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How many spokes (and wheel type) for my weight

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How many spokes (and wheel type) for my weight

Old 10-28-12, 09:27 AM
  #1  
TakingMyTime
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How many spokes (and wheel type) for my weight

A new bike is in my future.

I've been looking at various Bike websites (Mfgs, Craigs list, Ebay etc) but it seems like most of the stock bikes are being offered with what I would consider low spoke count wheels. One of my thoughts is that these would either need to be swapped out or to purchase the bike with other wheels. I'm just not seeing a lot of let's say... 32 hole rims on a 105 grouped bike.

Durability is much more important to me than weight. I am also not a bike snob so the brand or stickers on the rim mean nothing to me.
  • Weight = 195#-200#
  • Road Conditions = Good
  • Mileage = 25-50 per week
  • Style = Fun recreational rides with the wife

Thanks,
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Old 10-28-12, 10:04 AM
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Even 28h should be fine at your weight if they are properly built. I think the problem you'll find on Craigslist is the quality of the wheel, not the number of spokes. If you're handy at all mechanically you can do most everything on a bicycle, but I'd be inclined to take the wheels to your LBS after purchase to get them properly trued and tensioned. I'm 200 lbs and had a Giant OCR1 with 24h front/28h rear. Didn't have any problems with the wheels, but didn't like the bike much due to fit and ride.
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Old 10-28-12, 10:14 AM
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Wheels that come with new bikes are fine for you. For example Ksyriums are bullet proof. You are using logic fom 20 years ago on durability and 32 spoke count
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Old 10-28-12, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
You are using logic fom 20 years ago on durability and 32 spoke count
You're absolutely correct. I'm just trying to wrap my head around a lot of everything that seems new and it's taking some time.
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Old 10-28-12, 12:55 PM
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Big difference between old low profile 18mm height rims and new 30mm or more height rims which don't need as many spokes.
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Old 10-28-12, 02:23 PM
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Traditional 32 spoke wheels are perfect for a big guy who wants durability and is doing recreational rides. The only advantage to reduced spoke count wheels is better aerodynamics, and it sounds like that's not so important to the OP.

I recommend a semi aero rim like a Velocity Deep V or KinLin XR300 for even more durability.
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Old 10-28-12, 02:50 PM
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Take a look at the Felt site. A lot of their bikes come with higher spoke wheels.
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Old 10-28-12, 04:05 PM
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Just google the wheelsets of bikes you're considering and avoid the ones with really bad reputations for durability. At 200lbs. (or less) you're not going to be destroying the majority of stock wheels. I can pretty much guarantee you'll want to go with lighter/stronger wheels if you get the cycling bug. But for now I'd just ride the stock wheels and enjoy yourself.
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Old 10-28-12, 04:55 PM
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I agree that quality of build is more important than spoke count per se.

That said, I would look for 28 or 32.

Not sure about your price range, but Williams 30X are great wheels for a big guy like you.
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Old 10-28-12, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Dunbar View Post
At 200lbs. (or less) you're not going to be destroying the majority of stock wheels.
This begs the question: At what weight to you really need to be concerning yourself with spoke counts?

I currently ride at 260 - 265 pounds. While my "over-the-winter-goal" is to get down to the 240 level, I'm still considerably heavier than the OP. Do I need to stay with wheels in the 32h-36h hole range or can I get by with a lower spoke count?

By way of background, I do mostly mid-distance riding (20 - 60 miles) on a combination of rail trails and rural roads, some of dubious quality. I don't race. Climbing is infrequent but can be significant on some Northern Michigan routes. I ride a Specialized Secteur Compact and someday I hope to upgrade from the 32h Alexrims S480s that came on the bike.
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Old 10-28-12, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
Wheels that come with new bikes are fine for you. For example Ksyriums are bullet proof. You are using logic fom 20 years ago on durability and 32 spoke count
So true...I'm heavier than the OP and do a lot more k's on much worse roads.

I had a set of bargain base model shimano wheels that came stock on my supersix and they were fine for 12 months...I eventually busted a spoke but they lasted a hell of a long time without needing truing.

I recently upgraded to a set of Ksryium SLs which again are as straight as the day I put them on the bike (after several massive pot-hole hits).

Seriously, for that type of riding don't even give your wheels a second thought.
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Old 10-28-12, 06:23 PM
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Spoke count is just one factor among many affecting wheel durability. The single most significant of which is the build quality. If you have any concerns about what you should be riding at your weight, engage a competent wheel builder.
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Old 10-28-12, 06:59 PM
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any 28 24 should hold your ass...even the ksyrium elites would hold your weight no problem.

I remember my specialized came with cxp22 rims, which were heavy but indestructible, and had tons of spokes (dont remember). id just ride what the bike has stock, and see how that go's.

Last edited by echotraveler; 10-28-12 at 07:08 PM.
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Old 10-29-12, 06:28 AM
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I'm definitely a heavy rider/clyde at 240, I am using Fulcrum 7 wheels with low spoke counts with no problems what so ever. Roads here are from really terrible with loose gravel and potholes galore to new fresh pavement where i am riding. I come form a lifetime of 32 hole wheel sets and was leery about getting the radial pattern on front with a low count and a combination radial/cross 2 on the rear, low spoke count, my fears have been unfounded so far. I check the spokes before each ride and have found the wheels to be still true, properly tensioned and in good order. I agree that the quality of the build and the components used are the most important aspects for wheels. When it comes time for a new wheel set I will evaluate how the Fulcrums and their low spoke count have fared and then see what a 28 or 32 spoke set will cost for a good hand built with good components is at that time and go fro there, Right now the modern hand built low spoke wheels are ahead for me.
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Old 10-29-12, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
You are using logic fom 20 years ago on durability and 32 spoke count
+2. Our tandem wheels are 24 spoke, and hold up well with a team weight of 350lbs.

