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Tires and spokes...

Old 09-02-14, 03:03 PM
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Tires and spokes...

What do y'all consider to be the minimum width (x mm) for a touring tire? Road touring, with the occasional dirt road thrown in...

The minimum number of spokes for a touring wheel?

Thanks!
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Old 09-02-14, 03:06 PM
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I wouldn't go below 28 width and 32 spokes for decent roads.
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Old 09-02-14, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by etsisk
What do y'all consider to be the minimum width (x mm) for a touring tire? Road touring, with the occasional dirt road thrown in...

The minimum number of spokes for a touring wheel?

Thanks!
For an expedition level loaded touring bike with a 700C wheel set I'll vote for 36 hole rims with a 32 mm tire.

Brad
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Old 09-02-14, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by bradtx
For an expedition level loaded touring bike with a 700C wheel set I'll vote for 36 hole rims with a 32 mm tire.

Brad
+1
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Old 09-03-14, 03:13 AM
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Originally Posted by etsisk
What do y'all consider to be the minimum width (x mm) for a touring tire? Road touring, with the occasional dirt road thrown in...

The minimum number of spokes for a touring wheel?

Thanks!
It will vary pretty widely with how much you weigh and how much you are carrying. At 195 lbs and with a light load (14 lb) of fairly minimal cooking and camping gear, I rode the Western half of the Southern tier on 23 mm tires and 32 spoke wheels. It was OK, but when I replaced the worn out 23 mm gatorskins with 25 mm ones the annoying buzz on the Texas chip seal was noticeably reduced.

A spoke count of 32 on the back is probably a good place to be. You could go with less on the front if you wanted to. That said, I'd even consider going with my road wheels (24/20) and a very light load, and assuming decent roads and not too much dirt/gravel.

If you are talking about heavy touring and/or really bad roads you might be OK with 32 spokes, but 36 is probably a good idea. Also with heavy loads and bad roads fatter tires are called for, a 28 mm minimum is probably a good idea for that and most folks run 32 mm.

All that assumes 700c wheels. With smaller wheels a few less spokes are required.
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Old 09-03-14, 05:10 AM
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The question is a little like asking what's the maximum rider and gear weight for a touring bike. 150lb rider and 15lbs gear doesn't have the same minimums as 225lb rider and 40bs gear.
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Old 09-03-14, 05:49 AM
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If you are good at trueing a wheel in the field,ie without a stand, you can get away with 32 spokes, but still the risk of breakage is higher .
,
For a heavy load on rough roads, I'd go 36 spokes on the front wheel, and 40 on the rear, if you can find the rims and hubs for that.

The rim is also important. I've seen 32 hole rims without eyelets, where a spoke has pulled through the rim. This can happen on a 36 hole rim, but I haven't seen it.

Has anyone experience with the VO rear touring hub with the slots to replace the drive side spokes? This was used on the Maxi-Car hubs..

Wider tires are more comfortable, and some aren't any slower than narrow tires.
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Old 09-03-14, 06:40 AM
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Another consideration is that a broken spoke on a 32H or less wheel results in more lateral deformation of the rim and a higher risk of additional spoke or even wheel failure than a single broken spoke on a 36+H wheel. Some people tell me I overbuild, but I've taken very few walks of shame and made even fewer calls for SAG (1 to be exact).
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Old 09-03-14, 08:11 AM
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Y'all, this is great! Thanks so much!

I'm 200, though I'll be around 190 for most of the tour. I'll be carrying around 30 pounds, plus water (which shouldn't be that much, considering availability on this route (if I was crossing Nevada on hwy 50, it would be different).

I'll likely be looking for different wheel, then. Any suggestions?
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Old 09-03-14, 08:17 AM
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Hang the minimum , get what you can find easily in shops along the way, when you damage what you have .. 36 spoke 3 cross 14 ga.



building my own wheels in 1990,
I used 35 to 40 wide 700c tires ,,in a 48 spoke rear . 40 spoke front rig ..
47 spare spokes in the rear worked perfectly, when 1 broke.

Now I (210) have 20" wheels 1.75 tires ..Bike Friday, 32 spoke wheels. Smaller wheels are stronger..

the distance around the rim, greater spoke hole frequency is adding to wheel strength
& ease of re truing to compensate for 1 broken spoke until you can replace it.

Last edited by fietsbob; 09-04-14 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 09-03-14, 11:58 AM
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Not all dirt roads are created equal. I did a 25 mile stretch of dirt road in MT last June that had incredible washboards in places and loose sand and dirt in others. And it was not flat. I put on 37c tires because I had ridden the road before. I was glad I did as it was rougher than the first time. They also came in handy descending a wet, rocky, muddy dirt pass later in the trip. If you know your dirt will be tame, 32c should be fine.
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Old 09-03-14, 12:21 PM
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I just counted my spokes - pleased to see that I have 36, front and rear. It's a weinmann rim, kind of old, but no hard knocks that I can recall (I've had them for 26 years!). My tires are 27's, so I'll need to get larger tires, apparently. (I trust y'all's judgment) I'll be getting the wheel tuned - it's been a long time since that's happened. I'll also check and see if the shop at the LBS that I've been using will show me how to do that. I'll need to know how to do that on the road, I think.

