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Old 06-23-09, 11:10 PM   #1
Sonoma76
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Do I need new wheels for my road bike if I want to take light tours?

I have a new road bike and thus I've converted my old one into a commuter and what I hope will be a nice, fast day-tripping tour bike.



As you can see, the wheels on this bike are entry-level race wheels, Mavic Aksiums to be specific. I think the rear wheel has 24 spokes, the front has 16.

I'm 6'1, 235 lbs, and I'm planning a 4th of July ride to the beach, some 45 miles away, along paved highway and farm roads. I will be carrying at least two days worth of clothes, toiletries, locks, spare tubes, and such. I think it'll probably be 50-70 lbs total. My wife will be riding with me, but I want to carry the bulk of the load. I will have a new set of panniers by then, the bags in the photo are used for commuting.

So should I worry about collapsing or breaking my rear wheel if I put that kind of load on it? Should I buy a cheap wheel + casette with more spokes just for touring duties like this?

Thanks.
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Old 06-23-09, 11:19 PM   #2
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You'll definitely be doing something with that wheel that it was not designed to do - you're a big dude as it is and packing 50-70 pounds of weight on that back wheel in particular is not going to end well. Plus, it looks like you've got a 23mm tire there. (pop)

A set of touring-specific wheels is a good idea. I don't know what kind of clearance you have, but a wider tire is also in order.

I use a cyclocross bike for light touring - similar to your bike in that it came with wheels with a low spoke count. (20/24) I had the LBS build a set of wheels with Mavic Open Sport rims with 36 spokes and Ultegra. Wasn't terribly expensive and while not true heavy-duty touring tires, they handle the light-to-medium touring that I tend to do.

Good luck and enjoy the trip!

Last edited by Fishy; 06-23-09 at 11:23 PM. Reason: correction
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Old 06-24-09, 06:16 AM   #3
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If it's not too late return the panniers and get a BOB trailer. Problem solved.
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Old 06-24-09, 06:50 AM   #4
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Great bike by the way. Love the quest! Would be a good idea to upgrade but I run Aksuims on my commuter and they are pretty damn tough wheels. I would do a short tour with mine. You have 50 lbs on me at least though. I would try and keep your load under 50. Closer to 40 if possible.

Good luck and go for it in my opinion. Just take it easy.

Of course it would be a good idea to have a higher spoke count and well built rear wheel for touring. If it's possible to do before you leave I would suggest it.
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Old 06-24-09, 06:56 AM   #5
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The Askiums are tough.

When I tour, I limit the additional weight to about 20 pounds. Add the weight of the panniers, and you have about 25. The wheels can handle that. If you want more stuff, mail it to your destination, or have someone drop it off, and mail it back or something.

50 pounds would cover a tent, stove, sleeping bag,food, clothes, etc..... You don't want to do that on your Quest. Besides, your panniers are far too small for that sort of load.
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Old 06-24-09, 07:00 AM   #6
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Just a thought about your basic assumptions... I think you could get your weight WAY lower than 50 pounds for 2 days staying at a hotel at the beach for 2 people. One set of off-bike clothes, a bathing suit, toiletries, lock. Rinse the bike clothes in the sink and roll & press in a towel, they'll be dry the next morning. I did a 4-day hotel-based trip in the rockies with rain gear carrying 11 pounds including the bags.
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Old 06-24-09, 07:21 AM   #7
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Nice looking Jamis!

At your weight, particularly with the load you are considering carrying, I would consider a set of touring wheels. Aksiums are low-spoke wheels and when they break a spoke, they generally go so much out of true that they are unrideable. You should be using some 36-spoke rims, such as Mavic A719s or Velocity Dyads, for the loads you are considering.
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Old 06-24-09, 07:24 AM   #8
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That bike looks great for lightweight touring. +1 to valygrl's comments.

Yes get new wheels. I was out for a century ride Sunday and passed a fellow walking his bike on the side of the road waiting for his wife to come pick him up. He had broken a spoke on his Mavic Ksyrium/Askium (can't remember which) wheels. He was just out for a day ride with no load, but he was probably 200 lbs or so. I had a standard spoke wrench with me, but couldn't help him. Given your size alone, you will break a spoke someday with those wheels.

I'd recommend hand built, 36 spoke, 14 guage/2.0mm, Ultegra level hubs. Also 25-28c tires at a minimum will help prevent pinch flats and dented rims. Carry a couple extra spokes, a spoke wrench, and a cassette tool. If you break a rear spoke, you can re-true the wheel until you get to a town where there's a bike shop or where you can borrow a wrench and improvise a chain whip to remove the cassette and replace the spoke.
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Old 06-24-09, 07:32 AM   #9
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I'm a Clydesdale and have toured many times on 32 spoke wheels. Get a quality rim
and use top quality spokes (and brass nipples) and you'll be fine. I used Mavic CXP33 rims for years, and was very impressed.

