Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

Looking for a 36h SS/FG hug

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Old 07-22-09, 02:23 PM
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big scholar
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Looking for a 36h SS/FG hug

I've always told myself that I'd ride the wheels that came on my '06 San Jose into the ground before I get a new set. About six months of daily commuting later, this day has come.

I'm a big guy (6'2", ~270lbs), so I'm looking to get a set of sturdy wheels built. I'm going to go with Deep V rims, but I'm not set on a hub yet. I'm looking for a 36h rear hub, hopefully something threaded for fixed/free. If I had to give up one or the other, I'd choose to ride free.

Any input would be appreciated. Mainly, I'm looking for something that will last. I don't mind tensioning the wheels, in fact, it's something I'd like to get better at doing myself. I just don't want to deal with something cheap that will eventually fail on me. One week of taking the bus to work is quite enough.

Oh, and as for budget, I'm looking to spend $400-500 on a set. Hopefully closer to the $400 end.

Thanks everyone.

edit: just noticed the typo on the thread title. sorry about that!
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Old 07-22-09, 02:49 PM
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36 hour hug? You're not getting any love 'round here.

Anyhow... I recommend this and these.

Both the Phil Wood hubs and the DT Swiss Alpine III are best of breed and top of the class at any price. That is, you can find more expensive hubs and more expensive spokes, but they won't be as sturdy and long-lived.

Take this from a guy who has built a dozen wheels and none has failed so far. I build good wheels.
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Old 07-22-09, 02:59 PM
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Just curious, how did you kill your wheels?
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Old 07-22-09, 03:58 PM
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A formula hub should be fine for either wheel. Phil is flashier and maybe a little more durable, but I haven't heard any stories of formulas failing.

2nd on the Alpine III spokes. They're made for downhill and freeride as well as touring.

And, honestly, the rear wheel is probably the only one you really need to worry about unless you need to have a matching set.

If you are running 30c tires or bigger, get sun rhyno-lite rims. I know a guy who commutes every day who weighs well over 250lb and often rides a bike rigged with incredible (and heavy) light rigs. He used to break wheels left and right. Then the lbs built him some LX hubs to rhyno-lite 36h with Alpine III's and he has't had a problem since.
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Old 07-22-09, 04:15 PM
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Right on, thanks for the input, guys. I'll definitely get the wheels built with some Alpine IIIs. I'd love to get some Phil Woods, but I'll have to make sure I can afford it. The shop that's going to build the wheels for me carries them though, as well as Formula stuff.

As for how the wheels failed, I'm not exactly sure. I broke two spokes in three weeks, which I got fixed, and then last night, the hub just collapsed. From looking at it in the dim light last night, it appeared that the hub body had come loose off the axle. I'm not super up on mechanics, so I'm not sure if I'm describing this properly, and I was in too much of a rush to get a better look this morning.

If you're really curious, I can snap a pic later tonight.

Thanks again, everyone.
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Old 07-22-09, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by TimArchy View Post
get sun rhyno-lite rims
Yes.

The only rim stronger than the Rhyno Lite is the Velocity Dyad. But the Rhyno Lites can be had for $29something, while the Dyads are about $50. On the other hand, the Rhyno Lite is 27.5 mm wide, while the Dyad is "only" 24 mm. You ought to mate those wide-ish rims with wide-ish tires.

Something we didn't mention yet: more spokes means stronger wheel - always. Sure, it's a bit unorthodox for a FG, but putting 48 spokes in a wheel is a good way to make it very strong and durable.
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Old 07-22-09, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by big scholar View Post
Right on, thanks for the input, guys. I'll definitely get the wheels built with some Alpine IIIs. I'd love to get some Phil Woods, but I'll have to make sure I can afford it. The shop that's going to build the wheels for me carries them though, as well as Formula stuff.

