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Whatís your favorite, trusted wheelset?

Old 08-04-23, 05:43 AM
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Whatís your favorite, trusted wheelset?

Iím in the process of building up a bike for loaded, long distance tours. Only thing I havenít settled on is wheels. Iím trying to get some ideas on what to look for. Let me know which ones have worked for you. Thanks.
And Iím looking for 700c wheels and probably use a 9 speed cassette.
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Old 08-04-23, 08:59 AM
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I tend to think in terms of wheels, rather than wheelsets, but I supposed if you get two that's a wheelset.

My wheels are:
Mavic A319 or Velocity Dyad rims
Shimano LX or XT hubs
DT Swiss double-butted spokes

Random thoughts on the above:
Rims and spokes are the most important parts. I know the Dyad and A319 aren't the lightest, but they will stand up to a heavy load. Go for 36 holes if you can get the rims and hubs, 32 is acceptable on the front and probably adequate on the rear with a good wheel build.

My hubs are loose bearing, which are out of fashion this week. You might end up with cartridge bearings, which will also work. Honestly, I think the hubs need to be good hubs but they're the least important part of the wheel.

I won't argue if you decide to get Sapim or another quality spoke, or if you decide to get triple butted spokes. DT are widely available, and double butted spokes are good enough. Do make sure you get brass nipples instead of aluminum.

Get a good wheel builder to put your wheels together, or follow the directions in Brandt's "The Bicycle Wheel." Again there are other references, some of which may be good. Make sure the wheels are adequately tensioned (shoot for 100-110 kgf); low tensioning and you can start breaking spokes in an amazingly short time. The wheels should also be balanced in tension among the spokes, and the spokes stress-relieved. Too many people think "It's round and true, it's done." Those extra three steps take 10-15 minutes and make the wheel last years longer.
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Old 08-04-23, 09:22 AM
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6 years or so ago when I built up a Chinese carbon road bike, I had Universal Cycles build up a wheel set, Mavic CXP33, 105 hubs QR, 32 spoke DT DB spokes. 6,000 miles later, I think I’ve adjusted the true of the rear maybe twice. Rock solid wheels.
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Old 08-04-23, 09:47 AM
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I second the vote on velocity dyad and shimano xt hubs. The dyad is one of the strongest rims out there and one of the best places to splurge a few extra ounces.

On shimano XTR is their high end after XT. The priority at that level is lightness so I prefer to stick with XT for robustness.
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Old 08-04-23, 12:02 PM
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I am not using tubeless and am using quick release, not through axle. Your rim choice of course should match your tire choice.

I am very happy with my choices for my light touring bike I built up in 2017, described what I have below. I was planning on using tires that ranged from 28 to 37mm width, my rim choice was based on that tire size range.

Went with Dyad rims, 36 spoke rear and 32 spoke front. I initially was comparing Dyad and Mavic A719, I was curious to see what Co-Motion used for their Americano and they had positive comments on the Dyad which helped push me to that rim. I also have a pair of wheels that I built up in 2004 with A719 rims, the rear wheel is on my rando bike at this time. I think both A719 and Dyads are very good.

Rear hub, XT M756A which uses steel axle and quarter inch ball bearings. (Their later designs used different bearings and axle, I prefer the older design with bigger bearings and steel axle.)

Front hub, SP PV-8 (rim brake version) dynohub but I suspect you would be getting the disc version. I planned initially to use 36 spoke, but everyone was out of stock on the 36 version of this hub while I could get the 32 on sale. I decided to use the 32 in part because front wheels have much less weight on them than the rear. So far I have no reason to regret that decision.

Wheelsmith spokes. Sapim nipples. I found that by using Sapim nipple washers on the drive side spokes, I could use the same spokes on drive side and non-drive side.

If you might some day want a dyno hub, get it now. The only cost now is the cost of hub minus the cost of the other hub you won't have to buy. But if you buy one later, you probably are looking at the cost of a wheel. You can run the hub with nothing plugged into into it, so there is no downside to having one. Dynohubs do not come with a skewer, so you would need to buy that separately.

