The Santana Rolf tandem rear wheel differs from the "standard" Rolf tandem rear wheel in at least two ways: (a) it has the Santana 160 mm axle; (b) it has a spoke count of 20 compared to 24 for the "standard" Rolf tandem rear wheel. Even with a count of 24, many users have posted elsewhere on this forum about rear wheel failures after just a few thousand miles (i.e., spokes pulling out of the rim, leaving cracked rims between the paired spoke holes). With only 20 spokes, is the Santana version even more prone to rim failures?
Santana says no, they've had no such failures, and I am the first to have them. But I've had two already--one after about 1500 miles and another on the Rolf replacement wheel about 1000 miles later--that's 2 failures within 4 months. In both cases, we had two spokes pull out of the rim and the rim crack between the two spoke holes. The wheel was checked several times for spoke tension between failures by a factory authorized mechanic and always in spec. Our tandem team weighs 330 lbs. We didn't hit any hard objects that we are aware of. We have a large disc brake. Most of our riding is on the flats. The last failure was shortly after a multiday trip with braking on some steep downhills in the Ozarks. It is hard for me to believe that we are the first to experience early failure of the Santana version of the Rolf tandem rear wheel, given the failure frequency of regular 24 spoke Rolf tandem rear wheels reported elsewhere on this forum.
If you have a Santana Rolf tandem wheel and experienced a rear wheel failure of the type described, where the spoke pulled out of the rim leaving the rim cracked and having to be replaced, could you please post your experience briefly here? Briefly describe your bike, the failure (or attach a photo) or failures, give the approximate mileage on the wheel at time of failure, give your tandem team weight, describe disc brake if present, and provide any other information you think relevant (terrain, loaded touring or regular riding, etc.). Also, please share how Santana and Rolf responded to your problem.
Thanks for your help!
Here's our contribution:
Tandem: Santana Team Niobium
Rear rim cracked between 2 spokeholes TWICE (March 2010 and July 2010)
First time: ~1500 miles on new wheel
Second time: ~1000 miles on replacement wheel
Team wgt: 330 lbs.
Disc Brake: 10" Avid
Typical terrain: flat
Typical load: not loaded (day rides), no racing
Santana/Rolf response: 1st time, Rolf replaced under warranty; 2nd time still in process (have to send wheel to Rolf)
Misc 239 Failed Sa.jpg