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Rolf Prima Wheelset

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Rolf Prima Wheelset

Old 09-27-16, 11:22 AM
  #1  
Juke41
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Rolf Prima Wheelset

Hi, I'm in the process of upgrading our Cannondale RT1000 Tandem. It will be used for light and fast touring days (our expedition days are now behind us) We are a combined team of 340 pounds and I was thinking if the Rolf Prima, or any other of the "New" breed of tandem wheel with less spokes would be suitable. Only be riding on tarmac, so no rough stuff.
I would be interested to hear comments on how these type of wheels perform out on the road.

Kind Regards

John
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Old 09-27-16, 02:42 PM
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IMO, Rolf is still making their rims too narrow, low spoke count wheels put a lot of stress on the hub, little backup plan if one spoke breaks you can forget about riding home.

Modern rims with a wider profile will provide you with more air volume in your tire and a plusher ride, plus better cornering performance.

While the tandem hub flanges might not be built as thin as my single bike Vigor Alpha wheels, I think the design is pretty similar. I have broke a rear flange on my single at around the 1 year point, and I am at 160lbs. You might find some people here with similar failure issues (or spokes pulling through the rims, rims cracking, etc) on there tandem models.

If you want more dependable wheels with better profile specs, have a good shop build you a set.
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Old 09-27-16, 04:44 PM
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It was a Rolf Prima tandem rim from 2008 but we had a spoke pull through the rim at 2350 miles.
It was replaced in warranty, barely, but we subsequently learned via blogs that Rolf felt more
comfortable with tandem team weights under 300#. Our team was ~360. Most of our subsequent
mileage has been on a White wheel set. I would stick with standard rims and spokes if
you plan to tour. FWIW our first tandem weighed ~44# and the second 28# and we did not
notice a huge difference, except on steeper hills. Our fastest century at 5H 4' was on the heavy
tandem (it was pretty flat at ~2500' climbing).
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Old 09-27-16, 06:53 PM
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The Rolf Prima should be fine for century rides and light touring. We've used a set for over two years and have not encountered any failures. It might help that our rear wheel has 145mm spacing and our team weight is around 300 lbs.

The current generation of Rolf Prima tandem wheel uses 20/24 spoke count with an internal rim width of 17mm. I would NOT recommend a lower spoke count! Personally, I prefer a wider rim for comfort and better aerodynamics.

Since we went to 11sp, we sold our rear Rolf wheel and are using a carbon LB rim with 32H spokes and White MI6 tandem 11sp disc hub. If you're reasonably handy, you can build a set of carbon LB wheels that would equal or exceed the Rolf alum wheels at a 30-40% savings. The carbon rims will be lighter and more compliant. As a disc wheelset, the LB carbon rims have a a very good track record for tandems and single bikes (mtn and road). If you want to use caliper brakes, then the LB rims may not be as good as alum rims or top-end carbon rims (eg. Enve).
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Old 09-27-16, 09:28 PM
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I built a very nice pair of wheels for our tandem. I used Kinlin XC279 rims and CX-ray spokes. I built them on our original Chris King 36H hubs. You can also use your current hubs.

These rims are 23mm outside measure, 28mm deep and have an aero section. These wheels have given us very good service plus they look sharp. I bought the rims, spokes, and nipples from bikehubstore. Our team weight is 280. Kinlin XC279 - 23mm wide - 28mm deep (BHS C472w)

Your local wheelbuilder can build them up for you.
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Old 10-02-16, 04:55 AM
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These days there are lots of options for performance wheels without going to stupid-low spoke count, super-high tension, proprietary configuration, etc.
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Old 10-02-16, 05:56 AM
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Hi All, thanks for the replies, I must admit, going to a very low spoke count is a concern, I would much rather stick to 40h, but would like some deep rims, alu or carbon, but these seem thin on the ground or non existent as Ive not seen any rims with 40h.
Any suggestions ?
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Old 10-02-16, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Juke41 View Post
Hi All, thanks for the replies, I must admit, going to a very low spoke count is a concern, I would much rather stick to 40h, but would like some deep rims, alu or carbon, but these seem thin on the ground or non existent as Ive not seen any rims with 40h.
Any suggestions ?
One doesn't see 40H rims much anymore because there's no call for them. Modern rims don't require the spoke counts which the old style box rims did. For tandem riding, the most popular rims seem to be Velocity Dyad or DeepV, and the Kinlin XC279. 36H works fine with these sorts of rims even with heavy teams or loaded touring. Many teams are running 28H rims with these sorts of rims sections.

More interesting rim sections here: Velocity Wheels - Hand Made in USA
and here: Kinlin Road Rims
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Old 10-03-16, 03:39 PM
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We have done 10,000 miles on a Rolf Prima wheelset - 145 rear spacing, F&R discs. ~125kg team. All road work, all seasons, including hitting some "unannounced" potholes at high speed that you really felt - with no damage. Sample of 1, but experience is very good. Only slight issue is the free hub has been notched by the cassette - must be softer than the usual shimano stuff.
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Old 10-04-16, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
One doesn't see 40H rims much anymore because there's no call for them. Modern rims don't require the spoke counts which the old style box rims did. For tandem riding, the most popular rims seem to be Velocity Dyad or DeepV, and the Kinlin XC279. 36H works fine with these sorts of rims even with heavy teams or loaded touring. Many teams are running 28H rims with these sorts of rims sections.
Whether needed or not will depend on the team weight and purpose, but Velocity does make the Dyad, Chukker and Deep V in 40 and 48 hole if you want them. I use the Chukker in 40 hole for our commute tandem because I wanted bullet proof wheels. And the quad got 48 hole for obvious reasons.
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Old 10-04-16, 02:43 PM
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Happy user of Rolf Tandem wheelset... I think they look sharp.

