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Need Wheelset Build Advice for Heavy Rider

Old 01-13-15, 10:06 AM
  #1  
Crankycrank
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Need Wheelset Build Advice for Heavy Rider

Building some 700c road training wheels for a friend who weighs 260 lbs. I want light as possible but durability is the main priority and under $500 range. Been considering using the Mavic A719 or DT Swiss TK 540 32 hole rims with DT Competition spokes-3 cross lacing and Ultegra 6700 or 6800 hubs. He likes to use 28mm tires. Right now he's using the 6700 hubs with 32 hole DT 465 rims and has already had a rear rim fail due to cracking at the eyelets after only 3k miles and these being the strongest wheels he's owned he just wants something that will last much longer.

-Is there any difference in durability/quality between the Mavic A719 & DT Swiss TK 540 rims.
-Would 36 spokes in the rear be necessary or is 32 OK.
-Open to any suggestions including different rims, spokes and lacing patterns, just need something that won't break.

Thanks
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Old 01-13-15, 10:17 AM
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I can't completely answer your question, but I've been helping a 290-lb former football player with his bikes for the last three years, so have some observations.

Strength of the build is what you're after. For a 260-lb individual, saving 1 lb on the wheels isn't a even discernable. I wound up converting my friend to a rigid MTB frame with very overbuild 26" wheels, after seeing him break chain links, bend handlebars, and break spokes repeatedly.

The lesson, I think, points to a strong build. The A719 can be used as a touring rim, so it's a good choice. Just go to 36H front and rear. Any Shimano hub will be fine.

My two cents...other more expert voices will come along shortly. PG

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Old 01-13-15, 10:29 AM
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A question from my non-expert voice: do heavier riders generally need wider rims/tires, or is wheel strength more about the number of spokes and proper tension?
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Old 01-13-15, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Chesterton View Post
A question from my non-expert voice: do heavier riders generally need wider rims/tires, or is wheel strength more about the number of spokes and proper tension?
You are correct. Wheel strength is about the number of spokes and proper tension as well as the overall strength of the spoke. A 2.3 mm head (DT Alpine III, Sapim Force, Pillar PSB TR, etc) will increase the strength at the head to result spoke breakage which is the more usual problem with heavy riders.

Crankycrank's friends problem sounds more like it related to tension on the spokes than to the strength of the spoke. The problem could be that the spoke are too tight or too loose. The problem is that both can cause cracking around the eyelets. The DT Swiss 465 doesn't look like it is particularly light nor particularly heavy. Personally, I'd just rebuild the wheel with a new rim (same brand or same ERD) and tension it right rather than go to a new wheel.
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Old 01-13-15, 12:43 PM
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The width of the space between flanges . wider the better* .. is one handicap that the more speeds the Merrier rear derailleur hubs must cope with in wheel strength .

part of why rear wheels go out first.. build with 32 if you wish , it wont last forever.. 36 on its own,
4 more spokes really wont either, but may be that small bit sturdier with a few more spokes .. 16 va 18 on Drive side


My Solo Touring bike's Rear wheel is 48 spoke, derailleur drive train, but with the Rohloff* 32 is Fine.

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Old 01-13-15, 12:59 PM
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Wheelbuilders looking to build stronger wheels by using beefier spokes should consider the irony of how wheels fail. The majority of spoke failures occur on the left or less loaded flange. These spokes are under lower tension than those on the right, so it defies logic to believe that load is the key issue and/or that beefier spokes produce a stronger more durable wheel.

If the evidence of the non-failing spokes on the right is to be believed, it points that the key to more durable wheels lies in using spokes that are lighter in relation to the load. This is an over simplification, but I offer it as a counterweight to the reflexive more is more thinking that many resort to.

I've been building strong durable wheels for rough service, not by strengthening spokes but by methodically weakening them (using lighter gauges) so they're in proportion to the tensions I'm building to. Sometimes, if you can't raise the bridge, you have to lower the water.

