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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 03-17-17, 08:07 AM   #1
knapplc
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Has anyone needed to have a custom wheel built?

I'm a pretty big dude: 6'2", 315lbs (1.87m, 143kg)

Last year I bought a Giant Escape 2 XL. The original wheel on the bike was a stock Giant S-X3, 700x32 with puncture-resistant tubes. I ride reasonably frequently, mostly paved roads with some crushed-rock gravel paths. I've put right at 400 miles on this bike in the past year. I've popped six spokes on the back wheel. My LBS assured me this bike would be good for someone my size, but with the trouble I've had with this wheel, I'm doubting it can hold my weight. I've got a warranty claim in on the original wheel, waiting for a new one to come in. But my LBS is telling me this one may not work as well, and if so, I'll need to get a custom wheel built.

Putting aside the issue of my LBS originally assuring me this bike/wheel would work for someone my size, presuming I have to have a wheel built, does anyone have any experience with this and if so, any tips on what I should look for, what materials to use, etc?
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Old 03-17-17, 09:12 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by knapplc View Post
I'm a pretty big dude: 6'2", 315lbs (1.87m, 143kg)

Last year I bought a Giant Escape 2 XL. The original wheel on the bike was a stock Giant S-X3, 700x32 with puncture-resistant tubes. I ride reasonably frequently, mostly paved roads with some crushed-rock gravel paths. I've put right at 400 miles on this bike in the past year. I've popped six spokes on the back wheel. My LBS assured me this bike would be good for someone my size, but with the trouble I've had with this wheel, I'm doubting it can hold my weight. I've got a warranty claim in on the original wheel, waiting for a new one to come in. But my LBS is telling me this one may not work as well, and if so, I'll need to get a custom wheel built.

Putting aside the issue of my LBS originally assuring me this bike/wheel would work for someone my size, presuming I have to have a wheel built, does anyone have any experience with this and if so, any tips on what I should look for, what materials to use, etc?
I haven't had a custom wheel built but I do build my own. I do this partly because I like to build them and partly because I can't buy wheels with the features I want. Part of those "features" is spokes that are up to the job. I'm a huge proponent of using triple butted spokes over the regular "any old spoke we have laying around" method of wheel building. I'm not as large as you but I am hard on equipment.

If you need to have a wheel built, read this article from Wheel Fanatyk and insist on a 2.2-2.3/1.8/2.0mm spoke. I don't completely agree with the article...going to triple butted spokes is more like increasing the spoke count by 4 rather than 10. That said, it solves a lot of problem.

By the way, don't fall into the trap (or be lead into it) of thinking that the rim needs to be stronger. Rims have little to do with wheel strength and durability. Concentrate on the problem...broke spokes...and fixing that problem.

And, if you can't find someone to build your wheels the way you want, build them yourself. It's not that difficult.
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Old 03-17-17, 09:22 AM   #3
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I didn't "need" it, but I've had it done. I doubt I'll do it again.

At least as long as Velomine and Nashbar are around:

H Plus Son Archetype Wheelset Shimano 5800 105 Hubs 36h DT Comp [740954] - $219.00 Velomine.com : Worldwide Bicycle Shop, fixed gear track bike wheelsets campagnolo super record vintage bike

Vuelta Corsa HD Road Wheelset

If its in the budget, skip that "warranty" deal and get yourself some good, strong wheels.

I've been there and done that will the LBS and buying a good wheelset will save you a lot of agita. The wheels they put on the entry level bikes are crappy, ime.

I have the H Plus Son's on two bikes. They are good for me. I just threw the Nashbars in for a cheaper option.

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Old 03-17-17, 09:22 AM   #4
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I have always run "custom" (meaning hand built) wheelsets.

Mavic Open Pro rims, single butted heavy spokes, 36 spoke, 3x lacing pattern.

Hard to go wrong. The current wheelset has 10K on it with me at 225 to 265 pounds.
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Old 03-17-17, 09:58 AM   #5
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heavy but low cost and strong

I am 230 lbs I have for my mountain bikes, and and the hand built ones were much stronger and needed far far less truing over the years. I didnt feel like dropping that kind of money on my commuter/touring bikes so I picked up a set of 40 spoke Sun Rhyno Lite rims with Formula hubs for $150 (mine are disc brake wheels) so far so good after 6 months of dirt roads and potholes

I can't post links here but I got mine from VELOMINE the rim brake version is the SUN RHYNO LITE 40 SPOKE 29ER MOUNTAIN BIKE COMMUTER WHEELSET $139 and I think $15 for shipping

