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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Mar 2004
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    terre haute IN
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    88 c'dale mtb, early 80's mongoose mtb,82 schwinn heavy duti
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    48 spoke's,backwheel only?

    I had a set of 48 spoke wheels built for me in '99 but sold them a few years ago when I was hard up for money. I am thinking of getting another set since I am riding alot more, but I never have probs with the fronts only the rear. It seems to me that the rear only would be fine to save weight as well as the extra money. My springtime weight will be around 300# and most of my gear will be in a BOB. I guess I am probably worring about it for no reason but I am curious to hear what more experianced people think about it.thanks

  2. #2
    "Big old guy"
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    Trure North Touring, Cannondale Killer V
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    Spanky we are really close to the same weight, if you want to have new wheels built you don't need 48 spokes I use 36 hole straight gauge spokes, Sun Ryno Lite rims, XT hubs and the MOST important factor hand built wheels from a very experienced wheel builder. If money is an issue you can try tying and soldiering your present wheels this is an old trick used by old time track riders. It envovles wrapping wire around your spokes where they cross and then soldering them not really that hard to do. Despite what anyone says it works I got 4 years out of my last wheel set and over 10,000 km both on and off road, with no truing. The hubs finally wore out.

  3. #3
    Year-round cyclist
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    Apr 2002
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    Montréal (Québec)
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    Read Peter White and Sheldon Brown's pages on wheel building.

    Whether you need 48-spoke wheels or only 36-spoke wheels depend a lot on your riding style, the streets you ride on, the weight you carry, the quality of wheel components and most importantly the quality of wheelbuilt (and Peter White has a solid reputation, BTW).

    I only weight 165-170 lb, but I do lots of riding with my daughter on a trailercycle, including loaded touring. IOW, my rear wheel carries a lot of load.

    Compared to the "old days", a rim with a box cross-section is much stronger than a one with a single-wall section, and unless you jump curbs or do loaded touring, I think I would prefer a more standard 36-spokes than a harder to find 48 spokes.

    Alas, 36-spokes isn't as common as it used to be. Still not as rare as 48.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Aug 2004
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    Boise, ID
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    Vittorio Strada randoneur
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    My touring bike has 48 spoke wheels. Maxicar hubs and Alesa rims with DT spokes. I rode it 25,000 miles around the world, only had them trued once. It handled quite a few potholes just fine. I used it again on a 6 month trip through Patagonia and Bolivia/Peru. Again, lots of rough roads without any problems. Yeah, they are probably overbuilt (I'm not heavy), but on a touring bike I like it that way. Weight is not that big an issue on a long trip where you carry days of food and sometimes water.

  5. #5
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    New Orleans, LA
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    DISCLAIMER - I have not actually toured yet, but I am a 20-mile/day commuter, so this is worth what you are paying for it!

    I had a 48 spoke rear wheel built up. I weigh 210-215 (can't seem to get through that 200 barrier) and sometimes carry fairly heavy loads. I look at the wheel issue a little differently. On nice smooth roads I certainly don't need 48-spoke wheels, but there are spots on even my commute where the going gets kind of bumpy and a few hundred meters or so where I go off road. My primary commuter, which will also be my tourer, wears wider tires, 32-35 mm, and the 48-spoke rear wheel. Particularly on tour I want to be prepared for really bad road conditions. I imagine there will be times when it will be necessary or convenient to have some off-road capability. THAT is why I think a 48-spoke rear wheel is useful, for the unexpected. 36 is probably fine up front because the front wheel bears only a relatively small percentage or your weight plus (usually) relatively small panniers. I don't plan to use front panniers because I don't plan to do fully loaded touring with cook gear, etc., just basics with just enough to perhaps spend the night outdoors if the conditions are right.
    FWIW,
    Raymond
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

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