That said, a convential 32 spoke wheel will serve the OP's purposes well. However, a number of other lower spoke count wheels will also work.
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Old 10-29-12, 07:45 AM
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Why go below 36?

Weight and aero savings are minimal, but you get a BIG reliability improvement.

RimS:
Mavic
https://www.mavic.com/en/product/rims...on/rims/CXP-33

or cheaper alternative:
https://www.jejamescycles.co.uk/rigid...r-id51460.html


Plus decent spokes (like DT Swiss)
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Old 10-29-12, 08:26 AM
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If you are over 180, you should obtain some traditional 32 spoke wheels as your "every day" wheels. Save the low spoke count stuff for special events. At 200lbs, you won't destroy lower spoke count wheels, but you are not going to see really good lifetime out of them either.

If you are over 250lbs, then definitely get some 36 spoke wheels. Nothing sold pre-built for road bikes is really designed with you in mind, much less the low spoke count wheels which come stock with new bikes.
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Old 10-29-12, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by rxmoore View Post
This begs the question: At what weight to you really need to be concerning yourself with spoke counts?
Depends, some manufacturers say you can ride 28 spoke rear wheels up to 240lbs while others say are only good 200lbs. There is more to wheel strength than just spoke count too. Rim weight also factors into the strength of the assembled wheel. And some manufacturers use proprietary spoke designs that aren't applicable to these rules of thumb. At 240-260lbs. I'd go with a 32 spoke rear wheel with a fairly strong rim.
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Old 10-29-12, 09:53 AM
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@ 6'2" & 225 I moved from 20/24 wheels that were flexing and spokes breaking to 28/32 customs that are rock solid and even lighter than the wheels they replaced... Thanks Rob!!
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Old 10-29-12, 10:56 AM
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When I weighed 225, I was riding Shimano RS10's (16f/20r) and rode them about 24000km until I started seeing stress cracks on them. Only busted a single spoke in that time and never needed a true otherwise. Moved on to Mavic Aksium Race, had the wheel trued about 5 times in 4-5months and got fed up, bought some Shimano RS-80's. Not a single issue with these wheels, ride fantastic, smooth and strong. I can't feel the wheel flex like the high spoke Mavic Aksium did when taking hard corners. This is still a 16f/20r wheel, I probably have about 10-15k on it by my guesstimate, and I still weigh in the 185 range.

Don't worry about spoke count, just get a good wheel.
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Old 10-29-12, 10:59 AM
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@roby

255 down to 185?

Wow. Well done! Congrats!
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Old 10-29-12, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Drag View Post
@roby

255 down to 185?

Wow. Well done! Congrats!
225, not 255. But yes, l think I was actually around 235 when I started 4 years ago, got down to 225 and plateau'ed there for a while(eating like crap). Became vegetarian(and ate more wholesome foods), started cycling more and smarter, got down to 195 last year, back to 215 over winter(doh!), and this year 215-185 and still going strong My house renos are done this year and I'm working on my garage/gym. I should have plenty of seat time on the rock and roll this year! Plus my wife's schedule will allow me to ride to work this winter, which wasn't possible last year. Hoping to keep and continue to shed, I almost have 4 abs!

Sorry for thread jacking. 16/20 FTW!
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Old 10-29-12, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by TakingMyTime View Post
...I'm just not seeing a lot of let's say... 32 hole rims on a 105 grouped bike.

Durability is much more important to me than weight. I am also not a bike snob so the brand or stickers on the rim mean nothing to me.
...
Thanks,
TMT
spoke count is not most of the story.

rims are considerably better/stronger than they were 40/30/20 yrs ago. In the old days even the lighter riders rode 36x, and some guys (who were not hvywghts) I knew rode 40x. The rims were noodles, so you needed spokes to support the rim.

wheel construction is a huge part of the equation...
check Boyd's Blog for a good overview...
https://boydbikes.blogspot.com/2012/0...stiffness.html

and pay some note to his take on radial VS 2x NDS use (this is rear of course)...

quite a few of the modern wheels are using radial rather than 2x NDS - many of them work OK, but for my money the offset on weight is minimal, and a low spoke count 2x NDS rear can be a bulletproof wheel, if built by a good builder. I'd pay more attention to who's wheel it is before worrying about 24/28/32 counts... (for your avg 200 lber...)
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Old 10-29-12, 12:09 PM
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Everyone keeps saying "spoke count isn't a thing..." and then go on to talk about quality wheel builds. Yes, if you pay for a quality build, you can get a good set of low spoke count wheels and use them even if you weigh over 200lbs. However, if you are looking in the $2-300 range for a wheelset, buy 32 spoke wheels. They'll last a long time and they are easy to repair. A cheap, low spoke count, machine built wheelset will not hold up to regular riding with a 200lb person. You can use it for a while, but it won't last nearly as long as a 32 spoke wheelset.
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Old 10-29-12, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff View Post
Everyone keeps saying "spoke count isn't a thing..." and then go on to talk about quality wheel builds. Yes, if you pay for a quality build, you can get a good set of low spoke count wheels and use them even if you weigh over 200lbs. However, if you are looking in the $2-300 range for a wheelset, buy 32 spoke wheels. They'll last a long time and they are easy to repair. A cheap, low spoke count, machine built wheelset will not hold up to regular riding with a 200lb person. You can use it for a while, but it won't last nearly as long as a 32 spoke wheelset.
I essentially agree with your assessment.

But there is still the question of what a buyer of new bike is to do when most $1000-2000 come spec'd with Mavic/Shimano/Fulcrum low spoke wheels. Is immediately spending an extra $200-500 for some higher spoke wheels worth it over just seeing how the Aksiums or whatever hold up?
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