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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
While my current rear wheel is back at the builder for assessment and repair after popping a bunch of spokes, I am contemplating what a zero-compromise wheel might look like. (The 70F February days are just killing me, and making me realize how eventually having a spare wheel might be a good idea.) As much as I would like to think that it is someone else's fault the wheel is back in the shop, the sad reality is I am probably just too fat and hard on the bike for the rear wheel I have now, so keeping the repaired wheel as a spare and getting something more robust might be a less than gratuitous investment.

Current wheel: Chris King "Alloy Ride Disc", R45 Disc 28 hole rear hub (red), fits 6-bolt shimano disc, Ultegra 6800 11-speed cassette. HED Belgium Plus Disc alloy clincher rims. I ride primarily with 35 mm Xplor USH tires; I have 40mm on at the moment for winter conditions. Sapim CX Ray spokes (2X). More details on the wheels at the above link.

Moi: Rounding up, I am embarrassingly close to 200lbs clothed. Although I am losing weight, I think it is extremely unlikely I will be under 180 any time soon. I do a lot of off-road riding on very rough rocky fire roads. I'm working on building up strength after a 3 year old injury and am now standing up and hammering on the pedals much more on steep uphills than I used to. Almost all my riding (both on and off road) involves climbing (ave ride > 105 ft/mi closed loop); I live in the Santa Cruz mountains. I am hard on the bike. (This isn't the first wheel I trashed.) The bike is a custom steel frame (see link in sig line). I don't ride for speed, and I usually ride alone or with people who are even slower than I am, so I don't need anything particularly aero or weight-weenie, but don't want to be totally dragged down with a ball and chain. Getting up a 10% grade is still a challenge (which I can meet just by hammering); even a short 15% grade puts me near my limit unless I stand on the bike.

So what would you kind folks suggest?

I worry that 28 spokes might be too few. CK has the same hub with 32 spokes. That's 1.14 times as many spokes, which doesn't sound like an improvement significant enough to warrant getting another wheel, but if those spokes were also more robust, maybe that would be enough? Phil Wood makes a touring hub with 40 spokes, and I think one with even more. Would this offer a significant improvement? What else, or what alternatives, would you suggest?

I honestly don't think I am currently up for the job of building this. I would rather have something that just works, and learn wheel maintenance and maybe building on a wheel for a less crucial bike (like my old Bianchi). Given that, I am open to any and all suggestions for someone who would be willing to do it well. (I live in Santa Cruz, near the SF bay area).
 

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40 spokes would be way overkill. I ride a wheel set that I built myself with SON Archtype rims at 32/36. I used Sapim Race spokes. I am 265 lbs. and stand on hills. Definitely hard on wheel. It is more about the quality of the build than the amount of spokes. You can do it yourself. You have the advantage of taking as much time as needed to get it perfect. Read Mike T's website and you will learn all you need to do it right.
it is also a great sense of accomplishment riding a wheel that you built yourself.
 

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Bit time over reaction and overthinking here.

While 28 might not be ideal for a 200 pounder; especially with such big tires which absorb the shock and your riding slow and casual, there's no reason 28 wouldn't be okay other than the build sucks.

Then again 40 spoke won't hurt you so whatever go for it.
 

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I'm 210lbs and have been on a 28h rear for about 3 or 4 years now without a single issue. I put the wheel in the truing stand once a year to check but never actually make any adjustments. HED C2 rim on a 1st gen White Ind T11, the one that had 'poor' DS spacing, though it seems to work for me.
On my disc CX bike I am running 28h F&R on my do-it-all wheelset and 32h F&R on my trail riding set. Both have held up well since built a year ago, again zero truing since built. BTW, all three sets were built with Sapim spokes, a mix of Laser and Race.
I like to think that I 'ride light' but I know I hit my share of rough spots in the road too. Oh, and I have a 'race' set of CLX40 Rovals that are 18h/24h and they spend WAY more time on the bike than they 4 or 5 races I enter each year.
In my experience, when built properly the number of spokes hasn't ever led to spoke breakage. I've run as low as 24h rear wheels that lasted me for years, what gave on them was the rim. Eventually they would start to crack around the nipples, but never a broken spoke on a good quality, well built wheel that I didn't ruin on a pothole.
So what I'm getting at is that from a guy that weighs more than you, don't worry about 'only' having 28 spokes out back. You're on high quality parts, so the only part of the equation that can cause you problems is either the builder or the rider, both are controllable.
No doubt, a spare set of wheels is a great idea and I have spares for all my bikes, but it's not because I'm worried about random failures. My spares are more purpose oriented for different riding conditions, and only serve as a true backup for something severe, like after a crash where damage occurs.
 

