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  1. #1
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    My wife and I are fairly light - about 270 pounds together - and often tour with rear panniers plus a rear rack pack. Never front panniers. I am planning to get new wheels - 145mm, 40 hole in the rear and 36 in front. My trusty Arai hub brake on rear. Planning to go for the Shimano tandem hubs on price and weight. Any reason I should pay the extra for Hugi or another brand of hub? All advice welcome!
    JayB

  2. #2
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayB
    Planning to go for the Shimano tandem hubs on price and weight. Any reason I should pay the extra for Hugi or another brand of hub?
    Short answer: No.

    Longer answer: The HF08 tandem hubs from Shimano are not sexy, but they're durable and a best value. Shimano tandem hubs sometimes get a bad wrap that can be attributed to the previous HF07 tandem hubs that were not as durable as the HF08. You can buy lighter, more durable, and better looking hubs -- we have several examples in our stable, e.g., Chris King, Phil Wood, & White Industry -- but most teams don't "need" these higher-end hubs. We opted for the Phil Woods on our '98 Erickson because they were, well, "the best" available: no regrets and we spec'd them for our '02 Erickson travel tandem as well. However, for our off-road tandem -- noting that we'd had some failures in the past -- what we needed was the strongest hub available and that is, IMHO, still the Chris King: again, no regrets. The White Ind. Racer-X hubs were acquired out of curiosity when our '98 Erickson's original wheelset was approaching 15k miles and the rims were getting tired. Rather than simply rebuilding the wheels we opted to keep them in reserve and I went in search of a lighter set of wheels and opted to use the very light White Ind. Racer-X to find out how they compared to our top shelf hubs. Althought they had some early teething problems, White knew what the problem was, sent us the correct replacement parts, and they have been trouble free ever since: no regrets.

    Bottom Line: Tandem hub options are a lot better than they were several years ago. You can find good hubs at several price points that all have something to offer for buyers with specific needs or desires.

  3. #3
    WATERFORD22
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    I agree with TG - I own a similar collections - Shimano, Hugi, and White Industry - I still haven't bought a set oh Phil Woods yet and probably won't buy the Kings because I like the 40/48 combination on 700c and I need an Arai brake set up and I also do 36 whole on 26 inch with an Arai. TG will probably correct me on the Kings but I haven't seen those combination available. Other combinations which are much harder to find because they've been in and out of the tandem market are Hope, Hadley, and Edco - but I occasionally find them in my wanderings. My luck on hubs has been pretty good but not so on rims especially Mavic 520 and 219's but my Chinooks have held up fine - I am now running three sets of deep V Velocity with various hubs. We are a heavey team so that may have some to do with it - but I also like the guy who built my latest wheels so maybe the builder has something to do with it as well.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Doesn't have anything to do with hubs but, if you are planning to tour, it makes sense to me to use the same number of spokes front and rear.

    If you ever trash a wheel, it's almost certain to be a rear. Wherever you do it, they aren't going to have a 40 or 48 hole rim. If your rims are the same, you can lace your front rim onto your rear hub and buy a replacement wheel to get you back on the road again. This actually happened to a good friend of mine.

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    Hmm . . . now THAT'S something to think about. Never considered the replacement factor before. Thanks. But are 36 hole rear wheels significantly weaker than 40 hole or not?
    JayB

  6. #6
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
    Doesn't have anything to do with hubs but, if you are planning to tour, it makes sense to me to use the same number of spokes front and rear.
    IMHO, it makes good sense to do this even if you don't tour... for the same reason: you only need to have one spare rim on hand and/or always have the option of cannibalizing a front wheel to get yourself back on the road in a matter of hours instead of days while waiting to get parts for the critical, tandem-specific rear wheel. Any "good" single bike front wheel will do for a tandem when push comes to shove; nothing special there and a good 36h wheel with an aero rim (e.g., CXP-33) is more than adequate as a temporary front wheel for even heavy teams pushing 400lbs.

