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Old 01-22-09, 06:47 PM   #1
LucasA
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32/28 spokes enough?

I am going to build my own wheelset for my touring bike, and reading sheldons article, and was intrigued by even spoked wheelsets.

I have a lead on some quality hubs that are 28/32 front/rear, and I was wondering if you all think that the wheels wouldn't be strong enough for touring?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-22-09, 07:29 PM   #2
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Not sure what you mean by "even spoked" wheelsets, but to answer your question 32/28 might be ok if you and your gear are light-- I'd say less than 200 pounds altogether. IMO the big problem with low-spoke count wheels is that if you happen to break a spoke then the rim may go so out of true that you have to unhook the brake to ride it. A 36 spoke wheel with only one broken spoke is generally rideable.
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Old 01-22-09, 08:09 PM   #3
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Not sure what you mean by "even spoked" wheelsets, but to answer your question 32/28 might be ok if you and your gear are light-- I'd say less than 200 pounds altogether. IMO the big problem with low-spoke count wheels is that if you happen to break a spoke then the rim may go so out of true that you have to unhook the brake to ride it. A 36 spoke wheel with only one broken spoke is generally rideable.
From Sheldon, "If you have the same number of spokes front and rear, either the front wheel is heavier than it needs to be, or the rear wheel is weaker than it should be."

I meant the same amount of spokes front and back.

Most hub sets are even...I found some nice hubs that are 28/32 but seems small.

I dont know how much I wanna scour for like 32/36 though.
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Old 01-22-09, 09:43 PM   #4
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From Sheldon, "If you have the same number of spokes front and rear, either the front wheel is heavier than it needs to be, or the rear wheel is weaker than it should be."

I meant the same amount of spokes front and back.

Most hub sets are even...I found some nice hubs that are 28/32 but seems small.

I dont know how much I wanna scour for like 32/36 though.
While it's true that a 36h front wheel is probably overkill, four spokes weigh around 20g (less than an ounce), so you're not incurring some huge weight penalty. A 36/36 or 32/32 set makes more sense for touring than 32/28, especially if you're aren't a featherweight.
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Old 01-23-09, 05:35 PM   #5
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Are 28 spokes on a front wheel and 32 spokes on a rear wheel too few for loaded touring? IMHO, yes. 36 spokes minimum, in my book. If you're a Clyde like me, 40 is even better for the rear, if you can find the hubs and rims. (I never have, so 36 it remains.)

This is one area where a little too much is infinitely better than a little too little. Believe, you do not want to have to futz around with your wheels on the road. Been there, done that, threw the spoke wrench.
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Old 01-23-09, 05:46 PM   #6
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I am going to build my own wheelset for my touring bike, and reading sheldons article, and was intrigued by even spoked wheelsets.

I have a lead on some quality hubs that are 28/32 front/rear, and I was wondering if you all think that the wheels wouldn't be strong enough for touring?

Thanks in advance!
Just built a set of wheels using Phil wood hubs, Sun Cr-18 rims and DT Alpine3 spokes. The rear is 48h, 4x and the front is 32h, 3x. Would've used Mavic A719 rims, but they don't manufactur a 48h rim anymore. So, the Suns are a low cost, but good alternative. The reason I chose a 48h rig for the rear is the experience of breaking spokes and having to replace them on the road...NO THANKS. When we build a wheel set for my wife it will be 20h front w/a 32h rear as she wont be carrying as much weight. We're both going to use 'spring-loaded' stems, ala Ritchey or Softride. She'll be running 25mm Schwalbe Marathon Plus and I'll be running the same tire in @ 32mm.

Depending on your weight(I weigh 185) I'd go 32/36h w/a 4 or 5x on the rear. Or even 40h. Again depending on weight. Phil Wood and White industries both make a 40h hub. The problem will be finding a 40h rim. I think Sun goes from 36 to 48 w/no 40. Maybe Mavic? It's for sure they have a 36h A719...which may be a better bet than a 40h 'cheapie' brand.

The main thing in avoiding spoke breakage, beyond a high enough spoke count is making sure one's tires are pumped up to capacity, every day. Can't stress that enough.
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Old 01-23-09, 06:29 PM   #7
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Velocity Dyad has a 40h version; that's what Co-Motion specs on the Americano.

Several others listed here:

http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/tourtand.asp

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Old 01-23-09, 08:14 PM   #8
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I dont know how much I wanna scour for like 32/36 though.
Huh? 32/36 hubs and rims are easier to find than 28/32. At least for 135mm rear hubs and 559 rims, certainly easy enough to find for "road" stuff too. BTW, funny you should mention that line from S.B. That`s always stuck in my head too and even though I honestly don`t think it matters that my rear has 4 spokes more than my front, it would drive me up the wall to have "even" spokes
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Old 01-23-09, 09:35 PM   #9
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It makes sense to use the strongest wheels that you will need. I just built up a touring wheelset using old Sansin hubs- 36/40 on a Miyata 610. I don't expect to have ANY problems with this set up even fully loaded. Err on the side of going stronger and you'll not regret it. Go to light and you might.
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Old 01-24-09, 01:31 AM   #10
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So then what kinda hubs/rims do you guys suggest overall for cost/performance. I think from what I have checked out previously, Phil Wood is a little out of my budget.
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Old 01-24-09, 07:49 AM   #11
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My Surly LHT has 32H 700c Mavic CXP rims mate to LX hubs. I weigh 160lbs and try to keep my touring load reasonably light - although I'm not ultra-light tourist. So far the wheels have been trouble free and needed no maintenance despite some rough roads.

