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  1. #1
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    Please post if you suffered SANTANA Rolf rear wheel failure

    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

  2. #2
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    You are the FIRST? . . . but not thre last!

  3. #3
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    I'm liking my 48 spoke 26 inch wheels better all the time. Sorry about your troubles.

  4. #4
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    I'm pretty surewithout going to the Garage and counting that the 145 spced Rolfs have 20 spokes front, 24 rear.
    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 merlinextraligh View Post
    I'm pretty surewithout going to the Garage and counting that the 145 spced Rolfs have 20 spokes front, 24 rear.
    True, because you have the original, 145mm spec Rolf Prima Vigor Tandem wheelset... same as us.

    The 160mm versions made per Santana's specs (aka, the Perfect Visions) are different. From my Blog back on Jan 1st:

    http://tandemgeek.wordpress.com/2010...s-for-santana/


  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    I'm pretty surewithout going to the Garage and counting that the 145 spced Rolfs have 20 spokes front, 24 rear.
    The OP wrote: "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.

  7. #7
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    Yes, to clarify: If you go to Rolf's website you'll see that their standard REAR wheel for tandems has 24 spokes. The Santana version, however, has 20 spokes. Please post failure reports on SANTANA version of Rolf REAR WHEEL only. Thanks.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    There is a possibility that Rolf got hold of rims made from a bad batch of aluminum. Velocity went through this last year and Trek had a large number of cracking rims back in the mid '90s.

  9. #9
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    A local team owns a Custom Seven Titanium tandem with rear spacing of 160. They first bought as et of sweet 16's which cracked at the rim, both front and rear. Then they bought a set of Rolf's 20/20 and they told me that the rear rim failed similar to the way you described.

  10. #10
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandem rider View Post
    There is a possibility that Rolf got hold of rims made from a bad batch of aluminum. Velocity went through this last year and Trek had a large number of cracking rims back in the mid '90s.
    There's also the possibility that the paired spoke desgin requires higher spoke tension, and puts more stress on the rim in a concetrated area, increasing the probability of that type rim failure over time.

    This has been a reccurent theme in paired spoke wheels.
    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.

  11. #11
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    Cornucopia72, excuse my ignorance, but is Custom Seven a Santana brand or another manufacturer's? Thanks for the post.

  12. #12
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TXbikerider View Post
    Cornucopia72, excuse my ignorance, but is Custom Seven a Santana brand or another manufacturer's? Thanks for the post.
    Another manufacturer... Seven Cycles
    http://www.sevencycles.com/tandem.php



    Now, as to why on Earth folks have had custom Litespeed and Seven Cycles tandems built with 160mm rear spacing is beyond me and speaks volumes about the power of Santana's marketing.

  13. #13
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    Santana Rolf Rear Wheel Issue

    I believe I purchased the first set of these wheels from directly from Santana in September 2009. At about 500 miles one of the rear drive side spokes broke (riding on a flat smooth road at constant speed). Both Santana and Rolf asked that I return the wheel. Their diagnosis was that the chain had fallen off into the spokes and created a stress riser that caused the spoke failure. After nearly 40 years of riding and building tandems I assured Rolf that their diagnosis was incorrect. There was no evidence that I could find after removing the cassette before shipping that any stress risers (scratches, gouges, etc) were evident on the drive side spokes. They agreed to replace three drive side spokes at their cost (less than $20) and ship the wheel back to me for free. The spoke broke at the bladed to straight transition.

    We have about 1000 more miles on the wheels and the rear wheel has remained true and the front has been just fine.

    We previously rode on Shimano/Santana Sweet 16 wheels and they were a constant, unrelenting nightmare. I never rode without a cassette *******, chain whip and a full set of replacement spokes. I do the same for the Rolfs. I love the wheels but I fully expect to break spokes. Our combined weight as a team is about 280 pounds.

    No evidence thus far as to rim failure. I check before every ride for cracks.

    Low spoke count wheels are great fun. Just make sure you check them for cracks, trueness and carry replacement spokes. If you break one don't ride on the wheel. Stop, replace the spoke and re true the wheel...and keep a spare rear 160mm rear wheel hanging in the garage.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post

    Now, as to why on Earth folks have had custom Litespeed and Seven Cycles tandems built with 160mm rear spacing is beyond me and speaks volumes about the power of Santana's marketing.
    Maybe. In this case the owner tells me that he wanted a large disc and at the time the Formula was the best option.

  15. #15
    Charles Ramsey
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    I dug this hub out of a recycle bin http://share.ovi.com/media/currentre...resident.10228 there is also this http://www.bikexprt.com/witness/prod...ure%20004a.jpg I'm thinking rolf does not know what he is doing.

  16. #16
    Senior Member coloroadie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cornucopia72 View Post
    Maybe. In this case the owner tells me that he wanted a large disc and at the time the Formula was the best option.
    160mm also provides extra clearance for wider tires, fenders, rack, etc.
    Last edited by coloroadie; 07-22-10 at 10:06 PM.

  17. #17
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Ramsey View Post
    I dug this hub out of a recycle bin http://share.ovi.com/media/currentre...resident.10228 there is also this http://www.bikexprt.com/witness/prod...ure%20004a.jpg I'm thinking rolf does not know what he is doing.
    About 25 years ago, I bought one of the early Moulton AM-7's with the Zeus hubs laced radially. One winter of riding showed why you don't use radial-spoke wheels on salted roads - the spokes just ripped the flanges apart. The aluminum used in bicycle components seems to be adversely affected by the salt used to melt snow on roads, so ever since then, my winter bike wheels have been spoked tangentially, or I have not used radial-spoked wheels in the winter.

    I wonder if the Rolf hubs with flanges ripped apart were likewise used? I recall that Campag warns against radial spoking (but some of their wheels are spoked radially).

    Tandem-wise, I have had no problems with the Bontrager low-spoke-count tandem wheels, but it's never used in snow or ice, the rear dropouts are 145mm, and they've only got 4,115 km on them to date with a 320-lb team and never with a load.

    Luis

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