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Old 01-13-15, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Wheelbuilders looking to build stronger wheels by using beefier spokes should consider the irony of how wheels fail. The majority of spoke failures occur on the left or less loaded flange. These spokes are under lower tension than those on the right, so it defies logic to believe that load is the key issue and/or that beefier spokes produce a stronger more durable wheel.
Say what? First off the main way that wheel builders suppose that they can build stronger wheels is by using a stronger rim. That, in itself, is wrong headed. But I do not agree that the majority of spoke failures occur on the left side of the hub. The vast majority of spoke failures that I've experienced and I have seen on hundreds of wheels of every possible age at my local co-op have been on the higher tensioned right hand drive side of the wheel. The number of spokes that I've seen fail on the left hand side of a bike are about as rare as spokes failing on the front wheel. It happens but occurs in less than 1% of the cases I've seen.

Before the advent of the Fiber Fix emergency spoke, there was a fairly large cottage industry of tools to remove the freewheel (not very good) or cassette (better but only by a little) so that touring bicyclists could replace broken spoke under the freewheel or freehub
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Old 01-13-15, 05:04 PM
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Minimum of 36 double butted spokes on a rim like the Mavic Open Sport or heavier like the Sun CR18. You won't gain anything with triple butted spokes.
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Old 01-13-15, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Say what? ....
I'm not going to get into a shouting match or flame war on this. I've expressed my opinion, you have yours. Readers can consider their experience, our respective credibility, or consult their favorite gurus.

But I stand by my statement that going lighter and building more resilience into the wheel will improve durability. Of course there has to be some nod to payload (rider/touring luggage weight but bicycle wheels are a Three Bears thing, where too little, or too much are equally bad, and the goal is "just right".

BTW- aren't you the one who always screams that spokes break from tension that is too low? Now you say that 99% of spoke breakage is on the half of the wheel with the higher tension. Seems kind of ironic, but nothing wrong with a bit or irony.

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Old 01-13-15, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Crankycrank View Post
......
-Would 36 spokes in the rear be necessary or is 32 OK.
-Open to any suggestions including different rims, spokes and lacing patterns, just need something that won't break.
......
I like 40 spokes on the rear. 32, even 28 is fine for the front. On most single bikes (in other words not tandems); you end up with roughly 2/3rd of your weight on the rear wheel. If you are comfortable with 36 spokes on the rear, then 18 spokes on the front should be okay, IGNORING braking forces. Taking into account braking; F28/R36 will be pretty close.
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Old 01-13-15, 10:45 PM
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I weigh 260-270. Three years ago I built myself a set of wheels using Velocity A23 -32 hole rims on Ultegra hubs and DT Comp. spokes.
I ran them with a 25 tire and never broke a spoke. I reset the tension and true them once a year.
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Old 01-14-15, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
BTW- aren't you the one who always screams that spokes break from tension that is too low? Now you say that 99% of spoke breakage is on the half of the wheel with the higher tension. Seems kind of ironic, but nothing wrong with a bit or irony.
Ah, the subtle ad hominem. Imply that your opponent is worth listening to by trotting out a little implication that they are hysterical.

No, I'm not "the one who always screams" about tension being too low. I don't know that I've expressed an opinion one way or the other. I have said that rims can crack from spoke tension that is too low and too high (see above). Too low a spoke tension can result in flexing of the rim which isn't something that aluminum does well while too high a tension puts too much pressure on the rim which also results in cracking. It's hard to tell which mode is at work without physical inspection of the spokes.

Building "more resilience" into the wheel would result in more flex of the rim which could result in more cracking.
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Old 01-14-15, 10:37 AM
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A well built 36 hole rim with standard double butted spokes will serve you well. One of the newer 23 or 24mm rims might be marginally stronger than a skinny little 19 or 20mm hoop also.

In the past, we would have used 40 for that weight, but modern materials are at least 4 holes better.

Some heavy people can get away with less if they have a light riding style and avoid debris and curbs. It's best to assume this is not the case though. Most heavy people don't maneuver quickly and plow through a lot of crap.
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Old 01-14-15, 11:05 AM
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Does your friend ride on smooth pavement only?
Does he hammer up hills or have flat terrain?

