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Re build or replace wheels?

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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.

Re build or replace wheels?

Old 10-09-17, 07:13 PM
  #1  
Shadowx
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Re build or replace wheels?

Blown 3 spokes so far on my new bike in less than 600 miles. Snapped the heads off 2, broke one at the nipple. 6ft 287lb, ride somewhat aggressively on a Marin larkspur cs2.

Warranty will cover all new spokes and 1/2 of the build cost. Don't know the exact number yet. Not happy, Guess they have been having spoke problems previously. They should cover 100% and make it right.

My dilemma is having a hard time trusting the wheels. Debating on the vuelta corsa set from nashbar at $124. Get a 36 spoker instead of a regular 32 spoke. Also This replaces front and rear, not just re spokes the rear.

Do I shell out half the rebuild cost or drop money on new wheels... i just wanna ride and not have my bike in the shop


UPDATE 10-24-2017, well... my wheel is shot, rim/hoop is done, have several cracks at several of the nipples, I had to call it on this wheel. They are gonna order me a Velocity Chukker rear wheel and take the rebuild cost off the the wheel. Its gonna cost me a little more, but not a ton, well worth it in my book.

Last edited by Shadowx; 10-24-17 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 10-09-17, 08:24 PM
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A hand built wheel that is built correctly will probably last longer than any machine built stuff out there. There is no real comparison.
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Old 10-09-17, 09:35 PM
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I hover around 285# myself.
This is the wheelset you need https://www.velomine.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=122_361_362&products_id=4200
Cost a little more than the nashbar but worth the investment for clydes like us. So far I've had absolutely no issues with my set.
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Old 10-10-17, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Shadowx View Post
Blown 3 spokes so far on my new bike in less than 600 miles. Snapped the heads off 2, broke one at the nipple. 6ft 287lb, ride somewhat aggressively on a Marin larkspur cs2.

Warranty will cover all new spokes and 1/2 of the build cost. Don't know the exact number yet. Not happy, Guess they have been having spoke problems previously. They should cover 100% and make it right.

My dilemma is having a hard time trusting the wheels. Debating on the vuelta corsa set from nashbar at $124. Get a 36 spoker instead of a regular 32 spoke. Also This replaces front and rear, not just re spokes the rear.

Do I shell out half the rebuild cost or drop money on new wheels... i just wanna ride and not have my bike in the shop
Not sure what you mean by this. If you are doing something you shouldn't (like big jumps), stop because at your weight, you will destroy your next set of wheels eventually if you do this.

Anyway, not surprised the stock wheels didn't hold up. To meet a price point, the bike companies have to cut corners somewhere, and overbuilt wheels is not something you can expect in any bike that retails for under $1,500 (and even a lot of bikes that retail for over $1,500 as the bike company will assume a person paying more than $1,500 for a bike will eventually replace the wheels). But the point is, you weigh over 100 lbs more than the average rider, and even the average rider might eventually need to replace stock wheels on a budget bike.

No wheel is bomb proof but in general, a hand built wheel should be better than a machine made wheel. I agree you should go to 36 spokes. that is what I did and I haven't looked back as the weight of 4 spokes is negligible.
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Old 10-10-17, 08:44 AM
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If the shop is offering to rebuild your wheels by hand with new spokes, I'd take them up on the offer. Most spoke breakage is caused by stress cracks, and if three spokes are gone, the rest are cracked and waiting to break. The hand-built part is important because the shop mechanics have a better chance of adequately tensioning and stress-relieving the wheel than the machine that originally built your current wheels.


Of course, if you're jumping cliffs and riding over boulders and curbs, the new wheels may not last very long either.
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Old 10-10-17, 11:54 AM
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If Marin will provide new spokes for the entire wheel and 1/2 the labor, you are only looking at $20-$30 for your part. Worth a try. As mentioned, you are well over the weight a manufacturer would design for so you may eventually have to shell out for something mega clyde specific.
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Old 10-10-17, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Shadowx View Post
Debating on the vuelta corsa set from nashbar at $124. Get a 36 spoker instead of a regular 32 spoke.
Vuelta Corsa from Nashbar fits 130mm ("road") rear hub spacing, your frame probably has 135mm. In that case you would need a "mountain" hubs with 135 mm rear spacing. Double check that. Sorry if I am saying something obvious.

