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  1. #1
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    Rolf Prima Tandem wheelset and Touring

    My wife and I are currently training up for a ride this fall from Portland, OR to SF, CA. We're doing it on a supremo, and while we're not going totally unsupported (we're only carrying a tent, sleeping bag and clothes) it's still about 40 lbs of additional gear.

    With that in mind, I contacted Rolf to see what they thought about these wheels and that particular task. Here was the reply:

    "Hi Jason,
    Thanks for your email. The most important thing to keep in mind and you
    have already acknowledged it, is the fact the tandem wheel was designed more
    for racing/performance compared to touring with massive amounts of gear.

    With that being said, our tandem wheel should be fine for this trip. Just
    as a precautionary measure, it wouldn't be a bad idea to order a tandem
    spoke kit (2 fronts spoke, 2 drive side, and 2 non-drive spokes) along with
    a nipple driver tool. I'd be surprised if you needed them, but it would be
    a nice security blank.

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Thanks,

    Pete Moe"

    I know a lot of you like 36-40 spoke wheels on velocity Deep-Vs with the WI hubs, but I REALLY don't like the idea of making this trip more expensive than it already is. So my question: what are the honest odds we have an issue, and how much would it cost to build a custom wheelset+cassette?

  2. #2
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oosbahnd&Weefay View Post
    ... what are the honest odds we have an issue, and how much would it cost to build a custom wheelset+cassette?
    Honest odds of a problem? Probably pretty low.

    Of course, that's only half of the risk equation. The other half is...

    If you do have a wheel-related problem what's the impact to your trip: High, Medium or Low?

    Now, if you had conventional wheels it "should" reduce the odds of a problem based on history, but it doesn't take the odds to zero either. The problem with Rolfs and Sweet 16's is the random nature of wheel problems. However, for an event like yours you can certainly reduce your risk by giving the wheels a good inspection to make sure there are no signs of fatigue around the spoke holes and to check the spokes for even tension with a pitch check in just a few minutes. During your trip you can do the same thing after the first couple days as an interim check.

    Again, the difference with conventional wheels is that statistically they are much more reliable and if there is a problem the impact could be a little less if only because field repair of conventional wheels is pretty easy if you know how to replace a spoke, even a FiberFix replacement spoke on a cassette-side spoke failure. FiberFix can't be used on the very-high tension wheelsets.

    As for the cost of a new wheelset, probably $475 - $600 for what you describe. Depends on any 'good guy' deal you might be able to swing if you get a club discount, etc. Mel Kornbluh at TandemsEast.com sells a pretty nice White Ind / Velocity Fusion or Deep-V wheelset for about $575 just as a point of reference. There's no need for a new cassette, just move the one you have from wheel to wheel.

  3. #3
    DoubleTrouble cgallagh's Avatar
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    We rode from SF to Santa Barbara on our CoMo Roadster with Rolf wheels. We had two panniers on a back rack and the additional weight was approximately 32 lbs. We had no problems. I did not bring extra spokes and the wheels are still as true now as they were when I bought the bike 2.5 years ago. Not saying that you may have a different experience, just saying what ours was.
    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")
    Custom Simonetti (thanks Steve)

  4. #4
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    I appreciate the feedback.

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