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340 lb spoke

Old 09-27-15, 02:50 PM
  #1  
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340 lb spoke

So, I have seen and read my way through many threads about 350 lbs guys choosing a bike that will support them.

I have decided to buy a Hybrid with:
36 spokes minimum on the rear wheel
28mm - 32mm wide tire
Double butted and evenly tensioned spokes


How do I know if the bike comes with Double butted and evenly tensioned spokes?
Or do i have to pay someone to do that in order to reinforce the rear wheel?

Am I on the right track? This will be my first bike and will be riding on walking trails (small sandlike gravel). I am 6'2"
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Old 09-27-15, 03:08 PM
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Evenly tensioned would be up to the LBS. Double butted spokes is a function of the wheel build. What bikes are you looking at?
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Old 09-27-15, 03:43 PM
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Mrt2, What so you mean by LBS? So your saying in order to get double butted spokes i would have to get a custom wheel made?

Im just intersted in something to start like a trek 7.0 fx hybrid
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Old 09-27-15, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by consoleman View Post
Mrt2, What so you mean by LBS? So your saying in order to get double butted spokes i would have to get a custom wheel made?

Im just intersted in something to start like a trek 7.0 fx hybrid
LBS = local bicycle shop.

Yes, you will likely have to have custom wheels made. Double butted spokes aren't usually used as original equipment (aka OEM) on bikes, especially on bikes at the price level of the Trek 7.0 FX. That's a fairly low end bike and doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles. It's not a bad platform for your application but the wheels aren't going to be anything special. It will have 2.0mm straight gauge spokes. The wheel will probably serve you well for a while but I doubt that it will be all that durable. The 7.0 FX uses a freewheel which makes for a weaker wheel with axles that are prone to bending and/or breakage due to the where the bearings are located. A free hub would be stronger because the bearings are set further apart.

I'm sure this will start a flame war but if you do go the custom route, you need more than just "double butted and evenly tensioned spokes". First look for a good hub with a free hub and not a freewheel. Second, go beyond simply double butted spokes. Triple butted spokes are stronger and work better for heavier loads. They are suggested for touring bikes and they work very well for that application but you are asking about what a touring cyclist is asking of their wheels. Properly tensioned, a wheel with triple butted spokes will be about 50% stronger than a double butted spoke and about 100% stronger than a straight gauge spoked wheel.

Triple butted spokes aren't as cheap as straight gauge and they can be harder to find than double butted and you'll get lots of resistance from lots of people to the idea of using them but they are worth the effort of looking for them and stipulating them. I use them exclusively on all the wheels I build for my own use and have never regretted the extra trouble.
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Old 09-27-15, 04:29 PM
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My experience, and I might be way off on this, but a larger tire might be more helpful over building a stronger wheel with your size.

I say this because earlier this year I bought my hybrid. I used to weigh nearly 370lbs (down to just over 300lbs). My Crosstrail only has 32 spokes on it's original wheels, but has 38mm tires. I haven't broken a spoke yet. This is going off roading, trails and mixed with pavement riding. I don't jump and try to avoid large bumps.

But thought I would tell you this just for food for thought!
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Old 09-27-15, 04:43 PM
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Cyc,
I will look into the cost of 3x butted wheel vs a 2x butted wheel when i choose the bike. I think ill try the stock tire and replace it when its broke.


Trav,
How much did you weigh when you started riding the crosstail? I'll definitely increase my range to get a better bike with better tire if the wheels will last.
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Old 09-27-15, 04:46 PM
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Btw cyc nice tipe on the advice on the freehub vs freewheel. I dont think the specs tell you whether a bike is a freehub or not but ill try to look when picking
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Old 09-27-15, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by consoleman View Post
Cyc,
I will look into the cost of 3x butted wheel vs a 2x butted wheel when i choose the bike. I think ill try the stock tire and replace it when its broke.


Trav,
How much did you weigh when you started riding the crosstail? I'll definitely increase my range to get a better bike with better tire if the wheels will last.
Actually after thinking about it, I weighed 377 lbs when I started riding the Crosstrail. I used to weigh alot more than that (537lbs at my worst) but had walked and watched my caloric intake to get to a point that I felt comfortable on the bike.
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Old 09-27-15, 06:00 PM
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While bullet proof wheels can be purchased/built, I wouldn't sweat getting butted spokes until the wheels on whatever bike you get become problematic.

