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  1. #1
    Senior Member biknbrian's Avatar
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    Radial Spoke Front Wheel

    My wife has a Cross Check that we are trying to get set up for some light touring. I like the idea of running some or maybe even most of the weight up front and she even has the new model with the mid fork inserts. However, my concern is that we built her bike with many of the parts from a performance oriented road bike. This includes 32 spoke 700c wheels. The rear is three cross, but the front is radially laced. She weighs around 130lbs and we might want to add up to about 40lbs of stuff. Is it acceptable to add load to her front wheel?

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    maybe theoretically based, but ..
    Note: the amount of metal the hub flange has between the hole,
    and the edge of the flange.
    that is a weak point of radial spoked wheels .. shear forces..

    you are asking to people who are not there, predict the future .

    stock tip: sell 'short' on Ethics..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 05-30-12 at 10:13 AM.

  3. #3
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    Looks cool but so do stitch marks and gold teeth.

    Probably be OK seeing that it's the front wheel and all,but you lose alot of axial strength laced that way.Personally I would change it if I had the money.

    As said above,some hubs don't take kindly to radial lacing.
    Last edited by Booger1; 05-29-12 at 10:18 AM.
    Everything should be as simple as possible...But not more so.---Albert Einstein

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    No way I would put much weight on that wheel. The lateral stress may cause it to fail at the worst moment like a downhill run with a curve at the bottom. The wheel will have way to much flex for a touring application. As it's a front wheel you should be able to pick up something from Performance or REI or even Craigs list if you are comfortable with that option for a decent price. 32/36 holes is a far better option.

  5. #5
    Senior Member biknbrian's Avatar
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    I hate to throw away what seems like a perfectly good wheel. Except that it's not a perfectly good wheel. It's just another piece of techno junk. Man I F'ing hate some of the things that get done to bikes in the name of "performance". Anyway, would it make sense to relace it?

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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I'd probably just use them. Check out the following links
    http://sheldonbrown.com/wheelbuild.html#radial
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gloss_ra-e.html - Scroll down to the section on radial spoking.

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    I read those sections and they did not sound particularly supportive as I thought you might be suggesting from jamming them all in the same paragraph.

    Separately

    The thing is that there isn't anything for which you can't find someone that has broken the rule and got away with it. So if you are looking for examples of what has been done, maybe someone did this. It is widely agreed to be a bad practice. I would not do it. I think part of the concern is what happens if there is a problem, and my understanding is that radial spoked wheels fail catastrophically. If it was just a mater of potential inconvenience, then you could just suck it up as far as that goes. This is the kind of thing that could get someone hurt, and getting a 700c front wheel is not expensive.

    A half spoked radial rear wheel is one of several rear wheel options I would like to try.

    You should never respoke a hub to a new pattern, in theory. Though I would rather do that if it came down to it. I think the chance of wheel collapse would be lower.

  8. #8
    Senior Member biknbrian's Avatar
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    I have to check the specs, but they are probably pretty basic wheels (no name hubs with low end Alex rims I think). I'm sure I can get a better wheel or wheelset for not all that much money. I will not add any weight to the front end until I've done so. I'll put the wheels back with the also useless (to us) frame they came off of.

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    Assuming that's 40lbs total load I bet it'll hold up fine with 10-15lbs on the front given here light weight .

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    Maybe just relace the front wheel to 3x. But radial wheels are strong if built right.

    I remember building for a mini velo with 20" wheels - front wheel laced radial. The guy riding it crashed, bending the fork, crimping head tube and shearing the brake studs. The wheel was still true after the accident. My experience is that radial laced on the higher tension scale is strong. ALso make sure that there is enough metal bet the spoke hole and the outside perimeter of the flange.

  11. #11
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    my Old Brompton had a 20 spoke radial front , but it's a 349 rim
    and the hub-shell is steel..

    tour on what you have , bring enough money to replace it , with you,
    if it turns out to be not surviving the use.

  12. #12
    Senior Member clasher's Avatar
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    LOL, I weigh around 200lbs at the best of times and I did a 1000km tour last year on a 32 spoke radial wheel, I put front racks on my bike and most of the heavy stuff up in the front. I'd reckon 20-30 lbs at the very least but likely more since I don't own anything light weight. Tent and sleeping bag went on the rear. Consider also that most of the rider's weight is on the back wheel. I rode this wheel for 3 full seasons and thousands of klicks without any trouble. It's just a generic (likely alex) rim on a specialized branded hub with normal cup and cone bearings. Mind you, this was also on an aluminium bike (another no-no for some) and that was actually a busted frame that I made a carbon fibre cast for... so I have a long history of doing things that aren't recommended.

