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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 07-12-07, 10:05 AM   #1
geeyoff
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What's most important in a fixed rear wheel?

(Besides not having a suicide hub.)

Hi. I'm trying to acquire a fixed gear rear wheel, and there are two shops that can hook me up. (FWIW, I'm in Chicago.) The first is called Yojimbo's, and he said that he can build me one for $130, including tax and labor. The second shop is called "A Nearly New Shop," and he can build me one for $85.

In both cases, the wheel would have a lock ring, not a suicide hub. Naturally, I'm tempted to go with the cheaper one, but I'm worried that I might be getting a piece of crap. Since I'm not looking for anything fancy, is there anything in particular that I should be concerned with which might make me decide to go with the more expensive place? I mean, I guess I could ask Yojimbo's why his wheels are more expensive, but I'd feel better if I knew what specific questions to ask.

So in short, should I be concerned about buying a significantly cheaper wheel? Thanks.
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Old 07-12-07, 10:08 AM   #2
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you should know what hubs they're using, what rims, what kind of spokes.

Then, find out how good each is at wheelbuilding.

then you can decide.
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Old 07-12-07, 10:11 AM   #3
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I just bought a track hub laced to an alloy rim for $47. I figure that with the way I'm going to ride, there's not a huge risk of hub failure and I don't mind relacing the wheel if the cheap rim tacos on me.
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Old 07-12-07, 10:27 AM   #4
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make sure you get some sort of box section rims. As much as I enjoy the strength in my deep v, rims with eyelets create a much more stable platform for spoke nipples.
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Old 07-12-07, 10:30 AM   #5
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Yeah. Come back with more info - what kind of hub, what kind of rim, what kind of spokes.

For a basic track hub, you probably want duplex-style (aka flip flop - cog and lockring threading on both sides), sealed bearings. Formula is a high-quality budget hub - i don't see any reason to go with any other budget hub.

Yojimbos has a good reputation. I'd go with them; I'd tell them that you want to go with them, but that this other bike shop offered to do it cheaper, and ask them what you're getting for that price difference (without asking them for something cheaper; also, they won't know how to answer your question if you don't know what you're getting for the $85) - if their answer satisfies you, then great.
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Old 07-12-07, 10:34 AM   #6
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Go to Marcus at Yojimbo's. Support the guy who consistently gives back to the community.
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Old 07-12-07, 10:41 AM   #7
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Not knowing any specifics about what spokes/hub/rim you are getting it is hard to say which is the better deal. That said, Marcus @ Yojimbos knows how to build an excellent wheel and will have you bring it in after a few hundred miles to true/retension the spokes.
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Old 07-12-07, 10:43 AM   #8
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Both of those sound like great deals for hand-built wheels. It's somewhat labor intensive and usually out of reach for people trying to do a budget conversion. I looked into the price of doing it locally here and it was simply too expensive. What rims and hubs are those builders going to use? Will they let you pick your parts? IRO has some closeout Velocity rims with small blemishes for very cheap.
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Old 07-12-07, 01:51 PM   #9
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Not that I don't support local wheelbuilders, but for a budget wheel, a custom build is overkill. formula hubs laced to quality mavic or velocity rims are readily available, pre-built, and cheeeeep. for $130 you could almost buy a whole wheelset.

http://cgi.ebay.com/AERO-700C-ROAD-B...QQcmdZViewItem
http://cgi.ebay.com/New-700c-DP18-Si...QQcmdZViewItem
http://cgi.ebay.com/Mavic-CXP22-700c...QQcmdZViewItem

You can get these in stores too...you'll pay a bit more than ebay, but you won't have to pay for shipping so it works out. save the custom build for when you have something really worth it. a combination of hubs and rims you really like...after you've done research on hubs, rims, spokes, and lacings, and you can make an informed decision in getting a totally custom job. if you just want a "fixed rear wheel" then don't pay out the a$$ for it. oh, and don't get anything other than formula hubs.
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Old 07-12-07, 02:36 PM   #10
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The most important thing in a custom built wheel is the wheel builder. The rest will sort itself out from there.
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Old 07-12-07, 02:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Falkon
make sure you get some sort of box section rims. As much as I enjoy the strength in my deep v, rims with eyelets create a much more stable platform for spoke nipples.

