Shopping list for a wheel build
Well I am looking at building up a set of wheels for my commuter/soon to be touring bike and I am looking for advise. Right now I am looking at a set of Velocity cliff hanger rims with Shimano XT 760 rear hub and a generator hub up front. I am not sure on the spoke count. I am wanting to go 36 in the rear and 32 in the front. I want these wheels to be bombproof as I am not a light man (225lbs). I am concered with durablity more then I am weight. Any input would be great.
Do yall think that I can get away with a 32f-36r or should I look at stepping up to a 36f-40r spoke count?
I don't know those rims, are they 26 or 700?
No 700C touring bike should have 32 spoke front end. There are tons of people using them, and I think good wheel builders have build demo touring/offroad wheels down to 20 spokes, just to prove a point. But 36 spokes are necesarry for the trad touring rims, and why cut yourself out of that option.
Also it isn't really done to split the spoke count to favour the front wheel. It would be a bad idea for anyone using front panniers, but even someone favoring a trailer might find themsleves loaded on the front paniers as the next best option to expand capacity is going that route. Anyway dynamic forces are the largest ones and are less dependant on load or distribution. So I wouldn't shave spokes on a touring bike. That may work in racing, but it is missing the bigger picture in touring.
The big picture in touring comes down to blending what one can afford, fix, resupply, what is strongest, and what creates the least spare parts to carry. Strength is very subjective since weight alone is not such a big deal. There are a lot of riders who grew up with BMX or MTBs who think a bike is something you break. If a person is careful with their bike (not always possible), then a heavy rider can get by on relatively light gear. Heavy riders also vary a lot on how powerful they are. I'm pretty much your weight and I use 36 spokes. Spoke breakage has not been a problem for me. If I had my choice I would up it to 40 spokes, but some of the gear I use does not allow that. I build my own wheels, and I think when you do that you may as well add some extra sizzle somehow. My preferences are higher spoke count, smaller diameter, and where there is dish, I ballance the tension properties of the spokes. Nothing under 36 spokes unless it is a Rohloff.
If you need the nexus generator, build a second wheel for the touring bike. Obviously personal stuff comes into this too. I found I didn't really need lights touring as much as I do around the city, LEDs are perfect, but another person might have different needs. I wouldn't compromise my front wheel or add the drag, but a lot of tourist do use the generator hubs, particularly in Europe.
I've built a few wheels with Velocity rims, so far they seem to be good sturdy rims. The Cliffhanger is nice and wide, so you can run big fat touring tires. You might want to consider a rear rim with offset spoke drillings to reduce the dish on the rear wheel spokes, this will make for a stronger wheel.
Velocity makes plugs for the individual spoke holes to use in place of regular rim tape, it's a nice way to save weight without compromising strength and durability.
If you're building a front wheel with a hub generator, the Schmidt is a beautiful hub generator. It's lighter than the Shimano hub generators, and has less drag. The Busch & Mueller headlight that works with the Schmidt hub has a sturdier switch and wiring than the Busch & Mueller light that works on the Shimano dynamo hubs. I leave the Schmidt hub on my touring bike full time, there's very little drag and it's nice to be able to go grocery shopping at night even if I'm not touring.
Regardless of how many spokes you build your wheels with, I would suggest butted spokes. The thin center section stretches more on bumps, so the elbows don't take such a beating and fail. 32 spokes won't save you much weight over 36, especially when you figure the weight savings of the 4 extra spoke holes.
Do you have a spoke tensiometer? I got one and checked all my wheels, I was a little surprised to find out that most of them didn't have tight enough spokes, even though they were fairly true.
36 double butted spokes. XT hubs. Dyad rims.
Sounds like a good plan. I don't think you wll need more spokes than that. I als agree with butted spokes.
Originally Posted by scubaluke
As for the generator, both the SON and the Shimano (DH-3D71, DH-3N71, the Ultegra-grade models) work well with Busch & Muller lamps. The special Schmidt Lumotec lamp is the one with the switch upgrade and it requires the Schmidt hub (not compatible with Shimano). If you want the Shimano plug for use with the Lumotec lamps, a nice solution, Harris Cyclery sell them.
I can recommend the Schmidt E6 lamps, they are large and bright. I don't especially care for the LED-only generator lamps; they are finicky and some of the better ones are prone to overheat and fail.
Did you think about an HID rechargeable as an alternative? Those are by far the best-illuminating lamps. The Planet Bike Alias is especially convenient to use.
Last edited by CHenry; 09-01-07 at 11:22 PM.
I would only use butted spokes on the long side of a dished wheel. Butted spokes aren't significantly more durable, eg, according to the guy who wrote the book, the vast majority of properly installed spokes of either type will not break, and are so durable they should not be switched out when rims pack it in (Or succesive rims). In other words they are in current production overbuilt for the task. Where non-butted (straight spokes) are concerned they are stronger when other forms of wheel damage are considered like stuff packed on a wheel, stick or pannier hooks in the spokes etc... This is why a lot of the sources for adventure cycling/expedition cycling, or the people making those grades of bikes specify straight spokes.
Thanks all for the advise. I forgot to mention that the wheels will be 26" not 700c. I am leaning towards just going with 36 spoke front and rear. Can any one recomend a good spoke tensiometer? After a quick search I found one but i am shocked at the price DT Swiss sure is proud of theirs. Any one other manufators make a cheaper one?
Right now for my commuting I am running a NR Mini Newt for 90% of my riding but with darker days coming on I also have a NR Storm HID that I use for trail riding and commuting. I am looking for a generator light for the simple reason in that I forgot to charge my HID battery pack and got to ride home 25+ miles of my 30 miles home with a cheap bar light I stored in my bag for just a stupid situation as this. I am looking for a light that I do not have to remeber to charge.
The good thing about 26" 36 spoke is you get an extra bump in strength above what most are using without having to buy bizare or expensive components. I think that is a great way to go, though going up to 40 spoke is good too, if the components don't break your budget.
If you are doing your own wheels you don't need a tensionmeter. The tensionmeter is useful when you make subsequent identical sets, since you can just rig them to the same tension. But the first set can't really be judged with the tensionmeter. The best low cost one is the Park. There are a bunch of similar devices made for judging the tension on wire rigging etc... though I don't know what they cost. Making one would be relatively easy also. Tensionmeters are good for quality control, but there are a lot of ways that comes out without your requiring the tensionmeter itself. Like you can only get the wheel properly laced at maximum tension with the correct techniques. After that the TM might show you an uneven spoke, but so will the truing, and any initial out of true in the run-in. The main issue is getting the wheel laced at maximum and for that you are down to technique. Basically you have to screw the thing up until it is near failure, then retrue, stress relieve and retrue. Frankly I do it so infrequently I need to re-read Brandt's book every time.
What you do need to know is how to find maximum tension, and then how to "stress relieve" the wheels There is lots of stuff on the web, starting with the Harris Cyclery/Sheldon Brown stuff. You can also look at custom builder's sites, and you can get either of the two good books now in print. Jobst's tells you how to do it and is the classic text, but he is more interested in the technical aspects than is required if one merely wants to remain on sound wheels, blissfully ignorant. Gerd's book is pretty good I haven't read it cover to cover, more emphasis on wheel building mostly a racing bias since he was a tech in that field. I would buy both before I got a tensionmeter.