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  1. #1
    Slow Rider bwgride's Avatar
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    Touring Wheels for Heavy Rider--Your Experience?

    I'm a heavy rider planning to tour. Total weight:

    me = 240
    bike with racks etc = 45
    equipment = 65

    Total weight = 350 pounds

    Wheel choices (all 26 inch wheels for my current mountain bike or a Surly LHT)

    (a) 36 hole front and back, probably XT hubs

    (b) 40 or 48 hole rear with 135mm spacing, Phil Wood hubs seem to be only option and are expensive for 135mm spacing in rear dropout

    (c) spread MTB frame dropout from 135mm to 145mm so tandem wheels (36, 40, 48 hubs options) can be used, cheaper option than Phil Wood, and probably stronger since rear wheel dishless

    (d) other?

    Mostly road touring, but some off-road touring may be expected.

    I would like feedback from those of you who have actually toured with roughly 350 pounds (or more) of total weight. What wheels have you used with NO rim or spoke problems -- something like (a), (b), or (c) above?

  2. #2
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    Your situation probably describes me. I might be a little lighter (no scale in the house). And I don't carry as much as you are planing to, though it sneaks up there with all food and water. Never broken a spoke in my life. My current bike is LX 36 spokes and alex rims, it didn't even require an after break-in re-truing, and no spokes broke in 1000 miles of road and some off-road, mostly rail trails but there were a few bad bangs along the way. I'm building new with 36 spoke phils and ma2 rims, that probably aren't as strong as my alex rims, but it's a vintage thing. Rims are really important, as you know. Consider Velocity 26 deep-v as the gold standard, but any deep rim is a step in the right direction.

    I just don't break bikes, maybe not enough BMX training. I don't try to stress my bike by needlessly riding off curbs etc, or if I do I use my legs and weight shift a lot. I have done a little off road technical loaded touring on MTBS, and I never broke a spoke on a 32 spoke wheel. I haven't bent an axle. So as part of my vintage thing I am probably going to go with the Phil freewheel hubs and they are reasonably priced. I read about how a guy like me needs a 40 spoke wheel, but I don't see the reality of it in use. On the other hand, while getting parts for a 40 wheel might be a problem at times, getting new wheels may not be too bad so one option is to go to a 40, and assume you probably can't break it, if it is well built, and then your back-up is just about any wheel out there. SO in the end while 40 isn't necesarry, it doesn't seem there is much to stop you in a 26".

    Beckman says the 145 hubs are dishless because they move the left side spoke aray inward to accomodate the drum brake, so the staying base is not wider, it's narrower and weaker. Also Beckman says you can use the same spoke length on left/right and front back Phil hubs with the 135 rear hub because it is pretty dishless; and he further says the 145 has a longer weaker axle. Who know, but the 145 bandwagon no longer moves me.

  3. #3
    nm+
    nm+ is offline
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    I weigh more than you.
    I run the 36 spoke bontrager mavrick's/LX that came on my 520. Seems to work. I'm biking across the country this year, so i'll know more soon.
    On my old tourer I ran 26" wheels (Mt bike converted). Mavic X517/DT/XT front, Sun Rhyno Lite/DT.XT rear. All 36. There's little reason to go more than 36, but I wouldn't go 32, I've blown up many 32 spoke rims. I've never actually had a spoke issue with 36 holers -- the only 36 hole rim i've had go touring was an x517 who's brake surface got bent.
    If you're realy worried,on the 26 rhyno lites's cannot be beat. However, make sure they are well built. Sun's are not quite as "round" as Mavics and need a better wheel builder. Note tht you can save weight on teh front, even with front racks you'll never put that much weight on it.
    Also, avoid potholes.
    Your wheel is only good as your spokes, build with DT or wheelsmith (though mine are generics, they came that way).
    None of this keeps me from carrying 4 of each type of spoke my wheels take and it shouldn't stop you either.
    Breaking bike parts for more than 20 years
    Titus Racer-X AL/Trek 520 (Cracked)/Trek 930

  4. #4
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bwgride
    I'm a heavy rider planning to tour. Total weight:

    me = 240
    bike with racks etc = 45
    equipment = 65

    Total weight = 350 pounds

    Wheel choices (all 26 inch wheels for my current mountain bike or a Surly LHT)

    (a) 36 hole front and back, probably XT hubs

    (b) 40 or 48 hole rear with 135mm spacing, Phil Wood hubs seem to be only option and are expensive for 135mm spacing in rear dropout

    (c) spread MTB frame dropout from 135mm to 145mm so tandem wheels (36, 40, 48 hubs options) can be used, cheaper option than Phil Wood, and probably stronger since rear wheel dishless

    (d) other?

    Mostly road touring, but some off-road touring may be expected.

    I would like feedback from those of you who have actually toured with roughly 350 pounds (or more) of total weight. What wheels have you used with NO rim or spoke problems -- something like (a), (b), or (c) above?
    I just noticed that you are using 26" wheels. You should be more than okay with a 36 spoke hub, even with the load you are carrying. 26" wheels are inherently stronger than 700C because of the decreased diameter. I use 36 spoke 700C on a Cannondale and they have been mostly touble free. I have broken one spoke and the stock rims cracked after I got back but that was because I had problems with the spokes loosening up.

    The one suggestion I'd make is to build the wheels with DT Alpine III. I've used these on a mountain bike for 5 years for hard off-road use and haven't had a single problem with them. I built a set of wheels for my touring bike last fall but I haven't done any touring with them yet but they are nice and straight even after 2000+ miles of commuting.

    The best thing about the Alpines is that they 'fill the hole' at the hub. This keeps the spoke from wiggling around at the hub which you can get with other spokes, especially if you lose some tension. A.E. Bikes is one of the only places I can find them however.
    Stuart Black
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  5. #5
    Slow Rider bwgride's Avatar
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    Thanks all for the feedback.

  6. #6
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bwgride
    I'm a heavy rider planning to tour. Total weight:

    me = 240
    bike with racks etc = 45
    equipment = 65

    Total weight = 350 pounds

    Wheel choices (all 26 inch wheels for my current mountain bike or a Surly LHT)

    (a) 36 hole front and back, probably XT hubs

    (b) 40 or 48 hole rear with 135mm spacing, Phil Wood hubs seem to be only option and are expensive for 135mm spacing in rear dropout

    (c) spread MTB frame dropout from 135mm to 145mm so tandem wheels (36, 40, 48 hubs options) can be used, cheaper option than Phil Wood, and probably stronger since rear wheel dishless

    (d) other?

    Mostly road touring, but some off-road touring may be expected.

    I would like feedback from those of you who have actually toured with roughly 350 pounds (or more) of total weight. What wheels have you used with NO rim or spoke problems -- something like (a), (b), or (c) above?
    MTB Wheels, Alex 6606T6 Alloy.

    Bike weight: 34 lbs (Converted MTB)
    Bags and Gear total: 40 +/-
    Me at time of tour: 285
    Total: 359 pounds: bike, me and gear at rolling weight!

    Not expensive, not too heavy, did a nice job for me with Geax Evolution for the rubber. The tires are a bit heavy at 880 gr, but more or less bulletproof 26X1.95 commuter tires with fairly low rolling resistance.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

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