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Wheel Advice - 240lbs rider

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.

Wheel Advice - 240lbs rider

Old 07-20-21, 06:44 PM
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Wheel Advice - 240lbs rider

Hi everyone,

Interested in your thoughts - I am working my way down from 250+ and in the low 240's. I'm breaking spokes on wheelset that I used to be able use (Easton Aero, bladed spoke, low spoke count) and need to find some wheels that can handle my weight and the hills I'm riding. I'm doing 100% road riding, no gravel.

I have a set of old Mavic Open 4 CD with Ultegra hubs - they are close to 25 years old. I've put 25C tires on them and they work but feel sluggish. They were 8spd hubs at the time, but my 10spd fit on them ok.

My question - do I make these work until I get my weight down for using other wheelsets or would a new set of bomb-proof wheels be much better? I was thinking of getting a new wheelset that rolls really well and can stand my weight and the hills that I ride on. I know wheelsets have come a long way and there are even carbon options for riders 275 lbs.

Thoughts and recommendations? If anyone is in the Greater Toronto Area and have suggestions on shops that they've worked with to build up a wheelset would be great as well.


Last edited by adam33; 07-20-21 at 06:49 PM. Reason: missing info
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Old 07-20-21, 08:48 PM
Russ Roth
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Outside of factory low spoke count wheels, you should be fine on anything with 32 spokes and most things with 28. Wheel feel will be based on tire and tube to some extent, but with 25yo hubs getting the bearings cleaned and regreased and the freehub body lubed to spin better will make the wheels feel faster. Never rode the Open 4, I did find that if a rim was soft, usually to reduce weight, the wheels would feel sluggish as well. A good stiff rim will make for a quick feeling wheel. I can remember switching from Mavic Reflex to Open Pros both with ultegra hubs and the Open Pro, despite being heavier, seemed quicker. I was also getting faster that year so can't give empirical proof.
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Old 07-21-21, 06:53 AM
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At 240#, I'd aim for 36 and settle for 32 spokes. Proper spoke tension and stress relief is the key to wheel longevity.

I'm not sure how a wheel feels sluggish, TBH. Are the tires pumped up enough? At OP's weight, claiming to be able to feel the drag from adequately spoked wheels while not noticing the rider's aerodynamic drag strikes me as "princess and the pea" territory. If the older wheels work (meaning you're not breaking spokes), get out and ride!
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Old 07-25-21, 08:20 PM
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I have been riding Velocity rims for over 15 years without an issue and I started riding at 412 pounds (currently 248).


Good luck on whatever you chose.
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Old 07-26-21, 02:40 AM
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At your weight I would get 32/36 on the front and 36 on the rear. A few extra spokes won't make you any slower. And double butted spokes are stronger and lighter than straight gauge. I only weigh 165 and I don't like superlight wheels with a low spoke count. I don't have a problem with breaking spokes but I can feel them flex when I'm out of the saddle and I hate it. The low weight doesn't make me faster and it's just not worth it. I prefer 32H 3x on both ends. Feels so much nicer.
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Old 07-26-21, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth View Post
Outside of factory low spoke count wheels, you should be fine on anything with 32 spokes and most things with 28.
Agreed. This is true for ppl up to 300 lbs or so - I was ok with 32 but tried to find 36.
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Old 07-28-21, 01:26 PM
ri alene
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I've been riding some shop branded wheels for 2 years and they appear to be holding up (currently 246lbs).

I bought the wheels used;


They've been great and with the stickers removed look pretty good too...
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Old 07-28-21, 02:42 PM
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Well tensioned 32's have been fine for me at 240 lbs. I also ride a CAAD 9 with 20/24 bladed spoke wheels shod with 28c tires that have been fine so far. I find sluggishness is a result of tire choice and pressure.

I have recently been experimenting with air pressure on my 32 spoke fixed gear. My 32c GP-5000's ride well with 70 front and 80-82 rear. My 32c Gatorskins on those same wheels feel better at 80-85f / 90-92 rear.
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Old 07-28-21, 02:58 PM
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Me and the bike weigh 255 lbs. My training or everyday wheels ar Flo 60 carbon. 20H front and 28H rear. Spokes break due to fatigue. Improperly tensioned or weak rims will stress spokes and they will break. Carbon rims will handle a load better. My go fast wheels have fewer spokes.
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Old 07-28-21, 02:59 PM
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I'm at 240ish myself and have no issues with 28 and 32 spoke wheels. I was leery of my front 28 spoke radially laced wheel for the first couple hundred miles. But seems to be holding true just fine.

Now, I have 16 front and 20 rear wheels on my indoor bike on the trainer. But those are ONLY indoor and for looks, I got a killer deal on them a couple years ago... The only way I would ride them outdoors, would be if I was 180 or less. And I just don't see that happening...
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Old 07-29-21, 06:37 PM
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Great Mavic wheelset

I'm around 240lbs now also, having been 282lbs max. I am using Mavic Ksyrium wheels with lower spoke count and have NEVER broke a poke. These are with bladed zircal spokes I believe and tehy also have a version with stainless steel spokes (cheaper but different name). I have them both and they are bombproof.
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Old 07-30-21, 11:27 PM
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Normally at 260lbs I ride 36 spoke wheels with 2mm stainless spokes and Velocity Chukar or Sun CR-18 rims. I've had very good luck with durability with these wheels. They are a little heavier but I like riding every day and put lots of miles on my bikes. I don't want broken spoke or broken rim problems cropping up on rides. However last year I bought a set of Vuelta SL37 700c aero wheels for my go fast bike. Vuelta uses steel spokes (not stainless steel) on their offerings and I've had a set with 24 spokes on a 26" MTB setup last for years with no problems. The SL37's have 12 spokes up front and 16 in back. I was very wary of the spoke count but there was no weight limit stated on their website so I bought a set and put them on my old Nishiki Sebring. 1500miles later I have not broken any spokes or had any issue of any kind. The wheels are 2-3mph or more faster than my other wheels and are a pleasure to ride. So far this wheelset has been as durable as my previous Vuelta wheelset. Back in the 1970's when stainless spokes were getting popular and replacing the steel spokes I remember that the steel spokes were stronger than stainless spokes for the same size.

Early 1980's 69cm Nishiki Sebring with Vuelta SL37 wheelset. This bike is terrific to ride and fast.
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