In my case, front wheel is rim brake, rear is disc brake, but I got the machined sidewall for the rear so that both wheels would match for aesthetics.

ADDENDUM:

Spokes are Wheelsmith DB-14.

SECOND ADDENDUM:

I just learned that Wheelsmith spokes are out of production. I would probably use Sapim, as I am already using their nipples.

Last edited by Tourist in MSN; 08-14-23 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 08-04-23, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by sloar
I’m in the process of building up a bike for loaded, long distance tours. Only thing I haven’t settled on is wheels. I’m trying to get some ideas on what to look for. Let me know which ones have worked for you. Thanks.
And I’m looking for 700c wheels and probably use a 9 speed cassette.
These forums skew toward a much older demographic, and thus your responses will be based on vintage and legacy systems. If this is what you feel comfortable with, proceed. Here is my approach which has served me well on numerous long-distance self-supported tours, many of which are in 3rd world countries.

DT Swiss 350 hubs 28 spoke. Mainly because they are incredibly durable and parts are easily sourced. Most importantly, the cassette is removable without tools allowing for drive-side spoke replacement if required.
Tubeless compatible robust wide gravel-rated rim such as GR 531 or equivalent.
High-quality j bend spokes selected by the wheel builder (no natural preference) get two spares of each size (also get size).
+38mm tubeless tires, slicks or minimal tread.

I have not seen the need for a dyno hub; most riders now carry a backup rechargeable battery for phones and GPS as well new lights being LED have incredible runtimes.
Lower than traditional spoke counts has not been an issue as newer wheel tech has made these wheels extremely durable.
I love tubeless for touring because it allows you to run a supple high-performance tire and not experience punctures.

Enjoy your upcoming rides and look towards what is happening on the adventure racing scene to get a sense of what contemporary riders are using.

Last edited by Atlas Shrugged; 08-04-23 at 12:45 PM.
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Old 08-04-23, 01:05 PM
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For my 27" and 700c 70's to 80's freewheel bikes I use...

My favorite is the CR-18 Quando.

But my multiple sets of RM-19 Weinmann/Sovos have stood the test of time and ABUSE!

Both are economical machine made sets with 14ga stainless spokes.

Note that when I buy a new wheel set I loosen everything up and then retune/retrue the sets.
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Old 08-04-23, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by sloar
Iím in the process of building up a bike for loaded, long distance tours. Only thing I havenít settled on is wheels. Iím trying to get some ideas on what to look for. Let me know which ones have worked for you. Thanks.
And Iím looking for 700c wheels and probably use a 9 speed cassette.

prefered tire width?
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Old 08-04-23, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by LeeG
prefered tire width?
Im running 35ís right now. I might stick with them.
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Old 08-04-23, 04:31 PM
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I can’t tell you what to buy in a commercially made wheel since I don’t have any. I build my own. But, in my opinion and experience, the order of consideration of the parts should be spokes and hub first with rim consideration being a distant third. Spokes do all the work of making a strong, durable wheel (see here for a good explanation). Pick at least double butted spokes but go for triple butted spokes with a 2.3mm head that are stronger and more durable than even double butted. The small weight difference (7g per wheel) is more than made up for in how strong the triple butted spokes are.

For hubs, consider cartridge bearing hubs. They last significantly longer without maintenance and generally roll smoother than cup and cone. Some, like Phil Wood, Velo Orange, and DT Swiss (I think) don’t require tools to take apart. If you do break a spoke, you can pull the cassette assembly off without having to remove the cluster which makes spoke replacement far easier. Others to consider are White Industries, although their hubs aren’t as easy to take apart.

