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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 11-06-06, 12:53 PM   #1
K&M
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Rolf Hub R.I.P.

Two miles from home at the end of a 106 mile ride yesterday our front Rolf Prima tandem wheel started wobbling all over the place. Turned out the hub flange had cracked and spokes were pulling out. The wheel has been in service for about 20 months and has just under 7,000 miles on it. So my questions to all you wheel experts out there are: Is it practical/worth it to get a new hub and rebuild the wheel? Is it better to buy a new Rolf front wheel? Should I just go ahead and buy a new rear wheel too (since the bearings in that wheel are getting pretty worn)? Or is it time to get some of those White Industry hubs everyone keeps raving about and build up some new wheels on those?

Thanks for sharing any thoughts you may have ....
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Old 11-06-06, 01:40 PM   #2
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My gut reaction is to send the wheel back to Rolf and let them know how lucky both you and they were that the wheel did not let go while you were rounding a sharp bend on a steep descent....
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Old 11-06-06, 02:36 PM   #3
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Interesting failure. What's your team weight and what road surfaces are you riding?
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Old 11-06-06, 04:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K&M
Turned out the hub flange had cracked and spokes were pulling out. The wheel has been in service for about 20 months and has just under 7,000 miles on it. ...
You are by no way the first to experience this type of failure...

http://search.bikelist.org/getmsg.as...10609.0743.eml

If you purchased them as the OEM wheels on your tandem contact your dealer, the builder, and Rolf. If they were after market, contact your dealer & Rolf. They "should" offer to rebuild the wheel with a new hub that does not have the weight saving drill-outs between the spoke holes.
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Old 11-06-06, 05:29 PM   #5
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Thank you, TandemGeek, for that very useful information. I'll follow up on it. We are, for what it's worth, a sub-300 pound team. We ride fairly quickly over some fairly rough roads, but we have never hit any major holes, pinch flatted, crashed, or anything like that with this wheel.
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Old 11-07-06, 09:34 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by K&M
Thank you, TandemGeek, for that very useful information. I'll follow up on it. We are, for what it's worth, a sub-300 pound team. We ride fairly quickly over some fairly rough roads, but we have never hit any major holes, pinch flatted, crashed, or anything like that with this wheel.
K&M

"Fairly quick", thats an understatement.

We have the ROlf's that came stock on our Co Mo Robusta, and have had no problems, with around 6000 miles on them. We did have the same failure you described on a set of Bontrager Tandem wheels. We sent them in, Bontrager replaced the hub and we have had no further problems. We used the Bontragers exclusively this year on the each of the CTC doubles we did, including the Terrible Two and both Death Valley events. I'd say let Rolf replace the hub and stick with a great wheel set.
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Old 11-07-06, 09:57 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by K&M
Two miles from home at the end of a 106 mile ride yesterday our front Rolf Prima tandem wheel started wobbling all over the place. ....
We thought that your stoker was out of commision for a few weeks. We assume she is back on the bike... that would be good news!

PS your e-mail box is full!!
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Old 11-07-06, 12:34 PM   #8
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dude, for every person I know with Rolf hub issues, I know ten with White Ind hub issues. How about Hugi or something????

At 7000 miles I'd replace the front and service the rear at a reputable lbs. Also interested in your riding history/team weight.
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Old 11-07-06, 01:53 PM   #9
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Tandems break things. Doesn't matter how many people do not have problems with the "Known" Tandem Quality items- someone is going to have a failure.

I know when I looked at wheels 4 years ago- I drew on as much experience of other people as I could. Everyone had different opinions but I made my choice, after consulting with The Downhill Offroaders, paid my money and I am happy.

My choice would not suit everyone as I am offroad- I ride aggressively and went for Downhill Quality. Definitely over the top on weight, but a couple of Front tyre blowouts and several high speed rear ones and my wheels are still going strong. Plus there are the rocks we've hit, and the cars and trees, the mistakes we've made on choice of route and the general misuse.

Still check the wheels after every ride though but Hope Bigun hubs are strong, Mavic EX 729 rims are strong and we have yet to break a straight gauge s/s spoke, even though we were told that Double butted were stronger. Have replaced a couple because we bent them but that is down to me and not the spokes.

I would let Rolf know that you have had a serious failure and see what they can do for you. Even though this is on a Tandem that is going to stress any part used on it- They may be one of the helpfull companies that are around.
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Old 11-07-06, 02:38 PM   #10
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12 month warranty, I wouldn't waste my time with a Rolf contact. Also note that Rolfs are about 150grams/wheel LIGHTER than Bontragers. That's why I own Bontrager.
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Old 11-07-06, 02:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElRey
dude, for every person I know with Rolf hub issues, I know ten with White Ind hub issues.
FWIW: Rolf sources its hubs from White Industries.
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Old 11-07-06, 04:09 PM   #12
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How about Cris King hubs? I have admired them for years but never had any. King offers a tandem specific hub and they have these beautiful colors. I have seen quite a few opinions on Rolfs, Bontragers, and White Ind. Anybody on King's? I get the urge for a new wheelset about this time every year although I'm still on my original Shimano/Mavics that came on my RT1000 almost 5 years ago. One of these days I'll give in.
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Old 11-07-06, 08:34 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Redpath
How about Cris King hubs?
Bomb proof... We've used them on our off-road tandems for several years and they're incredibly reliable and durable. They're also fairly light and look great... but not cheap and not always easy to get your hands on.
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Old 11-07-06, 08:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stapfam
we have yet to break a straight gauge s/s spoke, even though we were told that Double butted were stronger.
That's interesting, that someone would tell you that butted spokes are stronger than straight gauge.
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Old 11-07-06, 10:21 PM   #15
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Another happy Chris King hub user; matched to Velocity Aeroheads with DT Revolution spokes; 32H front, 36H rear. 13,000 miles so far . . . we are a sub-250-lb team.
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Old 11-08-06, 01:30 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JanMM
That's interesting, that someone would tell you that butted spokes are stronger than straight gauge.
not stronger but longer lasting, read this thread from another cycling forum with experts like jobst brandt and sheldon brown.