I weighed 365 when I started riding, and the stock wheels on my 2003 Giant Sedona DX have had one spoke replaced, and the wheels trued at that time. I am still riding it as my backup bike, it has several thousand miles on it, and my weight has yet to get below 300 pounds. While it has 26" wheels, which are a bit stronger than 700c due to the smaller diameter, I would expect many trouble free miles on any reasonable 36 spoke wheel as long as you "ride lightly" by not jumping up and down curbs and standing to glide over bumps when you see them in advance.
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Old 09-27-15, 06:43 PM
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Trav,
Wow that's impressive keep up the great work! I think im going to get a crosstail they have on sale right now at $470. Now I just have to pick between red and black lol

Darwin,
I think your right aboutthe wheels im gonna ditch the idea assuming the stock ones hold up. I looked at my LBS and they didnt have any giants. I would like to compare it to the crosstail bike. Any idea what your 2003 tire width is?

Last edited by consoleman; 09-27-15 at 06:58 PM.
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Old 09-27-15, 09:06 PM
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I too have used straight gauge spokes on 26" (559 mm ISO) wheels for years and my weight is 320 lbs. I have started building my own wheels and have just finished my front wheel - 27" Sun CR18 36h rim, DT Swiss Competition Double Butted spokes on the original 30 year old SanShin Gyro Master hub. I'm gathering what I need to build a rear wheel -27" Sun CR18 36h rim, DT Swiss Competition Double Butted spokes, an overhauled Shimano 600 Hub, and a NOS Suntour 8.8.8 Freewheel.

I'm using double butted spokes because I'm custom building my own wheels.

As to triple butted spokes, 1) they need a hub that will accept 2.5 mm spoke elbows and 2) Universal Cycles sells the DT Swiss Alpine 3 triple buttted spokes. They cost at least twice what double butted spokes do - $2.00 per spoke vs. $0.99 per spoke.
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Old 09-28-15, 08:21 AM
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I would recommend stepping up in bike level to one that uses a free hub/cassette. It will come with stronger wheels that you may not need to worry about wheel replacement with. The 7.2FX and above, Cannondale Quick series, Giant Escape, etc... The stock wheels on those bikes should hold up fine for you especially if you start dropping weight, which you likely will if you're eating right and riding regularly. Don't get too hung up on spoke count on hybrids. Most of them will have 32 spokes on the rear, which is sufficient if you're not pounding on the bike. Ask the shop to tension and true them before you leave and then they should recheck them at any included tuneup (most shops offer a free tuneup after 60-90 days).
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Old 09-28-15, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by consoleman View Post
Btw cyc nice tipe on the advice on the freehub vs freewheel. I dont think the specs tell you whether a bike is a freehub or not but ill try to look when picking
Look at the "Details" tab on the Trek 7.0 FX webpage. Under "Cassette" it says "SunRace freewheel, 14-34, 7-speed". The 7.3 FX and above have freehubs. The wheels will still be 2.0mm straight gauge spokes, however.


Originally Posted by Cascades T700 View Post
As to triple butted spokes, 1) they need a hub that will accept 2.5 mm spoke elbows and 2) Universal Cycles sells the DT Swiss Alpine 3 triple buttted spokes. They cost at least twice what double butted spokes do - $2.00 per spoke vs. $0.99 per spoke.
Finding a hub that will accept a triple butted spoke elbows hasn't been a problem for me. Triple butted spokes have 2.2 to 2.4mm diameters at the elbow depending on the brand. All 2.0mm spokes have a diameter of the threads of 2.3mm because the threads are rolled onto the spoke rather than being cut from the spoke. The spoke holes in hubs are drilled so that you can pass the 2.3mm rolled threads through those holes. I've built a dozen or more wheelsets (that's more than 24 wheels total because I use the triple butts on the front too) with these kinds spokes and many different hubs. I've never had problems getting the spokes to fit through the spoke holes on any hub I've used.