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Get the exact same hub except in 32 or 36H, doesn't matter. You want the same hub so when switching wheels, you don't have to worry about adjusting your derailleur for slight changes in cassette or disc position.

You can use 14ga. double butted ROUND spokes or straight gauge 14 or 15's. Build the wheel 3x.

Get an off-center rear rim such as the Velocity Aerohead O/C or the DT R440 Asymmetric. Off-center rims will significantly enhance wheel life because it will reduce left-right differences in spoke tension. This is the biggest factor affecting your wheel problems, considering your weight.

Continue to use whatever tires you use. I think your tires are wide enough to absorb much of the road shocks and bumps which might damage your wheels even at your body weight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Bit time over reaction and overthinking here.

While 28 might not be ideal for a 200 pounder; especially with such big tires which absorb the shock and your riding slow and casual, there's no reason 28 wouldn't be okay other than the build sucks.

Then again 40 spoke won't hurt you so whatever go for it.
Chris King built the wheel, and it was fine for 19 months until I started increasing the stress. Although I can't rule out that the build sucks, I have to consider other explanations. Having trashed a wheel and cracked a steel frame 25 years ago when I was 20 lbs lighter, I have to recognize that it could also be me.
 

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This is what you need -

Hub of choice.
Rim - 32h will be fine and 36h would be fine too but a bit of overkill. A rim in the 460 - 500 gram range would be good.
Spokes - Sapim Race or DT Comp.
Nipples - brass.
Crossings - 3x.

Just as important as the parts (or more so) is the build quality - which even you can do if you follow all the rules.
 

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@wgscott

As we discussed at the previous thread what you allready have is not insufficient for your weight. Recognize also that by running the wide tires (35s and 40s) at lower pressures you said you do, you subject the wheel to even less stress which is a good thing.

Now, if you want to purchase another set for back up or simply for just having another set, nothing wrong with beefing up the number of spokes to 32 if it is going to make you feel better. However stay with the same type of rim as before (wide, mid-depth, no less than 470 grams).

Double butted 14/15 ga. spokes is a smart choice for both cost savings and better performance.

The comment made by another poster to keep the same hub make for ease of alternating wheels without adjustments is a good point BUT the wheels also need the same dish (off center spacing) to make this work.

Regarding your request for suggestions on wheelbuilders: We have a few that frequent this forum and I know at least one of them has read and responded to your previous post. I would trust any of them to build my custom wheels. White Mountain Wheels (Ron Ruff) is in the West Coast, Ergott (Eric G.) and November Dave are in the East Coast. I'm sure there others that could do a comparable job as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Sorry, I really didn't mean to come off as disregarding previous advice. I do worry about being too heavy for the wheels, and it was also one of the primary reasons why I got the steel frame (technically I'm not too fat for carbon, but I do think I also push the envelope in terms of how hard I ride the thing).

I'm really trying very hard not to steal my wife's wheel at the moment, as riding the bike is a close second only with respect to riding ... anyway, I'm impatient, and just curious about what changes would offer a significant improvement.

Again, I really appreciate the advice (in the prior thread as well as this one).

The only wheel builder I have dealt with in the past was Peter White in New Hampshire. It was memorable.

Thanks for the link to the White Mtn Wheels website. (New Mexico isn't very close to the West Coast, BTW.) This bit seemed interesting to me:

the highest torque loads possible occur when a rider stomps with high force while in a low gear... for instance sprinting up a very steep hill in a 34/27. In this case the load on the spokes can be high enough to cause problems
This is exactly what I am starting to do now to push the final stages of ankle recovery, and is when this all started.
 

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Get in touch with Ron Ruff @ White Mountain Wheels. I have wheels from him that are going on 9 years old and still run true. He can build what you need. I was a customer of his before I started building my own wheels.
 

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@wgscott

In reference to the quote from Ron Ruff's website and your belief that you feel this is what is happening to you, I would venture to caution you that you are taking what Ron is saying out of context.
He is referring to a low spoke rear wheel (20 spokes to be exact) and one that that has radial lacing on the drive side. He is making a case against some factory made wheels that use that lacing pattern.
Your HED is laced with 28 spokes, x2 on both sides. It has absolutely nothing in common with the type of wheel Ron is talking about and rest assured you are not stressing the spokes to the point of breaking by getting off the saddle to pedal.


P.S. You are absolutely right. My intention was to indicate that WMW is located on the "other side" of the country.
 

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I'd loan you a wheel if I had a disc one.

32h with a sturdy rim should be fine. Look for a hub with as wide a DS flange spacing as possible given the constraints of 11sp spacing, and fairly wide NDS flange spacing. Wider flange spacing makes for a wheels that has more lateral stiffness. Most people rock the bike side to side when out of the saddle on steep pitches. Even if they keep the bike upright they're putting side forces into it. A laterally flexy wheel can have the NDS spokes go slack, flex the elbows and eventually break them.


