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  1. #1
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    Rear touring wheel -- what parts do I need in order to build a decent one ?

    I am planning on doing some touring for the first time this summer

    My current R500s will not handle the load. I'm going to take a wheel building course soon during which I want to build my own rear touring wheel.

    Can the touring community please help me to spec out and maybe price everything?

    Budget -- lower, as the less everything costs, the faster it will be built and I'll be able to start out on some practice tours in the spring

    Rims -- have no idea what to look for with these

    Spokes -- I just know that I want a lot of them...have heard the max is 48

    Hub -- nothing to fancy ie Phil Wood, I am just starting out

    Other -- I am 230+ lbs and need something sturdy. Will want to fit a 12-34t cassette on there

    Thank you for any information!

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    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Rims: I like the Sun Ringle CR-18 should run ~$30usd
    Spokes: I typically run 14ga stainless steel Sapim, my current source is off Ebay and I pay ~$17usd for 36.
    Hub: Currently run a variety but anything around the Shimano Deore LX mtb group is good (I think)

    A properly built and tensioned wheel built with middle of the road components will outlast a poorly built wheel with the most expensive components. IMHO 36 spoke should do what you need them to do.

    Aaron
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_sean View Post


    Hub -- nothing to fancy ie Phil Wood, I am just starting out

    Other -- I am 230+ lbs and need something sturdy. Will want to fit a 12-34t cassette on there
    But you really want the phil bling right? If your bike is currently friction there is the option of 7sp 40 hole phil freewheel hubs. As long as ADSA/Walmart keeps selling bikes 13(14)-28 freewheels will be readily available.

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    One for bombproof ness, and working in the shops occasionally,
    I went for a 48 spoke rear wheel, on my 700c wheel rig.
    that was my choice 20 years ago.. they still work fine..

    because Shimano's tandem hubs are built around the same 10X1mm axle,
    their 145 wide setup can be reduced to 135. by switching spacers on the left side ,
    and using the axle set from the regular mountain bike parts.
    least cost way to get a higher spoke count cassette hub .

    Other than that its 36 spoke , maybe built up with wheelsmith 13/14 butted spokes
    for stronger hook ends ..

    CR 18 is a decent rim.. good enough..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 03-09-12 at 01:51 PM.

  5. #5
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    Phil Wood 36h hub. Mavic A719 36h rim. DT Alpine 3 triple butted spokes. 4x spoke pattern at your weight. That's optimal.

    Shimano Ultegra 36h hub. Sun CR-18 rim w/ferreles. DT 14-15-14 double butted spokes. Again, 4x pattern. Less expensive, but solid.

    Mavic doesn't make a 48h A719 anymore, but Sun still does. I've got one for my future dream tourer. My wheelset is going to be a 48h Phil Wood hub, DT Alpine 3 spokes and the Sun 48h CR-18 rim w/ferreles. I'm going 5x as I don't want any spoke problems when touring. My front wheel will be a Phil Wood 36h hub, Dt spokes and a CR-18 36h rim. 3x pattern. I wont be using front bags.

    The above poster is right. Doesn't matter how good one's comps are if the wheel is built incorrectly.

    Sorry, didn't notice the 'no Phil Wood' line.
    Last edited by nashcommguy; 03-09-12 at 01:53 PM.

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    Big Sean, what size of tire do you plan on using and what is the dropout width? Mavic 319 and 36 14g. spokes on the most basic hub should take care of anything above 32mm tire. Your weight isn't anything extraordinary and if you're carrying extraordinary weight hopefully you can carry larger tires and even heavier rims but that should do it.
    Last edited by LeeG; 03-09-12 at 10:30 PM.

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    Thank you everyone for your input. That was a lot to digest -- I knew next to nothing about wheels before posting. After your responses decided it would be best to stop trying to cheat and do some actual research -- all of your suggestions pointed in the right general direction.

