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  1. #1
    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
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    2014 Rolf tandem wheel feedback wanted

    Specific to these newly redesigned 2014 wheels: http://www.rolfprima.com/products-tandem-page.php

    The "alloy" disc or rim brake version would be the more universal set of the two.
    2014_Tandem_set.jpg

    The "new" alloy version is 33mm X 22mm wide, so it appears Rolf has joined the "wider is better" trend. Plus, "The 2014 Tandem Disc wheel set now features our Delta Rim Technology used on our highest end road wheels. This new rim improves the overall stiffness and handling as well as increases the aerodynamic advantages for every rider. ".

    I suspect it could take some time for a good sample of feedback to come in.
    Last edited by twocicle; 10-07-13 at 02:10 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member VaultGuru's Avatar
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    Hello twocicle.
    Are you considering these wheels for your Calfee? If so, what year was the frame made? Also, what size disc are you planning on using? Our Calfee is a 2008. I kept our Rolf wheels from a previous tandem and transferred them to the Calfee when I built ours up. At that time, Rolf used a threaded adapter to mount a disc on the rear wheel. I had clearance problems with the 203mm disc/chainstay clearance and had to machine off 3mm on the adapter to get clearance. I replaced our old Rolf's with a 2013 set this year. The new Rolf's have an integrated the disc mount into the rear hub. I ran into the same clearance problem with the new wheels. See the following post.
    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...arance+problem
    The good news is that you can get the chainstay on your Calfee modifed to accept even a 220 rotor if the design has not been incorporated into your frame.
    My experience with Rolf's is that they are very reliable. Ours probably went 20k+ miles without any problems. The spoke nipples on the front and rear started cracking, so it was replacement time. I suspect if the awful road surfaces we have to ride on were better, I would still be on the original wheels.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VaultGuru View Post
    My experience with Rolf's is that they are very reliable. Ours probably went 20k+ miles without any problems. The spoke nipples on the front and rear started cracking, so it was replacement time. I suspect if the awful road surfaces we have to ride on were better, I would still be on the original wheels.
    Am I the only one who thinks 20k miles is too few for a set of wheels to last? Okay, I'm not the only one since my wife would never let me put something on that might fail so quickly; she'd make me inspect every mm with a microscope before every ride if I dared to put such a product on.

  4. #4
    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    Am I the only one who thinks 20k miles is too few for a set of wheels to last? Okay, I'm not the only one since my wife would never let me put something on that might fail so quickly; she'd make me inspect every mm with a microscope before every ride if I dared to put such a product on.
    Nope I am with you. There is a wide variety of expectations here between teams as to how durable and repairable a bike or bike component should be vs it being a disposable item. Nipples cracking - I suppose they were aluminum? Since the roads are part of the known environment the product is designed to be used in I would not blame the roads but the nipples. Sounds like the rest of the wheel was still working well.

    It just depends what you want in a product. My wife has never had a problem with her phone. Then again she upgrades every time a new one comes out so they only need to last a short time.

  5. #5
    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
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    VaultGuru, thanks for the feedback about your rotor clearance issues. Our 2013 Calfee was built with their latest spec that includes provision for a rotor larger than our typical 203mm disc.

    Note the 2014 wheels are completely different beasts than any previous Rolf model. Both hubs and rims have changed a lot... hence my call for feedback on just the new 2014 design.

  6. #6
    Senior Member diabloridr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waynesulak View Post
    Nope I am with you. There is a wide variety of expectations here between teams as to how durable and repairable a bike or bike component should be vs it being a disposable item. Nipples cracking - I suppose they were aluminum? Since the roads are part of the known environment the product is designed to be used in I would not blame the roads but the nipples. Sounds like the rest of the wheel was still working well.

    It just depends what you want in a product.
    Bingo, "Light, Strong, Cheap - pick any two" applies here.

    We've had no problems with our Rolf tandem wheels, though we did have to have both wheels rebuilt when we dented both rims on the mother of all potholes.

    I did have a similar nipple cracking problem on the rear Rolf Élan on my single. Opted to have it rebuilt with brass nipples. My theory is my toxic sweat in kryptonite to aluminum nipples.

