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  1. #1
    labeled rude by nOObs Vireo's Avatar
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    Broken Spoke again!

    Hello everyone.

    Brandy and I just finished the Death Valley Double Century on our tandem. We broke a spoke on the last 10 miles coming in to the finish. We are currently running 32 spokes front and rear on Shimano Ultegra Disc Brake (HB M525 VIAM, FH M525 VIAM) hubs. A quick google search produced this.

    We broke a spoke on the 400km two weeks ago. I work in a bike shop (almost 5 years) and know the quality of our mechanics' work. As a team we weigh 280lbs. The bike is a sub 33 lbs. We carry a Detours High Tail bag and stay under the 5lb max weight suggested by Detour.

    So three questions:

    1. Are the hubs that bad?

    2. MORE IMPORTANT: What lacing would you folks recommend? 40H 48H

    3. What hubs, rims, and spokes would you recommend? I was thinking Phil Woods. But I'm at a loss for the other components.

    Thank you in advance

  2. #2
    ... Brandy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vireo View Post
    As a team we weigh 280lbs.
    Did you just say I have a fat *****???

  3. #3
    Tandem Mountain Climber
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    I like White Industries Hubs and DT or Sapim spokes.

    I personally would try a 36h for a disc brake on a tandem.

    We have 36h front and 40h rear .... probably overkill, but the peace of mind is nice!

    I wanted 32h front and 36h rear (which I think is ideal), but parts availability and conservatism led to 36/40.

  4. #4
    labeled rude by nOObs Vireo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uspspro View Post
    I like White Industries Hubs and DT or Sapim spokes.

    I personally would try a 36h for a disc brake on a tandem.

    We have 36h front and 40h rear .... probably overkill, but the peace of mind is nice!

    I wanted 32h front and 36h rear (which I think is ideal), but parts availability and conservatism led to 36/40.
    uspspro thank you.

    Would you mind elaborating on the "...for a disc brake.." comment?

    Thank you in advance

  5. #5
    Tandem Mountain Climber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vireo View Post
    uspspro thank you.

    Would you mind elaborating on the "...for a disc brake.." comment?

    Thank you in advance
    Well since the rotor is connected to the hub. Every time you hit the brakes, there us a huge force (torque) on the wheel. Essentially the rims want's to keep turning, while you are stopping the hub. It's good to have a wheel setup such that the spokes are as tangential to the hub as possible, the torque is tangential to the hub flange.

    32h 3-cross with standard hubs makes for a nice tangential lacing pattern, and so does 36 hole 3-cross. The extra 4-spokes obviously help with carrying less load per spoke under torquing.
    Last edited by uspspro; 03-02-09 at 01:33 PM.

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    Given the way you seem to be using the wheels have you thought about Rolf disc wheels?

    Here's a recent thread that discusses disc wheels:

    Wheel builder

  7. #7
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vireo View Post
    We are currently running 32 spokes front and rear on Shimano Ultegra Disc Brake (HB M525 VIAM, FH M525 VIAM) hubs.
    Before throwing a match into the fray, let me ask a few questions...

    1. What brand/model of tandem is this?
    2. What's the rear wheel spacing? 135mm
    3. Who built the wheel; factory OEM or your LBS?
    4. Is the tandem / wheel still under warranty if bought new, e.g., less than a year old?
    5. What type of rims and how do the spoke holes right now? Any sign of stress damage or dimpling?
    6. What brand and gauge spokes did they use and are they straight or butted... single butt or double?
    7. Did you double check the spoke tension when the wheels were new to make sure it was tight (tandems need to use the high-end of the spoke tension range for a given set of hubs/spokes/rim) and even?
    8. What diameter rotors are you using on the front and rear? 160/160, 180/160, 203/180, 203/203???


    1. Are the hubs that bad?

    If the hub hasn't failed, i.e., cracked flange, bent axle or stripped pawls then the jury may still be out. However, and in general, if it's not at least an XT-grade hub the guts won't last all that long. Conversely, the XT-grade hubs are built around the same guts that Shimano uses on it's HF08 tandem-specific hubs so the guts of an XT hub are pretty durable. However, I still have concerns regarding the longevity of the flanges which, at least on the XT hubs I've seen, appear to incorporate voids to lower their weight that you don't usually see on Shimano's tandem hubs: that added mass is probably there on the tandem hubs (and just about everyone else's tandem hubs) for a reason; long-term fatigue resistance. Regardless, all of these non-tandem hubs are 135mm spaced and, well, that's pretty marginal for a road tandem with discs.

