Originally Posted by pengyou
What is the usual weight rating of a cheap bicycle? What determines the carrying capacity for a bicycle - i.e. what is the weak link in the chain? Is it the tires? wheels? the frame itself?
Usually the first signs of trouble you see is spokes will begin to break.
A lot of "cheaper bikes" (that is--those costing up to, oh, say,,,, $1000.00 or so) come with pretty cheap spokes. My personal theory is that bike companies go cheap-***** on the spokes because the spokes aren't big enough to print the spoke-manufacturer's name on big enough that you'd ever notice it.
16 ga spokes are most common on better bikes ($500-$1000+).
12 ga is stronger, these are common on lots of cheaper dept-store bikes.
10 ga is strongest; only US company I know of that used them is Worksman cycles, for work bikes. Some Euro work bike companies use them too of course.
Roughly speaking (in terms of cross-section):
12ga is 3X as strong as 16ga
10ga is 5X as strong as 16ga
The reason that "better bikes" use weaker spokes than dept store bikes is because people in bike shops are more concerned with bicycle weights. With dept-store bikes, durability is more of a concern.
16 and 12-gauge spokes are usually freely interchangeable, but you will have to drill out bigger spoke holes for 10 ga in rims and hubs, and some hub flanges aren't big enough to safely do this.
Last edited by Doug5150; 07-16-07 at 05:22 AM.