Wide DS flange spacing is always good. It not only makes a stiffer wheel, it makes the DS/NDS tension differential smaller. Some hub makers who wern't doing it have figured this out in the last few years. Wider NDS flange spacing increases lateral stiffness but also increases tension differential. That limits NDS tension and can cause slackness and elbow breaking, so it's a balance. Shimano hubs have good flange spacing on both sides.

I've swapped hubs back and forth a lot and rarely have to adjust the derailleur when doing it. If I do it's not difficult. I'm not so sure about discs though. Slightly different dish won't be an issue with discs. Even with rim brakes it's easy to adjust the brake to match.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
@wgscott

In reference to the quote from Ron Ruff's website and your belief that you feel this is what is happening to you, I would venture to caution you that you are taking what Ron is saying out of context.
He is referring to a low spoke rear wheel (20 spokes to be exact) and one that that has radial lacing on the drive side. He is making a case against some factory made wheels that use that lacing pattern.
Your HED is laced with 28 spokes, x2 on both sides. It has absolutely nothing in common with the type of wheel Ron is talking about and rest assured you are not stressing the spokes to the point of breaking by getting off the saddle to pedal.


P.S. You are absolutely right. My intention was to indicate that WMW is located on the "other side" of the country.

Thanks. He confirmed what you said (and that the wheel I have should be more than adequate). Extremely nice helpful guy, and got back to me immediately.

I guess I need to just STFU and wait patiently to hear what Chris King says, and try to learn to enjoy mountain biking again meanwhile. (I took the 28 year old Bianchi out for a ride yesterday, and confirmed via counter-example) that I really do like hydraulic disc brakes ...
 

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I'm glad you are sorting things out. Let us know how it turns out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I decided to go full carbon, including the spokes.
 

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Get the exact same hub except in 32 or 36H, doesn't matter. You want the same hub so when switching wheels, you don't have to worry about adjusting your derailleur for slight changes in cassette or disc position.

You can use 14ga. double butted ROUND spokes or straight gauge 14 or 15's. Build the wheel 3x.

Get an off-center rear rim such as the Velocity Aerohead O/C or the DT R440 Asymmetric. Off-center rims will significantly enhance wheel life because it will reduce left-right differences in spoke tension. This is the biggest factor affecting your wheel problems, considering your weight.

Continue to use whatever tires you use. I think your tires are wide enough to absorb much of the road shocks and bumps which might damage your wheels even at your body weight.
After the problems w/ had w/ Aeroheads and A23s I will never build another wheel w/ Velocity rims. The A-head is too narrow, wayyyyy too narrow. The A23 isn't a bad design but the way those rims crack around the inner spoke holes, I'd avoid them like the plague. I can't count how many we had them warranty and I rebuilt...that's one of the reasons we now use the HED Belgium+. Not a single problem w/ one yet.
 

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I weigh more than you, granted not much, on average I am 210 and run similar wheels to you without issue, have been for about 4 years. They are Velocity A23's (last of the Aussie made rims) with CK R45's and 28 spokes front and rear 2x's. Granted they were built by somebody that new me and I had ridden with on occasion so he new my riding style. I also don't ride them off road much maybe less than 5% of the time. I don't know how much communication you had with CK when you bought your wheels, assuming you ordered from them, but CK not knowing the full intention of how the wheels will be used or how the rider rides can play a big part in the build. Nothing against CK, in fact I am a huge supporter of the company and he is a extremely nice guy, actually everybody that works there is. But they have only been building wheels for a short time and I don't know how much experience the wheel builder has, I have met and talked to him a few times, but he is relatively new at the company. I guess my point is it may not be any one thing causing you to have issues, it sounds like there could be several factors involved.

If you are still looking for a second set of wheels I would check out Nigel at Snohomish Bicycles Snohomish Bicycles , please dont hold it against them that they now sell Trek. They aren't in your back yard but they are on the west coast, 20 miles NE of Seattle. He just built a set of wheels for a friend of mine who like you is hard on wheels and tends to break spokes, he is also 6'3" and about 245lb's. My friend has only had these wheels for about a year and don't think puts the mileage in that you do, but what he does ride is hard mileage, and so far so good.

I know you have had lots of good advice from the others above especially those like Mike T. who have much more wheel building experience than me, but as a fellow clyde I have found you need to let the wheel builder know exactly how you expect to use the wheels so they can be built accordingly.

SS-
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
You're pulling our collective legs right? Usually people that settle on your wheel choice aren't in your demographic and certainly don't need our advice on anything.
Yeah, sorry. I thought it was obvious...
 
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