As to cost, yes, DT Alpines III can be expensive. But there are lots of other options that work as well and have a reasonable cost. Sapim Force cost around the $1 each. Pillar TB2018 from Bdop are $0.87 each. Rose Cycles out of Germany sells DT Alpine III for about $0.50 each. Wheelsmith makes the DH13 which has a 2.3mm elbow and a straight 2.0mm shaft and they usually sell for $1 per spoke. All of these are competitive with double butted spokes.
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Old 09-28-15, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by consoleman View Post
Trav,
Wow that's impressive keep up the great work! I think im going to get a crosstail they have on sale right now at $470. Now I just have to pick between red and black lol

Darwin,
I think your right aboutthe wheels im gonna ditch the idea assuming the stock ones hold up. I looked at my LBS and they didnt have any giants. I would like to compare it to the crosstail bike. Any idea what your 2003 tire width is?
Big suggestion is to ride them first and then make a decision. I rode several bikes to make sure which one fits me and would be something I am happy with. Make sure you would be happy with it.

Hate to see you spend money on something and then not ride it because it really wasn't that comfortable after the newness wears off.
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Old 09-28-15, 09:13 AM
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I had Giant stock wheels and they didn't hold up. If you were shorter I'd get you on my Cypress ST I started on. I replaced the back wheel with a hand built Velocity Chucker for 220 ish and never had another problem with it. You close enough to some of the bikeways to ride to them?
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Old 09-28-15, 09:15 AM
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Here's my advice about wheels. Before splashing out on custom built wheels that may cost more than the bike you're buying, find a bike you like and fits you, and ride the stock wheels on it to see if they work for you. If you get a wheel with a decent spoke count, you may be fine. Only if you have issues should you start worrying about splashing out on exotic wheel builds.

However, if you get to that point, my advice would be to talk to a wheelbuilder about what would work best. I wouldn't be walking into a bike shop declaring "I need quadruple butted spokes" or anything, it's better to tell them what your weight and riding style is and work with them.
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Old 09-28-15, 07:30 PM
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Ok, so i found a used bike for sale. The owner has replaced the OEM wheels with alex z1000.

OEM wheel:
700 w/32 spokes, stainless 14 ga
Shimano, 8-speed, 12-32t - i think its freehub

Alex Z100
700 w/36 spokes, zinc plated
  • Pinned joint.
  • Shimano FH-RM30 7-speed freehub.

I know zinc is not as strong as SS. Will this affect the integrity of the wheel since Im a big guy?
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Old 09-29-15, 01:37 AM
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Consoleman, you are on the right track.

I suggest getting the bike of your choice with stock 36-spoke wheels. As others mentioned, on entry level bikes you will probably get straight gauge (non-butted) spokes but don't worry about it. Have the local bike shop (LBS) true and tension the wheels and ride them stock. IF they don't hold up (broken spokes, won't stay true, etc.) then consider upgrading to tougher wheels. Remember that the back wheel takes the larger portion of the load and due to drive train forces and other factors is more likely to have problems. You may be able to just replace the rear wheel if you aren't worried about the wheels matching perfectly.

If your budget allows, wheels are a good investment but you don't have to spend a fortune to get a really solid set. There are many rim/hub/spoke combinations and different lacing patterns, but here is what has worked very well for me:

- Mavic A719 36-hole, double wall, double eyeletted rims
- DTSwiss Comp butted spokes laced 4-cross
- Deore LX hubs

I've never broken a spoke and have only done minor truing about once a year despite lots of miles including some hard use on unpaved roads and single track. They have never been more than a mm or so out of true but I'm kind of OCD and like truing my own wheels during the winter months.

This past winter I built a set of wheels for my MTB as well:

- RhynoLite 36-hole, double wall, single eyeletted rims
- DTSwiss Comp butted spokes laced 3-cross
- Deore XT hubs

They don't have a lot of miles or hard use on them yet, but I'm confident they'll take anything a throw at them.

BTW, I started riding at about 315 pounds and rode stock 36-spoke entry level wheels for the first couple of years. I broke a few spokes (always on the rear drive side) but never had a wheel failure where I was unable to ride it home and have it repaired at a reasonable cost.

Last edited by GravelMN; 09-29-15 at 01:54 AM.
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Old 09-29-15, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by consoleman View Post
Ok, so i found a used bike for sale. The owner has replaced the OEM wheels with alex z1000.

OEM wheel:
700 w/32 spokes, stainless 14 ga
Shimano, 8-speed, 12-32t - i think its freehub

Alex Z100
700 w/36 spokes, zinc plated
  • Pinned joint.
  • Shimano FH-RM30 7-speed freehub.