I am slightly under 300lb, and this one worked for me: Velocity Chukker 29er Wheels Shimano Deore 36h M590 non-disc [66885] - $179.00 Velomine.com : Worldwide Bicycle Shop, fixed gear track bike wheelsets campagnolo super record vintage bike (Velocity Chukker rims, non-disc, 135mm).
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Old 10-10-17, 03:31 PM
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A heavy guy just can't expect to ride wheels made for tiny dudes and have them survive for long. When I bought my bike (used) it still had the original Bontrager wheels on it that were lightweight things designed for your typical 160lb cyclist. I'm talking like 20 spokes in front and maybe 24 or 28 in the rear. Well, I failed to properly unweight the bike while crossing a set of train tracks one day and literally snapped spokeheads through the aluminum rim of the rear hub. Ended up building my own set of wheels (Pacenti front and Velocity A23 OC rear) with 32 spokes each, on Shimano Ultegra hubs, and have thousands of trouble-free miles on them ever since.

I'm building a new set of tough wheels for the new bike I ordered, and I'm going to go with White Industries CLD hubs, primarily because I can get them in 36h drillings. The weight of 4 more spokes is meaningless when you're a huge clyde like me and you. And knowing I'll have a carefully built 36h wheel both fore and aft on my bike will mean a lot in terms of confidence. I hate the term "bomb proof", but I'd definitely say the new wheels will be clydeproof.
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Old 10-10-17, 08:55 PM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
Not sure what you mean by this. If you are doing something you shouldn't (like big jumps), stop because at your weight, you will destroy your next set of wheels eventually if you do this.

Anyway, not surprised the stock wheels didn't hold up. To meet a price point, the bike companies have to cut corners somewhere, and overbuilt wheels is not something you can expect in any bike that retails for under $1,500 (and even a lot of bikes that retail for over $1,500 as the bike company will assume a person paying more than $1,500 for a bike will eventually replace the wheels). But the point is, you weigh over 100 lbs more than the average rider, and even the average rider might eventually need to replace stock wheels on a budget bike.

No wheel is bomb proof but in general, a hand built wheel should be better than a machine made wheel. I agree you should go to 36 spokes. that is what I did and I haven't looked back as the weight of 4 spokes is negligible.
All i mean is I push hard on my rides. Usually stand up and jam on the pedals through intersections. Some of the routes I have have some hills. I try to stand up and climb when i can. Just mean like a car, heavy on the gas.
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Old 10-10-17, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
If the shop is offering to rebuild your wheels by hand with new spokes, I'd take them up on the offer. Most spoke breakage is caused by stress cracks, and if three spokes are gone, the rest are cracked and waiting to break. The hand-built part is important because the shop mechanics have a better chance of adequately tensioning and stress-relieving the wheel than the machine that originally built your current wheels.


Of course, if you're jumping cliffs and riding over boulders and curbs, the new wheels may not last very long either.
The nashbar wheel is supposed to be hand built. Bike shop said they are gonna use their spokes, better. Bike company is only paying 1/2 of the build cost, other 1/2 is on me.
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Old 10-12-17, 06:12 PM
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What's the spoke count now on the rims you have?
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Old 10-12-17, 06:37 PM
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The $124 vuelta corsa wheelset at Nashbar does have 36 spokes front/rear, which is nice for a big fella like you, but notice it's only like a 19mm wide (external) rim, which is fine if you are running narrow tires, but for a wider tire like you really ought to be riding (minimum 25mm, preferably 28mm+ if your bike will fit it) that's on the very narrow side. Also, the set is heavy as sin, though for $124 I'm not sure what else you'd expect. That's less for the complete wheelset than I'll be paying for just the front hub for the new wheelset I'm building right now.
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Old 10-12-17, 06:54 PM
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To the OP

You're significantly heavier than what makers use as their design standard. Combine that with a relatively low end bike, and it's no surprise.

There are two elements to quality wheels.

1- good component selection, including DB spokes, a decently stout rim, and using wider tires.
2- good quality build, meaning adequate and even tension.