    2. MORE IMPORTANT: What lacing would you folks recommend? 40H 48H

    Probably need to nail down the rear spacing first. Howeve, in general 36h or 40h should be more than adequate for your team weight. Your wheel builder should recommend the lacing and spokes only after selecting the hub and rim; however, for a disc wheel at least 3x.


    3. What hubs, rims, and spokes would you recommend? I was thinking Phil Woods. But I'm at a loss for the other components.

    Once again, probably need to nail down the rear spacing first. See the thread to which rmac just provided the link. Many of your same questions / interests are addressed in there.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 03-02-09 at 03:30 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brandy View Post
    Did you just say I have a fat *****???
    We're a fairly objective bunch, if you post a photo we can make an independent ruling

  9. #9
    Double Secret Probation R900's Avatar
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    Not an ounce of fat on her, I didn't know Vireo was that heavy :-)
    Time to Ride...

  10. #10
    ... Brandy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by R900 View Post
    Not an ounce of fat on her, I didn't know Vireo was that heavy :-)
    Aren't you sweet?

    Here's a picture from a couple of years ago when John brought us the most AMAZING food when George was doing RAAM...




    Here's one from Friday as we were driving to Death Valley Double...


  11. #11
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
    We're a fairly objective bunch, if you post a photo we can make an independent ruling
    Quote Originally Posted by Brandy View Post
    Here's one from Friday as we were driving to Death Valley Double...
    A few things have become clear here:

    - Brandy doesn't have a fat *****???
    - Y'all probably find yourself with a lot of wheel suckers
    - It was apparently a cool morning


    So, now that we've had some Foo'ster like fun, what's the story on that rear wheel?

  12. #12
    rhm
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    Spokes have to be under enough tension that they never get completely un-tensioned. If a wheel wasn't built right, which means all the spokes tensioned correctly at the outset, they will go through a loaded/unloaded cycle as the wheel turns, which leads to metal fatigue. If you have reached the point where they have started to pop, then probably they are all compromised now; one by one, they will fail. At the very least you should replace them all, and make sure they are correctly tensioned this time.

  13. #13
    labeled rude by nOObs Vireo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhm View Post
    Spokes have to be under enough tension that they never get completely un-tensioned. If a wheel wasn't built right, which means all the spokes tensioned correctly at the outset, they will go through a loaded/unloaded cycle as the wheel turns, which leads to metal fatigue. If you have reached the point where they have started to pop, then probably they are all compromised now; one by one, they will fail. At the very least you should replace them all, and make sure they are correctly tensioned this time.
    You make a good point and I think it's applicable. This was a kitted bike from Pinarello. The build quality on the wheels was not so great. The wheel was definitely not evenly tensioned. We did a couple of short rides (less than 20 miles) to work out some fit issues. Before our first brevet (200km) I had the wheels checked over and the mechanic made mention that the spoke tension was all over the board. We then did the 200km, 300km no issues. On the 400km about 40 miles in we broke a spoke. Got it replaced and the mechanic didn't mention any "chronic" issues with the wheel. Then on the Death Valley Double broke a spoke on mile 190. There were no other rides in between the Ultras.

    Is it my understanding that you think the wheel might be fine but just needs to get rebuilt? Kind of like a "DO OVER!"

  14. #14
    labeled rude by nOObs Vireo's Avatar
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    I was able to take some pictures today of the wheel in question. If you require something more please request it.

  15. #15
    labeled rude by nOObs Vireo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
    Before throwing a match into the fray, let me ask a few questions...

    1. What brand/model of tandem is this?



    2. What's the rear wheel spacing? 135mm


    3. Who built the wheel; factory OEM or your LBS?




    4. Is the tandem / wheel still under warranty if bought new, e.g., less than a year old?



    5. What type of rims and how do the spoke holes right now? Any sign of stress damage or dimpling?



    6. What brand and gauge spokes did they use and are they straight or butted... single butt or double?


    7. Did you double check the spoke tension when the wheels were new to make sure it was tight (tandems need to use the high-end of the spoke tension range for a given set of hubs/spokes/rim) and even?



    8. What diameter rotors are you using on the front and rear? 160/160, 180/160, 203/180, 203/203???



    1. Are the hubs that bad?

    If the hub hasn't failed, i.e., cracked flange, bent axle or stripped pawls then the jury may still be out. However, and in general, if it's not at least an XT-grade hub the guts won't last all that long. Conversely, the XT-grade hubs are built around the same guts that Shimano uses on it's HF08 tandem-specific hubs so the guts of an XT hub are pretty durable. However, I still have concerns regarding the longevity of the flanges which, at least on the XT hubs I've seen, appear to incorporate voids to lower their weight that you don't usually see on Shimano's tandem hubs: that added mass is probably there on the tandem hubs (and just about everyone else's tandem hubs) for a reason; long-term fatigue resistance. Regardless, all of these non-tandem hubs are 135mm spaced and, well, that's pretty marginal for a road tandem with discs.

