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Lower Spoke Count On A Tandem?

Old 01-23-14, 02:46 PM
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Lower Spoke Count On A Tandem?

In a previous relationship, we ran a 36 o wheel up front, primarily because it was quick-release. Team and bike was about 350-375 pounds. Never loaded toured, never any problems.

Got a spare rear wheel, 700c, 28 spokes. And a spare front wheel, 700c/32 spokes. Assume hub and rim are similar.

On a similar bike/load/use, could we go with either or both?

Thanks.
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Old 01-23-14, 03:11 PM
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That sounds like a bad idea. With a load that big, you need as many spokes as you can get. Tandems really stretch the limits of bikes' abilities to handle the weight.
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Old 01-23-14, 03:25 PM
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optimum spoke count, would, i think, be greatly influenced by the size and quality and design of the rim. you might want to mention the rim/tire/hub/spoke gauge, type of terrain, among other things.
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Old 01-23-14, 04:28 PM
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OK this is the Touring list, section, why pick un-laiden race Bike single wheels for a 2 Up Bike?

As a camping tourer I used abundantly spoked wheels on my Single bike..


FWIW after a couple people on tandems, Touring in the Andes put a cracked hub flange picture on the web

of their Rohloff Hub shell.. the German Factory added a 36 hole hub-shell so such people could build 3 cross wheels..

those hubs large and widely spaced hub flanges build up a stronger wheel than a narrow spread
hub as most Cassette hubshells are , including Shimano's are , there 40 and 48 spoke are sensible choices ..

With 48 a broken spoke is a minor inconvenience, with 28 you need a new rim.
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Old 01-23-14, 04:38 PM
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It hardly maters what you spec 400 pounds on 28 spokes is a lot, and it survives all the time, that doesn't make it a prudent choice.

I fail to see any downside to running 36 spokes on a load that high, other than that you may not have the wheels at the moment. A lot depends on how you ride. I ride reasonably fast, but smooth. If you love dropping off sidewalks, kind of riding, you can put a lot more energy into parts. I would prefer more spokes than 36 or 36 on a 26". The only downside to more spokes still is that it tends to run into specialty gear. I don't see any actual reason not to have the higher number spokes once you are out there. THere are points, I just don't find any of them persuasive.

I think there are different impulses. Sensible impulses are that one wants to run the most durable gear one can find. Another is that one wants to get out there even if it means lesser gear, and that there are some option that while not ideal will be ok for almost anyone. Another sensible idea is that one realizes weight and riding style have an influence. Less rational ideas are pushing the envelope just to make a point that will only be one data point deep and somewhat misleading. Or that a real touring bike is X based on marketing and people that claim you need a specialized tank for everything.

When you run it all together probably the best overall wheel is the 26" 36 spoke. I won't go lower than 32 on a 26", or 36 on 700c. I recommend getting your info off Peter White's site. Anyone can make good wheels, but he is in a unique position to judge the prudence of a guarantee of various wheel formulas.
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Old 01-23-14, 05:02 PM
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https://www.peterwhitecycles.com/Wheels.asp

https://www.peterwhitecycles.com/tandemparts.asp
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Old 01-23-14, 08:06 PM
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Just guessing you inadvertently posted in the Touring forum by accident as the Tandem forum is right above.
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Old 01-23-14, 09:14 PM
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Yes, Lee, I did think I was posting to tandem forum.

I think I'd give the 32-spoke wheel a (ahem) spin, but probably not gonna try the 28 rear. Just have the things, and no bike to use them on- I have a 32-spoke set for my road bike as my training/everyday wheels, and a high-tech, low-spoke count, direct pull hub set for when I really want to pretend I can go fast, and Diane is not interested in riding a half-bike- so these are just collecting dust. I might sell them on Craigslist, but they are probably not going to bring enough money to make them worth the trouble.

Thanks. I don't seem to have the authority here to close my own threads, so I guess it stays open- but I have enough feedback already to make my decision, so no need to respond further, unless you want to.
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Old 01-26-14, 03:31 PM
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If its not worth selling them, donate them to a local bike co-op if there is one in your area.
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Old 01-31-14, 03:40 PM
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I will use a 40 spoke 700c wheel set for loaded tandem touring this season and I would not feel comfortable on any fewer spokes. I'll use the widest tires I can fit on my Cannondale Road Tandem, probably about 45 mm. We will travel on some mixed surfaces, not all smooth pavement. We will be approaching 400 pounds loaded so we are a heavy team.
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