    Through a mix of your specific suggestions, reading a lot of Peter White's Custom Wheel Building page (and also his suggested products and ratings for rims, hubs and spokes) some Sheldon Brown, and even a bit of an online PDF version of Jobst Brandt's "The Bicycle Wheel", I've come up with the following wheel-build kit:

    Rim: Mavic A319 36H black. ~30gbp from SJS Cyclery

    Hub: Shimano Deore M590 8/9spd cassette hub. 30gbp from SJS Cyclery

    Spokes: Wheelsmith butted 14g spokes. Am not sure which lengths will be required for the above rim/hub (they are varied, aren't they?

    Any critiques or criticism of the above?

    Other notes and answers to your questions:

    36H should be enough. Other than my bodyweight, the rear will support only a Nelson Longflap with a tent strapped in between the Bagman support and the saddle rails. I've got a front rack and platform w/ medium size panniers that I bought a long time ago when I figured it was probably not a good idea to add any more weight to the rear. My current front wheel is an R500 (only 20 spokes!!) that will be replaced for the next pre-tour project...taking it one wheel at a time!

    Thanks fietsbob for the suggestion re the tandem hub. It took a bit to understand the 145/135mm+spacers issue but am happy for the knowledge. That would be the strongest (40H) casette hub option but it is out of my budget still at 100gbp+

    LeeG, I use 700cx32 size tires around the city and will continue with these on a tour

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    that will be a good wheel. Conventional wisdom is that butted spokes will make for a longer lasting wheel assuming it's built well to begin with but my guess is wear and accidents will take the wheel out before then.

    I had a set of wheels built up with Velocity Synergy hubs and needed an extra rear wheel for various reasons, I bought a Handspun wheel that is exactly the same as what you got except with straight 14g DT spokes. The seam on the Mavic 319 isn't as grabby as the Synergy and I'm in the process of replacing the Synergy rim on the front dyno hub as it's got a grabby seam exacerbated by being bent in a bike stand.

    Make sure you get the spoke length correct.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_sean View Post
    ... ... Spokes: Wheelsmith butted 14g spokes. Am not sure which lengths will be required for the above rim/hub (they are varied, aren't they? ... ...
    If you are buying the rim and hub at the same shop, ask them what spoke size you need. There are calculators that they can put the hub and rim dimensions into to determine the spoke length. And ask them if they will give you a discount if you buy the spokes from them too.

    Buy a couple spare spokes in case you break one after a while.

    Some shops charge an arm and a leg for spokes, some do not. If the price sounds high, make a few phone calls. I use Wheelsmith spokes but I would consider other well known brands (like DT) if the shop had a good price.

    Buy a spoke wrench at the same time you buy the spokes and nipples to make sure you get the right size wrench.

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    Just came back from a touring-specialty bike shop in Wandsworth. Had good conversation with the owner, and besides showing me the Mavic 1-, 3-, and 7-series rim offerings and some cool cartridge bearing hubs "to aspire to", he made the following suggestions:

    * don't learn how to build a wheel using expensive components
    * instead learn using a busted up throwaway wheel that you take apart and put back together/fix
    * buy a hand-built wheel that is guaranteed from a shop which is less expensive than buying the hub, rims and spokes separately

    Though it takes away from the exciting thought of riding on a wheel that I've hand-built myself, what he said makes sense

    Any thoughts? How did you guys learn to build a wheel the first time?

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    The answer to your actual question is LX hubs, wheelsmith straight or butted spokes, and some decent rims. 36 spokes are fine. I toured on mine weighing up to 270. Never a problem. I prefer 8 speed or less.

    The rims are the most difficult factor. They all have their pros and cons, you will find spectacular stories of failure or success with various models. The main contenders are Mavic, Sun, and Velocty touring offerings. There are also some brands that seem popular in europe but are less available here. Another good option are various 700C downhill wheels. When available, double eyelets are an advantage. The classic wheel is relatively light, but uses double eyelets and spoke tension for strength. Increasingly these are no longer made, and have been replaced with deeper rim section rims.