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Old 03-17-17, 10:04 AM   #6
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A few years ago I bought a Fuji Newest 1.0; it had Alex wheels with 700 X 25 tires. I got it from B's Bikes in Brooklyn.
I hover around 200 lbs.; sometimes less, sometimes more. I ride mostly paved(but bumpy & pothole riddled) New York
City roads. Popped a spoke in the first couple of weeks riding. Went back to the same shop and asked to upgrade the original
28H rear Alex hub with new spokes and a new Velocity Deep V rim. When I got the wheel back, same results - popped a
spoke after a few rides. Sent the hub to Peter White for new Wheelsmith spokes & a new Velocity rim. He'll only work
with a used hub; everything else has to be new. No more problems for a few years:

2013 I bought my first carbon bike, Scott CR1 Pro. It came with Syncros(by DT Swiss) wheels with aero spokes. Went
out of true after a few weeks of riding. Shop I bought it from was kinda far; brought it to REI while I was shopping there
to get them trued. Bike mech said "no charge". Thanks REI! Oh and the wheels are holding up even though they have
less spokes than my last set; 20 & 24 vs. 28:
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Old 03-17-17, 12:20 PM   #7
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I had custom wheels made and at only 220lbs had issues with one. I'd have no problems going with what @Jarrett2 linked.
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Old 03-17-17, 12:25 PM   #8
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5 years ago my Secteur came with Mavic wheels. The rear I had problems with from the first month. Several months later my LBS had Specilized warranty it at FMV into a handspun Velocity Dyad rim laced 36h 3x to a Shimano hub. That wheel is still in use today as one of my CX wheels.

Since then I've learned to build my own and agree with some of the above posters. Quality components carefully assembled with use kept in mind and your wheel troubles should be over.
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Old 03-17-17, 02:37 PM   #9
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I had good success with the H-Son Archtype/105 combo too. I don't think I was quite that heavy at the time I had those wheels but I was high 200's. Held up great. Mine where 32 spokes. Your weight...definitely go 36 spokes. Very slight weight penalty but when you are 315 pounds you're not going to notice a few extra ounces and the peace of mind is priceless.
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Old 03-17-17, 03:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knapplc View Post
I'm a pretty big dude: 6'2", 315lbs (1.87m, 143kg)

Last year I bought a Giant Escape 2 XL. The original wheel on the bike was a stock Giant S-X3, 700x32 with puncture-resistant tubes. I ride reasonably frequently, mostly paved roads with some crushed-rock gravel paths. I've put right at 400 miles on this bike in the past year. I've popped six spokes on the back wheel. My LBS assured me this bike would be good for someone my size, but with the trouble I've had with this wheel, I'm doubting it can hold my weight. I've got a warranty claim in on the original wheel, waiting for a new one to come in. But my LBS is telling me this one may not work as well, and if so, I'll need to get a custom wheel built.

Putting aside the issue of my LBS originally assuring me this bike/wheel would work for someone my size, presuming I have to have a wheel built, does anyone have any experience with this and if so, any tips on what I should look for, what materials to use, etc?
Not surprised you had problems. Hybrid built to a price point. The Escape 2 retails for a bit over $400? Good, solid, lightweight frame. Decent components. Wheels will get you out of the store. Might be OK if you are a women or a man weighing 170 lbs. But at over 300 lbs, something's got to give. Anyhow, on the only two bikes I bought for myself new, I had problems. and I don't weigh as much as you.

On my last bike, I replaced the stock wheel with Alex DH19 rims, 36 double butted spokes, and a Velo Orange Grand Cru Touring hub. Built by my lbs. Just recently built a matching front wheel and hub.

Last edited by MRT2; 03-17-17 at 03:09 PM.
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Old 03-17-17, 05:24 PM   #11
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Had my LBS build one for my road bike. On factory wheel I was breaking spokes on a wheel with only 28 spokes. New rear with 36 and problem solved never an issue after that. The front I still have the 28 on and no issues.


Had my shop build it for me. Was a DTswiss rim with heavier spokes. Cost me about $200 or something like that. Was worth it I thought.


btw 6'0" and about 320ish
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Old 03-17-17, 11:02 PM   #12
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Quick question since the subject of wheelbuilding or custom wheels is up for discussion. Assuming that a set of wheels are built 36 hole with triple butted spokes Is there really a strength difference between the wheel being built cross three or cross four? I've always heard that cross four was stronger but, I wonder if it really makes that much of a difference.
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Old 03-18-17, 05:29 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knapplc View Post
I'm a pretty big dude: 6'2", 315lbs (1.87m, 143kg)

Last year I bought a Giant Escape 2 XL. The original wheel on the bike was a stock Giant S-X3, 700x32 with puncture-resistant tubes. I ride reasonably frequently, mostly paved roads with some crushed-rock gravel paths. I've put right at 400 miles on this bike in the past year. I've popped six spokes on the back wheel. My LBS assured me this bike would be good for someone my size, but with the trouble I've had with this wheel, I'm doubting it can hold my weight. I've got a warranty claim in on the original wheel, waiting for a new one to come in. But my LBS is telling me this one may not work as well, and if so, I'll need to get a custom wheel built.