As for how the wheels failed, I'm not exactly sure. I broke two spokes in three weeks, which I got fixed, and then last night, the hub just collapsed. From looking at it in the dim light last night, it appeared that the hub body had come loose off the axle. I'm not super up on mechanics, so I'm not sure if I'm describing this properly, and I was in too much of a rush to get a better look this morning.

If you're really curious, I can snap a pic later tonight.

Thanks again, everyone.
Definitely, if you can, get some closeup photos of that hub. We might be able to do a post-mortem, based on your description of the events + pictures. I'll just say that, if the spokes were unevenly tensioned, even before they break (and under those conditions, break they will, and soon), they can damage the hub as well. That damage, however, is usually at the flanges.
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Old 07-22-09, 05:12 PM
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+1 on a picture. I'm curious as well.

I've been riding the crap out of my '06 San Jose and I'm planning on building a new rear wheel at some point, but the original wheel hasn't failed yet. Out of curiosity, which hub did you have on your SJ that failed?

What type of riding are you doing? strictly commuting? and what type/size of tires do you usually run?
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Old 07-22-09, 05:14 PM
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in b4 "hug life"
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Old 07-22-09, 05:21 PM
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Might just need spokes tensioned and $15 for new bearings...
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Old 07-22-09, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by ianjk View Post
Might just need spokes tensioned and $15 for new bearings...
After a few spokes fail, the rim and the rest of the spokes have incurred considerable damage and are very unreliable. If the OP does what you say, he's preparing himself a death trap. And I don't mean to say that such a wheel may fail. I mean it WILL fail SOON! And it might do so in a catastrophic way, with painful consequences. I don't need to see the hub to make this prediction.
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Old 07-22-09, 07:23 PM
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Cool, I'll definitely snap a pic, if not tonight then tomorrow--it'll be a late one at work.

djeucalyptus, apart from commuting and errands five days per week (6-7 miles per day), I just go on weekend joyrides. Always on paved roads, between 15-30 miles or so? I was using the stock wheelset, hubs and tires included--generic Bianchi hubs, knobby WTB 32s.

I bought this bike used, but it looked as if the prior owner had barely ridden it. Maybe I was wrong in that assumption?
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Old 07-22-09, 07:32 PM
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I laced up a low-flange Formula to a Velocity Dyad.

Decent, strong wheel.
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Old 07-23-09, 11:44 AM
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Got home a little late last night, so I wasn't able to snap a pic of the busted hub. Will do tonight!

So I've been talking to the the shop who's gonna build the wheels, and I'm thinking of getting these Origin8 hubs: http://www.origin-8.com/product_deta...track&cl1=HUBS

I've been reading that they're basically Formula clones. Is that right? Also, the site doesn't specify the spacing, so can I assume that they're 120mm? Unless I'm mistaken, the rear spacing on the 2006 San Jose is 130mm. Can you guys think of any issues that would arise with this? I probably sound paranoid, but I'm kind of oversensitive about wheels these days...

Thanks for the input as always.
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Old 07-23-09, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by big scholar View Post
Got home a little late last night, so I wasn't able to snap a pic of the busted hub. Will do tonight!

So I've been talking to the the shop who's gonna build the wheels, and I'm thinking of getting these Origin8 hubs: http://www.origin-8.com/product_deta...track&cl1=HUBS

I've been reading that they're basically Formula clones. Is that right? Also, the site doesn't specify the spacing, so can I assume that they're 120mm? Unless I'm mistaken, the rear spacing on the 2006 San Jose is 130mm. Can you guys think of any issues that would arise with this? I probably sound paranoid, but I'm kind of oversensitive about wheels these days...

Thanks for the input as always.
The only issue could be the space between the rear dropouts of your frame. But if it's a steel frame, it might be OK to bend your frame a little to fit to the hub and possibly add a few washers on both sides. Better than washers, you can find spacers for rear hubs of the appropriate length, which is even better. I have done it without any problems, many times. As for the chainline, no problem there: whoever is going to lace your wheel, can dish it ("center" it) whichever way you want/need it. So just bring your bike to the LBS where your wheel will be built, and tell them you want to have a straight chainline - obviously

EDIT: Apparently, the rear dropout spacing on the San Jose is 120mm. So, happy happy joy joy.