Seeing as how I'll need bigger tires, what brand/model tires do y'all like? As far as the wheels I have, I'll be asking some specific questions elsewhere in the forum about them.
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Old 09-03-14, 01:34 PM
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The biggest 27" tire is 27x11/4. Panaracer Paselas are good. I'm sure there are others as well. An old rim? Maybe.
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Old 09-03-14, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by ironwood
The biggest 27" tire is 27x11/4. Panaracer Paselas are good. I'm sure there are others as well. An old rim? Maybe.
so, ok, if the tire says 27x 11/4, then the first number is my wheel size and the second is the tire width - so maybe I DO need to get new wheels prior to the big trip, so as to improve my chances of getting new tires if I need them, while on the road. I guess I had been thinking that I had larger wheels, without really looking at them (all my riding to this point has been recreational/occasional - it's embarrassing but I'd apparently never really looked at the bike prior to this).
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Old 09-03-14, 09:05 PM
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Not so long ago Walmart carried a Bell kevlar road tire for the 27 inch wheel. While 27 stopped being the norm on boutique bikes, it lasted quite a bit longer on America's bikes. In a lot of ways it is a superior choice, and really, you can't get decent touring stuff on the road generally even in big cities, so you are best to take a spare, or make a stash in advance.

bell 27 inch tires - Walmart.com

Talking minimums is tough because the minimums that are possible are so low as to be meaningless. Top builders have made demo wheels with 20 ish spokes and then riders have taken these wheels on the road and given them hell and they survive. Bad idea.

Same thing with narrow tires, you could go really narrow, but it wouldn't be useful. There was some meaning years ago when the theory held that narrow tires rolled better. People would push the edge on a narrow tire in order to improve performance. But the current thinking is that widish tires roll better on road bikes and they certainly tire you out less, and they run in the dirt better.

My personal guidelines are minimum spoke 36 on both 700c or 26", and 35 mm tires. Running 32 on 26" is fine, but since rims that take 36 are cheaply available, why go lower, there isn't a replacement in the field issue with 36 spokes vs 32. Except the 36 is less likely to give issues.
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Old 09-03-14, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by etsisk
Y'all, this is great! Thanks so much!

I'm 200, though I'll be around 190 for most of the tour. I'll be carrying around 30 pounds, plus water (which shouldn't be that much, considering availability on this route (if I was crossing Nevada on hwy 50, it would be different).

I'll likely be looking for different wheel, then. Any suggestions?
If there is any doubt about your existing wheels it'll most likely be the rear wheel. The problem with general questions like yours is that you have a specific set of wheels in mind and whether they are adequate no one can say without looking at them. So you have 26yr old 27" wheels where 1 1/4" is pretty common for touring loads like you describe, spoke number doesn't say whether those specific wheels are up for the job.

consider a rear tire like this

https://www.bikeman.com/TR4885.html

and a front tire like this

https://www.bikeman.com/TR2304.html

Last edited by LeeG; 09-03-14 at 09:34 PM.
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Old 09-04-14, 01:00 PM
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I'd strongly recommend new wheels, or at least new rims.

26 years is quite a long time, and there's two parts to rim brakes: the rim, and the pads. Both wear down. Usually the pads get replaced a number of times before the rim, but the rim does wear, and after 26 years, assuming it didn't spend 25 of those hanging in a garage, the rims are likely quite thin by now. Your bike can almost certainly have the brakes adjusted enough to accomodate a 700c rim (622mm instead of 630mm, so only 4mm lower on the brakes, most adjust enough to cover this). 700c is likely much easier to find tires in, and has a much wider selection.
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Old 09-04-14, 01:38 PM
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if Wally World 27" tires is all you can find always carry a spare .. if the casing fails, you just put a new tire on.

a third tire is not hard to find room for on top of your rear rack . (costlier tires can be found with Kevlar beads, to fold up smaller )

700c rims need the brake pads to come down 4mm to have them hit the brake track on the rim ..

Last edited by fietsbob; 09-04-14 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 09-04-14, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Not all dirt roads are created equal. I did a 25 mile stretch of dirt road in MT last June that had incredible washboards in places and loose sand and dirt in others. And it was not flat. I put on 37c tires because I had ridden the road before. I was glad I did as it was rougher than the first time. They also came in handy descending a wet, rocky, muddy dirt pass later in the trip. If you know your dirt will be tame, 32c should be fine.
My wife and I used 32 mm tires on a fully loaded tour a couple of years ago. Part of our route was over 400 miles of mostly "tame" dirt roads and trails and over 500 miles of cobbles and paver blocks. They were a step up for us from 28 mm tires, and for that trip they were fine. I am still running 32 mm tires, but have switched to a lighter tire than the Schwalbe Marthon. I prefer Continental Gatorskins. They are a good compromise between speed, weight, and durability.




There are still a decent selection of 27 x 11/4 tires available at a lot of bike shops. The 11/4 are equivalent to 32 mm. The problem is that the 11/4 is the most common size.
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Old 09-04-14, 02:41 PM
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thanks, again! Much to think about! The wheel is old, but - sadly - I haven't used it much (being a previously lazy lout). I wouldn't think the rim would be very worn from the braking *I* have done. I don't think the wheels were used prior to being put on a custom bike I bought in 1987.

If a 700 will fit the bike - and apparently it will - then I'll consider new wheels, but these will work for the next few months while I cogitate upon whether I want to re-gear (cassette and crankset) the bike or not. In the meantime I can do some weekend/1-week/2-week trips in NC/VA/SC to find out whether the looong trip I have in mind will work or not. Knees, you know...
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Old 09-04-14, 02:47 PM
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@Doug64, the 1 1/4 tire is what I'm riding on now - it works for the packed pea gravel rails-to-trails paths I've been riding on and tame dirt roads. Haven't tried it on anything more than that, and don't really want to. I have an old specialized mtn bike for that stuff, I reckon.

I see you have the Ortleib handlebar bag in yellow! That will be the next thing I buy! And soon! Bikes look soooo good when packed for a trip! Bicycles, recumbents, motorcycles - doesn't matter. Just two wheels loaded for travelling is all it takes.
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