Author Topic: New bike wheel questions for bikesperts  (Read 1714 times)

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13276
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
New bike wheel questions for bikesperts
« on: June 16, 2016, 11:32:17 AM »
Hey all . . . I've been averaging 200 - 250 km a week this year, and the four year old stock rims on my bike are getting pretty worn.  I've had to replace about three or four spokes each year on the crappy machine built rear wheel and that's getting old.  I figure that it's about time to start looking for/pricing out some new wheels.

I'm about 200 lbs, and use my steel bike for commuting several days a week and long, fast bike rides on the weekend.  My commuting route is pretty badly potholed . . . and while I do my best to bunnyhop and steer around the worst of it, any wheels that I use will take a beating.  Commuting I'm carrying between ten and twenty lbs of stuff most of the time.

So, on to the questions:

- Does it make sense to get a heavier/deeper aluminum rim and use fewer spokes, or to stick with a lighter aluminum rim with more spokes?  Specifically, I've been considering a 28/32 build on something like a Kinlin XR31 or XR279.  Would that be too light, and cause breakage problems or would the stronger rim make it OK?

(The wheels I'm replacing are 36/36 on cheap box section rims on my summer bike.  I've been running 32/36 on my winter bike for several years and break spokes occasionally on the rear, but never on the front.)

- Double Butted spokes (14-15-14) are lighter, and seem to be reinforced in the place that spokes like to break (the J-bend for me).  Is there a disadvantage to using them in a build, other than cost?

- If you build up the same rim with 36 DB spokes vs 32 straight gauge ones, the DB spoke wheel is actually lighter.  Which wheel is stronger?

- I figure that having more stuff spinning around in the air is bound to add some drag, but is there any real noticeable aerodynamic penalty for using more spokes in a wheelset?  (Like 28/32 vs 32/36?)


Thanks!

Rubic

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1058
Re: New bike wheel questions for bikesperts
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2016, 03:02:07 PM »
Since you're commuting on this bike, I would maximize the spoke count and not worry about minimizing the weight.

You could also consider 2 sets of wheels: one for commuting and another for fast rides -- though in my case I've always found the component limiting my speed was the engine. ;-)


GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13276
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: New bike wheel questions for bikesperts
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2016, 03:39:56 PM »
Since you're commuting on this bike, I would maximize the spoke count and not worry about minimizing the weight.

You could also consider 2 sets of wheels: one for commuting and another for fast rides -- though in my case I've always found the component limiting my speed was the engine. ;-)

I'd rather just stick with one wheelset if possible.  I'm sorta hoping that a well built 28/32 wheelset on stronger rims would be more durable than a poorly built 36/36 on box sections.  I get a lot of confusing/conflicting info searching stuff up online though.



Pretty much anything I get will be a huge improvement.  The wheels on my summer bike are really heavy, and not all that well built.

Rubic

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1058
Re: New bike wheel questions for bikesperts
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2016, 07:27:43 PM »
Since you're commuting on this bike, I would maximize the spoke count and not worry about minimizing the weight.

You could also consider 2 sets of wheels: one for commuting and another for fast rides -- though in my case I've always found the component limiting my speed was the engine. ;-)

I'd rather just stick with one wheelset if possible.  I'm sorta hoping that a well built 28/32 wheelset on stronger rims would be more durable than a poorly built 36/36 on box sections.  I get a lot of confusing/conflicting info searching stuff up online though.

Pretty much anything I get will be a huge improvement.  The wheels on my summer bike are really heavy, and not all that well built.

(Bold emphasis above, mine).

Therein lies our problem.  I've only built one wheel (for learning purposes) and quickly realized I'd never get to the level that someone who'd made their living at building 10K+ wheels(*).  There must be a competent wheel builder in Ontario, yes?



* I was once in France and an older mechanic quickly adjusted a wheel by plucking the spokes with his fingers and listening to the tones.

kendallf

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1024
  • Age: 52
  • Location: Jacksonville, FL
Re: New bike wheel questions for bikesperts
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2016, 09:40:26 PM »
Since you're commuting on this bike, I would maximize the spoke count and not worry about minimizing the weight.