http://www.cyclingforums.com/showthr...oto=nextnewest
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Old 11-08-06, 05:13 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stapfam
... we have yet to break a straight gauge s/s spoke, even though we were told that Double butted were stronger.
That's because you're riding a 26" fat-tired off-road tandem... Straight gauge spokes are fine for off-road applications but for road tandems running narrow, high-pressure tires on 700c wheels, double-butted spokes will produce a wheel that -- all other things being equal -- will be more resistant to spoke breakage due to metal fatigue not necessarily "stronger".
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Old 11-08-06, 05:17 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by JanMM
That's interesting, that someone would tell you that butted spokes are stronger than straight gauge.
Why? There are people all over the place who knowingly or unknowingly freely share inaccurate information, biased opinions, or pre-packed marketing BS all the time.

Last edited by TandemGeek; 11-08-06 at 06:14 AM.
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Old 11-08-06, 05:26 AM   #19
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T'geek on the job!!! I guess what that means then is I know ten people with the regular White Ind badged hubs over the Rolf re-badge. But the scuttlebutt is the same: light, but not durable.
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Old 11-08-06, 07:28 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JanMM
That's interesting, that someone would tell you that butted spokes are stronger than straight gauge.
Yeah, the guy probably just mis-spoke (no pun intended -- well, yeah it was). You do get a more durable wheel with butted spokes (as mentioned in the above Sheldon reference). I guess you could call it a "stronger wheel," but certainly the spokes aren't stronger by themselves when butted.
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Old 11-08-06, 08:09 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by zonatandem
Another happy Chris King hub user; matched to Velocity Aeroheads with DT Revolution spokes; 32H front, 36H rear. 13,000 miles so far . . . we are a sub-250-lb team.
I have noticed that several teams are running Velocity rims and seem quite happy with them. My only experience with Velocity rims is from mountain biking and what turned me off on them was the very narrow braking surface they had. You had to line up your brake pads very carefully. Is this true on the road rims or is this just not right? I have never had an issue with any Mavic rims so they're my benchmarks. But I'm all for trying something new. I was thinking 40H front and 40H rear though. We're at 305 lbs for the team and ride pretty rough roads.
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Old 11-08-06, 10:06 AM   #22
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Found this in the cyclingforums link mentioned earlier: "The build is much more important than DB or straight spokes"(Qui Si Parla Ca).
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Old 11-08-06, 11:18 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by JanMM
Found this in the cyclingforums link mentioned earlier: "The build is much more important than DB or straight spokes"(Qui Si Parla Ca).
Absolutely true... The most reliable wheels are those that use components and spoke designs that are carefully selected by a qualified and experienced wheel builder who understands how the wheels will be used. Hence, the differences in what might be spec'd for our off-road forum member, vs a wheelset built for a 300lb tandem team riding 700c narrow rims with narrow tires, vs a 500lb triplet team. There are as many reasons to use straight gauge or DB spokes as there are to use high or low flange hubs, wide or narrow rims, and 2x vs 3x vs 4x or even 5x lacing patterns.

Build enough wheels and you'll eventually form your own opinions on which components work best with each other, make for the easiest builds, and provide for the greatest long-term servicability. Tandems merely highlight many of the weaknesses in poor component selection or builder technique / skill which is why the best insight you'll gain into how wheels for tandems should be built is from the people who actually have experience building wheels for tandems and know what does and does not hold up over the long haul under real world conditions.

Last edited by TandemGeek; 11-08-06 at 02:04 PM.
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Old 11-08-06, 11:50 AM   #24
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At 170 lbs racing weight, I was snapping Revilution spokes like matchsticks on a set of "custom" builds for my Colnago when they first came out. I don't know why you'd want them for a tandem.
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Old 11-08-06, 05:49 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornucopia72
We thought that your stoker was out of commision for a few weeks. We assume she is back on the bike... that would be good news!
Actually, she was out of commission for almost 2 months. She got a bee in her bonnet about doing a triathlon and ended up breaking her ankle while out on a run. I hope she'll give that craziness up now and stay on the tandem where it's safe

After all these weeks of looking forward to getting back on the tandem we finally got the OK from her doctor, went out for a good solid ride, had a great time .... and then had our wheel fail just as we were getting home. On the bright side, at least the wheel didn't break to bits 45 minutes earlier, when we were descending a wicked grade at 50mph out in the middle of nowhere!

Hopefully, we'll be able to get our hands on a working wheel soon. With only that one ride since early September, we're suffering some pretty serious tandeming withdrawal symptoms. Another week or two without riding and you'll probably have to kick us off this forum ....
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