims, but the manufacturers don't recommend it.

    Overall, I'm sure I haven't told you anything you didn't already know, but maybe someone can benefit from the above. I just loved my Campagnolo Vento wheels, and would recommend them to you but they probably won't work for you unless you have Campy components otherwise. Good luck with your backup wheelset!
    This was helpful ! If I can only figure out what type of spokes I have. The retailer said they're dt stainless but I can't for the life of me spot any butting.
    Are wheels a you get what you pay for item? A 500$ rear is considerably better than a 125$ rear?

  10. #10
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    I second the vote for a high spoke count (no fewer than 32) and a traditional cross pattern. DT spokes are awesome, as are Wheelsmith.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by intransit1217 View Post
    The retailer said they're dt stainless but I can't for the life of me spot any butting.

    Ancient thread, with a new question, for your spokes, the head will have DT stamped on it, confirming that is is a DT Swiss spoke, for stainless, all DT Swiss are, for the butting. Champion are plain gauge, Competition are double butted, Alpine III are triple butted (there are others), if you hold the spoke by thumb and finger and draw along the spoke, you will be able to feel the butting if any, this will be about 6cm/2.3 inches from the j-bend end, and about 4cm/1.5 inches from the threaded end on a Competition spoke.

    For the costs, with such a massive difference you have suggested, there will be multiple variables, the hub, rim, spokes and whatever the builder charges, would think that if you took 2 wheels at the prices suggested, given the same spoke pattern, the build should be the same price, the difference would be in the components.

  12. #12
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    Are champions considerably better than stock spokes?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by intransit1217 View Post
    Are champions considerably better than stock spokes?
    Stock what? If ACI, Sapim, WheelSmith or any other branded spoke, then no, if unbranded, then yes, probably

  14. #14
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    Hard to read such a small area. best I can tell, the new ones are dt and the old ones....who knows.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by intransit1217 View Post
    The retailer said they're dt stainless but I can't for the life of me spot any butting.
    The easiest way to tell is with your fingers. Slide your thumb and forefinger down the length of a spoke. You'll feel the butting. If the spokes are really "Champions" you won't feel any because Champions aren't butted. You have to upgrade to Competitions to get butting.
    My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.

  16. #16
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    Maybe on your next bike you should consider going to a disc brake bike. Disc brakes dont wear out rims, and the rim can be made stronger if it doesn have to have a brake surface.

  17. #17
    Junior Member peterws's Avatar
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    I've never yet worn out rims through braking. Only once on a steep downhill things got so hot a spoke snapped. . .only a couple o weeks ago I hit a three inch kerb full tilt. Not even a buckle. I only buy cheap (puts a smile on my face) and the quality these days is so much better. Why worry about a bike when you can be riding it? Have fun!
    I rather like being pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered.

  18. #18
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Rohloff's new 36 hole Hubshell came about because lots of Tandem riders used the 32 hole in Tandems . the somewhere near Machu Picchu ,

    they had to ship a replacement Hubshell and paper gasket after a spoke pulled thru the hubshell-flange.

    Benefit Wide spaced large flanges make strong rear wheels ..

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