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Larger rim implies stronger wheel?

Old 03-09-18, 03:35 AM
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nondo
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Larger rim implies stronger wheel?

Hi there,

I have done two posts in the past about this, but i have a specific question that somehow always got buried among others, and after talking to a mechanic i wish to ask for you guys' opinion.

So, I have a bike for heavy touring, need to build a new (very strong) 26'' wheel. I have two sets of tyres (touring and city) and feel very comfortable with 2.0'', so this is the only size I will ever use on this bike.

The current wheel (MX19) had a capacity for tyre width ranging from 1.10'' to 2.44''. The wheel i was thinking of building (XL25) has a capacity from 1.73'' to 2.44''.

So, I just assumed that a heavier rim would make a stronger wheel. BUT my bike mechanic says i should choose a thinner rim (which IMPLIES a stronger wheel, in his words).

For me this makes no sense, because if the thinner wheel is stronger, why would the brand manufacture the XL25, if basically the whole interval of its tyre width is also covered by MX19? Am I missing something?

Also, I don't seem to find easily rims for 36 spokes but heard of them. Is it worth it? What other things should I consider in the making of this sturdy wheel?
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Old 03-09-18, 04:10 AM
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Fatter is stronger (and stiffer, which contributes to its strength). That's why mtb/bmx parts are always fatter than road parts.
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Old 03-09-18, 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by nondo View Post
So, I just assumed that a heavier rim would make a stronger wheel. BUT my bike mechanic says i should choose a thinner rim (which IMPLIES a stronger wheel, in his words).
If you're talking about rim width, then your mechanic is right. Then, you'd be discussing the term "narrower", not "thinner". Like if you took a 12" piece of 2 x 4 and stood on the middle of it, you'd have little flex. If you took a 5-foot piece of 2 x 4 and stood on the middle of it, you'd have considerable flex. So, the narrower the rim (considering both are made of the same thickness of metal) would be the stronger rim.

The 2 rims you referenced have completely different profiles, one more arched at the eyelets and the other more flat, so you can't compare one to the other in terms of relative strength as being "heavier".

Also, I don't seem to find easily rims for 36 spokes but heard of them. Is it worth it? What other things should I consider in the making of this sturdy wheel?
There's plenty of 36-spoke rims out there, they're fairly common. As a general rule, the more spokes, the stronger the wheel. Spoke gauge has a lot to do with strength of the wheel as well, the larger the gauge, the stronger the spoke.
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Old 03-09-18, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by nondo View Post
(Larger Rim implies stronger wheel?)So, I just assumed that a heavier rim would make a stronger wheel. BUT my bike mechanic says i should choose a thinner rim (which IMPLIES a stronger wheel, in his words).
There are too many unknown variables as well as unclear terms in your question. As noted above there are other differences between any two rims, besides whatever you mean by "larger", "heavier", or "thinner". Do you mean rim weight, thickness of the extrusion, width of the rim, etc? It is my opinion that, given a good quality rim, one's tire selection, build quality, and especially spoke count and the amount of dish required are as important as the rim in determining longevity and stability. I would not do loaded touring with an 11 speed hub due to increased dish, for example.
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Old 03-09-18, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by n0+4c|u3 View Post
If that were true, all those flatland BMX riders would be riding on rails instead of wide rims.
The wider your wheel, the more resistant to s bends it is, the more lateral strength it has.
Who puts more stress on a wheel than a flatland rider?
Look here and see if there are any weight weenie wheels.
Best BMX Wheels | The Best BMX Wheels and Parts of 2017
Narrow wheels are not stronger than wider wheels, just lighter.
Let's see. First I didn't make any recommendation about weight-weenie wheels, just discussing the strength difference between rim widths for the same thickness of materials. There's far too many variables in the design and parts of a wheel to take a single variable and apply it to the whole of a type of riding. Lateral strength is just one of those variables. I was simply making a point about the OP's mechanic's comment. Just one variable.