Putting aside the issue of my LBS originally assuring me this bike/wheel would work for someone my size, presuming I have to have a wheel built, does anyone have any experience with this and if so, any tips on what I should look for, what materials to use, etc?
I use to pop my spokes all the time and I did once consider having rims professionally built, but one problem was I couldn't find a good enough mechanic; I popped my spokes so much I got better at truing my wheels (for my needs) better than any mechanics at all of my LBS's.

My lucky break was when I finally came across a wheel that had 12-gauge spokes, as opposed to the normal 14-gauge spokes, standard on all wheels. Look at my posts on this thread and then go to your LBS and ask them to order you a wheel with 12-gauge spokes. You can't just order 12-gauge spokes, because they won't fit on a wheel designed for the normal 14-gauge spokes. http://www.bikeforums.net/clydesdale...34-wheels.html
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Old 03-18-17, 08:36 AM   #14
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A Big Boy

I started at 260# with a 28 spoke real wheel. That was not going to work.

I wanted to go on loaded bike tours in remote places. My loaded weight on the wheel was probably in excess of yours.

After much research I decided on having Peter White build my wheels, 36r/32f with Velocity Deep Vee rims. Not cheap but the longevity and durability of the wheel depends not only on the parts and number of spokes but the builder. That wheel survived lots of loaded touring, some off road and a few front end crashes. I eventually wore out the brake surface and had Peter build me another this time with Velocity Chukker rims. Probably overkill but again, I was loaded touring on marginal roaeds in remote places where a broken spoke could be a real problem.

There are lots of over great wheel builders and equipment options. Big boys can't skimp on wheels!

Peter White Cycles Home Page

Good luck.

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Old 03-18-17, 11:32 AM   #15
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I upgraded my wheelset from my Orbea 32 spoke to the Rolf Prima "Vigor RS (OEM)" 24 spoke wheels. The new wheels are stiffer and thus they don't egg out under my 350 pound weight (used to be 360 pounds).

Also I discovered that I had messed up my bike fit a tad on the factory wheels by having my saddle too far back which caused my weight distribution to be off which caused the back wheel to pop spokes. I did put over 1500 miles on the factory wheels, but I love the Rolf Prima Wheels.

No the wheels aren't inexpensive, but they work.

That said a GOOD bike fit may be what you need to change your weight distribution on the wheels; also there are some good wheel builders out there.

Replacing only that rear wheel is an option as I replaced a wheel on an bike, and am still using that wheel on the trainer (I only have broken one spoke on this wheel).

I find a deep V rim works well as they can be more stiff which helps us bigger guys.
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Old 03-18-17, 10:22 PM   #16
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Quick question since the subject of wheelbuilding or custom wheels is up for discussion. Assuming that a set of wheels are built 36 hole with triple butted spokes Is there really a strength difference between the wheel being built cross three or cross four? I've always heard that cross four was stronger but, I wonder if it really makes that much of a difference.
Don't go triple butted if you want strength.

The strongest wheels are the ones where the pattern makes the spokes exit the hub at as close to 90 degrees as possible.

4X is also better with handling torque, which we tend to provide in spades. 4X is also generally considered "more supple" than 3x.

I run 3x, but I would do 4X if I had them made today. (I was a bit lighter back then)


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Old 03-19-17, 12:17 AM   #17
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I was weighing maybe 225 or so when I bought my Raleigh Sojourn. I got about 4,000 miles on it and the rear wheel came apart (it was actually splitting the rim wall at the spokes, not breaking spokes). Raleigh replaced the 32-spoke wheel under warranty with a 36-spoke wheel, that lasted about 500 miles and came apart. I had a local wheelbuilder (who I already knew through the club) build me a "bulletproof" rear wheel. That worked great. Later on, he built me up a front wheel with generator hub, and built similar wheels for the tandem.


My suggestion, using a wheelbuilder: Find somebody that knows what they're doing, warranties their work, and get THEIR input on what to build. They may have preferred brands they use, may have certain items in stock, etc.


As with a lot of things, with wheels, it's Cheap, Light, Strong, pick any two.
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Old 03-19-17, 01:53 AM   #18
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I started building my own after paying high labor prices at high end bike shops that really sucked at wheel building. I tried a 32 spoke 30 mm rim that was great. The only wheel to last over 2,000 miles. I ended up building my own and got great results so I build all my own wheels now. 20,000+ miles on 32 spoke wheels at 230-260 lbs.