    In fact, unless you are into big-time time trials or elite level racing where seconds count, any advantage you can get from having a lower spoke count hub up front is inconsequential. Moreover, if you're competing at those levels event-specific wheelsets that are used only for those events would be the prudent approach, noting that a conventional wheelset would still be the best bet for training and non-race events.

    In fact, and I may have mentioned this before, Santana gets a big thumbs-up for designing their paired low-spoke count, tandem-rated Shimano "Sweet 16" wheelsets around the durable HF08 rear hub mechanism and using the same 16h rims for the front & rear wheels. Bontrager and Rolf both opted to follow single race bike dogma for their tandem wheels, using a lower number of spokes up front.

    Finally, don't underestimate the need for lateral strength in the front wheel of a tandem. It follows, if you "need" a 36h wheel in back for transmitting power to the road and bearing the lion's share of the tandem teams weight when accelerating, you probably "need" just as much strength up front since it is the front wheel that must stop all that weight multiplied by velocity and hold up under the lateral loading that occurs when cornering.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 11-25-05 at 07:18 AM.

  7. #7
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayB
    But are 36 hole rear wheels significantly weaker than 40 hole or not?
    In theory, a 36h wheel will not be as strong as a 40h wheel, and a 40h wheel will not be as strong as a 48h wheel. However, a higher spoke count is meaningless if you don't consider how rim strength, spoke selection, and of course how the skill and attention of the wheel builder factor into how strong a wheel actually ends up being. Therefore, the answer to your real question which is, "are 36h wheels strong enough for tandem teams"... is it depends and the more detailed response is filled with lots of variables.

    For Those Who Are Bored:

    General Wheel Building Theory: As noted in one of my other recent threads on wheels, as you increase the number of spokes used in a wheel you reduce the amount of tension used on each spoke since each spoke is pulling on smaller sections of the rim... distributing loads in the same manner. Conversely, as spoke count is reduced, higher spoke tension is required along with a stronger and heavier rim. Therefore, there is an appropriate ratio of rim strength (width, depth, & spoke bed strength), to the spoke design (gauge, swagging/butting, and hub engagement), and hub design (flange strength, height, spoke engagement) for just about every cycling application and in this day and age maximum rider weights can't be assumed and need to be verified. This underscores the need to be sure that the components used are widely accepted and proven to be adequate for tandem use.

    General Tandem Wheel Guidelines: 40h is the "safe" number for tandems sold to the wide range of tandem buyers. While they may be too strong or heavier than needed for the lightest teams and marginal for the heaviest teams, they are generally durable and reliable for the vast majority of teams. Lighter weight teams... those under say 325lbs can most likely get by using 36h wheels that have been designed with tandems in mind (deep section and/or wide rims with tandem-specific hubs) whereas Clydesdales who top say 425lbs or mid-weight teams who intend to do loaded touring should probably be on 48h wheels.

    Exeptions to the Rule: There are of course exceptions to the rule, noting that the aforementioned Shimano Sweet 16s sold by Santana use only 16 spokes and are sold without any weight limitation. Rolf's Vigor tandem wheelset have a suggested team weight limit of 380 lbs., but at the same time have been used for racing by at least one team that weighs 440lbs. Long term durability and reliability while assumed to be "good" by the folks marketing these wheels remains to be proven in the real world by teams of varying weights and riding styles: time will tell.

    How They're Used: Now, as for how much longer any given wheel will remain reliable, that is perhaps where you'll find that a heavy team could eventually have problems sooner than a lightweight team... all things being equal. However, if the heavy team only logs 500 social miles a year and the lightweight team is out hammering their wheels 5 - 6 days a week, racing, and otherwise logging 8,000 miles or more a year then they will likely have more problems with rim durability than a heavy team. In other words, it's all relative.

    Be Wary of Fads That Violate The Basics: Unfortunately, there are occasionally teams who can be seen using wheels that don't fit these guidelines and unbeknownst to others encountering all kinds of durability issues. The early use of Shimano Ksyrium wheels with widened rear axles by some tandem teams comes immediately to mind as do some pretty expensive aero wheels that also have no place on a tandem with an average size team. What can I say; some teams have more money than common sense and don't readily share their problems when touting how "great" some of the components are that they use... and it's not always limited to the wheels.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 11-25-05 at 07:23 AM.