    My assessment is owning Rolf's is like owning a Porsche - Performance is maximized at the expense of durability and maintenance cost.

    P.S. I found it amusing the OP was asking for feedback on a product that was just publicly unveiled.

    I'd expect no useful data before mid-2014 at the earliest.

  7. #7
    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
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    ^^^^ At this point, this thread may be somewhat of a placeholder, which is why it was stated in the OP "I suspect it could take some time for a good sample of feedback to come in.".

    Keeping responses on topic is like hearding cats... worse actually, as most cats are trainable.

  8. #8
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    I believe we have a 2014 front wheel. The spokes pulled through the rim in two places on our Rolf front wheel. Sent it back to Rolf to rebuild with a new rim. Got back a new wheel, with the new hub, and a new rim. I didn't pay particular attention to the rim. It's definitely the new hub. I'll look tonight and see if the new rim is different from the old rim on the back wheel.

    As for durability of these wheels, I don't think it's great. The high spoke tension that goes with the paired spoke design leads to failures. Since we got them in 2008 ( and approximately 25000 miles) we've had 3-4 rim failures ( I've lost count) all with spokes pulling through the rim. And the original front hub failed with spokes pulling through the flange.

    Rolf replaced 2 of the rims, one front, one back, and the front hub under warranty. The other rims were approximately $300 each.

    IMHO, they are definitely not as durable as a conventional tandem wheel, and not even as durable as some other aero options ( such as the Zipp 808's we have). Whether they're acceptably durable depends on your priorities. As stated above light, cheap, strong, pick 2.

    Also, I would expect that the new hub, and rim are hopefully designed to deal with the spoke pull through problem.
    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.

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    If, indeed, Rolf have re-designed things, and the 2014s are more durable, the way to prove it would be for Rolf to up the length of the Warranty. I would love to update my Rolfs, but can't bring myself to invest in the short rim life we have experienced.

  10. #10
    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    I believe we have a 2014 front wheel. The spokes pulled through the rim in two places on our Rolf front wheel. Sent it back to Rolf to rebuild with a new rim. Got back a new wheel, with the new hub, and a new rim. I didn't pay particular attention to the rim. It's definitely the new hub. I'll look tonight and see if the new rim is different from the old rim on the back wheel.

    As for durability of these wheels, I don't think it's great. The high spoke tension that goes with the paired spoke design leads to failures. Since we got them in 2008 ( and approximately 25000 miles) we've had 3-4 rim failures ( I've lost count) all with spokes pulling through the rim. And the original front hub failed with spokes pulling through the flange.

    Rolf replaced 2 of the rims, one front, one back, and the front hub under warranty. The other rims were approximately $300 each.

    IMHO, they are definitely not as durable as a conventional tandem wheel, and not even as durable as some other aero options ( such as the Zipp 808's we have). Whether they're acceptably durable depends on your priorities. As stated above light, cheap, strong, pick 2.

    Also, I would expect that the new hub, and rim are hopefully designed to deal with the spoke pull through problem.
    $300 for rim replacement - ouch! Guess that is two way shipping to Rolf + parts & labor. A significant porton of new front wheel.

  11. #11
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waynesulak View Post
    $300 for rim replacement - ouch! Guess that is two way shipping to Rolf + parts & labor. A significant porton of new front wheel.
    It is 2 way shipping, parts and labor. Rolf won't ship a new rim to the LBS and let them rebuild it, so you have to send the wheel back.

    Sevral times, I've thought about scrapping them and starting over. But $300 is cheaper than a new Rolf wheelset. And, at this point, I have basically a new set of wheels. The only original component left from 2008 is the rear hub.
    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
    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    Set list for $1100 - Rolfs are available with options of Campy hub and/or Santana 160mm spacing.

  13. #13
    Senior Member diabloridr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twocicle View Post
    ^^^^ At this point, this thread may be somewhat of a placeholder, which is why it was stated in the OP "I suspect it could take some time for a good sample of feedback to
    Forum members will need a headlamp to find the thread then, it will be buried so far down the list.

