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Old 03-01-10, 12:49 PM   #1
tiggermaxcocoa
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Can my wheels handle loaded touring?

Hi,

Last year I had some wheels built at my LBS with the intention of doing some "light" touring, mainly weekend trips. Having done a couple of those trips, I'm now itching to really get out there for some multi-week trips, and I'm wondering if my wheels might be underbuilt for carrying a significant load. My wheels are as follows:

Chris King classic road hub, 130mm rear spacing, 32 spoke
DT Swiss TK7.1 rims (700c)
DT Swiss alloy nipples
DT Swiss double butted spokes (either competition or revolution, not sure)

I'm currently running a 28c gatorskin, but would probably go to a 32c or 35c marathon for durability.

I should also point out that the wheelbuilder seems really good. I've ridden these wheels on some pretty rough stuff and they have needed to be trued only a couple times so far. They were definitely built with care and experience.

I weigh 170 pounds, and my bike with racks weighs ~27 pounds. Would you guys trust the wheels if I added another 40-50 pounds of gear?
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Old 03-01-10, 12:54 PM   #2
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With your size... The front if built well is plenty. I'd also say that if the rear was well built you may be ok as well. That being said.. I run 36 spokes.

I'd rather run 32 spoke well built handspun vs machine built 36 spoke affairs.

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Old 03-01-10, 01:01 PM   #3
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Sure I'd trust them, especially with the bigger tires reducing the stress loads. I'd trust them without the bigger tires. Your weight load is about average.

Too much is made of wheel build for first world touring. Nothing wrong at all with a 32 spoke wheel when it's built properly with decent parts. Sounds like you've got it just right on those points.

I'd make sure I had a fiber fix temp in my kit just in case. Nothing is totally bomb proof.
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Old 03-01-10, 01:38 PM   #4
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Neither of you guys mentioned the fact that I have alloy nipples, which most people seem to think are prone to breaking at any moment in time. So this wouldn't be a concern, either?
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Old 03-01-10, 01:42 PM   #5
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Neither of you guys mentioned the fact that I have alloy nipples, which most people seem to think are prone to breaking at any moment in time. So this wouldn't be a concern, either?
I noticed.. But I would also bring a spare spoke or two along with some spare nipples. Alloy wouldn't be my first choice but like I mentioned above... A well built wheel is going to be better than a crappy built wheel so that is for ME the most important thing.

I have both alloy and brass nippled wheels..... They both work fine. Just have to make darn sure you have a quality spoke wrench. They tend to be very unforgiving if you don't...
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Old 03-15-10, 02:42 PM   #6
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I did all my heavy touring in the 70's and 80's on 36 spoke wheels. and the only broken spokes I had were on the drive side rear at the hub. I think spokes are stronger now than back then, but I would feel better with a 36 spoke rear wheel.
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Old 03-15-10, 05:19 PM   #7
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Would you guys trust the wheels if I added another 40-50 pounds of gear?
Do you really need 40-50 pounds of stuff? Perhaps look at what you are planning to carry and reduce that and get some lightweight kit and then you won't need to worry so much about the wheels. Backpacking sites and forums are good places to get ideas and advice for lighter kit.
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Old 03-15-10, 07:05 PM   #8
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I have about 6000 miles of fully loaded touring on my stock Bianchi Volpe Wheels (32 spoke w/ 28mm Continental Ultra Gatorskins). My wife and I switched over to 32mm Schawbe Marathons last fall, but after a couple of short trips we decided the 28mm's are going back on. I'm a little lighter than you @155, and I carry about 35lbs of gear. The 28mm's work just fine. This is how it is typically loaded. Most of the weight on the rear wheel.



I did start to pop spokes this last summer, on the front wheel. I really think it was caused by the shop that trued the wheel for me. They were breaking off in the nipple, which seems to indicate they were twisted.
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