I know zinc is not as strong as SS. Will this affect the integrity of the wheel since Im a big guy?
Those Alex Z1000s are super low end wheels, but they are pretty tough. However I'm a bit confused as to why the person would replace an 8-speed wheel with a 7-speed one. Is the bike 7 speed?
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Old 09-29-15, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by dr_lha View Post
However, if you get to that point, my advice would be to talk to a wheelbuilder about what would work best. I wouldn't be walking into a bike shop declaring "I need quadruple butted spokes" or anything, it's better to tell them what your weight and riding style is and work with them.
I know you think I'm just some idiot who knows nothing about wheelbuilding but consoleman has been talking to a wheelbuilder. I don't do it for a living but I've been building wheels since the late 80's. I got a couple of hundred wheels under my belt and I teach people how to build wheels. Most professional wheelbuilders don't actually ride all of the wheels that they make but, with only a few exceptions (my wife's wheels), I ride every single wheel I build...most of the time until they are no longer serviceable. I also have the advantage of building lots of wheels for a heavy rider (me) and getting to see what does and, more importantly, doesn't work. My suggestions aren't just ideas I picked out of thin air but they are based on years of experience in building, riding and breaking wheels.

Personally, I would walk into a shop and declare that "I want triple butted spokes" especially if I had done some research beforehand to find out how well they work for heavy riders. A question for you: Have you ever tried using triple butted spokes? Or are you just opposed to them because I use them?

Originally Posted by consoleman View Post
Ok, so i found a used bike for sale. The owner has replaced the OEM wheels with alex z1000.

OEM wheel:
700 w/32 spokes, stainless 14 ga
Shimano, 8-speed, 12-32t - i think its freehub

Alex Z100
700 w/36 spokes, zinc plated
  • Pinned joint.
  • Shimano FH-RM30 7-speed freehub.

I know zinc is not as strong as SS. Will this affect the integrity of the wheel since Im a big guy?
Even without knowing what bike this is, I don't think the wheels are better than those of the Trek. Used bikes can be a minefield for the new rider, especially if the previous owner has replaced parts with parts that are a lower level than the original. Going from 7 to 8 or 9 speeds is the normal arc of bike modifications. Going from 8 to 7 is going backwards and not a good sign in my opinion.

I'm not trying to talk you out of the Trek but that you might be better off stepping up another level or two in the Trek line. The 7.0 will probably do for your application for a while but just be aware of it's limitations and possible problems. You could ride it for quite a while without issues. Hopefully but the time problems start to crop up, you'll be ready for another better bike.

Getting one new also has advantages. You have a support system with the shop that can fix problems if they arise...often at no cost, especially in the beginning.
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Old 09-29-15, 11:36 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I know you think I'm just some idiot who knows nothing about wheelbuilding but consoleman has been talking to a wheelbuilder.
Not all all. I was just advocating talking to the wheelbuilder from a position of treating them like the expert that they are, rather than bombarding them with "I read this on the internet" stuff, especially when the person doing the talking is not, unlike you, an expert.
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Old 09-29-15, 11:54 AM
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Gravel,
Im actually going to try and build my own. I see darwin and cyc do.

cyc,
I actually tried to PM you to get some help on maybe helping me build my own while i ride on the stock ones, but i need 50 post in order to PM.
I am not buying the trek, I decided on the specialized crosstrail base model with v brakes ($470) on sale.

Dr,
Idk what speed the bike is but I have read those wheels are single walled which are weaker than OEM.
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Old 09-29-15, 12:45 PM
  #23  
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Consoleman - What side of town are you on?

We can probably come to some sort of way to make sure I get my stuff back and you can borrow the equipment. I have a truing stand and a spoke tension meter. I have done a couple of wheels and re-trued all my wheels, but when it was time to make my own from scratch it was only going to save me 15$ and postage, so I just ordered it from them. Someone might have a trick for tensioning, but I usually have to re-true and recheck tension until it balances out.
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Old 09-29-15, 01:36 PM
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fangowolf,
I live in Southeast Houston around beltway and fairmont. Thanks for the offer but if it's going save me that little then its best I order mine too. I was under the impression it would save a great deal of money since I would be using double butted spokes.
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Old 10-02-15, 08:34 AM
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cyccommute 
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Originally Posted by consoleman View Post
cyc,
I actually tried to PM you to get some help on maybe helping me build my own while i ride on the stock ones, but i need 50 post in order to PM.
I am not buying the trek, I decided on the specialized crosstrail base model with v brakes ($470) on sale.
Just keep posting. You'll get to 50 in no time. I'll be glad to help.
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