  14. #14
    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    I believe we have a 2014 front wheel. The spokes pulled through the rim in two places on our Rolf front wheel. Sent it back to Rolf to rebuild with a new rim. Got back a new wheel, with the new hub, and a new rim. I didn't pay particular attention to the rim. It's definitely the new hub. I'll look tonight and see if the new rim is different from the old rim on the back wheel.

    As for durability of these wheels, I don't think it's great. The high spoke tension that goes with the paired spoke design leads to failures. Since we got them in 2008 ( and approximately 25000 miles) we've had 3-4 rim failures ( I've lost count) all with spokes pulling through the rim. And the original front hub failed with spokes pulling through the flange.

    Rolf replaced 2 of the rims, one front, one back, and the front hub under warranty. The other rims were approximately $300 each.

    IMHO, they are definitely not as durable as a conventional tandem wheel, and not even as durable as some other aero options ( such as the Zipp 808's we have). Whether they're acceptably durable depends on your priorities. As stated above light, cheap, strong, pick 2.

    Also, I would expect that the new hub, and rim are hopefully designed to deal with the spoke pull through problem.
    Measure the rim height & width too. The new ones are 33mm tall and 22mm wide. Plus, the new rims have a diff "Delta" shape (http://www.rolfprima.com/techinfo-delta.php) AFAIK from the product pages.

    I can get these at a team (single bike racing) discount price, so somewhat curious.

  15. #15
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Turns out the rim is the old design, hub is new.
    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.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by diabloridr View Post
    Bingo, "Light, Strong, Cheap - pick any two" applies here.
    I guess they're light and cheap, 'cause they sure aren't strong. They seem a little borderline on those two counts as well, but I'm not exactly a weight weenie and the cost doesn't seem unreasonable (except for the shipping, but I'm local to Rolf, so that wouldn't affect me at all).

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    Hi,

    I have the new rims/wheels as of this week. No feed back yet, they are unridden but look shiny and wider.

    We blew thru our rear wheel (2006-2007)on Cycle Oregon on day 6 and had to dnf and miss the last day.
    We had gone thru a gravel road section with a couple of cattle guards and noticed a squeaking noise on the next 2 climbs. Like any brain dead tired male, I figured it was the brake disc rubbing and ignored it. When we stopped and I looked it over I noticed the rim was separated and the noise was metal on metal. I felt less smart and lucky we made it down the hill to the rest stop. Note to self!

    In there defense they had been thru extended gravel road riding on Ride Idaho a month prior and lasted years with only one broken spoke nipple when I had to ride over some highway rumble strips on Cycle Oregon years earlier when some other riders forced me to steer out away from them.

    I did a rebuild on the back hub with a new rim and a new front hub and rim. I figured it was not too much more than a hand built set and the new wider rims would ride better and descend better like my HED rims on my single road bike.
    Not sure any of the bike stuff I buy is worth the price but I do use it and enjoy it.

    I will try to give an update next year, but won't have any reports until then.

    Rob

  18. #18
    Tandem Vincitur Ritterview's Avatar
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    I was looking at the Rolf's as I've come to the conclusion that I need an alloy rim front wheel for long descents.

    And lo, Rolf is making a clincher tandem carbon wheel. I guess it is dual disc, so as not to worry about brake heat. 1630 grams is pretty light, lighter than my ENVE-DTSwiss wheels with 28 DT Comp Spokes. The carbon rims might be stronger than aluminum, in terms of spokes and rims not breaking as well as stiffness.

