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Bike Myths We Wish Would Die

5355 Views 58 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  velodog
I'll go first:

1) Bike tires need to have directional treads to prevent hydroplaning.

2) When building a wheel, the greater the spoke tension, the stronger and stiffer the wheel.

3) A stiffer rim will give you a stiffer wheel.

4) Bicycle wheels need to be balanced to within precise limits, less than the weight of valves.

5) Rotational mass will slow you down much more than static mass.

6) Aluminum doesn't corrode.

7) Carbon fiber is more prone to catastrophic failure than other materials.
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I agree with all except maybe number 2. Years ago, when I first started building wheels, I assumed greater tension would make a stiffer wheel, but I was informed by others it would not, and even Jobst Brandts' book stuff it would not.

Then, recently, I had an employee ask me to tighten the tension on his rear wheel on his mountain bike because it wasn't stiff enough and was flexing enough to rub the chainstay under hard cornering. I checked the wheel, and it was already at decent tension (like over 100 kgf), and told him adding tension wouldn't help the issue, but I added tension, anyway, up to close to 120 kgf. Well, that did indeed make the wheel stiffer such that it didn't flex enough for the tire to rub the stay.

So unless someone can explain that better, I'm now under the opinion that more tension CAN make a stiffer wheel, since actual experience has proven it.

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It obviously depends on what type of stiffness you're talking about. If it's lateral then yes, more tension will keep the rim from moving side to side as much. Most people use 'stiffness' as a descriptor of vertical compliance or flex and that really won't change.

I never do. You can't change it if the DS is at the specified tension and the rim is centered.
Ah, that makes sense, and correlates to what I experienced.

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Are you saying you increased the DS tension from 100 to 120kgF? If your DS was only 100kgF, then more than likely your NDS tension was not sufficient - especially on an 11-speed freehub. Always check NDS tensions. Anything 50kgF or above on the NDS is sufficient.
Single speed wheel, so although the NDS may have been a little lower, it wasn't much (i didn't actually measure the NDS, but it certainly felt close to the DS, certainly not half or less.

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