+1 on eyelts.

in order of relative durability (first best, lowest worst):

hubs:
sealed cartridge
loose ball
retainer/ball

spokes:
stainless straight gauge
stainless butted
non stainless

rims:
welded and eyeleted
eyeleted only
non welded, non eyeleted

there will be some exceptions and it doesn't take into account performance, but these are the main things too look for in quality wheels.
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Old 07-12-07, 02:55 PM   #12
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Butted or straight gauge spokes aren't really more or less durable than the other. The butted ones will stretch instead of snap, but will stretch when the straight gauges don't. I wouldn't call either the more durable one. I wouldn't know which to choose either!
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Old 07-12-07, 03:54 PM   #13
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most spokes break at the bend rather than in the middle, so I doubt butted spokes would really be a problem.
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Old 07-12-07, 04:03 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Falkon
most spokes break at the bend rather than in the middle, so I doubt butted spokes would really be a problem.
Exactly, the butting allows the spoke to stretch by creating a weak point in the middle, instead of snapping at the weak point at the bend. I suppose if you carried a spokey with you then it would be worth getting butted spokes. Hit a huge pothole? True up your wheel instead of walking home. This is what engineers do where I work, they try to anticipate weaknesses in a design, and then take those into account to create a best-of-the-worst-case scenario.

I'm not really sure the spokes work as well as in theory, as I have no experience with them.

Sheldon Brown would know!
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Old 07-12-07, 06:15 PM   #15
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im not saying the difference is huge, but just by virtue of there being more material, a straight gauge spoke is going to be a tad stiffer/stronger.
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Old 07-12-07, 06:20 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadgator
im not saying the difference is huge, but just by virtue of there being more material, a straight gauge spoke is going to be a tad stiffer/stronger.

Stiffer in the center part where spokes never break thus putting extra strain on the end where spokes do break. Double butted spokes allow a certain amount of "give" in the center and take some of the stress off of the more vulnerable end part.
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Old 07-12-07, 06:22 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadgator
im not saying the difference is huge, but just by virtue of there being more material, a straight gauge spoke is going to be a tad stiffer/stronger.
Incorrect. Butted spokes actually produce a stronger wheel in practice. The ability to flex under load actually helps eliminate some of the acute force at the point where spokes fail: the bend.

Edit: fixxie beat me to it.
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Old 07-12-07, 06:22 PM   #18
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Oh and to the original poster

I'd trust Marcus at YoJimbos to build a wheel anyday
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Old 07-12-07, 06:40 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadgator
im not saying the difference is huge, but just by virtue of there being more material, a straight gauge spoke is going to be a tad stiffer/stronger.
I dont think this is the case, cause as mentioned, the load bearing parts of spokes that stress the most are not in the middle of the spoke. butted spokes allow you to get basically the same strength with less weight and less tortional resistance. remember that a spoke does not take a compression load, so a thicker 'column' is not going to be more stable. the strength of a wheel is in the tension.
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Old 07-12-07, 10:24 PM   #20
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just chiming in to say that marcus at yojimbo's ****ing rocks. be aware that he runs the place by himself and the wait on labor can be long if he's swamped, but he's a perfect gentleman about it (friendly personal calls, etc.)

just go to yojimbos. cycle smithy up in lincoln park might hook you up too
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Old 07-12-07, 11:58 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fixxxie
Stiffer in the center part where spokes never break thus putting extra strain on the end where spokes do break. Double butted spokes allow a certain amount of "give" in the center and take some of the stress off of the more vulnerable end part.
the tensile force will be the same at all points between the head and the threads (it has no were to be stored, relieved, or sent to).

stress is directly proportional to the force and inverse to the cross section, and the strain is directly proportional to the stress. so for a given amount of force, a given section will always have the same stress and deform the same amount. whatever else is attached to given section (part of the spoke) will not affect how much force is transmitted through it, or how much it strains itself.

you are right in that a butted spoke will stretch more in total length for a given tension, but this will not help the head at all since it still sees the same force and stress.

Last edited by roadgator; 07-13-07 at 12:08 AM.
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