You can build a decent "meat & potatoes" wheel for a lot less than $500.
If it's a "training" wheel, I wouldn't sweat a few grams.

I'm not a "strong" rider, but weigh 250.
I built a set of 32 spoke wheels for my hybrid using-
Sun Rims M13II .
DT 14/15 DB rear DS and 15/16 DB spokes everywhere else.
Tiagara hubs should be adequate. (I had to use a "mountain" hub rear because of the 135mm spacing.

Shortly after building the wheels, I dropped the rear into an old fashioned sewer grate about 3-4 MPH.
It hit HARD, bouncing my butt about 8-10" off the seat.
It did put about a 1mm "wow" in the rim, but a few minutes on the truing stand and I had spoke tensions back to where the should be and the wheel is totally usable.
When I built the wheel, I had lots of time, due to a broken leg, so I had spoke tensions probably within 3%.
Using 48 of the 15/16 spokes instead of 14/15 all around saved about 50 grams.
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Old 01-14-15, 11:10 AM
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+ Out of the saddle Hammering can put significant side Loading on a rear wheel. . the narrow triangulation of the base distance,
The dish and narrow Hub Flange spread does not Help.

Keeping a regular truing touch Up servicing, helped my wheels ..
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Old 01-14-15, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Ah, the subtle ad hominem. ....
Sorry if you inferred an ad hominem, it wasn't intended.

But as I said, I wasn't interested in debating this. I posted an opinion that was intended to make people think and consider a wider range of options. You have a problem with my post and have very different opinions about the best answer.

That's all good, I post my opinion, you post yours, and others post theirs. Readers are free to draw their own conclusions.

Back forth debate is pointless, since it boils down to each of reasserting our OPINIONS, and in the end nothing will have changed and we'll still disagree.

To the OP, I'm sorry that I can't or won't offer you any brand recommendations, but I just don't do that because products change often and there's no way I can keep up with the offerings. I will say that a properly built 32h can do the job, and that details of what parts is less important than how you use them together. I didn't go into details because your post implied some whelbuilding experience, so my advice is that you consider your past experience of what works and what doesn't and base your decision on that experience.
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Old 01-14-15, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
Does your friend ride on smooth pavement only?
Does he hammer up hills or have flat terrain?
He's actually a pretty low stress on the wheels rider, pavement only, not too many hills, no mad hammering and he's pretty careful about avoiding rough spots but the roads here are crap and sometimes the occasional pothole can't be avoided. Just need something that will last and low maintenance although having to do a yearly spoke touchup wouldn't be a problem.

Thanks for all the replies so far everyone.
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Old 01-14-15, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
I didn't go into details because your post implied some whelbuilding experience, so my advice is that you consider your past experience of what works and what doesn't and base your decision on that experience.
Yeah, I have a little experience but by no means as knowledgeable as you and some of the other members here. I can get a very good price on a set of wheels with 32h rims from the setup I mentioned above but just wondering if he would be better off paying extra to get at least a 36h rear rim. Some say 32h is OK some say no so I'm still a little unsure but I'll just give him the options to decide. All good info to absorb and thanks again for replying.
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Old 01-14-15, 11:48 AM
  #19  
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I have been in the 260 to 280 range for longer than I should have been

I have no problems with 32 spoke wheels on all my bikes. So with good components and build 32 should be fine
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Old 01-14-15, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Crankycrank View Post
He's actually a pretty low stress on the wheels rider, pavement only, not too many hills, no mad hammering and he's pretty careful about avoiding rough spots but the roads here are crap and sometimes the occasional pothole can't be avoided. Just need something that will last and low maintenance although having to do a yearly spoke touchup wouldn't be a problem.

Thanks for all the replies so far everyone.
32 spokes should be enough-
The quality is in the BUILD!
28 would be enough for the front, but 28 hole hubs are more expensive, since they don't make them in the lower levels.
For "ready built" wheels, I don't think you'll really see any noticeable price difference between 32-36.

