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  1. #1
    Senior Member foamy's Avatar
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    32 spoke wheels and side-pull brakes

    Does anyone here tour with 32 spoke rims and/or side-pulls? If so, let’s hear from you and relate your experiences—good and bad.

    I’m thinking that 40-50 lbs of gear shouldn’t put too much strain on 32 spoke wheels. I weigh 170 lbs. Am I being overly optimistic here?

    Also, why do tourers generally go with cantilever brakes? What is the problem with side-pulls on a touring bike? Simplicity? Not enough power? Just wondering.

  2. #2
    tuz
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    Funny, I'm leaving on a tour Sunday with two 32 spoke wheels (with somewhat deep section rims) and side pulls. Lightish load (30lbs), 150lbs rider. In two weeks I'll tell you how it was

    Yeah 40-50lbs of gear + 170lbs rider with 32 spokes should be ok, and having stronger rims (deeper section) certainly helps. I think problems arise when you roll on bumpy, rough surfaces. Dedicated touring rides have 36 spokes, and in many cases 40 at the rear where most of the weight lies. For sure more spokes is better/stronger but you should be fine on nice roads. Of course you should carry a few spare spokes.

    I believes cantis are used for tire and fender clearance. They're also very strong brakes for heavy loads. Short reach calipers are plenty strong IMO, but longer reach ones (for bigger clearances) could be a bit weaker because the longer arms flex a bit more. If you adjust them tightly you should be ok.
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  3. #3
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    cantis and vs have a closer point of support so that makes them stiffer and stronger all else being equal, not to mention the clearance issues. Some people do use long reach side pulls.

    32 is fine for 26" wheels, and doubtless will work on 700c. Strongly built or well tested wheels are probably more important. I don't know how to do the analysis, but reducing spokes is not a direct reduction in strength there are some multipliers. Like it is reduced in proportion to the reduced number of spokes, there is also the greater span. There can be spoke pattern issues. so you can get a reduction greater than by a factor of 36/32.

    Another factor is the hub width if your wheel is narrower than 135 mm you may have some staying angle issues. Not saying it won't be perfectly fine, just pointing out where the variables may be.

    Less spokes and it helps if your rim is stronger.

  4. #4
    rwp
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1 View Post
    ... Strongly built or well tested wheels are probably more important...
    I can't agree more. Make sure the wheels are trued with all spokes tensioned properly. This is probably more important to wheel strength than the spoke count.

  5. #5
    Senior Member foamy's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input folks, I appreciate it. Tuz, I'll be interested to read your comments when you come back from your ride. Thanks.

  6. #6
    Soma Lover
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    I weight 155 lbs. and have had no problems touring on anal-retentively tensioned 32-spoke Open Pros with 35 lbs. of gear. It took hopping up and down curbs with 30 lbs. of groceries to finally knock the rear wheel out of true so I won't be doing that again. I would be careful with an extra 30 lbs. and I wouldn't rely on them to ride across the country, but I'll bet you'll get by. I have more problems with a frame and rack that really isn't designed for loaded touring getting a little squirmy than I do with the wheels.

  7. #7
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    40-50 lbs of gear? Yikes, that's just too much for me to even think about taking. Less than 30 lbs really, really cuts down on mechcanical troubles (starting with your wheels).

    Good luck and have fun!

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