As to wider rims being more suited to BMX riding, sure. It allows for wider tires, more absorption of impact by the tires, more traction, etc, etc. The article you referenced was merely a salesman's ad for wheels, I didn't see any technical data beyond the sales pitch.
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Old 03-09-18, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by jj1091 View Post
Spoke gauge has a lot to do with strength of the wheel as well, the larger the gauge, the stronger the spoke.
In the interest of technical accuracy you mean the larger the spoke "diameter", the stronger the spoke. Gauge numbers are inverse with diameter, e.g. 15 gauge is thinner than 14 gauge.

That said, thinner diameter spokes are more resilient than thicker ones which is why 14/15/14 (2.0mm/1.8 mm/2.0 mm) butted spokes are usually recommended over straight 14 gauge (2.0 mm) as they give a more durable wheel.
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Old 03-09-18, 08:55 AM
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Hi guys,

First of all thanks for all replies.


Originally Posted by jj1091 View Post
If you're talking about rim width, then your mechanic is right. Then, you'd be discussing the term "narrower", not "thinner". Like if you took a 12" piece of 2 x 4 and stood on the middle of it, you'd have little flex. If you took a 5-foot piece of 2 x 4 and stood on the middle of it, you'd have considerable flex. So, the narrower the rim (considering both are made of the same thickness of metal) would be the stronger rim.
Second, let me excuse myself for my bad english (not my mother tongue) - i meant "narrower", not "thinner".
jj1091, i understand your example, as i also understood what the mechanic said.


Originally Posted by jj1091 View Post
The 2 rims you referenced have completely different profiles, one more arched at the eyelets and the other more flat, so you can't compare one to the other in terms of relative strength as being "heavier".
Knowing beforehand that I am comparing apples with oranges as there are many variables out there, I should then reformulate my original question: are the apples (MX19) stronger than the oranges (XL25) for a fully loaded offroad touring bicycle?


Originally Posted by cny-bikeman View Post
I would not do loaded touring with an 11 speed hub due to increased dish, for example.
(Once again, my english and lack of technical skills are not enough for understanding this. My intuition is that what you refer to is that a 11-speed cassette takes wider space than a 7-speed cassette and therefore the wheel will be less "symmetrical" and therefore more imbalanced? I find this marketing stuff of "oh so many gears" totally annoying. I have a 9 gear cassette and only use the even numbers, so it means that a 5 gear cassette would be enough, as far as I have a big granny gear. So, as a side-question, if i want to "downgrade" to 7-gear, do i need a new rear rear hub?)


Regarding the number of spokes, i was wrong. I was convinced that i had 32, but both models i refer use 36.
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Old 03-09-18, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
That said, thinner diameter spokes are more resilient than thicker ones which is why 14/15/14 (2.0mm/1.8 mm/2.0 mm) butted spokes are usually recommended over straight 14 gauge (2.0 mm) as they give a more durable wheel.
Isn't something like the DT Swiss Alpine III(2.0mm/1.8mm/2.3mm) considered the strongest "mainstream"spoke you can buy?

I take your point about the spoke being a bit thinner in the middle so that the spoke acts more like a spring.
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Old 03-09-18, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by cny-bikeman View Post
There are too many unknown variables as well as unclear terms in your question. As noted above there are other differences between any two rims, besides whatever you mean by "larger", "heavier", or "thinner". Do you mean rim weight, thickness of the extrusion, width of the rim, etc? It is my opinion that, given a good quality rim, one's tire selection, build quality, and especially spoke count and the amount of dish required are as important as the rim in determining longevity and stability.
I have a similar, if not identical query and I'll see if my question makes any more sense.

Let's compare the following rims from the same maker and the same "family" of rim, as the rims get wider, the weight increases(which makes sense), but is the weight increase only what is needed to allow all these rims to have identical strength/robustness, or would one of them be the obvious tougher rim?