    Build is all important, but relatively easy, either get a good maker of touring, or other high load/wear wheel, or study up a bit. As a general principle you can save yourself a lot of trouble by copying an existing successful combo of components, by a renowned maker. Peter White has various formulas on his web page, and Beckman. I also come ocross occasional awards for stuff like winners of various awards for best touring wheel, etc... File away successful combo, not all parts work together, though most do. But save yourself the heartache of reinventing the wheel.

    On rear wheels, one could write at length. I would consider two things. One, get a set-up that minimizes load. The cheapest way to get that is to go with an appropriate hub that does not support some level of speeds, like won't run a 9, or an 8. The earlier suggestion of a Phil 7 is pretty good. You will hear people suggesting tandem hubs for this, and that can help, but some of them do not actually have lower rigging angles, the older standards do, and other advantages to boot. Again you asked for good, and cheap. There are expensive ways of doing this stuff that can involve highly specialized parts. Second, look into various ways of better balancing spoke loads so that all spoke bear the load as evenly as possible. These are build techniques.

    The wheels I ran when I weighed 270, were LX 8 speed cassette. Straight spokes generic, and dh22, built at a very good neighbourhood shop.

  12. #12
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    Just finished a wheel-building class. I signed up a bit late and the local bike shop owner didn't have time to get me exactly the hub he thought I would like, a Deore LX, so he settled on the regular Deore.
    Rim: Mavic A719 36 hole.
    Spokes: DT double-butted. Length: 290mm for both drive and non-drive side.
    This wheel will go on my Fuji "Touring".

    Ray

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    I chose the LX 36 spoke hub. It is now a "trekking" rather than MTB groupset and seems up to the task. The traditional touring hub, XT is no longer suitable with thicker aluminium axle and smaller bearings. LX retains the traditional thinner steel axle.
    Butted spokes come in differenct widths. My old touring wheels used 13/14 guage. My current ones use 14/15 guage racing style whch are the "normal" width for butted spokes. In my experience, thicker 13/14 guage spokes can withstand the abuse of occasional de-chaining much better than the thinner spokes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by big_sean View Post
    Just came back from a touring-specialty bike shop in Wandsworth. Had good conversation with the owner, and besides showing me the Mavic 1-, 3-, and 7-series rim offerings and some cool cartridge bearing hubs "to aspire to", he made the following suggestions:

    * don't learn how to build a wheel using expensive components
    * instead learn using a busted up throwaway wheel that you take apart and put back together/fix
    * buy a hand-built wheel that is guaranteed from a shop which is less expensive than buying the hub, rims and spokes separately

    Though it takes away from the exciting thought of riding on a wheel that I've hand-built myself, what he said makes sense

    Any thoughts? How did you guys learn to build a wheel the first time?
    http://www.amazon.com/Bicycle-Wheel-.../dp/0960723668

    There was a pamphlet version of this before it was a book. I got it and started building. I wasn't racing and all my touring was ultralight, most wheels I made were straight 15g. 36spokes, cadmium plated not ss. After awhile I used ss. butted 15g and straight 14g. None of my wheels ever broke spokes but I weighed 145lbs. After awhile realized that very light weight didn't have a practical advantage compared to training and durability.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_sean View Post
    ... ... How did you guys learn to build a wheel the first time?
    I built wheels when I was in my teens (early 1970s) and worked in a bike shop.

    Decades later when I decided to build up a dedicated touring bike, I used this link to remember how to do it. This link also taught me some things that I did not learn at the bike shop. I have used this method on about 8 wheels during the past decade.
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/wheelbuild.html

    I think there is nothing wrong with building a wheel with expensive parts, but you have to have patience. When truing up the wheel once the spokes get reasonably tight, no more than a quarter of a turn of the nipple each time you make an adjustment. Although I have built a lot of wheels, I still take well over an hour to get it adjusted after I have loosely laced up the spokes on a wheel.

    It is easiest to learn on an undished wheel.

    I have unusually good mechanical aptitude (I am a retired engineer) and the ability to build and true wheels comes easy to me. If your mechanical aptitude is poor, then learn on the old wheel first as the bike shop recommended.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_sean View Post
    Rim: Mavic A319 36H black. ~30gbp from SJS Cyclery

    Hub: Shimano Deore M590 8/9spd cassette hub. 30gbp from SJS Cyclery

    Spokes: Wheelsmith butted 14g spokes. Am not sure which lengths will be required for the above rim/hub (they are varied, aren't they?

