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  1. #1
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    Rolf Prima wheels on cobbles...?

    hello
    I have a Calfee tandem with a Rolf prima tandem wheelset .

    The Rolf tandem wheels, are they suitable to ride the Belgian classic road races , like The Ronde van Vlaanderen, i mean are they suitable to ride over the cobbles here in Belgium, Europe.
    Anyone who know's more about this...?
    thx for replying

  2. #2
    Senior Member mkane77g's Avatar
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    Our Rolf's lasted 12-15,000 miles and finally gave out. The roads where ride have many sharp edged potholes. Smooth edged cobbles are a different thing altogether. We now have 2 sets of wheels, and change according to road conditions. No first hand experience with cobbles, but overall weight has something to do with longevity. Our combined weight is 290lbs.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    I've ridden those roads but I don't have the Rolf wheels. My inclination would be to use another set of wheels. You're going to want something that is a little more compliant anyway to ride on those cobbles anyway. I ran 32 spoke Mavic OP Ceramic wheels. They worked really well.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  4. #4
    Geek tandemracer's Avatar
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    We moved from the US to Poland last year with our tandems. Every ride that we do includes at least 5 to 10 k of cobblestones. We have not had problems with our 32 spoke Velocity Deep V rims on Chris King hubs. I am very hesitant to go to anything with fewer spokes on the cobblestones here. The tandem is not as easy to maneuver through the rough sections than a single bike so the wheels (and stoker) take a serious beating.

    If I were to change anything on our current setup I would use a fatter tire than the 25mm Michelin Pro Race tires on our tandem, but I have not been able to find a light, high quality tire any wider than these. We tried some Schwalbe Marathons in 28mm but the tread felt so squirmy on uneven pavement that I changed back to the Michelins after one ride.

  5. #5
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    My experience with Rolf's is they are more harsh than traditional wheels and agree with Homeyba for more compliant wheels. Will they hold up? Many variables but I would put my money on 40 spokes hand built wheels.

  6. #6
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    We second the motion of Velocity rims (ours are Aeroheads, 32H front 36H rear) with Chris King hubs. Our team weight is rather light: a tad under 250 lbs.
    In over 30,000 miles on our c/f tandem have replaced rear rim twice.
    Another wheelset to look into would be Topolino; have them on my single bike and love them. After 10,000+ miles have not yet had an issue or needed to even true them. They do make a tandem specific wheelset.
    Am familiar with Flemish cobblestones as I was born/raised in West Vlaanderen.
    Let's face it, while de Ronde features lots of cobbles there are better stretches of road in Belgium!
    Try riding some of the cobbles on your Rolfs . . . you be the judge!
    Pedal on!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
    Kay & Rudy3..jpg

  7. #7
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    We've ridden our Rolf's on dirt roads without problems. In all likelyhood they'll hold up fine. However you're putting additional wear and tear on them that will ultimately hasten their eventual failure.

    I think your tire selection is likely more importnat than the wheels I'd run the widest tire you can fit on them, and fit on your frame, which is likely 28mm (Continental 4 seasons are a decent tire in 28mm).

    If you were going to spec a high end wheel with riding cobbles in mind, I'd look at the Topolinos, which reportedly give a smooth ride.
    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.

  8. #8
    Senior Member mkane77g's Avatar
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    We have 2 sets of wheels, Rolfs and Deep V's on WI Hubs 36 h, sapim cx ray spokes. For us, the Rolfs seem more compliant than the traditional build wheels, both ways. I can watch the Rolf's front wheel wobble at speed and I suppose the rear's doing the same thing. Most say just the opposite.

  9. #9
    Senior Member joe@vwvortex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkane77g View Post
    We have 2 sets of wheels, Rolfs and Deep V's on WI Hubs 36 h, sapim cx ray spokes. For us, the Rolfs seem more compliant than the traditional build wheels, both ways. I can watch the Rolf's front wheel wobble at speed and I suppose the rear's doing the same thing. Most say just the opposite.
    My front Rolf disc wheel is going back for a second time in less than a month because the front spokes don't hold tension. When I first noticed - Rolf stated it was because it was incorrectly laced - well they said they found a better way to lace them to get more tension which to me is they were incorrectly laced to start with. I sent em back, they re-laced with a different pattern and sent them back. They stayed tensioned for one 40 mile ride. The next time on the bike - they clicked and pinged like you would not believe. I checked the spokes and they had loosened considerably. The rear has been ok spoke tension wise.
    Administrator and Contributing Editor - Vortex Media Group

  10. #10
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    If you were going to spec a high end wheel with riding cobbles in mind, I'd look at the Topolinos, which reportedly give a smooth ride.
    Hmmmm. Probably not.

