I'm refining my choice of wheel components for our new tandem. We are going with 26" wheels. I know I want Phil Wood Hubs. I'm wondering if Wheelsmith 13 2x butted spokes are the way to go with a 36h rim.
I am finding that Velocity rims are popular on tandems. They look nice and I've only seen or heard of one failure vs. several "They've been great." reviews, including those in this forum.
Even the rim that failed (cracks at the spoke holes, 40 spoke, DT 14 non butted spokes, 700c size) the owner replaced it with another Velocity (Dyad).
How do they build compared to Mavic, (which I've built dozens without failure or complaint for single bikes but I don't know if they make a tandem rated 26" rim)? I've built and still own a few Sun rimmed wheels. Not as nice as the Mavics but have held up well.
I'd go with DT swiss spokes. I've not had the best of luck wheelsmith spokes.
We used to have the Dyad as it came stock with our Co-Mo. I wanted to run a smaller tyre than a 28c so I built up a set of wheels with the Velocity "Fusion" rims. The Fusion is a cross of the velocity "Aero" and "Deep V" rim, hence the name. Doug at Velocity suggested this rim to me and I'm glad he did. Great looks and function.
We live in Texas and do most of our riding within 3 hours of Dallas. This is a semi flat area of the country. We use V-brakes w/no drag brake as we dont feel we need a drag for what and where we ride (at least at this point). So, we do without the weight at this point.
If I was in a more "hilly" terrain I think I'd have given some thought to building a set of wheels with Deep V's to help dissapate (sp?) the heat from rim brakes. The extra surface area of a true deep V rim helps cool the rim faster. Not to mention the awesome strenth of a deep V.
If I were going to build a 26" tandem wheel for myself I'd go with Velocity as I love the product and I like the people there. I'd have Doug build it up with the Deep V rims he has on a 36 or even a 32.
Double butted spokes are definitely an excellent choice for long-lasting wheels; far better than straight gauge. Not sure what Wheelsmith 13's are, but DB14 or even DB15 would be more than adequate.
As for rims, I've put Velocity rims on all three of our tandems -- Deep-V's on the road bikes and the Aeroheat AT on the off-road tandem. Excellent rims that build up quite nicely. In fact, I just rebuilt a 700c Aerohead OC this past week and it came up to tension and trued as easily as any Mavic rim that I've built up.
Mavic's "tandem" rims:
- The 700c T520 comes in 32h, 36h and 40h
- The 26" X517, X221 & X521 come in 32h and 36h.
There are also some other, older models of Mavic rims available from wheel builders with different designations, e.g., T517, etc...