  8. #8
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    Interesting, as your contributions always are. I hadn't considered that about lower spoke tension with more spokes. I was told that the Shimano tandem hub HF08 for 10 speed cassette and ready for Arai hub brake is available in 40 hole but not 36 so, if that is correct, I couldn't go with 36 anyway. I was planning to build these up with DT Alpine spokes and Mavic A719 silver rims. Are these rims suitable, do you think?
    JayB

  9. #9
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayB
    Interesting, as your contributions always are. I hadn't considered that about lower spoke tension with more spokes. I was told that the Shimano tandem hub HF08 for 10 speed cassette and ready for Arai hub brake is available in 40 hole but not 36 so, if that is correct, I couldn't go with 36 anyway. I was planning to build these up with DT Alpine spokes and Mavic A719 silver rims. Are these rims suitable, do you think?
    Edit: @ 270 + normal pannier weight, the 40h would be more than adequate.

    The Mavic A719 is has traditionally been a good tandem rim (a derivative of the T217) that is spec'd for 28mm - 35mm wide tires. However, and perhaps you inferred this from your posting, they are no longer being offered to consumers in the 40h and 48h variety. On the bright side, some of the tandem specialtiy dealers like Mel @ Tandems East, Jack @ Tandems Limited, and folks like Peter White & Peter White Cycles probably have 40h and 48h models in their inventory. The Sun RhynoLite is another very good rim with similar characteristics.

    DT Alpine III's aren't necessarily "the best" spoke for tandems. Early on they were "assumed" to be the future of tandem wheelbuilding; however, the very thick spoke end proved to be problematic; therefore, double-butted (15/14) remain my default recommendation for road tandems.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 11-26-05 at 04:53 PM.

  10. #10
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    First set of wheels I had were 26" Shimano XT Tandem hubs with 40 spoke to Rhynolite rims. Worked ok and they did take some punishment offroad, without causing problems. However we are now a bit more aggressive and use Disc brakes so a different wheel was used. Cost a darn sight more than the original fitment, but you do get what you pay for. However, My upgraded "Hope Bigun" hubs will not not take a drum brake so it is pointless me telling you how good they. (But they are superb)

    This is where your problem may lie- What Hub to take a drum brake, how many spokes and then is there a strong enough rim for your use with the requisite number of spokes? What I will suggest though is that you talk to a well known wheel builder. They are not expensive- in fact cheaper than most local shops that build wheels, and they will have experience that may guide you in your choice.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  11. #11
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Our first custom tandem in in 1977 was an Assenmacher. Used the then 'unknown' and new to the market Phil wood hubs, bottom brackets and pedals. Sealed bearings on tandems/bikes were a novelty then.
    Great stuff, a bit pricey at the time compared to others on the market, but in the long haul, an excellent value for a superior product. The Phil Wood hubs (36H) lasted us 64,000 miles on that tandem; sold the tandem and for all we know those hubs are still goin' round and round.
    The Phil bottom brackets: front one went the full 64,000+ miles like the hubs; rear one developed a bit of play after only 30,000 miles; sent it back to Phil with note explaining mileage/problem. Got a nice personal note back: 'After al those miles this should not have happened, here is a new bottom bracket, no charge.'
    The pedals: bashed a Phil pedal riding over a real old fashioned high speed bump crossing the border from Arizona into Mexico (the hazards of pedaling 90 degrees OOP). Other set of Phil platform pedals lasted over 80,000 miles.
    The only other pedals that lasted longer was 2 pair of Vittoria SuperLeggeros that went around 90,000 miles (on 2 different tandems. These pedals were ultra comfortable and weighed an incredible 100 grams per pair (without alloy clips and straps).
    Phil still makes great product; currently using Chris King hubs (32/36) and headset on our ariZona tandem.
    Quality will far outlast/outperform cheaper products on the market. You gets what you pay for!
    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  12. #12
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    No, I had not realised that Mavic A719 rims were no longer available in 40 hole - not yet that clued up! And I thought that A719s were similar to Mavic T520s? Anyway, if I cannot find Mavic A719s in 40 hole, are their rims - other than the SunRynos - I should consider? You are saying that Mavic don't make suitable ones now, right? Are Dyads similar to SunRynos? Thanks again.
    JayB

  13. #13
    1. e4 Nf6 Alekhine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
    Doesn't have anything to do with hubs but, if you are planning to tour, it makes sense to me to use the same number of spokes front and rear.