I do agree with the comment suggesting larger tires, but I wonder how large a tire the Quest can handle . If it can, the Rivendell Ruffy Tuffy 27c is a nice choice.
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Old 06-24-09, 07:47 AM   #10
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That bike looks great for lightweight touring. +1 to valygrl's comments.

Yes get new wheels. I was out for a century ride Sunday and passed a fellow walking his bike on the side of the road waiting for his wife to come pick him up. He had broken a spoke on his Mavic Ksyrium/Askium (can't remember which) wheels. He was just out for a day ride with no load, but he was probably 200 lbs or so. I had a standard spoke wrench with me, but couldn't help him. Given your size alone, you will break a spoke someday with those wheels.

I'd recommend hand built, 36 spoke, 14 guage/2.0mm, Ultegra level hubs. Also 25-28c tires at a minimum will help prevent pinch flats and dented rims. Carry a couple extra spokes, a spoke wrench, and a cassette tool. If you break a rear spoke, you can re-true the wheel until you get to a town where there's a bike shop or where you can borrow a wrench and improvise a chain whip to remove the cassette and replace the spoke.

Aksuims use a standard spoke nipple. So I'm guessing he was riding lighter ksyriums.
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Old 06-24-09, 10:08 AM   #11
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I agree with either getting a stronger rear wheel or a Bob trailer. I had a tour wrecked by a succession of broken spokes. It was a mail-order Nashbar (in 1992) with 36 spoke wheels. I weighed 215 at that time and was carrying a ton of weight. Since then I've been obsessively paranoid about broken spokes. I now have an LHT with hand-built wheels (Mavic 719 rims, LX hubs, and 36 double-butted spokes.) I now weigh about 200 lbs., still carry a lot of stuff, and haven't broken a spoke in the last 3 tours.

I'm no engineer, but I know what a pain it can be to start breaking spokes on tour.
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Old 06-24-09, 10:26 AM   #12
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So what would cost more, a new wheelset + casette or a Bob trailer?
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Old 06-24-09, 10:38 AM   #13
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I'm not a fan of bob...... so for me it would be a wheelset. A good set of Open Pro's with Ultgera hubs 36 spoke double butted from Bicycle Wheel Warehouse $250 ish. should do the trick. Plus they will be a great wheelset for all your riding. Not weight a million pounds either when not touring.

That's me though. If it is for touring only I would go with something maybe wider. But you can run plenty wide on OP's.

My 2 Cents.
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Old 06-24-09, 10:43 AM   #14
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hmmm. I just looked at the Jamis and I don't think I can get away with more than 25 on the tires. It's' the chainstays that would limit tire width.

Don't exactly have the money for a new wheelset right now. I like what valygrl said- maybe my assumptions weren't right. Maybe I can distribute more load to my wife and we'll share the burden equally.

Kind of sucks, sounds like my options are limited and/or expensive.
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Old 06-24-09, 10:48 AM   #15
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hmmm. I just looked at the Jamis and I don't think I can get away with more than 25 on the tires. It's' the chainstays that would limit tire width.

Don't exactly have the money for a new wheelset right now. I like what valygrl said- maybe my assumptions weren't right. Maybe I can distribute more load to my wife and we'll share the burden equally.

Kind of sucks, sounds like my options are limited and/or expensive.
One idea might be to purchase a trailer before your trip and flip it when you return. See what new ones sell for and what used ones sell for on eBay. That is what it would cost you in the end. Of course you wouldn't have the trailer later if you sold it but it might at least confirm or nix the idea of touring with a trailer in the future.

Just a thought.
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Old 06-24-09, 11:07 AM   #16
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I'm not a fan of bob...... so for me it would be a wheelset. A good set of Open Pro's with Ultgera hubs 36 spoke double butted from Bicycle Wheel Warehouse $250 ish. should do the trick. Plus they will be a great wheelset for all your riding. Not weight a million pounds either when not touring.

That's me though. If it is for touring only I would go with something maybe wider. But you can run plenty wide on OP's.

My 2 Cents.
Touring on Open Pros?? After you add it all up it looks like the total weight will be
250 pounds, give or take a bunch. I'd go with the much stronger CXP33 rims. I did tour on them and never had a problem.
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Old 06-24-09, 11:14 AM   #17
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Sure the cxp's might be tough. OP's in 36 spoke are damn tough also. He would also end up with an everyday wheelset that is bomb proof and simple to repair. Your idea works great as well. I tend to use my stuff for more than one purpose. Except for my Roadie that is. So I tend to think along those lines.
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Old 06-24-09, 11:48 AM   #18
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How long have you been using the bike and wheels, it sounds like this is your old bike since you
upgraded to a new one. If you have been able to commute on this bike for a while with no problems
at 235 pounds I suspect the wheels would already be toast if they were weak. Does the rear wheel
have straight pull spokes, if it does they are considerably stronger than traditional.