Odds are you won't get either on a bargain production wheel, so whether you hand build locally, or buy from a production builder, you want to be sure they know and understand your problems and are selling you a wheel suited to your own needs.

There are a number of sellers with solid reputations, and if you want me to suggest one, try Yellow Jersey in Wisconsin Yellow Jersey, Ltd., Arlington WI USA Everything Cycling Since 1 April, 1971! . They hand build wheels of excellent durability at very reasonable prices. Be sure to speak to them, so they' select the right components for your specific needs.

That said, there's another part to all this, and that's you. I've said this countless times here --- there are ballerinas that ride ike gorillas, and gorillas who ride like ballerinas. You're already handicapped by your weight, but you can do yourself plenty of good by working o your riding habits.

One of the hardest things on wheels is a riding style involving low cadence, and the bike rocking side to side with every pedal stroke. side flex is much harder than the radial flex they get under the best conditions. To explain it in simple terms, normal rolling loads decrease tension at the bottom, with a very slight increase in tension everywhere else. By contrast, side loads generated by rocking the bike greatly increase stress on half the spokes as they come round to the bottom. So, the degree of loading change with every revolution is dramatically greater, and fatigue happens that much faster.

So, whatever you decide to do, help yourself get best value by riding more like a ballerina, by turning lower gears at a higher cadence and smoother pedaling style.
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Old 10-12-17, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by SethAZ View Post
The $124 vuelta corsa wheelset at Nashbar does have 36 spokes front/rear, which is nice for a big fella like you, but notice it's only like a 19mm wide (external) rim, which is fine if you are running narrow tires, but for a wider tire like you really ought to be riding (minimum 25mm, preferably 28mm+ if your bike will fit it) that's on the very narrow side. Also, the set is heavy as sin, though for $124 I'm not sure what else you'd expect. That's less for the complete wheelset than I'll be paying for just the front hub for the new wheelset I'm building right now.
Yeah I'm gonna have her re spokes. Rear hub is the wrong size too. Gonna have wheels built in the spring, hope these hold out for now. I run 383mm tires, it will fit 38 for sure. Thinking about 28mm on my next set
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Old 10-15-17, 02:14 PM
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So all this talk about wheels has got me wondering how likely I am to mess mine up. I was over on the main forum and someone said something about wheels along the lines of they’re definitely going to break eventually with a heavier rider. I’m about 220 now, I have a Trek Neko 2. Not riding that often right now, maybe 20-30 miles a week, but hopefully will be back at it next summer.
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Old 10-15-17, 06:54 PM
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As a clyde, things go through their life cycle a lot quicker due to the stresses we put on our equipment due to our weight. How you ride can have a huge impact on that life cycle, like "riding light". Things like wheels are usually the first to give up possibly just because they're the most abused part of the bicycle aside from the gearing.

If you regularly go over your bike you should be able to extend that life. Check your spokes regularly. You don't need a tension meter to do that, just squeeze pairs of spokes together with 2 fingers. That should be enough to identify a loosening spoke that requires tensioning. Either tend to it yourself if you have the confidence/ability or drop by your LBS.

If you're a heavier rider, take that bike/wheelset that was built for someone 60-70kg and get a bike mech to up the spoke tension to a suitable level for your weight. That will help too
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Old 10-15-17, 08:44 PM
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Well it doesn't help that for whatever reason all these amateur cycling weight weenies cream their jeans over low spoke-count wheels, when in fact unless you're in a race where you're very close to winning an extra 4 spokes or whatever will not make a lick of difference in your riding, but could make a very big difference in the strength, stability, and longevity of the wheels.

A clyde running on 24/28 wheels is just a clyde who's going to be in the market for new wheels sooner or later. That same clyde on 32/32 wheels, or 32/36 or even 36/36 could probably ride those wheels practically forever, barring accidents, and assuming common sense maintenance practices. And what real advantage are any of us non-racers going to get from 24/28 over 32/32? Is it going to keep you from getting dropped by your group? If that's the margin you're counting on, you need work in other areas.

