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I want a robust rear wheel for touring

Old 07-11-23, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs
How "robust" we talkin' about? There are custom wheel shops that will build 48 triple-butted spoke wheels suitable for self-contained tandem touring. Definitively robust, kinda heavy, probably overkill.
A friend of mine built up exactly that kind of wheel, but I don't think it had the extra thick spokes at the spoke head. Someone donated a rear tandem hub to a bike charity, he found it in the used hubs bin. Removed some spacers off the axle and cut the axle shorter to fit into his 135mm frame. I do not recall what the rim is, but any rim that is available in 48 spoke holes should be really strong.



He did not need that strong a wheel, but he had bought the frame and was looking for parts to build up a touring bike, so when he saw something interesting, he used it.
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Old 07-11-23, 02:56 PM
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Too much of my time is spent touring in areas where there isn't a bicycle shop for 50 or 100 miles or more and unlikely in the direction that I'm hoping to travel. I used to carry extra spokes but now carry a couple fiberfix spokes "just in case" Btw, I've seen these things hold up for hundreds and hundreds of miles so don't think they have to be a very temporary fix, heck most people could finish their tour with them and worry about spoke replacement when they get home.
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Old 07-11-23, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Bjorneas
I weigh 185 lbs. I carry about 30(maybe more? Never weighed) lbs on my rear panniers and don’t have front panniers. Never broke a spoke, but paranoid. I had the wheel tensioned by my LBS before my most recent tour last month.
already thats really good that you've had the spoke tensions checked out by a store, and the fact that you havent had any problems in three tours shows that the setup is working. I personally like putting some weight on the front of the bike to balance things out, the bike handles better and less weight is on the rear wheel, so less chances of spoke problems.
As soon as you start looking into different wheelsets, you'll see that you could find a 36 spoke quick release wheel for under $100 or you could spend many multiples of that on a wheelset or a single wheel. Like everything, there are different qualities of hubs, rims, spokes etc, so there isnt an easy answer to how much a "touring" rear wheel will cost you.

or you can look at the pt of view that you've successfully toured three times with no issues, so dont change things, be careful, continue to use 38mm tires that are not over inflated for your weight and bike load, and they will help with some cushion compared to narrower tires or if you simply have too much pressure than needed.

personally I don't think it is worth spending money on a really cheap new rear wheel, it means that the hub will be mediocre etc, but in the end, it'll be up to you to how much you would want to spend to worry less.
I've toured extensively on 32h 26 inch wheels, but with minimum 38mm tires, up to 2.15 inch tires, and my wheelset has been remarkably tough on some long trips, even dented my rear rim slightly and its still been fine on a bunch of trips afterwards, didnt even break a spoke--but I weigh 50lbs less than you, so this is a big factor, even when I've carried a lot more than you.

won't hurt by asking around at bike stores for wheel suggestions, just take notes of the materials specifics and try to learn what stuff if low end and what is better.
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Old 07-11-23, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by robow
Too much of my time is spent touring in areas where there isn't a bicycle shop for 50 or 100 miles or more and unlikely in the direction that I'm hoping to travel. ....
Yup.



When the next gas station is over 200 km away, you know that bike shops are even further away.
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Old 07-11-23, 05:28 PM
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To the OP,
just my 3 cents (inflation) even if your present rear wheel is in actuality totally adequate, but yet you don't feel confident in it or can't keep from worrying about it, get a new one built just as rhino tough as you like and can afford, so that you might enjoy the tour with one less worry.
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Old 07-12-23, 04:43 AM
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Originally Posted by robow
To the OP,
just my 3 cents (inflation) even if your present rear wheel is in actuality totally adequate, but yet you don't feel confident in it or can't keep from worrying about it, get a new one built just as rhino tough as you like and can afford, so that you might enjoy the tour with one less worry.
Do people actually think about stuff like their wheels failing when they are riding? Or is it more a matter of worrying about it when at home thinking about their bikes?

I'd suggest that just maybe it would be better to accept that there will always be some chance of failure and once you are at some reasonable level of risk just enjoy the ride. Other parts can fail. You can be injured, You can get sick. You can be called home for some unforeseen emergency. Hopefully you don't obsess over any of that. Like the risk of wheel failure all those risks are fairly low. Some of those are harder to deal with and more likely to be tour ending.
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Old 07-12-23, 05:20 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
Do people actually think about stuff like their wheels failing when they are riding? Or is it more a matter of worrying about it when at home thinking about their bikes?