Adding an additional 50-70 pounds might be too much but you can probably significantly cut
the size of your load (by half) without any trouble. A lot will depend on the type of rider you are,
if you take it real easy over the bumps and have good roads you should be ok.
Changing the tires from 23's to something as wide as can fit will help.
If you do have a wheel problem on tour your ride will be over, try loading the bike up with 70 pounds
of stuff for a test run and see what happens.

Check out the reviews of this wheel at Roadbikereview, lots of heavy guys like them, if there
are problems they usually show up early.

http://www.roadbikereview.com/cat/wh...5_2490crx.aspx
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Old 06-24-09, 04:39 PM   #19
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So should I worry about collapsing or breaking my rear wheel if I put that kind of load on it?
I don't know if you should worry or not. It depends on what margin of safety you're comfortable with. Obviously you can load 70 pounds on the bike and ride it out of your driveway and the wheels aren't going to immediately collapse. The spokes are in tension and it takes a lot more static weight than that to pull the rim apart.

You can't predict road surface conditions for roads miles away from your home that you've never ridden before. I just rode 600+ miles around Lake Ontario and I encountered road construction, a bit of gravel temporary road, and lots of cracked, bumpy roads in rural areas. In populated areas, I rode in traffic and was often forced to bounce through the roughness of drainage grates along the side of the road. (It's not the grates themselves that cause the problem, but the inevitable crumbling road and dip that surrounds them.) There were lots of time I was very happy to have my 48-spoke wheels with double wall rims. A lighter wheel might or might not have been damaged, but I didn't have to spend my whole tour worrying about it.

Your wheels and tires have to absorb the brunt of every sin the road surface has to offer. I prefer a wide safety margin there so I can worry about more important things when I'm touring, like where's the next ice cream stop.
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Old 06-24-09, 05:40 PM   #20
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50-70 pounds is a lot of stuff. it is pretty easy to get down to 30 pounds for summer touring when camping and cooking. I carried a few pounds less than 30 pounds on my last tour and I had a lot of extra stuff. On hind sight I should have left 10 pounds of it at home.

It sounds like you won't be camping or cooking. That should make it easy to get down to 10-15 pounds per person if you want to.

I would suggest that you give some thought to limiting your load to less than 40 pounds combined total for the two of you at the very most. That is pretty do-able if camping and cooking. If moteling it and not cooking it should be easy to carry less than that.

Some people choose to take 50, 70, or 100 pounds of stuff, but I think that sucks the joy out of riding. Also it seem a bit much to expect of light race type wheels. Different strokes and all that though.

Do you plan on touring much? If not for a 45 mile (each way) ride I would probably take my chances, but for any longer distance or for frequent short trips I would get some stronger wheels especially since you are probably close to the capacity of those wheels with no gear.
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Old 06-24-09, 11:21 PM   #21
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We did 11 weeks fully self contained on less than 40 lbs. on my bike and about 30 on my wife's. A couple of years ago we met a guy in Yellowstone that we rode on and off with for several days. He had wheels similar to yours. He was fully loaded. It wasn't until Nebraska and the frost cracks every 60 feet (about 300 miles worth between Nebraska and Iowa) that he had wheel problems. He pulled one of the spoke furrels. The real problem was finding repacement parts. He had probably ridden 1500-2000 mile at that time. This is a picture I just posted on another thread, but I'll bet that between my gear and my weight there is about 200 lbs. Those wheels are also 23's, and are a lot cheaper wheel than yours. Several multi-week tours that included some gravel with no problems.
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Old 06-24-09, 11:23 PM   #22
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P.S. I actually put 25's on for most of the trips on that bike.
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Old 06-25-09, 01:06 AM   #23
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I have 1,400 miles on this bike, mostly road riding, and in the last month, commuting.

I've never once had a problem with the wheels. as far as I can tell they still run straight and true, even after I've gotten in a few accidents.

Thanks for the advice everyone. I may just risk it but I'm also tempted to buy some cheap wheels on ebay just to use for this trip and others in the future. Getting stranded with a broken wheel would suck, I have no idea how to repair wheels.

Also, I think those of you questioning the load weight are right. I doubt it will be 50-70lbs. We are staying in a hotel, no camping here.
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Old 06-25-09, 07:14 AM   #24
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If money is tight. Try and find a good rear wheel. Go with what you have up front. Front wheel failure is pretty rare. Sure it can happen but even loaded it's not supporting that much more weight than normal if your just running rear panniers. Plus if it did fail you could find a replacement just about anywhere you could find a spoke.
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Old 06-25-09, 07:28 AM   #25
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Motels and no cooking? Credit card tour. 15 lbs each, tops.
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