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  1. #1
    Senior Member mkane77g's Avatar
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    Rolf Vigor wheel failure

    Some friends of mine recently had a rear rim failure, a crack going from nipple to nipple for 1/3 of the circumference. New tandem, an 09'. I head somewhere the new wheels got lighter since 2007, not stronger. The wheels on our 07' supremo have been bullet proof, and roads here are in terrible condition.

  2. #2
    sch
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    Our Rolf cracked between two spokes. Post with pix ref at Cracked Rolf Rim
    Rolf replaced the wheel.

  3. #3
    DoubleTrouble cgallagh's Avatar
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    8K plus miles and no problems. Inspect them often as I have heard of this happening. Crossing fingers.
    Two blondes walked into a building-You think one of them would have seen it.
    2006 Co-Motion Roadster 2006 Fuji Team Pro, 2005 Specialized Dolce Comp, 2008 Orbea Diva (Red Riders Baby-"The Avocado")
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  4. #4
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    We've got around 5K on ours now with no problems.

    However, you've got to realize these wheels are designed to be compartively light and aero. With that comes compromise. The spoke tension on the wheels is high, and that can lead to cracking around the rims.

    I think if you use these, or other "race" wheels for everyday use, you've got to expect that they are going to need to be replaced or rebuilt from time to time, and factor that into the cost.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  5. #5
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkane77g View Post
    Some friends of mine recently had a rear rim failure, a crack going from nipple to nipple for 1/3 of the circumference.
    Any more details on the other team that might be relevant, e.g., what size tires and PSI were they using, how many miles on the wheels, are they a lightweight team, heavy-weight, USCF Cat 1 & 2 hammerheads.... ???

    Quote Originally Posted by mkane77g View Post
    S I heard somewhere the new wheels got lighter since 2007, not stronger. The wheels on our 07' supremo have been bullet proof, and roads here are in terrible condition.
    As for the '08 updates to the Rolf Prima Vigor rims, they reduced the rim height from 34mm to 30mm (which is the standard height of the Velocity Deep-V and Topolino rims), increased the height of the brake track to match the width of most brake blocks as the pre-08 models had a very, very narrow track, and they added material to the spoke bed to mitigate problems with spoke pull-through. In other words they reduced the weight and (at least in theory) made the spoke bed stronger. Oh yeah, and they changed the very nice and tastefully understated decals to some really blinged-out, psuedo-chrome looking lettering.

  6. #6
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    <snip> The spoke tension on the wheels is high, and that can lead to cracking around the rims.<snip>
    What is the specified spoke tension? I was retensioning a pair of older Rolfs on my single and was shocked to find a low specified front tension of 55kgf and a driveside rear tension of 100kgf. Both my wheels were in this range.

  7. #7
    Senior Member rishardh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    What is the specified spoke tension? I was retensioning a pair of older Rolfs on my single and was shocked to find a low specified front tension of 55kgf and a driveside rear tension of 100kgf. Both my wheels were in this range.
    As per Rolf for their 2006 Tandem wheelset... around 255 lb/f [front wheel] and 320 lb/f rear wheel, right side]. Best is to email them the year and model and get the correct values for that specific wheelset.

    Rolf Tandem Wheelset Spoke Tension

  8. #8
    Senior Member rishardh's Avatar
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    When I inquired Rolf advised not to re-tension the spokes unless they were crashed or tampered with.

  9. #9
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rishardh View Post
    When I inquired Rolf advised not to re-tension the spokes unless they were crashed or tampered with.
    Pretty much one of those "if you touch 'em when they're under warranty, they're no longer under warranty".

    The only tensionmeter they recognize as being suitable for their wheels is the $350 DT model (or it's more expensive digital sibling). None of the consumer models are purportedly accurate enough at the very high tensions used on the low spoke count wheels.