I'd suggest that just maybe it would be better to accept that there will always be some chance of failure and once you are at some reasonable level of risk just enjoy the ride. Other parts can fail. You can be injured, You can get sick. You can be called home for some unforeseen emergency. Hopefully you don't obsess over any of that. Like the risk of wheel failure all those risks are fairly low. Some of those are harder to deal with and more likely to be tour ending.
Thanks stae for that very reasonable take on things.

Pretty much expresses my thoughts on things, ie control the things you can, make sound choices and in my case, acquire mechanical experience over the years to know personally hands on how my bike is mechanically, and then at least knowing, or at least having a reasonably informed chance of knowing, how likely mechanical problems can happen.
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Old 07-12-23, 05:59 AM
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Originally Posted by robow
Too much of my time is spent touring in areas where there isn't a bicycle shop for 50 or 100 miles or more and unlikely in the direction that I'm hoping to travel.
FWIW, that would describe much of my touring. Often there isn't anything for that far.

I used to carry extra spokes but now carry a couple fiberfix spokes "just in case" Btw, I've seen these things hold up for hundreds and hundreds of miles so don't think they have to be a very temporary fix, heck most people could finish their tour with them and worry about spoke replacement when they get home.
Not a bad approach. I have never used them myself and have personally gone from carrying spare regular spokes to not bothering I suspect that depending on the wheels i used and the load I carried I might consider taking some spokes again at some future time, but probably not unless going somewhere really remote, like off road back country too far to hike out and no 4wd traffic remote. That is just me though. I figure that there are just too many other failure modes for me to get all excited over that one. I just get to a reasonable level of confidence and deal with what fails if anything.

I do think it is smart to carry more than one fiber fix if going that route. In general on all but low count wheels it is possible to get a wheel running true enough to ride with one spoke missing. Sometimes I have seen where three or more are broken before a rider noticed with high-ish spoke count wheels.
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Old 07-12-23, 06:10 AM
  #34  
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from my very meagre broken spoke history (one on one of my first tours in France early 90s, loosened rear brake and rode to the next towns bike shop where they fixed it up and almost surely checked spoke tensions, wheel worked perfectly for next upteen years)
and then commuting on my old mountain bike once, jumping off a curb, wheel had been fine for probably ten years, after getting spoke replaced at LBS, wheel worked perfectly fine for another ten years, still in use as my winter bike.

so it seems that wheels that have multiple spoke breakages is because they have been neglected for ages and the spokes are undertensioned for ages, wearing away at the cross points for years until they start going pop, and or are wholley inadequate for touring use, and or combined with not being in good shape to begin with, so tensions are out of sync.

** again, Im a light guy which is a big factor, and I'm not a bull-in-a-chinashop" riding style wise, generally being mechanically sympathetic and aware of not bashing the crap out of things, especially not with full panniers on.
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Old 07-12-23, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by djb
so it seems that wheels that have multiple spoke breakages is because they have been neglected for ages and the spokes are undertensioned for ages, wearing away at the cross points for years until they start going pop, and or are wholley inadequate for touring use, and or combined with not being in good shape to begin with, so tensions are out of sync.
Not a ty[ical experience, but...
I had a run of spoke breakage on a newish bike. It was multiple spokes at a time a couple times and a couple singles on a long heavily loaded tour (TA). I don't remember the exact count. Nothing seemed really wrong that would have caused it. A mechanic looked at the wheel and asked me if I had been shifting the chain off of the big cog into the spokes. I said no. He gave me that look. You know the look, like yeah right (thinking, you are an idiot). I said really never not even once. The bike is only a few months old and the chain has never been shifted off the cogs into the spokes. He showed me where the spokes were all chewed up at the bends. I had no explanation. Then he picked up the cassette to put it back on and the long thin bolts that held the bigger cogs together on that cassette all slid out. Apparently they were never tightened and could freely slide out and rub the spokes right at the bends.