    2. MORE IMPORTANT: What lacing would you folks recommend? 40H 48H

    Probably need to nail down the rear spacing first. Howeve, in general 36h or 40h should be more than adequate for your team weight. Your wheel builder should recommend the lacing and spokes only after selecting the hub and rim; however, for a disc wheel at least 3x.


    3. What hubs, rims, and spokes would you recommend? I was thinking Phil Woods. But I'm at a loss for the other components.

    Once again, probably need to nail down the rear spacing first. See the thread to which rmac just provided the link. Many of your same questions / interests are addressed in there.
    1. What brand/model of tandem is this?

    Pinarello



    2. What's the rear wheel spacing? 135mm


    3. Who built the wheel; factory OEM or your LBS?

    Factory or OEM


    4. Is the tandem / wheel still under warranty if bought new, e.g., less than a year old?

    The wheels and bike or more than a year old. I would rather work with my mechanics than go through a warranty process.


    5. What type of rims and how do the spoke holes right now? Any sign of stress damage or dimpling?

    No stress dimpling or damage. They are MOst Rims but they are most likely someone else's and rebadged.


    6. What brand and gauge spokes did they use and are they straight or butted... single butt or double?

    Spokes have an "N" I don't know what they are. They are straight 14

    7. Did you double check the spoke tension when the wheels were new to make sure it was tight (tandems need to use the high-end of the spoke tension range for a given set of hubs/spokes/rim) and even?

    NO I think that is where I went wrong.


    8. What diameter rotors are you using on the front and rear? 160/160, 180/160, 203/180, 203/203???

    185mm Rear


  16. #16
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    Just wanted to say you are not alone wih the Pinarello tandem wheels. We meet a couple last year with the same Pinarello tandem, in fact just back from the shop having the wheels rebuilt. They had only had the tandem for 3 months.

  17. #17
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Based on your feedback....

    The root cause if pretty apparent at this point and as originally suspected: your tandem's wheel specs were way off the mark at best to begin with and build quality doomed them to a short life. Have you checked the tension on your front wheels? They're probably not much better and, well, you really don't want to bust a front spoke on your next brevet. Of course, even if the wheels had been hand-trued and tensioned properly you would have likely had problems down the line anyway given the amount of mileage you and yours appear to be logging on the bike.

    The hubs are marginal at best; XT would have been a better spec. and, well, a real tandem hub would have been the correct spec. Again, it's not a matter of if, but when will the rear hub's guts will will begin to give you trouble if you guys are logging a couple thousand miles a year on your tandem. 135mm rear spacing on a tandem isn't out of the question for a relatively light team like yourselves; however, 36h spacing with 3x or 4x lacing would be the minimum spec. with the smaller 185mm rotors. Additionally, tandem wheels that narrow demand a strong, tallish flange hubset and rims with either a robust spoke bed or double eyelets to handle the amount of spoke tension needed to get a tight wheel that won't flex too much under load.

    So, IMHO you really have a couple options that will key off of one basic question: How long do you plan to keep this tandem? If the tandem is otherwise performing well, fits and meets your expectations and you plan to hold on to it for several years, you could certainly pick up a more robust set of wheels and that would be money well-spent. However, if you're on the fence or have already found yourself looking at other tandems, you might want to limit your expense to a simple rebuild using the existing hubs and rim. A good wheel builder could certainly lace the hubs back up to the existing rim to give you another season of use, assuming the hub internals hold up. As for what spokes to use, I'd have to physically inspect and weigh the rim to venture a guess so best to leave that up to your wheel builder.

    Me, I'd still go after warranty coverage if it's still in force; you paid for it if you bought the tandem new from an authorized dealer, just on principle.

    If you decided to go for a new wheelset for the long haul I'd probably steer you towards calling White Industries for your hubs and Velocity for your rims. If don't plan on tackling big mountains, 36h with your 185mm rotors would probably be OK but, again, the build would need to be on the mark. Also, the smallish 185mm rotors are not the ones that Avid (Pre-SRAM acquisition) gave the wink and nod to in their discussions with daVinci and other tandem builders relative to tandem use. They were very specific that it was only the 203mm rotors that should be used on tandems. That's just something else to be mindful about as the smaller rotors will overheat more quickly than the 203mm rotor. Obviously, it's the front wheel that would warrant more of your attention in this regard since that's the one doing the lion's share of the stopping. That's also why I suggest having your LBS' wheel guy give that wheel a good look-over relative to spoke tension, etc...
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 03-04-09 at 12:43 PM.