  10. #10
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    We could never get over 3.5k without breaking something. Twice the rim developed cracks between the spokes ,with one instance, a pair of spokes pulled out. We also broke a hub at a spoke hole. This was on the older rim. Rolf has been great about warranty work. They fixed it for free the last time even though it was past warranty. However, I promised not to ride them so much. We have another set of wheels for everyday use. I really like these wheels. I think roll faster than anything, but they are delicate.

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    New Calfee on Rolf wheels

    I was hot and cold about using Rolf wheels on my new tandem. Iíve read a lot of post about Rolf wheels, and in the end I pulled the trigger on the Rolf wheels.I had my new Calfee Tetra built with Rolf wheels. It will be interesting to see how the wheels hold up, as they will be used as everyday wheels. My team weight is 285 lbs, but the road conditions will be variable as this is a travel bike. Iíll post more in July, as I plan to ride this bike every day from the 30th June to the 29th July. I plan get at least 2000 miles of riding in during July.
    How many of you travel with back-up wheel sets? Iím considering getting a second set of wheels, as Iíd hate to have any missed cycling days during my vacation.

  12. #12
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geocyclist View Post
    How many of you travel with back-up wheel sets?
    It's probably best stated that for travel we'll use our primary wheels: the conventional 36į White Ind / Velocity Deep-Vs.

    The Rolf's and Topolino wheels are best characterized as the optional wheels reserved for 'special' circumstances such as:

    • Fast flat to rolling group rides where the faster-feeling Rolfs excel and pose a handling handicap on technical descents or twisty roads.
    • The mountains where the lighter weight and very good handling qualities of the Topolino wheels off-set what seems to be their less aero design when 1/2 the day will be spent grinding up steep inclines.
    • Places where chip seal, expansion joints or weather-damaged / rugged roads are best handled by the Topolino wheel's very forgiving carbon spoke network.
    • Any other event such as a tandem rally or group ride where vanity demands some extra bling that makes the Calfee look even more awesome than it does with conventional wheels.


    Note that any time we go somewhere for a multiday ride with the Rolfs or Topolino wheels mounted to the tandem you'll always find our conventional wheels sitting in a wheelbag in the back of the truck... just in case. Under the ubiquitous nature of Murphy's Law, I reckon that if I have the spare wheels I'll never need them.

    Final note, when we travel with our conventional wheels I also pack a spare rim 'just in case'. Again, it seems that the more prepared you are for problems the less problems you have. Weird.

  13. #13
    Senior Member rishardh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
    Final note, when we travel with our conventional wheels I also pack a spare rim 'just in case'. Again, it seems that the more prepared you are for problems the less problems you have. Weird.
    lol, very true. I carry a spare tube and a patch kit on all my bikes and have never had to use them on my own bike. Always on someone else riding with us. The one time I did not take it I got a flat. Luckily I was not too far out as I was just testing some adjustments I did.

  14. #14
    Senior Member mkane77g's Avatar
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    We have been using our Rolfs 2-3 times a week for 2 years and zero problems, so far. Going on a 9 day bike tour, will do an extensive inspection beforehand. Mabey it's time for a backup set also.

  15. #15
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    I'd still be interested in hearing back on these missing details....

    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
    Any more details on the other team that might be relevant, e.g., what size tires and PSI were they using, how many miles on the wheels, are they a lightweight team, heavy-weight, USCF Cat 1 & 2 hammerheads.... ???
    Rolf (as well as Topolino) is pretty adamant about maximum tire size and psi for their rims. In fact, because we run tires at psi's that exceed the recommended maximums for both of our boutique wheels, we make a point of letting the air out of our tires at the end of each ride. While we were still in effect voiding the warranty, the folks we spoke with at Rolf and Topolino both felt that limiting the amount of time the rims remained under the higher than spec pressure was prudent. Of course, at this point both sets of wheels are no longer covered by their warranty period of one-year, but given what these types of wheels cost and the risks associated with a rim failure while riding, prudence is always a good path to follow.

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