For a rim, it really doesn’t matter. Look for an off-center drilled rim like the Velocity A23 OC. The off-center drilling makes for a more even drive/non-drive side spoke tension. Rims that are “strong” are just heavier…usuallly because they are wider, not because they have thicker walls or spoke beds. It’s unnecessary weight that doesn’t really do anything for overall wheel strength. Put your money into the spokes where strength is really needed.
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Old 08-04-23, 06:21 PM
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My current set is 8000 series XT disc hubs paired with Velocity Dyad rims and wheelsmith HD 2.2/2.0 spokes built 32h front and rear. I'm a big proponent of nice hubs but really do find the shimano XT hubs to be smooth and reliable, only thing I'd bother replacing them with would be kings if they still offered a stainless steel driveshell, since I don't think there's a better hub than that. But XT hubs are affordable, the bearings are well sealed, clean, and easy to replace, and they roll very smoothly, they really give nothing to complain about.
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Old 08-04-23, 08:37 PM
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My wife has a set of wheels built by Universal Cycles. They are 700c wheels with 36 spoke Dyad rims, Shimano Ultegra hubs, and butted Wheelsmith spokes She has a little over 28,000 miles on the rims, and they have never needed any adjustments.

I have two touring bikes set up with 36 spoke Dyad rims, also built by Universal Cycles. One set has Shimano105 hubs, and the other Shimano XTs. Both have Wheelsmith butted spokes.

We were just outside of Medicine Hat, Alberta descending toward the bridge crossing the South Saskatchewan River. I was riding my Bianchi with the 105/Dyad wheelset, and approaching 30 MPH when I hit a large piece of metal in the road. It blew out my front tire, but I was able slow down on the bridge and bring my fully loaded bike to a stop. I got off the road, and started to put a new tube on the front wheel. Removing the tire, I saw a large bulge in the sidewall of the rim. I put the new tube in and saw that the wheel was still true and round.


I could not use the front brake, but the bike rolled easily into medicine Hat. I called the guy who built the wheels, and asked him about pounding out the bulge. He recommended getting a new wheel if I could find one. The bike shop in Medicine Hat had one wheel that would work. It got me home.

I almost cried when the bike mechanic cut my hub out of the wheel. My Bianchi with a new front wheel is on the stand behind the mechanic.


The bulge is at the 09:00 position. This is one of the few times I wished I had disc brakes. I'm sure my wheel would have made it through the rest of the trip. If a new wheel was not an option, I would have ridden using just the rear brakes until I found a wheel or was home.

Last edited by Doug64; 08-04-23 at 10:55 PM.
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Old 08-04-23, 10:59 PM
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I have the Mavic A319 with XT hubs, so far no problems. I will say who builds the wheel makes a BIG difference. They arrived true and have never had to adjust 1 spoke thus far.
I would suggest that whatever you get make sure they have common spokes. Not something that maybe 1 in 10 bike shops carry or you need a special key to replace
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Old 08-05-23, 03:16 AM
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In a pinch you could have adjusted that side brake pad to hit just below the bulge. Not ideal but better than nothing.
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Old 08-05-23, 06:11 AM
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Just mentioning this option for others in case a rim fails in a large community where a rim might be available.

Originally Posted by Doug64
...
I could not use the front brake, but the bike rolled easily into medicine Hat. I called the guy who built the wheels, and asked him about pounding out the bulge. He recommended getting a new wheel if I could find one. The bike shop in Medicine Hat had one wheel that would work. It got me home.
...
I have put a new rim on a wheel a few times by taping the new rim to the old rim (valve holes adjacent, etc.), then moving the existing spokes over one at a time. It takes more time when you have to unthread and remove each nipple before you move each spoke over, but it is a way to keep the spokes and hub. This works if you use the same brand and model rim. It might work if your replacement rim has a nearly identical ERD. And of course, same spoke count, spoke hole drilling has to be the same, etc.

That said, I suspect your bike shop did not have a spare Dyad rim with the right spoke count hanging on the rack. Thus, this probably would not work in this situation if you could not wait for a new rim to arrive, and express shipping for an extra big box might cost more than the rim.
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Old 08-06-23, 06:41 AM
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I ended up getting, what I thinks is a good deal on a new set of Velocity Dyads. 36h with Sapim Leader 2.0 spokes, Sapim Polyax Brass Nipples, RS 400 rear hub and R7000 front hub. What’s your opinions on that build?
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Old 08-06-23, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by sloar
I ended up getting, what I thinks is a good deal on a new set of Velocity Dyads. 36h with Sapim Leader 2.0 spokes, Sapim Polyax Brass Nipples, RS 400 rear hub and R7000 front hub. Whatís your opinions on that build?
I did a google search for RS 400 hub, this site said that is a 130mm dropout spacing.
https://www.modernbike.com/product-2126244269

If that is correct, is your frame a 130mm frame?