    Tandem Carbon.................... Tandem Alloy
    Wheel size....... 700c.................... 700c
    Weight....... 1630g [755g/875g].................... 1885g [845g/1040g]
    Spoke count....... 24/24.................... 20/24
    Spoke type....... Bladed CX-Speed.................... Bladed CX
    Rim depth....... 45mm.................... 33mm
    Rim width .......21mm .................... 22mm Delta
    Rim Material....... Carbon.................... Alloy
    Hubset....... Tandem Disc .................... Tandem Disc
    Brake type .......Disc-brake only.................... Disc-brake or rim brake
    Bearings....... Steel cartridge.................... Steel cartridge
    Freehub Material....... CNC machined Titanium.................... CNC machined Titanium
    Freehub Compatible....... Shimano/SRAM 10/11 Campagnolo 10/11.................... Shimano/SRAM 10/11 Campagnolo 10/11
    Rear hub spacing....... 135mm, 145mm, 160mm.................... 135mm, 145mm, 160mm
    QR Skewers .......Steel.................... Steel


    MSRP....... $2399.................... $1099


  19. #19
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    Hmm. Specs say 24 spokes, picture shows 20.

  20. #20
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    We are using the HED3 wheels ont and rear, deep carbon rim with an aluminum braking surface. The front wheel weighs 850 grams and I know where it can be purchased for a little over $800. We have over 5,000 trouble free miles on it. We ride on the flat prairie so braking is not that much of an issue. The rear weighs 1007 grams.

    Wayne

  21. #21
    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ritterview View Post
    I was looking at the Rolf's as I've come to the conclusion that I need an alloy rim front wheel for long descents.

    And lo, Rolf is making a clincher tandem carbon wheel. I guess it is dual disc, so as not to worry about brake heat. 1630 grams is pretty light, lighter than my ENVE-DTSwiss wheels with 28 DT Comp Spokes. The carbon rims might be stronger than aluminum, in terms of spokes and rims not breaking as well as stiffness.

    Tandem Carbon.................... Tandem Alloy
    Wheel size....... 700c.................... 700c
    Weight....... 1630g [755g/875g].................... 1885g [845g/1040g]
    Spoke count....... 24/24.................... 20/24
    Spoke type....... Bladed CX-Speed.................... Bladed CX
    Rim depth....... 45mm.................... 33mm
    Rim width .......21mm .................... 22mm Delta
    Rim Material....... Carbon.................... Alloy
    Hubset....... Tandem Disc .................... Tandem Disc
    Brake type .......Disc-brake only.................... Disc-brake or rim brake
    Bearings....... Steel cartridge.................... Steel cartridge
    Freehub Material....... CNC machined Titanium.................... CNC machined Titanium
    Freehub Compatible....... Shimano/SRAM 10/11 Campagnolo 10/11.................... Shimano/SRAM 10/11 Campagnolo 10/11
    Rear hub spacing....... 135mm, 145mm, 160mm.................... 135mm, 145mm, 160mm
    QR Skewers .......Steel.................... Steel


    MSRP....... $2399.................... $1099

    I notice they are available in 160mm spacing.

  22. #22
    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
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    I just noticed for the first time today (a bit late) that Rolf no longer offers a no-disc front hub option as they have in the past. Now, both the carbon and alloy models are configured with a disc hub (high flange on the Alloy model). This is the reason for the +55gm weight gain on the Alloy set over previous models... blame the new front wheel design.

    Another big change to the front wheel not exactly a change, but due to the elimination of the radial spoked wheel. Now, because there is only a disc wheel available, the front has x2 lacing (the same as the rear). The obvious reason for non-radial is due to disc brake compatibility (you can't have radial spokes + disc on the same wheel). Benefit: it's probably a stronger and more durable front wheel as I imagine the hub and rim fatigue could be less on this new version than the old radial spoked wheel.

    From what I gather of past Alloy models, most failures were rear wheels (rims, hubs, spokes... you name it)? If so, maybe not much change there.

    Downside of all this? Front wheel is now dished due to the disc hub flanges being non-symmetric (allowing space for the rotor mounting). Rolf claims this is all good, no problems with a front dished wheel. Truth? I can't say. I've always understood that wider, symmetric hub flanges provide for a stronger wheel. Based on the email responses I received, Rolf seems to think "good enough" is good enough. Too bad, so sorry. Next.

    While some old wheel radial spoked stock may still be laying around in some shops, those are the old rims (less tall and less wide).
    Last edited by twocicle; 10-28-13 at 02:09 PM.