I don't know how it went unnoiced when the cassette was pulled off at least 3 previous times. Any way he tightend the bolts and replaced all the spokes that looked chewed up and retensioned everything and it was fine from then on.
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Old 07-12-23, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
Do people actually think about stuff like their wheels failing when they are riding? Or is it more a matter of worrying about it when at home thinking about their bikes?
It’s not an either/or choice. I think about stuff like this at home so that I don’t have to think about it out on the road. I have had failures that have impacted my tour and I have changed my practices because of it.

I'd suggest that just maybe it would be better to accept that there will always be some chance of failure and once you are at some reasonable level of risk just enjoy the ride. Other parts can fail. You can be injured, You can get sick. You can be called home for some unforeseen emergency. Hopefully you don't obsess over any of that. Like the risk of wheel failure all those risks are fairly low. Some of those are harder to deal with and more likely to be tour ending.
And it is best to plan ahead for eventualities that you can address. I would say that wheel failure on a tour isn’t all that low an eventuality. Spoke failure is high on the list of very common bike problems, even when not on tour. Perhaps only flat tires are higher. If you take steps while at home to address the problem by, for example, building stronger wheels and/or building with hubs that require minimal or no tools to remove the cluster. Those are things in the control of the rider so it’s one less thing to have to worry about…especially when you are miles from no where.
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Old 07-12-23, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Bjorneas
I have been on three tours with my 32-spoke rear wheel (on a Windsor Tourist) but can't stop worrying about it when riding fully loaded. I'm concerned about breaking a spoke. I think I would like to upgrade to a more robust touring-specific rear wheel (I guess with 36 spokes) but am not sure how to go about ordering one. The bike is 700 x 38 with disc brakes. Any recommendations about how to find and order a suitable wheel?
You could rebuild your current wheel with triple butted spokes which would give you a wheel at least as strong as a 36 spoke wheel with straight gauge spokes. Hjertberg says in his article that using triple butted spokes is the equivalent of adding 10 spokes…they have a 32% increase in strength over straight spokes. I’m not sure I agree with that number but it’s at least equivalent to going to the next higher spoke count.
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Old 07-12-23, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Trueblood
I have a Tourist as well, and had the same issue with the rear wheel. Several spokes broke. Had the rear wheel re-built. Apparently fairly common with the machine built wheels the Tourist has. Some commented that the first thing to do when purchasing that bike is to throw out the pedals and rebuild the wheels.
The first thing I do with a machine built rim, is to have the spokes de-tensioned, then re-tensioned properly. I had that done on my Surly LHT when I bought it in 2011, and I have not had any issues, or broken spokes, despite multiple heavily loaded tours, and heavy loads while commuting.
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Old 07-12-23, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by djb
... , wearing away at the cross points for years until they start going pop, ....
Wheels that have such high mileage that the spokes have worn grooves into each other where they cross and rub on each other, that is a HUGE number of miles. I have seen such wheels, but it has been several years.
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Old 07-12-23, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
Not a ty[ical experience, but...
I had a run of spoke breakage on a newish bike. It was multiple spokes at a time a couple times and a couple singles on a long heavily loaded tour (TA). I don't remember the exact count. Nothing seemed really wrong that would have caused it. A mechanic looked at the wheel and asked me if I had been shifting the chain off of the big cog into the spokes. I said no. He gave me that look. You know the look, like yeah right (thinking, you are an idiot). I said really never not even once. The bike is only a few months old and the chain has never been shifted off the cogs into the spokes. He showed me where the spokes were all chewed up at the bends. I had no explanation. Then he picked up the cassette to put it back on and the long thin bolts that held the bigger cogs together on that cassette all slid out. Apparently they were never tightened and could freely slide out and rub the spokes right at the bends.