  18. #18
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    If you rebuild the wheel make sure that you are using a stiff rim. A stiff rim spreads the load over more spokes when you hit bumps and flexes less under the additional weight of a tandem. As mentioned before, high even spoke tension is important.
    Sheldon

  19. #19
    Double Secret Probation R900's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Brandy;8456673]Aren't you sweet?

    Here's a picture from a couple of years ago when John brought us the most AMAZING food when George was doing RAAM...



    That picture is nuts, you guys have both come about 2,000 mile across the US at that point, George on a bike and Brandy in the RV and look like a million bucks.
    Time to Ride...

  20. #20
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    George get a hold of Mike Trone over at El Camino Bike.....I'm pretty sure you know him. He's been building tandem wheels for years for all types of teams. He may have some good input for you.

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    rhm
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vireo View Post
    You make a good point and I think it's applicable. This was a kitted bike from Pinarello. The build quality on the wheels was not so great. The wheel was definitely not evenly tensioned. We did a couple of short rides (less than 20 miles) to work out some fit issues. Before our first brevet (200km) I had the wheels checked over and the mechanic made mention that the spoke tension was all over the board. We then did the 200km, 300km no issues. On the 400km about 40 miles in we broke a spoke. Got it replaced and the mechanic didn't mention any "chronic" issues with the wheel. Then on the Death Valley Double broke a spoke on mile 190. There were no other rides in between the Ultras.

    Is it my understanding that you think the wheel might be fine but just needs to get rebuilt? Kind of like a "DO OVER!"
    Yes. But let's not talk about the "wheel." You have to evaluate the hub, rim, and spokes separately. As many people have mentioned, this combination of hub and rim is not ideal for a tandem. Fair enough; but you have them, and they are not necessarily damaged yet. If they are not damaged, you can reuse them-- but you need 32 new spokes. The shop that sold you the bike should be willing to replace all the spokes and tension the wheel properly under warranty, no charge. I would have them do this. Will it be reliable in the long run? I don't know.

  22. #22
    labeled rude by nOObs Vireo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhm View Post
    Yes. But let's not talk about the "wheel." You have to evaluate the hub, rim, and spokes separately. As many people have mentioned, this combination of hub and rim is not ideal for a tandem. Fair enough; but you have them, and they are not necessarily damaged yet. If they are not damaged, you can reuse them-- but you need 32 new spokes. The shop that sold you the bike should be willing to replace all the spokes and tension the wheel properly under warranty, no charge. I would have them do this. Will it be reliable in the long run? I don't know.
    My mechanic has agreed to rebuild the wheel. Cost will be a cup of coffee maybe lunch. I work at the shop that is the authorized dealer for Pinarello but as I stated before I'm not going through the warranty process. If I were an off the street consumer then I would.

    This is a stop gap measure until I can afford another HUB, RIM combo. Trying to keep the costs down. Brandy has been downsized in this economy. Thanks to you folks I now know the hub is not going to last in the long run. We are going to do the 600km on April 4th. After that the tandem will sit mostly as we prepare for our individual races. We'll do some rides from time to time on the tandem but not anything as long as the brevets. I'll have enough time (and funds) to start from scratch on this wheel later in the year. We just gotta get through the 600km.

  23. #23
    labeled rude by nOObs Vireo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alwaysbikn View Post
    George get a hold of Mike Trone over at El Camino Bike.....I'm pretty sure you know him. He's been building tandem wheels for years for all types of teams. He may have some good input for you.
    I do know Mike. Great mechanic and a great guy too!!!!!

  24. #24
    labeled rude by nOObs Vireo's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=R900;8463420]
    Quote Originally Posted by Brandy View Post
    Aren't you sweet?

    Here's a picture from a couple of years ago when John brought us the most AMAZING food when George was doing RAAM...



    That picture is nuts, you guys have both come about 2,000 mile across the US at that point, George on a bike and Brandy in the RV and look like a million bucks.
    Looks are deceiving. I didn't sleep the first 4 days of RAAM. I felt like a zombie. I had a cold from day 2 . But a home cooked meal can do wonders for your morale. Thank you again for your support on RAAM.

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