We run 40 lbs of bike, 350 lbs of riders, probably 20 lbs on the back rack, and 28mm tires. No problems so far, YMMV.

BTW it may be a significant difference what tire size you run here. Lot of folks flatted over railroad tracks on NWTR this year and we did not. I am going to credit running the bigger/wider tires which provide more bump energy absorbing. It seems to be asking quite a lot of a 23 or 25 mm tire designed for a single bike to deal with 2x plus on a tandem.
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Old 10-05-16, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by vrooom3440 View Post
Happy user of Rolf Tandem wheelset... I think they look sharp.

We run 40 lbs of bike, 350 lbs of riders, probably 20 lbs on the back rack, and 28mm tires. No problems so far, YMMV.

BTW it may be a significant difference what tire size you run here. Lot of folks flatted over railroad tracks on NWTR this year and we did not. I am going to credit running the bigger/wider tires which provide more bump energy absorbing. It seems to be asking quite a lot of a 23 or 25 mm tire designed for a single bike to deal with 2x plus on a tandem.
I agree about the larger tire size. We've been happy with the Hutchinson Sector 28mm or Schwalbe Pro 28mm for comfort and rolling resistance. if more single bikes are using wider tires (25mm) and rims (external width of 20mm+, it makes sense for tandems to use 28 or 32mm tires. Even Shimano has widen their 2017 Dura Ace wheels to 24mm. Some tandem teams still subscribe to the old-school thinking is that narrow tires and rims are faster.
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Old 10-05-16, 09:11 AM
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I have a used set of Rolf Tandem Wheels - been sitting in box now for about 2 years after I had the front rim, all spokes and bearings replaced. Front and rear are discs and I have the cassette body and axle for both Shimano and Campy.

I'll let them go for $400 plus shipping.
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Old 10-10-16, 08:26 AM
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Hi All, and thanks Joe for your offer, I have decided to go a more conservative route than the Rolfs, with Velocity Chucker rims, 36 & 40, White industries hubs

Thanks again
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Old 10-12-16, 11:16 AM
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Personally, I think the Rolf system is a fundamentally flawed design. The high spoke tension from the paired design leads to hub failures and rim pull throughs.
And as mentioned above, field serviceability is an issue.

That said we have a set with around 30,000 miles on them. However, only the rear hub is original, with a front hub flange failing and multiple rim failures at the spoke holes.
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Old 10-15-16, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by vrooom3440 View Post
BTW it may be a significant difference what tire size you run here. Lot of folks flatted over railroad tracks on NWTR this year and we did not. I am going to credit running the bigger/wider tires which provide more bump energy absorbing. It seems to be asking quite a lot of a 23 or 25 mm tire designed for a single bike to deal with 2x plus on a tandem.
OTOH, we also did not flat on those tracks while riding 25mm tires on Rolf rims, however our team weight is less than 300 pounds.

Many years of good experience with the Rolfs for us, though the early hub flanges were under designed, resulting in cracks in the front flange. Replacement hub with beefier flanges does not seem to exhibit the same issue.
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Old 11-15-16, 02:58 PM
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Touring on Rolf wheels don't do it. I have these wheels on tandem by recommendation

If you carry more than a credit card the spokes will break,and then Sit down when you get the price for replacement.
Originally Posted by Juke41 View Post
Hi, I'm in the process of upgrading our Cannondale RT1000 Tandem. It will be used for light and fast touring days (our expedition days are now behind us) We are a combined team of 340 pounds and I was thinking if the Rolf Prima, or any other of the "New" breed of tandem wheel with less spokes would be suitable. Only be riding on tarmac, so no rough stuff.
I would be interested to hear comments on how these type of wheels perform out on the road.

Kind Regards

John
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Old 11-15-16, 08:08 PM
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If you are going to use chukkers then 36 hole will be fine with 36 hole and then you have more options with hubs.
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Old 11-16-16, 04:48 PM
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We are happy with our Topolino tandem wheelset (22/front, 30/rear) with carbon/Kevlar spokes. Unfortunately these wheels are no longer in production.
We are, however, a sub-250 lbs riding duo.
Have a pair of road Topolinos on my single bike with over 30,000 miles on them and (so far) have never trued the wheels!
Did have to replace rear bearings this year.
Pedal on!
Rudy/zonatandem
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Old 11-23-16, 09:00 PM
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Beware

We have had repeated failure of Rolf Prima wheels. Almost ruined a hi-zute tour in France, but the guides gave us their bikes. Rolf's response was something along the lines of "they lasted a while, what's the problem? They are disposable." I would NEVER recommend Rolf wheels for Tandem. We wasted a lot of money on the wheels, and almost lost a european tour to them.
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Old 11-23-16, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by 2frmMI View Post
We have had repeated failure of Rolf Prima wheels. Almost ruined a hi-zute tour in France, but the guides gave us their bikes. Rolf's response was something along the lines of "they lasted a while, what's the problem? They are disposable." I would NEVER recommend Rolf wheels for Tandem. We wasted a lot of money on the wheels, and almost lost a european tour to them.
Rolf's a local company for me, so naturally the owner of the LBS I go to put a pair on his half-bike. Not surprisingly, at least to me, they failed very quickly. The company gave him quite a hard time, but in the end they actually redesigned their wheel by adding more spokes (yes, the early ones had even fewer) and gave him another set at a reduced price. While the second set lasted longer, in the end they also failed after not very many miles (a few thousand, actually).

I don't mind companies venturing out onto the bleeding edge and selling products that aren't quite ready for prime time. I do mind it when they don't stand behind them and treat customers well. I like to spend my money at places that treat me well, even if their prices are higher or their products aren't at the cutting edge. Others make different choices and that's fine.
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