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Thread: Wheels?

  1. #1
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    Wheels?

    How many of you use either Shimano XT or XTR 36 hole hubs integrated into your touring wheels? How much weight are your wheels typically carrying? Do they flex a lot under load?

    I'm thinking of building this wheel set for a 'light' touring bike that I am designing. Opinions?

    -Velocity "Chukker" rim
    -Shimano XT front and rear hubs, 36 hole
    -DT brass nipples
    -Wheelsmith DB14 spokes

    Is a wheel set like this durable enough to carry a 200 lb male hauling around ~40 lbs of gear for many, many, many years?

  2. #2
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    I'm sure it will be strong enough for your requirements. As far as Shimano goes, the only thing that XTR has over XT is weight. I defy anyone to tell me that they can feel the difference between the two levels of hubs. They both use the same style bearings so it's really more about the bling. If you want wheels that last as long as possible, look at Phil Wood or Chris King and while everyones first reaction is that they are so expensive, you'll be able to hand these down to your grand children and I've never heard anyone say that about Shimano at any price.

  3. #3
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    If it's light touring I'd go for a lighter front rim than a 650gram one.

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    I'm a little lighter than the OP (~175 pounds), but I'm about to build some wheels around XT hubs (at least for the rear) as well. However, I'm going to use 36h Velocity Dyad rims. Also, I will most likely use DT 14/15 Competition Spokes: same gauge at the ends, but a little thinner in the middle.

    I'm just repeating what I've read from multiple sources (e.g. Sheldon Brown and Jobst Brandt), but the consensus seems to be that such "butted" spokes are stronger because 1) spokes pretty much always break at the elbows, rather than in the middle; and 2) the thinner material in the middle gives the spoke more room for elastic deformation.

    My point: perhaps the OP should consider spending a bit more for double-butted spokes. From what I understand, it would simultaneously improve the longevity and reduce the weight of his wheels.

    Finally, is anyone else finding non-disc 36h XT hubs hard to find? I thought I'd be able to get a great deal with so many people moving to disc brakes, but it seems the peak of that migration is over, and demand is starting to outpace supply.

    In case it isn't clear: I'm pretty new to wheel building, so if any of the above is in error, please feel free to correct me

  5. #5
    Wrench Savant balindamood's Avatar
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    For one year, 1990 or 1991 I think, they made a 40H Deore XT hub (a free-hub). They are not easy to find, but ought to take about anything you can give it. There were a couple that landed on Ebay, source from France, a month or two ago.
    "Where you come from is gone;
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derailed View Post
    My point: perhaps the OP should consider spending a bit more for double-butted spokes. From what I understand, it would simultaneously improve the longevity and reduce the weight of his wheels.
    My understanding is that the Wheelsmith DB14 is a Double Butted 14/16-gauge spoke.

    When I built wheels for my credit card tour down the Pacific Coast, I used the following components:

    - Shimano XTR hubs w 32/holes
    - DT Swiss Competition double-butted (2.0/1.8mm) spokes, laced 3-cross front & rear
    - Velocity Synergy OC rims (front & rear)
    - Brass nipples

    At the time, I was around 175lbs and bike+gear weighed in at 51lbs. Wheels seem very solid; I would expect them to handle quite a bit more weight without any problems. Using the Off Center version of the Synergy rim led to much more even tension between the drive and non-drive spokes. Seems like it should help longevity, but who knows?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    My understanding is that the Wheelsmith DB14 is a Double Butted 14/16-gauge spoke.
    My bad -- you're right, and the OP was clear; I was just too anxious to chime in. Thanks for the clarification.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikearound View Post
    If you want wheels that last as long as possible, look at Phil Wood
    Believe me, I'd prefer to go with Phil Wood hubs, but I can't afford it. A lot of my budget got eaten up in the custom frame. Cuts need to be made somewhere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    my credit card tour
    I chuckled when I read this line. I have this picture in my head:

    ~~~One stops riding for a while, choosing to eat at a restaurant while paying with a CC instead of stopping by a forge of trees and opening a can of beans.~~~

    I think this is the kind of riding I will be doing. Traveling distances of ~75 - ~200 miles over the course of a day or two while camping one day and sleeping in a hotel the next. What can I say, I like hot showers. I want to tour, but I'm not a hardcore naturalist/outdoor-enthusiast, whatever you want to call it. That's why I felt I didn't need Phil Wood hubs, they are designed for the hardcore touring enthusiast, which I am not.

    Shimano makes nice components. I couldn't find a lot of data describing the kinds of loads they were capable of carrying and if they could withstand heavy loads for a long time. Apparently they can.

  10. #10
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I started a west coast tour at 215 lbs. with lots of heavy gear (I didn't weigh it.) I was on a mail order touring bike from Nashbar (this was 1992.) It had 36 spoke wheels, but I have no idea what brand or model. I made it from Seattle to the middle of Oregon before I broke my first spoke, in the rear, on the drive side. I didn't have tools for taking off a cassette, nor spare spokes, though I did have some wire emergency spokes, similar to the kevlar ones available today. I put the emergency spoke on, trued the wheels as best I could (not very good), opened the quick release on my brake, and rode until I got to a town with a bike shop. There I sat around waiting until the guy had a chance to fix it. I paid the fee and was on my way, after a sizeable delay. Several days later I broke my next spoke and went through the process again. By San Francisco I was breaking spokes every day or two - sometimes two in a day. I aborted the tour at Santa Cruz.

    I know much more now about what I should have done. I could have avoided much of the problems, but I didn't know any better. However, my point is that a tour can be ruined by broken spokes. It's something to be avoided.

    The last thing I would economize on now would be my rear wheel. I'd put the best stuff on it possible, and have it built by an experienced pro. Weight would be a minor concern, compared to strength and reliability. After one tour and before the next I take it to the pro to be checked, tensioned, and trued. I'd also invest in a portable cassette tool (I have the Hypercracker) and bring some spare spokes. I've followed this policy on subsequent tours and have never broken another spoke (knock on wood.)

    Actually, I violated this protocol before my last tour by building my own wheels. It was something I wanted to learn, and I heard from several people saying if you went to Sheldon's website and followed his instructions, you should be able to build a really strong wheel yourself. But still, before I started out with my self-built wheels, I went to my local pro and had him check them out. He did and pronounced them acceptable. I did the Northern Tier from Seattle to Glacier and didn't break a spoke. (Knock on wood again.)

  11. #11
    Avalokiteshvara alanthealan's Avatar
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    xtr 36h hubs, DT alpine swiss spokes, and mavic 719 rim. I am 250lbs, road this set up on a tour of the Blue Ridge and Skyline with no troubles. The alpine swiss spokes might be over kill, but I never want to be stranded with a broken spoke again. My past experience with busted wheels has always been due to damage during shipping or car racks.

  12. #12
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    I don't have such a setup, but I'd be very happy with a set of XT hubs on my touring wheels. They're cheap, tough, and ubiquitous, and disc-compatible would just be an extra bonus.

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