Using "my recipe" from above, you could build a set for about $200. (mine were $160-170, but I used $20-25 hubs)
I wouldn't recommend a tire larger than 28mm with them, although an "undersize" 32 would probably work.
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Old 01-14-15, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Crankycrank View Post
He's actually a pretty low stress on the wheels rider, pavement only, not too many hills, no mad hammering and he's pretty careful about avoiding rough spots but the roads here are crap and sometimes the occasional pothole can't be avoided. Just need something that will last and low maintenance although having to do a yearly spoke touchup wouldn't be a problem.

Thanks for all the replies so far everyone.
Since your friend doesn't seem to be abusing his wheels, I'd suspect that this is a build problem rather than any other cause. Buying a new wheel may just trade one problem for another if you (he) purchases another machine built wheel. If he hasn't broken any spokes, I think that swapping out the cracked rim out for a new rim and doing a good tensioning job would end up with a better wheel than something you could purchase. The purchased wheel would likely need a fair amount of tuning anyway. If the new rim cracks, then go with plan B.
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Old 01-14-15, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Crankycrank View Post
Yeah, I have a little experience but by no means as knowledgeable as you and some of the other members here. I can get a very good price on a set of wheels with 32h rims from the setup I mentioned above but just wondering if he would be better off paying extra to get at least a 36h rear rim. Some say 32h is OK some say no so I'm still a little unsure but I'll just give him the options to decide. All good info to absorb and thanks again for replying.
All other things being equal 36h will be roughly 10% stronger and stiffer than 32h, and that should translate to more durability. I've always been a fan of more lighter spokes vs. fewer heavier spokes, and so was late to the 32h party. But these days I build almost exclusively 32h because there isn't the same selection in 36h. If buying new (hub/rim) and you can find stuff you like in 36h, you might as well because there's no reason not to. But don't feel obligated to spend more, or make other trade offs just to go 36h.

If you want specific advice, I would build these using a 2.0/1.9 or 2.0/1.8 DB spoke on the right, or maybe a 2.3/1.8/2.0, for that extra bit of security. Then a lighter spoke, ie. 2.0/1.7 or 2.0/1.6 for the left rear and front wheels (assuming no disc brakes). The gauge difference on the rear allows the spokes on each side to within it's spring range without trading off excess tension or the right vs. inadequate tension on the left.

By comparison, I weigh roughly 200, and my commuter's wheels are built 1.8/1.65 on the right and 1.8/1.5 left and front. The wheels saw roughly 20,000 rough miles and were nearing the end of the brake track life when a poor driver put them out of their misery. No broken spokes (even when totaled) but they did need an alignment tweak once or twice over their life.

But don't feel obligated to do it my way, there's a wide band of what will work, and very little difference within that band.

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Old 01-14-15, 08:41 PM
  #23  
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Bought set of these for my fast hybrid. I'm anywhere betwen 275 and 295. I ride on all kinds of surfaces, and I also use this bike for touring couple times a year. Very strong and awesome stiffness. No problems for the last several thousand miles.

Velocity Dyad, 36h, Shimano LX hubs

Dyad is one of few rim choices for touring guys...
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Old 01-14-15, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by lopek77 View Post
Bought set of these for my fast hybrid. I'm anywhere betwen 275 and 295. I ride on all kinds of surfaces, and I also use this bike for touring couple times a year. Very strong and awesome stiffness. No problems for the last several thousand miles.

Velocity Dyad, 36h, Shimano LX hubs

Dyad is one of few rim choices for touring guys...
So what does the OP do with the 135mm spacing when he needs 130?
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Old 01-14-15, 08:57 PM
  #25  
Butchchr
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I have a pair of older Mavic CXP 23, 32h, DT Stainless Steel 1.8mm straight gauge, laced (3 cross) to Shimano 105 hubs. I rode them a lot when I was 270lbs as it my only wheelset at that time. I did it all with them: trained, raced, commuted, casual rides you name it. I highly recommend them. Never any issues, had to have one of them trued once after a crash.
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