I'm building up a wheelset for my new bike that will be 36/36, and that's for a bike that's actually coming with a decent wheelset that will be 32/32. I have no doubt the 32/32 wheels would last me quite well. The 36/36 will be better. And really, what practical performance loss will I see going an extra 4 spokes? Nothing. The aerodynamic difference is probably less than I'd see just losing 5 pounds and lowering the cross-sectional area of my body that generates wind resistance as I ride.
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Old 10-18-17, 08:31 AM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
Not sure what you mean by this. If you are doing something you shouldn't (like big jumps), stop because at your weight, you will destroy your next set of wheels eventually if you do this.

Anyway, not surprised the stock wheels didn't hold up. To meet a price point, the bike companies have to cut corners somewhere, and overbuilt wheels is not something you can expect in any bike that retails for under $1,500 (and even a lot of bikes that retail for over $1,500 as the bike company will assume a person paying more than $1,500 for a bike will eventually replace the wheels). But the point is, you weigh over 100 lbs more than the average rider, and even the average rider might eventually need to replace stock wheels on a budget bike.

No wheel is bomb proof but in general, a hand built wheel should be better than a machine made wheel. I agree you should go to 36 spokes. that is what I did and I haven't looked back as the weight of 4 spokes is negligible.
You are much more likely to find "over-built" wheels on a budget bike than on just about any other bike. That is if you define "over-built" or "strong" the way most people do which is usually defined by heavy rims. The problem is with way that people define "strong" wheels.

Granted more spokes make for a strong wheel but the strength of the rim has almost nothing to do with how strong and durable a wheel is. You can take the strongest, heaviest rim...I like to use steel rims as an example...and make a really weak wheel out of it by selecting the wrong component that matters...i.e. the spoke. The rim floats on those spokes and isn't even attached to them. How can it be the problem?

Spokes carry the load. Spokes are the weak link in a wheel. Rims serve only as a convenient place to put the spokes and as something to mount the tires to. I fail to see how people can discuss spoke breakage and then look to the rim to ameliorate the problem. It somewhat akin to saying that my pedal failed so I'm going to replace the bottom bracket. Concentrate on the problem which is failing spokes.

My prediction is that ShadowX is going to continue to have the same problems no matter what he buys or who builds the wheel for him because no one is concentrating on the problem. This article on triple butted spokes that I have posted numerous times before explains the problem and, more importantly, the solution nicely.

Either find someone who will build wheels for you with triple butted spokes or learn how to build them yourself, ShadowX. They will end your frustrations.

And, yes, learning how to ride a bit lighter won't hurt. You can still power through intersections and up hills but you don't have to do it like King Kong hunting for Fay Wray. Try to be more like Mohamed Ali.
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Old 10-18-17, 09:53 AM
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DT Alpine III spokes look perfect, and are an example of the triple-butted spokes cyccommute is talking about. They should be just about perfect for a strong build. Thick at the head to avoid breakage where they typically break, thin in the center section to provide a little bit of resiliency, and the conventional nipple diameter at the other end. I'll probably end up using these on my new build, at least in the rear.
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Old 10-18-17, 11:49 AM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by twodownzero View Post
A hand built wheel that is built correctly will probably last longer than any machine built stuff out there. There is no real comparison.
I am 105 kg and have toured self-supported all over Australia since 2006. My 48 spoked hand-built front and rear wheels are bomb-proof so far. They have been on dirt/gravel/paved roads and supported my gear, bike, and me with no issues...

Go for more spokes and get a good hand-built set of wheels. Otherwise it is "Penny wise, and Pound foolish"...
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Old 10-18-17, 08:40 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
You are much more likely to find "over-built" wheels on a budget bike than on just about any other bike. That is if you define "over-built" or "strong" the way most people do which is usually defined by heavy rims. The problem is with way that people define "strong" wheels.

Granted more spokes make for a strong wheel but the strength of the rim has almost nothing to do with how strong and durable a wheel is. You can take the strongest, heaviest rim...I like to use steel rims as an example...and make a really weak wheel out of it by selecting the wrong component that matters...i.e. the spoke. The rim floats on those spokes and isn't even attached to them. How can it be the problem?