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    We just returned from 2000 kilometers in Europe on a set of new ( 2014 ) Rolf tandem wheels. Our set is lethally dangerous; if you don't own them, don't buy them and if you own them, don't ride them. I don't know if it is a design failure or a manufacturing failure ( i.e. if all 2014 wheels are like the pair we have, but I know our front and rear wheel are the same, and both are faulty.

    The failure is that the rim's hook bead is thin and sharp and cuts the cords of tires down inside the rim. Gradually the tires fail, and then blow out explosively and dangerously. ( Well, gradually is a relative term. I am accustomed to riding tires for months or years without failure; tires on the new Rolf tandem wheels last just a few days if you are riding a lot. ) We have never had a tire failure on a tour, and we have been doing this for 30 years on a lot of kinds of wheels, including Santana sweet 16 and older Rolf tandem wheels; we have never seen anything like this. We replaced 7 tires in 2.5 weeks, and had 3 of the most dangerous sorts of blowouts, like down a twisty 15% descent in the rain alongside a stone-pillared fence. Lucky to have our limbs intact.

    It is easy to check: put your fingers inside the wheel and feel the hook bead. If it is narrow and sharp, as in narrower and sharper than anything you have ever felt inside a bike rim, don't ride them.

  24. #24
    Senior Member joe@vwvortex's Avatar
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    While mine are the "old style" rim - from 2011 - needless to say the front cracked at three different spoke pairings last weekend. They have maybe 5k on them. Rolf's engineer said and I quote below:

    From looking at the photos it’s apparent that rim has reached normal end of life. Not a warranty but it looks like it should be a standard rebuild. Get it in to us and we’ll turn it around quick.

    Thanks,
    Joel Wilson
    Rolf Prima

    So 3 years of use and low mileage is a "normal life span" for Rolf wheels. I had a ton of problems with this wheel right after I purchased at the beginning of 2011 and they had to replace it once and then re-lace it a second time to stop it's creaking. The finally settled on a new lacing pattern.

    This is my second set of Rolfs after having problems with the first non-disc set pulling spokes out of the rim (2005 model). I was told that they had improved the new rim design. Seems that isn't the case. Now I either spend the $300 to get it rebuilt or I have a useless set of wheels.......
    Administrator and Contributing Editor - Vortex Media Group

  25. #25
    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandemTourRace View Post
    We just returned from 2000 kilometers in Europe on a set of new ( 2014 ) Rolf tandem wheels. Our set is lethally dangerous; if you don't own them, don't buy them and if you own them, don't ride them. I don't know if it is a design failure or a manufacturing failure ( i.e. if all 2014 wheels are like the pair we have, but I know our front and rear wheel are the same, and both are faulty.

    The failure is that the rim's hook bead is thin and sharp and cuts the cords of tires down inside the rim. Gradually the tires fail, and then blow out explosively and dangerously. ( Well, gradually is a relative term. I am accustomed to riding tires for months or years without failure; tires on the new Rolf tandem wheels last just a few days if you are riding a lot. ) We have never had a tire failure on a tour, and we have been doing this for 30 years on a lot of kinds of wheels, including Santana sweet 16 and older Rolf tandem wheels; we have never seen anything like this. We replaced 7 tires in 2.5 weeks, and had 3 of the most dangerous sorts of blowouts, like down a twisty 15% descent in the rain alongside a stone-pillared fence. Lucky to have our limbs intact.

    It is easy to check: put your fingers inside the wheel and feel the hook bead. If it is narrow and sharp, as in narrower and sharper than anything you have ever felt inside a bike rim, don't ride them.
    On my single bike w/rim brakes, I am riding the 2014 Rolf Vigor alloy wheels w/22mm wide "Delta" rims. These rims also have a pronounced bead hook but I have had no issue with running 23mm Continental GP4000s tires @ 106psi for a couple thousand miles so far.

    In the past on our tandem, when we used Gatorskins on Sweet-16 wheels we had many issues with the bead-sidewall shredding. Never had this problem with the higher quality 4-Season model.

    What tires & width were you using, and what was team weight + load?
    Last edited by twocicle; 07-09-14 at 11:29 AM.

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