I don't know how it went unnoiced when the cassette was pulled off at least 3 previous times. Any way he tightend the bolts and replaced all the spokes that looked chewed up and retensioned everything and it was fine from then on.
On my Sram cassettes, that is a 1.5mm allen wrench. After reading your comment on this previously, I added a 1.5mm wrench to my spare tools that I carry on a tour.
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Old 07-12-23, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
Do people actually think about stuff like their wheels failing when they are riding? Or is it more a matter of worrying about it when at home thinking about their bikes?
I haven't worried about wheels failing while riding. However, I have adjusted my wheel choices for subsequent tours when they failed on a previous tour. I generally haven't had many spoke failures. However:

In 1997, cycling 6089 miles across Canada, I had three wheel/rim failures:
- First was near Laird River in northern BC. The rim cracked and eventually broke. This was before I had a cell phone, so looked up bike shops in yellow pages and had a shop in Fort Nelson (300km away) send up a 32-spoke wheel they had on the next bus.
- On descent to Buckinghorse River, my wheel acted strange and actually sped up when I lightly put on the brakes. At bottom of the hill, noticed almost half the spokes on non-freewheel side were loose. I tighten them that night. However, once I got to Edmonton, I replaced that 32-spoke wheel with a 36-spoke wheel from a reputable bike shop. The 32-spoke wheel was otherwise OK enough to carry on back of my bicycle, so that is what I did
- Coming into Kenora Ontario, my new rim was again starting to crack. Not sure why - but it was correlated with cycling on grooved pavement for extended distance of road construction. In any case, in Kenora, we ordered a new rim from Winnipeg and the bike shop built me a new wheel.
- Almost done, but riding close to Corner Brook Newfoundland, I had one last instance of spokes pulling out at the rim holes. This time, I swapped in the 32-spoke wheel I had been carrying all this time. I also stopped in a bike shop in Corner Brook (essentially someone's garage) and took with me a new spare wheel based on steel rims. Didn't need it but gave peace of mind to have a spare for the last bit.


So after my cross-Canada ride and losing three rims, I explored with the bike shop what might lead to a more durable solution. This had me switch to 48-spoke rims in the rear. That worked better on the next long ride around Australia. I did lose a rim on that ride, but that wasn't until 12,400 kilometers into the ride (after cycling the southern tier and from Sydney to Broome in Australia).

So I haven't worried or pre-emptively changed wheels to worry less. I have adjusted wheel choices for subsequent long rides when I had failures such as on my Canada ride.
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Old 07-13-23, 04:28 AM
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Originally Posted by mev
I haven't worried about wheels failing while riding. However, I have adjusted my wheel choices for subsequent tours when they failed on a previous tour. I generally haven't had many spoke failures. However:

In 1997, cycling 6089 miles across Canada, I had three wheel/rim failures:
Thanks for those comments. They address my question well.

They reminded me that my experience is that even though I have had some spoke failures a rim failure can be harder to deal with as it might mean buying a whole wheel. When I started a long tour with what I knew was a rim with a lot of miles on it and figured, but might make the whole trip. I figured that lacing on a new rim wouldn't be too big of a deal if it didn't. I've done it before and it is something I'd be comfortable doing in camp. The thing is that I didn't foresee it being impossible to find an Open Pro, Open Sport or similar in 700 32 hole. I was riding an older (1990) Cannondale Crit bike with 14# of UL camping gear. I did find a shop that had a compatible 7 speed wheel that was 36 spoke with a bit lower end components, but it took a good bit of checking around. On hind sight I should have been less cavalier about assuming I could swap mid tour.

On that note, I'll mention that I used to start long tours with new chains, new tires, and so on. I wound up with chains, tires and so on that never went back on the bike. It seemed silly to not just change them mid tour when they were actually worn out on a multimonth tour so that is what I do now. If they are close to ready to replace I'll replace them before a trip, but otherwise no. I don't generally carry spares, but for tires I might buy them when they get real close to being ready to replace and carry them for a while before putting them on.
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Old 07-13-23, 05:14 AM
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Originally Posted by mev
I haven't worried about wheels failing while riding. However, I have adjusted my wheel choices for subsequent tours when they failed on a previous tour. I generally haven't had many spoke failures. However:

In 1997, cycling 6089 miles across Canada, I had three wheel/rim failures:
- First was near Laird River in northern BC. The rim cracked and eventually broke. This was before I had a cell phone, so looked up bike shops in yellow pages and had a shop in Fort Nelson (300km away) send up a 32-spoke wheel they had on the next bus.
- On descent to Buckinghorse River, my wheel acted strange and actually sped up when I lightly put on the brakes. At bottom of the hill, noticed almost half the spokes on non-freewheel side were loose. I tighten them that night. However, once I got to Edmonton, I replaced that 32-spoke wheel with a 36-spoke wheel from a reputable bike shop. The 32-spoke wheel was otherwise OK enough to carry on back of my bicycle, so that is what I did
- Coming into Kenora Ontario, my new rim was again starting to crack. Not sure why - but it was correlated with cycling on grooved pavement for extended distance of road construction. In any case, in Kenora, we ordered a new rim from Winnipeg and the bike shop built me a new wheel.
- Almost done, but riding close to Corner Brook Newfoundland, I had one last instance of spokes pulling out at the rim holes. This time, I swapped in the 32-spoke wheel I had been carrying all this time. I also stopped in a bike shop in Corner Brook (essentially someone's garage) and took with me a new spare wheel based on steel rims. Didn't need it but gave peace of mind to have a spare for the last bit.
...

So after my cross-Canada ride and losing three rims, I explored with the bike shop what might lead to a more durable solution. This had me switch to 48-spoke rims in the rear. That worked better on the next long ride around Australia. I did lose a rim on that ride, but that wasn't until 12,400 kilometers into the ride (after cycling the southern tier and from Sydney to Broome in Australia).

So I haven't worried or pre-emptively changed wheels to worry less. I have adjusted wheel choices for subsequent long rides when I had failures such as on my Canada ride.
Thanks. Getting a full description from someone with as many miles as you have from all over the world, it does add a lot of perspective.

I have had very few mechanicals on bike tours, have witnessed many more on others. In the effort to cut grams, I have always favored heavier rims instead of trying to cut grams on rims and wheel components.

On a tour, I have not seen anyone that had a rim or spoke failure, but spokes are light weight and they can fail, so I continue to carry spare spokes and tools to remove a cassette when touring. I have had to use the cassette lock ring tool on a tour, but not for a spoke, but that mechanical problem is a long story that is unique to Lynskey frames that are the same vintage as mine that had removable dropouts.

When I built up my light touring bike (Lynskey Backroad) in 2017, I wanted 36 spoke front and rear. But the dynohub I wanted was out of stock on 36 spoke, was on sale in 32. I decided that front wheels carry a lot less weight so I went with 32 in front and 36 in back. I am happy with that decision. Decades ago, a lot of utility bikes were built with more spokes on rear wheels than the front, so there is precedent. And I do not carry a lot on that bike, I have heavier duty bikes for that.

On the Tour Divide race this year, I was surprised how many were using 28 spoke wheels. They are traveling very light, but they are putting their bikes through some really tough conditions. Apparently some people had serious spoke problems. I am not 100 percent sure on this but I think the second place male finisher finished with a broken spoke on a rear wheel that had 24 spokes (or 23 at the finish).
https://bikepacking.com/bikes/2023-t...e-rigs-part-1/
https://bikepacking.com/bikes/rigs-o...divide-part-2/
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Old 07-13-23, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by mev
I haven't worried about wheels failing while riding. However, I have adjusted my wheel choices for subsequent tours when they failed on a previous tour. I generally haven't had many spoke failures. However:

In 1997, cycling 6089 miles across Canada, I had three wheel/rim failures:
- First was near Laird River in northern BC. The rim cracked and eventually broke. This was before I had a cell phone, so looked up bike shops in yellow pages and had a shop in Fort Nelson (300km away) send up a 32-spoke wheel they had on the next bus.
- On descent to Buckinghorse River, my wheel acted strange and actually sped up when I lightly put on the brakes. At bottom of the hill, noticed almost half the spokes on non-freewheel side were loose. I tighten them that night. However, once I got to Edmonton, I replaced that 32-spoke wheel with a 36-spoke wheel from a reputable bike shop. The 32-spoke wheel was otherwise OK enough to carry on back of my bicycle, so that is what I did
- Coming into Kenora Ontario, my new rim was again starting to crack. Not sure why - but it was correlated with cycling on grooved pavement for extended distance of road construction. In any case, in Kenora, we ordered a new rim from Winnipeg and the bike shop built me a new wheel.
- Almost done, but riding close to Corner Brook Newfoundland, I had one last instance of spokes pulling out at the rim holes. This time, I swapped in the 32-spoke wheel I had been carrying all this time. I also stopped in a bike shop in Corner Brook (essentially someone's garage) and took with me a new spare wheel based on steel rims. Didn't need it but gave peace of mind to have a spare for the last bit.


