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Wheelset Qs: Whatís the deal with spoke count for a 140lb rider?

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Wheelset Qs: Whatís the deal with spoke count for a 140lb rider?

Old 02-28-15, 09:25 PM
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Wheelset Qs: Whatís the deal with spoke count for a 140lb rider?

Iím upgrading my old bike to a 105 11-speed group. So... my current ride gets a new set of wheels!!

Iíve been reading about wheels and chatting with folks in my club about options. Iím still undecided. I'm mostly curious about spoke counts.

Iím confused about the benefits of lower spoke rim builds. I know they are lighter, but does it really make a difference? Iím fairly light, 140lbs and realize I *can* easily ride on a lot less spokes. But, I still want to get some additional info before I make a decision.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of both more or less spokes? Will riding a 32/32 vs a 24/28 or 20/24 on the same rims (of course, different drilling) be noticeable? What if anything will be different?

Itíll be an everyday wheel (I donít race). I need durability and stability. I ride a fair bit of hills and I ride in the ďmountainsĒ a lot. Speedy downhills are an important consideration. I did a lot of MTB riding in the past and Iím not exactly easy on my wheels.

Complicating things a bit is that a buddy of mine has offered to give me one of two of his ďextraĒ pairs of hubs for the build. His wife is getting him two sets of new wheels to commemorate leaving the Clydesdale ranks. So, heís willing to part with either a Dura-ace or Ultegra set, both 32/32. His bro gets first choice, if he wants a set of hubs at all. Haha. His brother is unsure if he wants a set of wheels with ďso many spokesĒ.

Cost is a consideration (free hubs!), but it wonít be the deciding factor. Either way, Iím going to have a reputable builder (several recommendations on this forum) put my wheel set together.

Thanks.
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Old 02-28-15, 09:33 PM
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I was 140, closer to 150 now. Running 20 up front 24 in the back with 50mm rims. Low spoke count usually is more aerodynamic, that is why they have 3 spoke front wheels for tts.
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Old 02-28-15, 09:37 PM
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pure vanity, i like the looks of low spoke count wheels better, and since you are so light i don't think it'll be a problem for you.
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Old 02-28-15, 09:45 PM
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What rims are you using?
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Old 02-28-15, 11:44 PM
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Originally Posted by StanSeven
What rims are you using?
Pacenti SL23, most likely.
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Old 02-28-15, 11:48 PM
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Do you think you'd know the difference between your 20/24 setup over 32/32?

Originally Posted by Bunyanderman
I was 140, closer to 150 now. Running 20 up front 24 in the back with 50mm rims. Low spoke count usually is more aerodynamic, that is why they have 3 spoke front wheels for tts.
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Old 02-28-15, 11:56 PM
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Originally Posted by oomizoomi
Do you think you'd know the difference between your 20/24 setup over 32/32?
I was blown around more noticeably with 32 spokes paired with a 24mm rim. My 20/24 blows me around less with the 50 mm rim.
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Old 03-01-15, 12:00 AM
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Thanks, Bunyanderman. That's interesting to know .
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Old 03-01-15, 12:02 AM
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you mean is not like gearing...?

if 10 gears is good, then 11 must be more better...same with spokes...if 24 is good then 32 must be 33.3% better...
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Old 03-01-15, 02:00 AM
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Originally Posted by oomizoomi
I’m upgrading my old bike to a 105 11-speed group. So... my current ride gets a new set of wheels!!

I’ve been reading about wheels and chatting with folks in my club about options. I’m still undecided. I'm mostly curious about spoke counts.

I’m confused about the benefits of lower spoke rim builds. I know they are lighter, but does it really make a difference? I’m fairly light, 140lbs and realize I *can* easily ride on a lot less spokes. But, I still want to get some additional info before I make a decision.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of both more or less spokes? Will riding a 32/32 vs a 24/28 or 20/24 on the same rims (of course, different drilling) be noticeable? What if anything will be different?

It’ll be an everyday wheel (I don’t race). I need durability and stability. I ride a fair bit of hills and I ride in the “mountains” a lot. Speedy downhills are an important consideration. I did a lot of MTB riding in the past and I’m not exactly easy on my wheels.