    If you ever trash a wheel, it's almost certain to be a rear. Wherever you do it, they aren't going to have a 40 or 48 hole rim. If your rims are the same, you can lace your front rim onto your rear hub and buy a replacement wheel to get you back on the road again. This actually happened to a good friend of mine.
    This is an excellent tip to this semi-longtime tourist that I never once thought of. Thanks.
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  14. #14
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayB
    No, I had not realised that Mavic A719 rims were no longer available in 40 hole - not yet that clued up! And I thought that A719s were similar to Mavic T520s? Anyway, if I cannot find Mavic A719s in 40 hole, are their rims - other than the SunRynos - I should consider? You are saying that Mavic don't make suitable ones now, right? Are Dyads similar to SunRynos? Thanks again.
    The A719 & T520 are, for all intents & purposes, the same rim (see below). They are basically a 24mm wide version of the T217 rim discontinued a few years back.

    As for availability, again, if you're preference is the Mavic A719/T520, Peter White Cycles, Tandems East, and others most likely still have both 40h and 48h models in stock in silver and/or black even though Mavic is no longer offering them as an aftermarket or speciality item: just call and ask.

    Other rims: Velocity's Dyad, despite it's light weight and lack of ferrules, is a pretty good rim. Sun's CR-18 is another worth looking at as are the previously mentioned RhynoLites.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 11-26-05 at 04:51 PM.

  15. #15
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    Thanks. You didn't say what sort of rims you went for on your newer wheels, the ones you use with the disc brakes. Did you stick to Rhynolite?
    JayB

  16. #16
    Senior Member Old Hammer Boy's Avatar
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    That's interesting that A719s are discontinued in 40h. I recently (8/15/05) purchased a Cannondale tandem with tandem Hugi hubs (disc brake compatable) and A719 rims. These rims did come with 40 holes. Cannondale must have had some new old stock, and I'm glad they did, with the extra radial load discs put on spokes, etc. it's good having those extra spokes. So far (only about 1,000 miles) they've been excellent wheels.

  17. #17
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayB
    Thanks. You didn't say what sort of rims you went for on your newer wheels, the ones you use with the disc brakes. Did you stick to Rhynolite?
    Noting that we run 700x23mm and 700x25mm tires, we have one thread-on disc-compatible wheelset built up with 36h Phil Wood hubs & Mavic CXP30 rims (discontinued back in '01) and another built up with 36h Phil Wood hubs & Velocity Deep-V rims.

    I've built up a few sets of 26" and 700c wheelsets using RhynoLites and our '98 Cannondale MT3000 had RhynoLites, but have otherwise used Mavic T217, CXP30s, Velocity Deep-Vs, and Velocity Aeroheat AT (off-road) on our personal tandems.

  18. #18
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hammer Boy
    That's interesting that A719s are discontinued in 40h. I recently (8/15/05) purchased a Cannondale tandem with tandem Hugi hubs (disc brake compatable) and A719 rims. These rims did come with 40 holes. Cannondale must have had some new old stock, and I'm glad they did, with the extra radial load discs put on spokes, etc. it's good having those extra spokes. So far (only about 1,000 miles) they've been excellent wheels.
    Hard to know what the deal is with Mavic and rim offerings these days and discontinuing a certain model as a consumer offering doesn't always preclude availability as an OEM rim. It is entirely possible that they are still producing the 40h A719 as OEM rims for clients like Cannondale who can afford to buy an entire production lot.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 11-26-05 at 05:56 PM.

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