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  1. #1
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    Wheel Opinions please

    Hello All,
    have been checking out info here for some time, and are finally posting a question for you. We upgraded our wheels last year and now I have the old wheels here. Wanted your thoughts on putting them on our triple. The triple has Rhino Lites 48 spoke 4X on Phil Wood hubs. Not sure of age. The other wheels are circa 2002 Dyad Velocity 36 spokes 3X. These wheels have never given any issues at all. Only service has been truing. Would love to pull some weight off of the triple! Combined team weight for the triple is 375 or so, only to go up as the little guy ages. Think they are too light?

  2. #2
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    Wow. No one wants to take a stab at it?

  3. #3
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    I've got a team weight of 350 on 36 spoke wheels, rhynolite in the back, some random single bike wheel in front, with no problems yet. Use the 36 spoke wheels for good roads, and those bombproof wheels for loaded / bad or no pavement / longer trips where a wheel failure would really, really ruin your day.

  4. #4
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    I would never use anything but 48's on the triplet... but our team wt goes from 450 to 500 lbs. On our tandem we have used 40's, 36's and 16's with no problems; our team wt is 300 plus 35 lbs bike. At 375 plus 70 to 80 lbs bike. The 36's may be fine. I would try the rear wheel first and if it did OK then I would assume that the front wheel would be fine.

  5. #5
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    On the other hand, if you're running a triplet, why worry about the weight? Is the weight savings really worth the long walk back while explaining to TWO people how the 36 spoke wheels unexpectedly fell apart?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by pablopsd View Post
    Think they are too light?
    It all depends on how often and how hard to you ride the tandem as well as the quality of the components and, most importantly, the quality of the build. If the 36h 3x wheel is using a true tandem hub, has robust spokes, is laced tightly with uniform tension then you could probably enjoy several years of trouble-free use if you only ride the triplet a couple hundred miles a year on nice roads and don't climb a lot of big hills or do a lot of aggressive riding. If, however, you and the boys will be logging big miles on epic rides, I'd rethink your strategy based on the following.

    What you're trading-off is an almost indetectable amount of weight reduction (noting most of the 48h wheel weight is likely in the Phil Wood hubs, i.e., not rotating mass), is somewhat diminished bike stability and control, reduced service life and reduced safety margin:

    - Stability: The 48h wheels, if built well, will have less side-to-side deflection under cornering or any other time that side-loads are put on the wheels compared to the 36h wheels.

    - Control: The more robust your wheels are, the better the bike tracks and turns.

    - Service Life: Short of bashing a pot hole and wearing through sidewall brake tracks due to extensive riding in wet conditions, fatigue life is what limits a wheel's total service life. A 36h wheel's spokes, rim and hub will carry a higher load per spoke than a 48h wheel and that combined with more deflection will make the lower spoke count wheel more susceptible to fatigue wear.

    - Safety Margin: Broken spokes are usually a fact of life on a triplet and other, larger multi-seat tandems given the very heavy loads they carry. Riding a triplet home on a 48 spoke wheel with a broken spoke is a non-event as the wheel barely goes out of true and the increased load on the remaining 47 spokes is minimal. On a 36 spoke wheel, busting a spoke with a 400lb load means your rear wheel will go way out of true and the damage to the other spokes will likely require a rear wheel build as you can usually count on having additional broken spokes in the future if you simply replace the one broken spoke.

    Bottom Line: It's all about how you use the equipment and how well matched components are to your use. For folks who rarely ride their tandems almost anything will work.

    For folks who log thousands of miles on their tandems each year under demanding conditions and where reliability is essential (think 50 miles from home on an epic ride, bombing a mountain descent at 60 mph, riding with disabled stokers or dropping $10k on a cycling tour) then cutting corners for no reason other than vanity is pretty short sighted. If, on the other hand, you're competing in a competitive event and have full SAG support with a spare set of wheels and/or even a spare bike near at hand, you can get away with all kinds of bizzare stuff to shave off weight since durability and reliability can be confined to short periods of time or a specific event, after which marginal specific-use equipment can be rebuilt or replaced.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 04-10-09 at 07:29 AM.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the input all! We have been tandeming since 98. No loaded touring, 1500-2k a year before the little one came along. The triplet gets 30 miles at the longest. Couple of cookie/ playground breaks. Just hate seeing those other wheels sitting there. (Sorry the single roadie in me) The triple will not be seeing long bombing decents OR loaded tours. There "feels" like a pretty substantial weight difference between the 2 sets. Those Rhino lights are bombproof, and they sure do feel it! The little guy is still hasn't caught on to that he has to pedal pretty regular too. This isn't a vanity thing, just figured there is probably a pound difference in rotating mass. Anything to help Mommy and Daddy up the hills you know! Just figured I would get the opinions of others with more wheel experience then myself. BTW if a spoke does break, it is not 2 boys that I have to explain things to, if you know what I mean. Thanks

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