WTB Frequency Team i23 TCS 29 Inch MTB Rim - Rim width - inner: 23 mm outer: 28 mm Weight = 523grams

WTB Frequency Team i25 TCS 29 Inch MTB Rim - Rim width - inner: 25 mm outer: 30 mm Weight = 550grams

WTB Frequency Team i29 TCS 29 Inch MTB Rim - Rim width - inner: 29 mm outer: 33.6 mm Weight = 577grams
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Old 03-09-18, 09:51 AM
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Other way , smaller wheels are stronger than big ones.. 20" vs 29er, for example..
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Old 03-09-18, 10:10 AM
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Pick the tire width you want to run and then get the most appropriate width rim for it. Then out of those width rims, let your wheel builder tell you which one his experience tells him is best for your riding.

Some of the tire mfrs do make a recommendation for the rim width they feel their tire is ideal on. You frequently have to do some searches on their site to come up with documentation that is not hyper-linked to the product page.
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Old 03-09-18, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by nondo View Post


Second, let me excuse myself for my bad english (not my mother tongue) - i meant "narrower", not "thinner".
jj1091, i understand your example, as i also understood what the mechanic said.
Your english is fine.

Knowing beforehand that I am comparing apples with oranges as there are many variables out there, I should then reformulate my original question: are the apples (MX19) stronger than the oranges (XL25) for a fully loaded offroad touring bicycle?
Here's where what your mechanic said makes more sense. If you look at the two rims and compare the cross-sections, you'll see that the inner section of the XL25 rim (the part that accepts the spokes) tapers off significantly at the edges near the braking surfaces, whereas on the MX19 rim, the material has less tapering at the edges. Apples to oranges, the MX19 looks like it has a stronger structure.

While I don't necessarily agree that a narrower rim "implies" a stronger rim, it's possible that for a wider rim of the same profile and make, that the wider rim could get slimmed-down a bit by the manufacturer to compensate for the additional weight, but who knows. You'd have to take your MX19 rim and compare it to a MX25 rim (which they don't show and probably don't make) to see any differences. It would take far too much more study than would be worth it, to me.
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Old 03-09-18, 11:09 AM
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bracing angle , a wider base of a triangle, will increase the strength of the wheel ..

It's where derailleur wheels become vulnerable, right side bracing angle is nearly vertical.

to make room for the cassette cluster..



..
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Old 03-09-18, 11:41 AM
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Do you need the strongest wheel or a wheel that is strong enough?
Most of use pick the lightest that is strong enough.

Quality of the build is an important factor.
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Old 03-09-18, 01:00 PM
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Usually I go for more material in the rim for strength and durability.
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Old 03-09-18, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by ColonelSanders View Post
Let's compare the following rims from the same maker and the same "family" of rim, as the rims get wider, the weight increases(which makes sense), but is the weight increase only what is needed to allow all these rims to have identical strength/robustness, or would one of them be the obvious tougher rim?
I would tend to base the decision on which rim would create the best profile for the tires one prefers. Again, number of spokes, quality of the build and amount of dish are in my opinion the most important factors. I don't know what would make a rim on it's own significantly strong/robust, other than resistance to impact, and if one is faced with that prospect rim width would have very little significance. If you want a stronger wheel, and one that can more easily be corrected, don't use a 32 hole rim. I don't see any reason to get a 32 hole rim when you give up so much for insignificant and unimportant weight savings. The only exception would be if one is unable to use a 36 hole hub.
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Old 03-09-18, 02:11 PM
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This is a good article...

https://www.cyclingabout.com/the-bes...cycle-touring/

Your XL19 was not listed, but the XL25 was. However, the Ryde may be a better choice.

John
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Old 03-09-18, 05:07 PM
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Design of course enters into it, but more metal means a stronger rim.
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Old 03-09-18, 09:37 PM
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Some generalities here.

Smaller diameter wheels = stronger.
Deeper profile rims = stronger.

Wider rim profile = Weaker, for hoop stress, which is essentially the forces that pushes the brake tracks apart sideways.

Wider rims provide a wider contact patch, and overall more tire volume which makes rim strikes less likely.
Wider rims are also more stable when used at low pressure, since the contact patch center is more likely to remain between the beads.
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