    How does a radial front wheel fail catastrophically? One spoke breaks and all the other ones just come untensioned and then the rim says "yeah, me too!" and just tears itself apart? I think there is a bit of FUD around radial spoking. I'm not saying it should be used on drive wheels or disc brakes, but given the shear amount of abuse I have put my own wheel through, I just can't see it being a problem for a lighter rider with a small load.

    If you're prone to worrying you could put green loctite into the spoke nipples. It's important to get the green stuff as it's designed to seep into fasteners that are already done up. It's also not as strong as the blue or red, which also has the benefit of preventing corrosion so the wheel will be serviceable in the future. Before anyone jumps on me the loctite isn't to hold the wheel together or anything like that, it's just way easier than taking the wheel apart and putting anti-seize on the threads.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by clasher View Post
    I think there is a bit of FUD around radial spoking. I'm not saying it should be used on drive wheels or disc brakes, but given the shear amount of abuse I have put my own wheel through, I just can't see it being a problem for a lighter rider with a small load.
    Agree. I'm 180lbs and have put 10,000+ miles on a 24-spoke radially laced Easton EA90 SL front wheel. I've trued it (slightly) once and adjusted the hub preload twice. It's my everyday training wheel and has seen quite a bit of abuse during that time...

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    So many of you are saying that a 130lbs. person and 40lbs of gear will cause that front wheel to fail? At most we're talking 170lbs. She'll be fine.

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    I'm not saying it will fail, I have ridden lots of gear where I was above the numbers. Isn't the questions A) is this within the reasonable design spec; B) what is the worst that can happen. In most cases the specs are going to be several times stronger than a break point. Nobody designs to the break point.

  16. #16
    Senior Member skilsaw's Avatar
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    If you really love her, you'll get her 36 spoke, 3 cross A719 wheels attached to a new LHT.
    Now that's how a gentleman would show his love.
    The one who has the most bikes wins.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skilsaw View Post
    If you really love her, you'll get her 36 spoke, 3 cross A719 wheels attached to a new LHT.
    Now that's how a gentleman would show his love.

    LHT ? That's a cheep gentleman !

  18. #18
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skilsaw View Post
    If you really love her, you'll get her 36 spoke, 3 cross A719 wheels attached to a new LHT.
    Now that's how a gentleman would show his love.
    Not sure why she would want or need that given the description of the usage by the OP. Sounds like something fairly light duty by touring standards would not only be suitable but preferable. What she currently has sounds not only adequate, but more pleasant to ride.

  19. #19
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    biknbrian, I don't know what the advantage of a radially spoked front wheel is, but my mountain bike has a 32H one. I thought initially that it wouldn't last, 14 1/2 years and countless miles later it's just fine aside from rim wear.

    For light touring I think your wife will be okay.

    Brad

  20. #20
    Senior Member biknbrian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skilsaw View Post
    If you really love her, you'll get her 36 spoke, 3 cross A719 wheels attached to a new LHT.
    Now that's how a gentleman would show his love.
    She already has a very new custom built Cross Check and will probably end up with some upgraded wheels soon. Her bike is way nicer than the bike I ride. (see it back there)

    IMG_0209small.jpg

    Anyway, I feel ok about running the front wheel for a little while longer. But aside from my tendency to try to make what we have work, there's no reason why we can't pick up a better set of wheels for her at some point. Not just different lacing, but a little nicer in every way.

  21. #21
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by biknbrian View Post
    She already has a very new custom built Cross Check and will probably end up with some upgraded wheels soon. Her bike is way nicer than the bike I ride. (see it back there)

    IMG_0209small.jpg

    Anyway, I feel ok about running the front wheel for a little while longer. But aside from my tendency to try to make what we have work, there's no reason why we can't pick up a better set of wheels for her at some point. Not just different lacing, but a little nicer in every way.
    Nothing wrong with that. The trick is to figure out what is actually nicer. Don't assume heavier duty and more robust is always better, sometimes less is more. It looks like a pretty sweet ride as is for her purposes.

  22. #22
    Sprinter linus's Avatar
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    Don't worry about it. She'll be fine.

  23. #23
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Dont think there is a WSD LHT, so the fit may be longer than comfortable for a woman.

    Ms Terry also has a touring bike . the steel frames are batch made by Waterford/Gunnar.

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