My Thorn 26" wheeled bike has a 32H Velocity Aeroheat rim mated to an XT hub up front and the same 32H rim mated to a Rohloff in back. I've just been riding this around town so I can't comment on long term durability, but I don't expect any issues. Keep in mind the 32H rear wheel is dishless so it's as strong as a 36H or 40H dished rear wheel.
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Old 01-24-09, 08:19 AM   #12
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I have one way to answer this question: When was the last time you heard anyone on this forum complain that a brand X touring bike was a lousy investment, because it had too many spokes?
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Old 01-24-09, 08:41 AM   #13
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I have one way to answer this question: When was the last time you heard anyone on this forum complain that a brand X touring bike was a lousy investment, because it had too many spokes?
One issue I'd suggest could be a problem with having a high spoke count wheel is finding replacement rims on the road. 32H rims are quite common.

Having said that - if I was going to take my LHT to South America I'd build up a very strong wheelset since getting 700c replacements is going to be tough.

I do think we obsess over spoke count sometimes. The number of spokes is important, but the rims you use and more critically having well built wheels is important as well. You can have as many spokes as you like, but if they are part of a poorly tensioned machine built wheel you're going to have issues. I get all my touring wheels hand built locally by master wheel builders and I've never had a lick of trouble. All my wheel problems have been with machine built wheels.

I should also add I run higher volume tires at a moderate pressure so my wheels have some built in suspension to lessen the impact from road shock.
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Old 01-24-09, 10:18 AM   #14
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I tour with a 32 deore laced to a A319 in the front and a 36 deore laced to a A319 in the rear.

Never had problems with one wheel or the other. Change and repack the bearings once in a while and you're good to go. Focus on building a good evenly tensionned wheel and you should be good with your hubs. Unless your going through really rugged roads and/or planning doing a bit of offroad touring.

BTW, what model and brand are the hubs?

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Old 01-24-09, 11:26 AM   #15
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Are 28 spokes on a front wheel and 32 spokes on a rear wheel too few for loaded touring? IMHO, yes. 36 spokes minimum, in my book. If you're a Clyde like me, 40 is even better for the rear, if you can find the hubs and rims. (I never have, so 36 it remains.)

This is one area where a little too much is infinitely better than a little too little. Believe, you do not want to have to futz around with your wheels on the road. Been there, done that, threw the spoke wrench.
I just bought a 40h Mavic t520 tandem set laced 4x to XT hubs for 275$ rear Axel is spaced 145mm but I asked and they would switch it to 135mm for an extra 30 bucks. Rear also came with drum brake thread. Don't know if that turns you off, but I am guessing they are going to be bomber wheels. I this is my third set of wheels bought from them, and have yet to have any problems.
Plus I bet you could make a lower offer than $275 maybe 250.
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Old 01-24-09, 01:31 PM   #16
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I tour with a 32 deore laced to a A319 in the front and a 36 deore laced to a A319 in the rear.

Never had problems with one wheel or the other. Change and repack the bearings once in a while and you're good to go. Focus on building a good evenly tensionned wheel and you should be good with your hubs. Unless your going through really rugged roads and/or planning doing a bit of offroad touring.

BTW, what model and brand are the hubs?


The hubs were Shimano XTR
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Old 01-24-09, 09:41 PM   #17
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Super good hubs. Stick with them and you should be more than fine.
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Old 01-25-09, 12:16 PM   #18
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I had what could have been an incredibly wonderful tour impacted by many broken spokes, so I'm paranoid. I'd far rather have too much strength than not enough. I'd get quality wheels with quality parts built by a skilled mechanic and not scrimp on cost. I'd go for at least a 36h rear, and at least a 32h front, but I load up my front wheel so heavily that I have 36h there as well. No problems so far.
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Old 01-25-09, 01:08 PM   #19
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Spokes..

A couple of years ago I bicycled across northern Australia on mostly dirt roads. I met several tourers who had ready-made touring bikes with 36 spoke wheels. They were all self-supported tourers, who ate almost nothing (IMHO), but the heaviest was perhaps 180 pounds soaking wet. The others were as thin as a thread and were minimalist, not even wanting to pay for a shower - instead they just snuck in and left.....

Me? I had a custom-built bike that fit my 6'4.5" frame. The wheels were built on brand new 48 Phil Wood spoke hubs that I got for a song on e-bay. Never had been laced. Those wheels (26") are strong, but heavy.

YMMV.
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