    Any critiques or criticism of the above?
    If you can source them, you should be able to save some money using the Alivio M-430 hubs. They're a bit industrial looking, but are working fine for me. Double butted spokes aren't required, but I prefer them. Straight gauge spokes are less expensive, which is their main attraction and will still get the job done. While I went with the Sun CR18s for my touring bike, I like the A319s also.

    Brad

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    Hi Everyone

    I've got a couple of questions re spokes length and nipple material -- I'm getting geared up now and the rim and hub for my rear wheel have arrived

    1. Spoke length -- I used the spoke length calculator on prowheelbuilder.com and it tells me that with my rim and hub I need left-side 294.5mm and right-side 293.1mm. Will it be okay to use 294mm for both sides? I am planning on ordering from Rose and they come in boxes of 20 in lengths of 292mm, 294mm, or 296mm

    2. Nipple length -- Rose also offers nipples at a good price but I do not know which length to buy -- they come in 12mm, 14mm or even 16mm. Does it matter which I get? Will this have anything to do with the spoke length?

    3. Nipple type -- Can I go with aluminium nipples? They come in black, which I prefer. Other offerings are DT Swiss Pro-lock but they sound like they would prevent any further truing down the line. Or brass?

    Thanks for any information, this is fun stuff! This board has really guided me through the process so far, really appreciate it. Can't wait until it all comes together

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    My wheels on the arvon1 tourer are built by Arvon Stacey and are built with:

    PW black 48 spoke hubs. Bought never-laced from eBay
    Sun Rhyno-Lite 48 hole double-walled rims.
    Spoked (unknown, but Arvon sources from Europe and North America) 4X

    Arvon also builds bomb-proof hubs with (sometimes 4 sets of bearings). Hand built and competitively priced. PM if you need contact info, or PM "sixty fiver".

  19. #19
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tmac100 View Post
    My wheels on the arvon1 tourer are built by Arvon Stacey and are built with:

    PW black 48 spoke hubs. Bought never-laced from eBay
    Sun Rhyno-Lite 48 hole double-walled rims.
    Spoked (unknown, but Arvon sources from Europe and North America) 4X

    Arvon also builds bomb-proof hubs with (sometimes 4 sets of bearings). Hand built and competitively priced. PM if you need contact info, or PM "sixty fiver".
    Was going to write and see how Arvon2 was shaking down...

    You have some great wheels there as besides building a great hub, Arvon builds a rather excellent wheel... our favourite spokes are DT Swiss and we will build with the spokes that best meet the needs of the rider so in some cases they will be straight gauge, double butted, and for extreme wheels we use triple butted Alpine spokes. One benefit to straight gauge spokes is that they have a higher rate of survivability if your wheel decides to eat a derailleur. Being thinner across their middle, butted spokes are more easily damaged and form stress risers where a straight gauge spoke may be unaffected.

    For the budget minded our hubs are a little out of reach, they are as good or better than PW hubs and cost less, but will still cost more than a Shimano LX or Deore cassette hub.

    An average set of touring wheels from our shop with triple cartridge bearings in the rear and double cartridge bearings in the front is going to come in at around $550.00 with a lifetime guarantee on the hubs and a limited warranty on the build in that we don't cover crashes and mis-use but do expect your rims to wear out before they need to be trued.

    There is nothing wrong with a Shimano LX / A319 / DT Swiss build up... a set of these wheels should run a person around $400.00 if they are hand built and deals abound.

    In working with Arvon for almost three years I have yet to receive a call or inquiry from anyone who has had a problem with one of our hubs and Arvon tells me that the only hub issues he has ever seen was when people tried and service them without knowing how to do it... and the service of these hubs is as simple as it gets and requires no special tools but it is amazing what people can mess up.

