Bomb-proof 26inches Wheels
I have an old Cannondale aluminum mountain bike that I have decided to convert into a Commuter and Tourer. It is a bike I bought new in 1994 and it has been well taken care of. I have decided to replace the wheels, and I am thinking bomb-proof, as I weigh a solid 230 pounds.
I am thinking of wheels with 36 spokes, as compared to my present 32-spoked wheels. The rear hub om my present wheel is Shimano Deore LX Parallax, while I think the front hub is a Cannondale generic.
I called up a wheel building outfit, and the gentleman I talked to gave me the following suggestions with attendant pricing;
1) XT Front Hub ($51)
2) XT Rear Hub ($33)
3) Straight Gauge Spokes and Brass Nipples ($30)
4) Labor ($40)
5)2 Mavic 719 Rims at 460grams/Rim ($140)
6) Shipping ($30)
My questions are;
a) Are the parts listed going to give me absolutely bomb-proof wheels that are superb for a clysdale?
b) Is $324 reasonable as to total pricing?
c) Should I think about machine-built wheels from Performance, Nashbar, Supergo or any other web-based retailer?
d) Am I about to throw money away trying for custom-built wheels, or are they worth their weight in gold? I do not have any experience as a Tourer, but I do ride long distances (100 miles or more) on weekends.
Thanks for your anticipated response.
You are a wise man. Both times I toured on a MTB my wheels crapped out on me. First time, the rear hoop cracked around the spoke holes and then developed a 4-cm. split. Second time, my rear axle bent due to a drop off a train and eventually the bearings wore out developing a bad wobble. However it continued to work for about 3000km, but I had major problems for the last 1000. YOU DO NOT WANT TO EXPERIENCE THIS! Both wheel sets were of good quality I should add. You may want to seek advice on the spoke pattern, a radial pattern can be strong and stiff and a multi-cross can add suspension.
No longer in Wimbledon...
I think the standard 3 cross pattern is the strongest- running radial spokes on a 36H XT (ie not deliberately beefy) hub is going to put a lot of stress on the flanges.
Originally Posted by Gordon P
I just picked up a wheelset w/ Rhyno-lite XL rims & 36h XT hubs for $169 from:
It looks like they only have the 32h Rhyno-lites listed now but you may want to call & see what they can do. They also have the 36h Mavic F519 rims. They're supposed to be hand-built and appear well made to me, although I haven't even ridden on them yet. The price was right for me, anyway...
Consider 36 spokes to be a minimum. It's good for the front wheel, but 40 is stronger in back, and 48 make a wheel well-nigh indestructible. Of course, it's harder (and more expensive) to find parts and build wheels with higher spoke counts, but it makes a big difference. 48 spokes is probably overkill (although it certainly is bombproof!), but 40 is a good idea.
As for radial vs. semi-tangential spoke patterns, radial is stronger but puts more strain on the hub. Your preference, I suppose, though I've never seen a radial-spoked touring bike. Also, the notion that semi-tangent spoking will give more "suspension" and a softer ride than radial spoking is patently absurd.
I would query the choice of straight guage spokes. Butted spokes are thinner in the middle, this distributes stress along more of the length of the spoke, and away from the highly stressed shoulder. Removing metal actually makes the spoke stronger. A 13/14g is better than a thinner 14/15g one for heavy duty use.
PricePoint.com has a 32-hole wheel with Rhyno-lite rims and XT hubs for $120. See: http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/120...-Lite-Rims.htm
I use these for commuting with snow tires in the winter, and they seem to be pretty indestructible. I'm very hard on wheels with my commuting, and I use these in the harshest conditions and haven't had any failures. I'm not sure I would recommend them for touring, though. They are heavy and give a harsh ride, and the rims are too wide for the 26x1.3 slicks I prefer for dry pavement. For street riding with these rims I would recommend a fat slick, something like a 26x2.0 or bigger.