    Once again, cobbles represent a good application for that 2nd set of conventionally-built utility wheels with 36* or 40* spoking and a rim that will handle a larger volume tire like 28. Of course, you'd want to make sure your frame, fork and brakes will accommodate a given brand/model 28mm tire on your rim of choice without creating any interference issues and with "some" free space between the tire and fork/frame stays, etc.

    Would the Rolfs handle the cobbles? Probably, but it would clearly use up some of their service life and if by chance a spoke broke field repair is at best a challenge even if you have the spare spokes (2 different lenghts needed depending on which spoke breaks on which wheel) and spoke nipple driver in your repair kit. Same story on the Topolino wheels... do you REALLY want to beat up a set of $1,500 wheels that can't be repaired in the field?
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 02-16-11 at 09:57 AM.

  11. #11
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    ^ that's why I said if you wanted to go with a set of high end wheels. I still think the shock absorbing nature of the topolinos would be better suited than the Rolfs. In either case however, you're risking destroying the wheel, and very likely shortening its useful life.

    It becomes a question of how much you're willing to pay.

    Also I took the question to be in the context of the OP doing the cyclosportifs before the Tour of Flanders, and Paris Roubaix.

    If you're trying to do those competitively, being able to repair a wheel is likely not your primary decision criteria.
    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.

  12. #12
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    I still think the shock absorbing nature of the topolinos would be better suited than the Rolfs.
    They're better on stuff like chip seal, but it ain't that much better when you're banging over something like cobbles: even the pros have sucked it up and gone to wider rims with 28mm tires to get some added pnuematic suspension.

    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    It becomes a question of how much you're willing to pay.
    Yeah, maybe he could get Tom from Portland (the money's no object team) to gift them a set of Topolino's!!


    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    Also I took the question to be in the context of the OP doing the cyclosportifs before the Tour of Flanders, and Paris Roubaix.
    ????? That's a pretty huge jump from simply asking if the wheels that came on a Calfee (i.e., the Rolfs) are suitable for cobbles in Belgium.


    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    If you're trying to do those competitively, being able to repair a wheel is likely not your primary decision criteria.
    If you're doing those competitively and the SAG doesn't happen to have a 145mm rear tandem wheel it's race over... which is true of any ride with a non-field repairable wheel. Now, that said, both the Rolf's and Topolinos have proven to be strong enough to allow teams to keep on riding with a broken spoke... on smooth roads. Add in the cobbles, Hmmmm. That's asking a lot of a weakened wheel.

  13. #13
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    I was reading in the Cyclosportif assumption from the " are they suitable to ride the Belgian classic road races , like The Ronde van Vlaanderen"

    Only way I know to "race" the Ronde on a tandem is to do the Cyclosportif the day before.

    And I agree that tire size, and therefore air pressure are going to make a bigger difference.
    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.

  14. #14
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    I'd leave the Rolfs at home and ride my 40 spoke wheels with the fattest toughest tires I could find, which is probably 28mm gatorskins on the Calfee. I'd carry at least 3 tubes and a folding tire just in case. Cobbles are tough on you and the equipment.

  15. #15
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    thx for al the reply's, i'll go for a extra set of wheels, with more spokes, not gonna risk the Rolf's....i'll keep these for Liege-Bastogne-Liege..
    I'll report how it al went on the Calfee during the Ronde van Vlaanderen.

  16. #16
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Eet nog een beetje patate frites voor ons!
    Voorspoed!
    Rudy en Kay/zonatandem

  17. #17
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    frites=not good for cyclist !!!!....

  18. #18
    Used to be Conspiratemus
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    ...In all likelyhood they'll hold up fine. However you're putting additional wear and tear on them that will ultimately hasten their eventual failure....
    In other words, they won't hold up fine.
    Talk about hedging your bets.
    "I did not know that!" -- J. Carson

  19. #19
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by conspiratemus1 View Post
    In other words, they won't hold up fine.
    Talk about hedging your bets.
    No, my bet is that they would hold up fine through the event, but repeated use like that is going to decrease the number of miles you'll get from before they eventually fail.

    So if you want them to last a long time, I wouldn't use them. If you're ok with replacing them, or rebuilding them every couple of years, then you could use them like that.
    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.

  20. #20
    Senior Member mkane77g's Avatar
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    Roads are like cobbles around here and ours lasted 15,000 miles.

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