You could also consider 2 sets of wheels: one for commuting and another for fast rides -- though in my case I've always found the component limiting my speed was the engine. ;-)

I'd rather just stick with one wheelset if possible.  I'm sorta hoping that a well built 28/32 wheelset on stronger rims would be more durable than a poorly built 36/36 on box sections.  I get a lot of confusing/conflicting info searching stuff up online though.



Pretty much anything I get will be a huge improvement.  The wheels on my summer bike are really heavy, and not all that well built.

My travel wheelset for years were built with those Kinlin rims (the 270s, 24/20 spokes if I remember correctly).  The only time I ever broke a spoke on them was when the TSA must've gotten a gorilla to stomp on my travel case and bent several. 

In general, I don't think I've broken a spoke in years; I'm 215+ lbs right now and ride a variety of bikes and wheels over some fairly crappy roads.  I built perhaps half of the wheelsets I ride, and the key for me to keep them from breakage is to regularly check spoke tension and true them.  I'm not anal retentive about it, I just make sure that all spokes meet a minimum tension measured with the tensiometer, and that they're not out of true enough to rub the brakes.

abiteveryday

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 130
  • Location: Seattle
Re: New bike wheel questions for bikesperts
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2016, 10:02:55 PM »
I've ridden the hell out of a set of wheels, 36 spoke DB laced to boring old Sun CR-18 rims.    Solid, never even need truing.    Just my anecdote, but I guess I don't really see the downside of that option.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13276
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: New bike wheel questions for bikesperts
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2016, 05:47:27 AM »
Since you're commuting on this bike, I would maximize the spoke count and not worry about minimizing the weight.

You could also consider 2 sets of wheels: one for commuting and another for fast rides -- though in my case I've always found the component limiting my speed was the engine. ;-)

I'd rather just stick with one wheelset if possible.  I'm sorta hoping that a well built 28/32 wheelset on stronger rims would be more durable than a poorly built 36/36 on box sections.  I get a lot of confusing/conflicting info searching stuff up online though.



Pretty much anything I get will be a huge improvement.  The wheels on my summer bike are really heavy, and not all that well built.

My travel wheelset for years were built with those Kinlin rims (the 270s, 24/20 spokes if I remember correctly).  The only time I ever broke a spoke on them was when the TSA must've gotten a gorilla to stomp on my travel case and bent several. 

In general, I don't think I've broken a spoke in years; I'm 215+ lbs right now and ride a variety of bikes and wheels over some fairly crappy roads.  I built perhaps half of the wheelsets I ride, and the key for me to keep them from breakage is to regularly check spoke tension and true them.  I'm not anal retentive about it, I just make sure that all spokes meet a minimum tension measured with the tensiometer, and that they're not out of true enough to rub the brakes.

That gives me some hope that 28/32 if built properly would be solid enough.

I've been kicking around the idea of getting a tensionometer for a while.  Right now I go over my wheels every couple weeks and just try to get the lateral truing as good as it can be, checking via brake position in the frame.  The problem is that the wheelset on my summer bike has never been equal tension.  The spokes all ring out different pitches when plucked.

I figure if I get a properly built wheelset to start with, doing the lateral truing would probably be enough to keep everything tensioned properly.  Do you think that would work, or is it still worth getting a tensionometer to make sure?



I've ridden the hell out of a set of wheels, 36 spoke DB laced to boring old Sun CR-18 rims.    Solid, never even need truing.    Just my anecdote, but I guess I don't really see the downside of that option.

My winter bike uses a 36 spoke CR-18 with straight gauge spokes as the rear wheel.  It is machine built as well, but seems to have been better built than the wheelset on my touring bike.  It still needs to be trued every month or so in the winter, but the tension is more even and I think it's only broken a single spoke in three years (my winter wheels take much more of a beating . . . I'm wearing a lot of heavy clothing, I'm cycling in the middle of the night / in snow often so I hit a lot more potholes).  There's no need at all for 36 spokes on a front wheel . . . I've used a 32 spoke front wheel on my winter bike for four years, and it rarely goes out of true and has never given me problems with spokes.

I'm sure that getting 36 spoke CR-18s would be durable, but I also want something that's as light/aerodynamic/fun to ride as possible for the weekly 100 - 150 km rides in the summer.