I have been running a 135mm hub in a 130mm steel frame on my rando bike for about seven years. And have a 126mm hub in my 120mm spaced vintage Italian bike with Columbus (steel) tubing. In both cases, the frames are steel. It just means that the wheel does not drop in as nicely as the correct size hub would.

It is my understanding that you should not use a hub of the wrong size in a non-steel frame. There is one person on this forum that says it is ok to do so, he might chime in. If others have an opinion, lets see what they say?

That rear hub looks good enough to me if the dropout spacing is not a problem.

That spoke is a straight gauge spoke, not a butted spoke like many of us suggested, but, there are a LOT of touring bikes out there with straight gauge spokes that work just fine. So, I think that is ok.

Those are the nipples I use.

I did not look at the front hub, other than seeing it is a rim brake hub.

I assume you have rim brakes and quick release type dropouts (not through axle)?

One more thing on that rear hub, if you have a 135mm frame and use a 130mm hub, your rear wheel will be more dished that if you got a 135mm rear hub. With that in mind, if it was me making the decision, I would look a bit harder for a 135mm hub wheel. I think a rear wheel with less dish is preferable.
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Old 08-06-23, 01:09 PM
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I have a 130 spaced frame. I bought the wheels already built so I got the spoke that came on it.
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Old 08-06-23, 02:14 PM
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Straight-gauge spokes wouldn't have been my choice, but then, I haven't broken one in riding yet, so maybe I'm just fussy.
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Old 08-06-23, 04:46 PM
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My Mavic 36 hole A719 wheels with XT hubs have been trouble free since I put them.on my bike over 15 years or more ago. They done thousands of heavy loaded touring miles on pavement and gravel.
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Old 08-07-23, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by sloar
I ended up getting, what I thinks is a good deal on a new set of Velocity Dyads. 36h with Sapim Leader 2.0 spokes, Sapim Polyax Brass Nipples, RS 400 rear hub and R7000 front hub. Whatís your opinions on that build?
A great, serviceable wheelset.

I came here to add these 2 cents: heavy rim brake rims are a good thing. They have more metal in the brake track and last longer. Disc rims i do select by weight, however
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Old 08-07-23, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by sloar
I ended up getting, what I thinks is a good deal on a new set of Velocity Dyads. 36h with Sapim Leader 2.0 spokes, Sapim Polyax Brass Nipples, RS 400 rear hub and R7000 front hub. Whatís your opinions on that build?
PG spokes arent as great as butted- they are heavier and no stronger. But with 36 on each wheel, that wheelset should be a tank if its been properly built.
As for the hubs- yeah sure they are fine. Odd that its a mix of Tiagra and 105, but they are both perfectly fine. My touring bikes have had a Tiagra hubset for the last 8 years- dead simple to clean and service when needed.
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Old 08-14-23, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by mtnbud
My Mavic 36 hole A719 wheels with XT hubs have been trouble free since I put them.on my bike over 15 years or more ago. They done thousands of heavy loaded touring miles on pavement and gravel.
yup. mavic 719's, 36-hole, dt swiss double-butted spokes on shimano lx hubs. solid.
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Old 08-14-23, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by muse kidd
yup. mavic 719's, 36-hole, dt swiss double-butted spokes on shimano lx hubs. solid.
yup x 2, I built a set of these 10 or 11 years ago (though I needed a Shimano 105 hub for spacing) and they're still holding up well today.
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Old 08-14-23, 04:43 PM
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I’m really liking the Velocity Dyads, I did get a built set with straight gauge spokes because I feel like I got a pretty good deal. This winter while my frame is getting
powder coated I’ll rebuild the wheels with double butted spokes.
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