So after my cross-Canada ride and losing three rims, I explored with the bike shop what might lead to a more durable solution. This had me switch to 48-spoke rims in the rear. That worked better on the next long ride around Australia. I did lose a rim on that ride, but that wasn't until 12,400 kilometers into the ride (after cycling the southern tier and from Sydney to Broome in Australia).

So I haven't worried or pre-emptively changed wheels to worry less. I have adjusted wheel choices for subsequent long rides when I had failures such as on my Canada ride.
Given the date of your wheel problem, your issue with cracking rims was a metallurgical problem that was typical of the era. I had a long of rim cracking in the late 90s to early 2000s. Changes in quality control and metallurgy over the last couple of decades has significantly reduced these kinds of problems.
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Old 07-13-23, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
On the Tour Divide race this year, I was surprised how many were using 28 spoke wheels. They are traveling very light, but they are putting their bikes through some really tough conditions. Apparently some people had serious spoke problems. I am not 100 percent sure on this but I think the second place male finisher finished with a broken spoke on a rear wheel that had 24 spokes (or 23 at the finish).
https://bikepacking.com/bikes/2023-t...e-rigs-part-1/
https://bikepacking.com/bikes/rigs-o...divide-part-2/
Not that I really care about racers but nothing has a greater impact on your overall speed than not being able to move This really illustrates the silliness of low spoke count wheels. The weight savings are minimal but the dependability significantly decreases, especially in an event without outside mechanical support. There have been a number of “touring bikes”…mostly for off-road type touring… offered by manufacturers in recent years that use 28 spoke wheels for some reason. Granted most of those bikes are probably never used for the purpose they are designed for but one still wonders what they were thinking.

The kooky ideas of modern bikes are largely the reason that I don’t own a bike that is newer than 2010 and are running drivetrains and wheels from no later than that era.
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Old 07-13-23, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Not that I really care about racers but nothing has a greater impact on your overall speed than not being able to move This really illustrates the silliness of low spoke count wheels. The weight savings are minimal but the dependability significantly decreases, especially in an event without outside mechanical support. There have been a number of “touring bikes”…mostly for off-road type touring… offered by manufacturers in recent years that use 28 spoke wheels for some reason. Granted most of those bikes are probably never used for the purpose they are designed for but one still wonders what they were thinking.

The kooky ideas of modern bikes are largely the reason that I don’t own a bike that is newer than 2010 and are running drivetrains and wheels from no later than that era.
Obviously, ride what works for you however wheel technologies have advanced substantially and the days of high spoke counts are a solution to wheel reliability has passed. I have been touring on 28-spoke count wheels for many years without issues, and I am well into the Clydesdale category. I have ridden thousands of km on gravel and rough roads in developing countries never a broken spoke. As a precaution, I always carry spare spokes and use DT Swiss freehubs so the cassette can be removed without a tool. I find the Unicor remover a pain.

The idea modern bikes are kooky is a bit odd when you see what was possible with the 2700-mile Tour the Divide race with minimal mechanicals and other amazing rides being done with modern equipment. My recent month-long Vietnam trip was on a Carbon Frame, Disc Brakes, Tubeless 28-spoke wheels 11-speed wide range 2X system. Not even a thought of issues and problems.
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Old 07-13-23, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged
Obviously, ride what works for you however wheel technologies have advanced substantially and the days of high spoke counts are a solution to wheel reliability has passed. I have been touring on 28-spoke count wheels for many years without issues, and I am well into the Clydesdale category. I have ridden thousands of km on gravel and rough roads in developing countries never a broken spoke. As a precaution, I always carry spare spokes and use DT Swiss freehubs so the cassette can be removed without a tool. I find the Unicor remover a pain.
Physics hasn’t changed recently that I recall. Low spoke count wheels put more stress on the spokes than higher spoke count wheels. More stress means more fatigue. More fatigue leads to more failure.

The idea modern bikes are kooky is a bit odd when you see what was possible with the 2700-mile Tour the Divide race with minimal mechanicals and other amazing rides being done with modern equipment. My recent month-long Vietnam trip was on a Carbon Frame, Disc Brakes, Tubeless 28-spoke wheels 11-speed wide range 2X system. Not even a thought of issues and problems.
Did you miss what Tourist in MSN was saying? I don’t follow racing of any kind…I couldn’t care less…however he mentioned that some people had serious spoke problems using low spoke count wheels and that the second place finisher finished on a broke spoke. Seems to me that those are related to spoke problems…specifically fewer spokes.