Spokes carry the load. Spokes are the weak link in a wheel. Rims serve only as a convenient place to put the spokes and as something to mount the tires to. I fail to see how people can discuss spoke breakage and then look to the rim to ameliorate the problem. It somewhat akin to saying that my pedal failed so I'm going to replace the bottom bracket. Concentrate on the problem which is failing spokes.

My prediction is that ShadowX is going to continue to have the same problems no matter what he buys or who builds the wheel for him because no one is concentrating on the problem. This article on triple butted spokes that I have posted numerous times before explains the problem and, more importantly, the solution nicely.

Either find someone who will build wheels for you with triple butted spokes or learn how to build them yourself, ShadowX. They will end your frustrations.

And, yes, learning how to ride a bit lighter won't hurt. You can still power through intersections and up hills but you don't have to do it like King Kong hunting for Fay Wray. Try to be more like Mohamed Ali.
I agree. I intend to have this wheel built with double butter, but I gotta talk diameter with the guy. My spokes are not breaking at the elbow, they are popping the heads off right at the head, not in the corner. There are known spoke issues with the company, supposedly they got a bad batch. Using dt Swiss double butted is the plan, just gotta make sure it's a thick regular, not a regular skinny
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Old 10-18-17, 09:22 PM
  #22  
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@Shadowx, have a look at the DT Swiss Alpine III spokes, or else the Sapim Force. Both sound like they would be awesome choices for what you are doing.
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Old 10-19-17, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Shadowx View Post
I agree. I intend to have this wheel built with double butter, but I gotta talk diameter with the guy. My spokes are not breaking at the elbow, they are popping the heads off right at the head, not in the corner. There are known spoke issues with the company, supposedly they got a bad batch. Using dt Swiss double butted is the plan, just gotta make sure it's a thick regular, not a regular skinny
Where your spokes break isn't that much different than the way most other spokes break. When we say that the "break at the elbow", it just means in that general area. I've seen spokes that have broken and left most of the bend intact and breaks a mm or so below the bend. It's the same mechanism.

Go look at the article I linked to before you have your discussion with the builder. Double butted are okay but the triple butted are quite a bit stronger and more durable. They aren't cheap but neither is a custom build. Thankfully, Quality Bicycle Products now sells them loose so you don't have to shell out for a complete box (about $80 wholesale). They should cost around $1.50 each compared to about $1 for Competitions. That will add about $30 to a build but it will also solve all kinds of problems.

I would also suggest that you learn how to build your own wheels. It's not all that difficult to do but it will allow you to make wheels for your specific application that you simply can't buy anywhere else. That's actually the only reason to learn how to build wheels...making something you can't get someone else to make for you.

I learn how to do it from this article (linked in the post) by Ric Hjertberg in 1986. I've built dozens and dozens of wheels. Some are pretty good and some weren't but I just kept working at it. I actually use his techniques to teach classes on wheel building at my local co-op.
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Old 10-19-17, 09:10 AM
  #24  
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I've got 36 hole Dyad wheelset on one of my tourers that I picked up from Harris Cyclery a few years ago for pretty cheap that I've had zero issues with, I'm a big dude, 270 lb and tour with roughly 40 lbs of gear, Have somewhere around 4K miles on 'em touring without a hiccup.
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Old 10-20-17, 04:38 AM
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My fix for broken spokes, read post #9 Best company for custom wheel sets? What to look for?

Post copied below:

I use to always pop spokes on my rear wheel. I looked for a master wheel builder, both here in Florida and in Maryland, but could never find one that could build up my wheels strong enough to prevent breaking spokes, on average about once per month. My fix was to learn how to true wheels and I would tighten them up so much that it would give the spokes a little more life.

My permanent fix: I came across wheels with 12-gauge spokes (normal spokes are 14-gauge). I haven't had a broken spoke in years and what's more amazing is that I had a wrench fall thru a hole in my panniers and get caught between the rear spokes and my bike frame and all that did was bend a couple spokes.

The wheels I have are much like these: https://www.amazon.com/Wheel-Master-.../dp/B006FCHTZQ

Notice that they are much cheaper than other "high-quality" wheels and I'm not dependent on a master wheel builder.
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