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  1. #1
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    Stumped on wheel choices

    In the market for a new bike. I'm fairly heavy (200 lbs with my bag), and wheel durability is a big deal for me--no more broken spokes if I can help it. I prefer CX bikes, and I'm open to just about any make and model under $1,800 or so.

    However, I'm having trouble judging the durability of the wheels of various models. My LBS mechanic informed me I need to ensure any bike I bought had 32+ spoke wheels. There are many good CX bikes that fit that criteria (C'dale, Specialized Tricross Sport, Kona Jake, Fuji Cross Comp, K2 Enemy, etc.). There are also many equally good CX bikes that do NOT have 32+ spoke wheels (Trek XO1, Lemond Poprad, Specialized Tricross Comp, etc.).

    -Are the wheels in the second group generally less durable than the wheels in the first group?

    -Many makes have 32+ spoke wheels on their cheaper "Sport" models but fewer spokes on their "Comp" or "Pro" models (Specialized, Scott, Fuji). In those cases, am I really better off with the cheaper model if durable wheels are my highest priority?

    Some of this seems a little counter-intuitive to me so I'm asking for a little help. Thanks for any advice you have.

  2. #2
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    Mavic Equipe - enough said.

  3. #3
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    I'm 200lbs (sans bag) and I train on Bontrager Race wheels and race on Bontrager Race X Lite (and will be switching to a pair of Race X Lite Carbon soon). They've all held up fine so far, never had to true them yet.
    i ride bikes.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the feedback so far

    Tom, does the equipe come standard on any CX bikes? I don't want to pay to upgrade if I don't have to.

    Fore, I've definitely heard from people who have had a lot of success on those Bontragers and some other sub-32 spoke rims. That said, the concept of a 32-spoke rim being more durable makes sense to me. Would you think that the Bontragers could possibly be MORE durable than most 32-spoke wheels, or just close enough in durability that you don't mind giving up a touch of durability for the extra speed?

    Thanks again.

  5. #5
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    I'm in a position where I can get Bontrager stuff VERY cheaply. Absurdly cheap. The details are unimportant.

    When it came time to build my cross bike it only made sense to use Bontrager parts because of how inexpensive they are for me. I thought "if they break, it won't cost me much to replace them, so it's worth a shot."

    I've just never had to replace them. Hell, I've never had to touch them.

    The biggest advantage that a traditional 32 spoke wheel has is that if you should happen to bust a spoke while riding/racing, you can still ride that wheel. On a paired spoke / heavily-reduced spoke wheel you may be doing a bit more running than you had planned on.

    But that's a chance I'm willing to take.

    Let me also say that I'm a racer second, and a race mechanic first. I've spent more time at races working on Mavic wheels than I have any other brand. When they're working well they can be great wheels, but they can also be a grade A pain in the butt.

    If I were going to start over and didn't have access to Bonty stuff like I do, I'd probably build up a wheelset with some good Aero-style rims and a Shimano or Campy (whichever drivetrain you run) hubset. 14/15 double-butted spokes, 32 3x rear, 28 2x front. Shimano and Campy hubs can't be beat, aero rims hold less mud than box-section, double-butted spokes are a no-brainer.
    i ride bikes.

  6. #6
    Senior Member slagjumper's Avatar
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    I have about 700 miles on these wheels and they are doing a great job. My weight is about 185. If you wanted you could go for the 36 hole. These wheels are holding up well, are not harsh, but are fairly tuff.
    --
    Front-
    Left Cross: 3, Right Cross: 3
    Deore XT M760 32h Front Hub Black
    Salsa Delgado Cross 700c 32h Black Road Rim
    DT Swiss SuperComp BLACK *use 1.8mm nipple
    DT 1.8x12mm Prolock Bras s Black *EACH* nipple

    Rear-
    Left Cross: 3, Right Cross: 3
    Deore XT M760 32h Rear Hub Black
    Salsa Delgado Cross 700c 32h Black Road Rim
    DT Swiss SuperComp BLACK *use 1.8mm nipple
    DT 1.8x12mm Prolock Bras s Black


    http://www.salsacycles.com/comps_rims.html

    DELGADO™ CROSS
    700c version of the Delgado, excellent choice for cross, touring bikes, and 29ers
    22.5mm width, pinned and sleeved,
    515 grams
    32 or 36 hole, ERD 604
    Eyelet spoke holes
    Machined brake track
    Black or Silver

  7. #7
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    Wheels ...

    Stock wheels will be a bit on the heavy side and are generally durable. I'm picky about my wheels. I want a durable set of wheels that can be fixed or rebuilt in a jiff. A fancy set of wheels is useless if you have to ship them to a service center to fix a broken spoke.

    The "gold" standard: DA hubs (32 hole) laced 3x to Open Pro rims (or reflex of you are partial to tubies like I am) with DT competition spokes. The benefits:

    * relatively light
    * very strong
    * user serviceable
    * long lasting
    * labyrinthine seals keep more muck out than Ultegra hubs

    They have loose ball bearing hubs which means they will last a long time with a little care -- regular repack with grease -- with very low cost (don't have to replace sealed bearing which can die after a season or two).

    My suggestion to you is to keep the stock wheels for training and pick up a set of tubies (Reflex rims instead of Open Pro) for racing on Ebay. You can often get sets new for under $300 and lightly used for under $200.

  8. #8
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    Thanks to all for the replies

    I still am making a bike choice but I feel now that I do understand what makes a wheel more durable.

    Much appreciated.

  9. #9
    Cyclist acidinmylegs's Avatar
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    I've been pounding a set of Open Pro's that came on my Cannondale 'cross with discs. I use them on everything from singletrack -- rooty, steep variety -- to gravel roads and paved commutes. I weigh 185. I have been very impressed with their durability.

  10. #10
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    Are these wheels for cx racing or general riding/training on the road?
    If you race on muddy courses then mud accumulation can be a problem and low spoke count/aero wheels are a good solution.
    If you are Just Riding Along then std spoked wheels with box-section rim (eg open pro) are more maintainable. Consider a 36 spoke at least in the rear. The weight of 4 spokes is minimal and the wheels are stronger and easier to ride if you break a spoke.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trentw
    Tom, does the equipe come standard on any CX bikes? I don't want to pay to upgrade if I don't have to.
    If you're buying a fully equiped cross bike then you get what comes on the bike.

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