Obviously, you can do whatever you want. You can push the envelop as much as you like. But if you push the envelop, expect to have failures. All those old tired, tried and true methods are just that because they have been tested and found to work. At one point they were the envelop.
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Old 07-13-23, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
...
The kooky ideas of modern bikes are largely the reason that I don’t own a bike that is newer than 2010 and are running drivetrains and wheels from no later than that era.
I do have one bike from 2018 with 28 spoke wheels, but it is my road bike.

Just got home from a 30 mile ride on that bike, great bike if you only use it for the purpose it was built for, which means pavement..

I might have up to 10 to 15 pounds on it if I shop for groceries on the way home from a ride. I have a 11 liter saddle bag (Carradice Pendle) on it and a handlebar bag. But, I would never tour on that with a camping load, and certainly not on the rougher surfaces that are common on a tour. That said, it might work well for a credit card tour some day.
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Old 07-14-23, 01:31 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Physics hasn’t changed recently that I recall. Low spoke count wheels put more stress on the spokes than higher spoke count wheels. More stress means more fatigue. More fatigue leads to more failure.



Did you miss what Tourist in MSN was saying? I don’t follow racing of any kind…I couldn’t care less…however he mentioned that some people had serious spoke problems using low spoke count wheels and that the second place finisher finished on a broke spoke. Seems to me that those are related to spoke problems…specifically fewer spokes.

Obviously, you can do whatever you want. You can push the envelop as much as you like. But if you push the envelop, expect to have failures. All those old tired, tried and true methods are just that because they have been tested and found to work. At one point they were the envelop.
I know you don't believe in the rim vertical stiffness being a factor in wheel durability in terms of spoke breakages. However even though spokes have advanced in recent years, the larger advancements have been made in the rim department. Especially high profile carbon rims combine several factors which allow for a wheel to remain intact with lower spoke counts.
1) Tighter spoke spacing on the rim. As we know, the more spread out the spokes are, the larger the responsibility of a single spoke to handle riding loads. With high profile rims the spacing narrows as the radius of the rim edge gets smaller.
2) Shorter spokes. A shorter spoke is typically a stronger one as long as the bracing angles aren't excessive.
3) better bracing angles. As the rim spoke bed gets closer to the hub, especially the drive side spoke bracing angles get less vertical and thus help with side loading situations such as cornering or rough roads.
4) Exponentially less rim deformation. A rim will deform once load is applied, either from the top of the rim or the bottom. Personally I suspect the main deformation happens at the top as the hub is pushed down. Some hypothesize that the deformation happens at the bottom where the groung is pushing against the rim. I however don't think that actually has a significant effect as there's a pneumatic tire between the rim and the ground. I don't believe the tire actually does a lot of pushing against a single point but rather spreads out the load. But in any case the rim does deform the cause a drop in tension at the bottom spokes. If you add to the rim height the geometry of the rim fights against that deformation. In tubes geometry trumps wall thickness.

If we compare a 26" wheel with a 20mm rim height and a 28" wheel with a 50mm rim height (common carbon rim height), we can see that the two wheels have almost the same spoke length AND spoke spacing. So that in turn means that purely from a spoke spacing, length and bracing angle point of view the wheels should be as durable. However the 28" wheel has the added advantage of a massively stiffer rim meaning less deformation.
If both wheels have 28 spokes, they equal the spoke spacing of a 28" wheel with 32 spokes, which is actually adequate for touring these days.
It's pretty safe to say then, that a modern high profile carbon wheel can be as strong or even stronger than a 26" touring wheel AND as strong or stronger than a 28" touring wheel with a higher spoke count.
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Old 07-14-23, 05:36 AM
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This thread makes me want to drop this piece of advice for people who go on smaller trips up to a week or two: Just go get a tune up first and the mechanic will tell you if anything's a week away from breaking. At least I would, and have provided this service to many. They all made it back! Just a reminder to people who are anxious about their spoke breaking on a small tour from reading this thread.

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