    I am running Arvon hubs on several of my bikes... my Arvon built racing wheels are some of the nicest wheels I have ever had that were not built with these hands.

    Will agree with another poster that said a well built wheel using lesser parts can often be much better than an off the peg wheel that was turned out by a machine.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_sean View Post
    Any critiques or criticism of the above?
    Since your bike has 622 mm wheels, you should specify the O.L.D./frame spacing of your bike frame: 130mm or 135mm?

    Shimano Deore, Deore LX and SLX rear hubs have 135 mm O.L.D.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seb71 View Post
    Since your bike has 622 mm wheels, you should specify the O.L.D./frame spacing of your bike frame: 130mm or 135mm?

    Shimano Deore, Deore LX and SLX rear hubs have 135 mm O.L.D.
    I would recommend consideration of 135. I use it for everything. It is easier to build a latterally strong wheel that way. At my weight (265) I also prefer 40 spokes even with deep section rims like the Velocity Dyad.

  22. #22
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_sean View Post
    Hi Everyone

    I've got a couple of questions re spokes length and nipple material -- I'm getting geared up now and the rim and hub for my rear wheel have arrived

    1. Spoke length -- I used the spoke length calculator on prowheelbuilder.com and it tells me that with my rim and hub I need left-side 294.5mm and right-side 293.1mm. Will it be okay to use 294mm for both sides? I am planning on ordering from Rose and they come in boxes of 20 in lengths of 292mm, 294mm, or 296mm

    2. Nipple length -- Rose also offers nipples at a good price but I do not know which length to buy -- they come in 12mm, 14mm or even 16mm. Does it matter which I get? Will this have anything to do with the spoke length?

    3. Nipple type -- Can I go with aluminium nipples? They come in black, which I prefer. Other offerings are DT Swiss Pro-lock but they sound like they would prevent any further truing down the line. Or brass?

    Thanks for any information, this is fun stuff! This board has really guided me through the process so far, really appreciate it. Can't wait until it all comes together
    I would order two different sizes of spokes but I am anal that way. You DO NOT want aluminum nipples!!! Get the black brass, they should be available. The length of the nipple depends on the depth of your rim, a deep rim requires a longer nipple.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

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    Quote Originally Posted by big_sean View Post
    2. Nipple length -- Rose also offers nipples at a good price but I do not know which length to buy -- they come in 12mm, 14mm or even 16mm. Does it matter which I get? Will this have anything to do with the spoke length?

    3. Nipple type -- Can I go with aluminium nipples? They come in black, which I prefer. Other offerings are DT Swiss Pro-lock but they sound like they would prevent any further truing down the line. Or brass?

    Thanks for any information, this is fun stuff! This board has really guided me through the process so far, really appreciate it. Can't wait until it all comes together
    what Wahoonc said, you don't need Al nipples for a touring bike. Complete waste of money.

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Of course you can also just get a 36 spoke hand finished , out of the box wheel,
    thru your local bike shop. it may get damaged along the tour route,
    but then you just buy another , from another bike shop along the way.

    Won't be the finest premium parts in all components,
    but it will not be something to worry about
    abandoning it for another along the way..

    a few spare spokes of appropriate length, and some tools to pull off the lockring.

    Others have suggested Zip-ties to secure the big cog to the unbroken spokes
    instead of the shop tool, a chainwhip.

  25. #25
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    You would be fine just doing 294's, it will save money and I highly doubt there will be any difference in durability. I would also suggest using the black brass nipples instead of AL ones, I would also not worry about any of the pro-lock nipples or spoke prep, it also will save some money and proper tension in the wheel is enough to keep the spokes from backing off. If anything some type of oil on the nipples to help prevent wind up, some people also like boiled linseed oil as a lubricant and very light spoke prep but you can still true wheels down the road.

    Even though you can buy a quality wheel cheaper pre-built, do not forget about the value in learning the details of how a wheel works because now it will be much easier to fix it properly when you are on the road.
    Follow me as I prepare for the 2010, wait no 2012, maybe 2013 Tour Divide, ahh hell I will do it one day...
    The Long Way Home

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