With the 30 mm rims, I also used a 28 rear/24 front combo and had great results. Some of it is the rim and a lot of it the builder, me!

FTR, I have had 4 Mavic OP rims hand built by pros at the high end shops and not one lasted over 2,000 miles for me at 230 pounds. Mavic OP's are a waste of money. I had several popped eyelets, split braking surface, and spokes pulled through. No thanks!

BTW, I bought front and rear 32 spoke Ultegra hubs from Ribble for $123 shipped couple years back (great prices online Ribblecylcesuk and Probike kitdotcom). Velocity Deep V online for $60, spokes from Prowheelbuilder for $25.

You can always buy the parts cheap online then take them to the shop and have them built up. Shop prices, 1 rear hub only, $140, rim $90, spokes $30. Overpriced!

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Old 03-19-17, 09:48 AM   #19
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Don't go triple butted if you want strength.

The strongest wheels are the ones where the pattern makes the spokes exit the hub at as close to 90 degrees as possible.

4X is also better with handling torque, which we tend to provide in spades. 4X is also generally considered "more supple" than 3x.

I run 3x, but I would do 4X if I had them made today. (I was a bit lighter back then)
I've never seen anyone suggesting that 4 cross is "stronger" than 3 cross. And there are problems with lacing 4 cross for 36 hole and less hubs. The spokes cross too closely to the heads.

On the other hand, read the Wheel Fanaytk article for a very good explanation of how triple butted spokes make for strong durable wheels, especially for heavy loads.
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Old 03-19-17, 09:53 AM   #20
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Shop prices, 1 rear hub only, $140, rim $90, spokes $30. Overpriced!
Tell me about it. I picked up a wheel yesterda that I had one of my LBS build...first time this shop did a build for me...I about **** my pants when I got the price. Labor was a little high but I can live with that. Spoke prices were outrageous though. I can guarantee they will not get any more business from me unless I'm desperate and one of the other two shops or Dicks Sporting Goods can't help me first.
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Old 03-19-17, 12:28 PM   #21
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By the way, don't fall into the trap (or be lead into it) of thinking that the rim needs to be stronger. Rims have little to do with wheel strength and durability.
I've noticed that manufacturers will offer rims of quite different strengths/weights, depending on the usage involved.

That would appear to go against what you are saying, so what's the deal with that?
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Old 03-19-17, 12:49 PM   #22
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I've noticed that manufacturers will offer rims of quite different strengths/weights, depending on the usage involved.

That would appear to go against what you are saying, so what's the deal with that?
Considering there is not even a good physics model to explain how spoked wheels work, so there is a lot of "theory" out there.

What works, works.
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Old 03-19-17, 01:14 PM   #23
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The issue with custom built wheels is knowing who can actually do it well. Based on the quality of the basic mechanical work I've had done at various bike shops, I would never, ever trust an LBS to build me a wheel unless I had numerous recommendations from people for whom they had already built wheels. There are guys who build wheels full time and it's very easy to find many positive internet reviews of their wheels. I had Rich Lesnik, of Rivendell Bicycle Works, build me a set and they've been flawless for about four years under a 400 lb rider. They weren't cheap but they also weren't what I consider expensive. I think I paid $200 for the front and $220 for the rear and it's money well spent for the peace of mind that comes from having your wheels built by a pro.
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Old 03-19-17, 05:41 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by corwin1968 View Post
The issue with custom built wheels is knowing who can actually do it well. Based on the quality of the basic mechanical work I've had done at various bike shops, I would never, ever trust an LBS to build me a wheel unless I had numerous recommendations from people for whom they had already built wheels. There are guys who build wheels full time and it's very easy to find many positive internet reviews of their wheels. I had Rich Lesnik, of Rivendell Bicycle Works, build me a set and they've been flawless for about four years under a 400 lb rider. They weren't cheap but they also weren't what I consider expensive. I think I paid $200 for the front and $220 for the rear and it's money well spent for the peace of mind that comes from having your wheels built by a pro.

$420 for quality wheels like that is a good deal.


How many spokes did you go for and what size wheel?
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Old 03-19-17, 05:58 PM   #25
ClydeTim
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Not a bad price "but" if one can pick up on how to build a wheel, you can save tons of cash.

Velocity Deep V's, front and rear 32 spoke.....$275.

Not rocket science or an art as some believe. All common sense though that may eliminate a big majority of the people!

------------------

True stand. $30
dish tool. $20
spoke wrench. $10
screwdriver.laying around the house
tension meter.borrowed it from a bud.
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