Complicating things a bit is that a buddy of mine has offered to give me one of two of his “extra” pairs of hubs for the build. His wife is getting him two sets of new wheels to commemorate leaving the Clydesdale ranks. So, he’s willing to part with either a Dura-ace or Ultegra set, both 32/32. His bro gets first choice, if he wants a set of hubs at all. Haha. His brother is unsure if he wants a set of wheels with “so many spokes”.

Cost is a consideration (free hubs!), but it won’t be the deciding factor. Either way, I’m going to have a reputable builder (several recommendations on this forum) put my wheel set together.

Thanks.
two realistic extremes.

1) 36 spokes, 14 gauge.

2) 20 spokes, double butted 14, 16 gauge.

if the highlighted section is really true (and all that implies), choose the first.
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Old 03-01-15, 05:32 AM
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Much depends on the rim. The SL23s are really solid so I doubt spoke count would make any difference in the ride. Higher spoke counts will usually let you continue riding after breaking a spoke. Lower spoke counts offer a small weight and aero benefit if you're a strong enough rider to take advantage of it.

I have 32h SL23s (my CX training wheels) that I occasionally use for road rides. I don't find them significantly slower than my 20h/24h road wheels.
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Old 03-01-15, 07:21 AM
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One thing you could do is a 20 radial front and 28 2x rear. The rear will be stable for your weight and stronger than 24 but you can go 24.
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Old 03-01-15, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by deacon mark
One thing you could do is a 20 radial front and 28 2x rear. The rear will be stable for your weight and stronger than 24 but you can go 24.
If you want stable, do this. 20/28 will be more than solid for your weight. I weigh 25 pounds more than you and have run that set up for seven years now with zero problems.

Bike technology has advanced to the point that you can build highly durable, low-spoke count wheels. You don't really need 32/32 anymore.
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Old 03-01-15, 07:44 AM
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Fewer spokes are better: it takes less time to clean the wheels
:-)
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Old 03-01-15, 07:48 AM
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If you do road riding on decent roads, any spoke count with 140 lbs will work.

The performance advantages with lower spoke count are minimal - weight and aero. Deep aero rims allow for lower spoke count so that's why you see numbers with 16 for the front. With the rims you plan on using, it's probably wise to stay with at least 20/24. But I think the above comment about not being blown around as much is true.

The main reason to go with low spokes is they look good.
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Old 03-01-15, 08:16 AM
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I have 20/24 that have been very reliable for my 180-185lbs with much hill riding.
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Old 03-01-15, 08:21 AM
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At 170 lb I ride only 21 mm deep aluminum rims with 20/24 spokes. Lightest steel spokes available. Wheel pairs weigh 1,270 g. Never a problem. No way, OP, that you need high spoke count, heavy wheels. Take advantage of your weight and enjoy the lightest wheels you can afford. They are a pleasure to ride.
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Old 03-01-15, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by SlowerGuy
Fewer spokes are better: it takes less time to clean the wheels
:-)
Also faster to build!

I like this formula: stiff rims with a minimum of spokes. I'm 155 and riding on 21/16, which is plenty for my rim. For my less stiff rims, 24/20 is required.
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Old 03-01-15, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by oomizoomi
It’ll be an everyday wheel (I don’t race). I need durability and stability.
If these are you main criteria, there's no reason to go below 32x32. all other things equal, higher spoke counts will always be more durable and tolerant of tension changes.
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Old 03-01-15, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by gc3
you mean is not like gearing...?

if 10 gears is good, then 11 must be more better...same with spokes...if 24 is good then 32 must be 33.3% better...
I'd go 36 front and rear. Keeps the squirrels out.
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Old 03-01-15, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson
If these are you main criteria, there's no reason to go below 32x32. all other things equal, higher spoke counts will always be more durable and tolerant of tension changes.
Very true.

Also, if you are unfortunate to break a spoke on a 32 spoke wheel you can probably just open up your brakes a little and get home just fine. Do that on a 20 spoke wheel and you may be calling the Sag wagon.
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Old 03-01-15, 05:47 PM
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I've been riding on Ultegra 6700's with a 16/20 spoke count wheelset for over a year now and I'm 225lbs, they've been perfect since day one!
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