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Old 07-23-09, 02:09 PM
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As for the Origin hubs: I don't know jack about them. Do they come in anything but 32H? If not, that might be a problem, expecially for your rear wheel. Remember: more spokes = stronger wheel, that's a rule without virtually any exception. (there is another, corollary rule: the smaller the wheel, at parity spoke number = the stronger the wheel).
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Old 07-23-09, 03:05 PM
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Wheel strength in reference to spoke number is all about the distance between spokes. As the circumference of the wheel increases, more spokes are needed to fill in that area. As you increase the distance between spokes, you have to increase the minimum required spoke tension on each spoke. Hence, more spokes = lower spoke tension = less stress on each spoke = less likelihood of spoke failure due to stress.
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Old 07-23-09, 07:02 PM
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Had a chance to go home this afternoon, and I took a better look at the wheel (didn't have my camera on me, though--I'll post the pic tonight). Whatever happened caused the bearing cap to detach from the hub, and several individual bearings were missing. Crazy. I'm glad I was going slow on a calm street when it happened.

I got the measure the rear spacing, and it's 130mm. Maybe the newer San Joses are 120m (this is an '06)?

I searched around for a bit during lunch, and the only 36h 130mm track hubs I could find were Phils. Those are little rich for my blood right now

From what I'm reading, the Origin8 are basically branded Formula hubs, same as IRO. They do make 36h track hubs, but only 120mm. Unless I find something else, it looks like my only option is to do like wroomwroomoops said and put 5mm spacers on each side.

Can any bad stuff come of this?

Again, thanks for schooling me on this, everyone. I know like 500 percent more about hubs and dropout spacing than I did 48 hours ago!
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Old 07-23-09, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by big scholar View Post
I got the measure the rear spacing, and it's 130mm. Maybe the newer San Joses are 120m (this is an '06)?
Yup. I know my '06 is 130mm as well. I thought they all were... ?


Originally Posted by big scholar View Post
Unless I find something else, it looks like my only option is to do like wroomwroomoops said and put 5mm spacers on each side.

Can any bad stuff come of this?
Perfectly safe. That's how the wheel on my '06 came stock. it's a 120 with spacers. No reason not to (as long as the axle is long enough to accommodate). Much easier than a 130mm hub. plus, you can use the wheel on another bike or sell it more easily.


Can you tell what actually broke on your hub? is it just a broken cone? broken axle? If the hub shell is intact, it still may be repairable with a few $$ in parts, if you want to go that route. Although a new wheel doesn't entirely sound like a bad idea.
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Old 07-23-09, 10:08 PM
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Here are some (admittedly poor) cell phone photos of the wrecked hub. If you guys want to see better ones, I can take some when I dig up my camera.

djeucalyptus, thanks for the reassurance. I'm nowhere near ready to drop two papers on a Phil rear! I'm cool with getting a new wheelset right now. This just accelerated the inevitable.
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Old 07-24-09, 01:37 AM
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Originally Posted by big scholar View Post

I searched around for a bit during lunch, and the only 36h 130mm track hubs I could find were Phils. Those are little rich for my blood right now
OK, let's try to break this down a little:

Track hubs are made for 120mm spacing.

All other non-MTB (road and others) hubs are made for 130mm spacing.

Your San Jose 2006 has 130mm, as you have measured yourself (wasn't necessary, Bianchi has that info online, but ok, the safest thing is always measure).

Ergo, you can fit a non-MTB hub in there. You can use a normal hub with threads (but not splines) for a freewheel, on which you won't put a freewheel but your track cog (with a bit of Loctite) and then a lockring. Knowing this surely opens up a lot more options, doesn't it? I have to go, I'm traveling in 2 hours from now so you will have to do the search for yourself. But point is, you don't necessarily need a track hub.
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