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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I notice yesterday while truing my rear wheel some stress cracks starting to form around the spoke nipples. This is 5th rim in about 6 years that had this same issue, all at or around 1year an about 2000 to 2500 miles.

The 1st one was a Rol Volant 24 spoke 2x, the 2nd one was a 28 spoke 2x Rol Volant(a replacement by Rol). The 3rd was a Klinin 270 Rim 28 spoke that I built(my first attempt at wheel building) with the 28 spoke hub off of the 2nd Rol wheel. The fourth was a Pacenti Sl 23 32 spoke 3x that I built using a BHS hub, I also used nipple washers. The filth wheel is a DT Swiss 440 OC rim single eyelet with a DT 350 hub that I bought from Excel Sports.

The 1st an 2nd wheel were probably to low of a spoke count for my size. The 3rd an 4th wheel could possibly be because my wheel building skills are not real good.

Now a little about me I'm a 57 year old male 6'2" that avg's around 210 to 230 in weight depending on the time of year, I ride about 2 to 3 times a week on average during warm weather, an when I can on weekends during winter, an average about 3500-3700 miles a year give or take a little. Where I lived and ride is mostly hills and small mountains, The guys I ride with once during the week and weekend is usually a all out slobber fest.

So I need advice either how to build a better longer lasting wheel, or wheel builder that not really expensive.
 

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I notice yesterday while truing my rear wheel some stress cracks starting to form around the spoke nipples. This is 5th rim in about 6 years that had this same issue, all at or around 1year an about 2000 to 2500 miles.

The 1st one was a Rol Volant 24 spoke 2x, the 2nd one was a 28 spoke 2x Rol Volant(a replacement by Rol). The 3rd was a Klinin 270 Rim 28 spoke that I built(my first attempt at wheel building) with the 28 spoke hub off of the 2nd Rol wheel. The fourth was a Pacenti Sl 23 32 spoke 3x that I built using a BHS hub, I also used nipple washers. The filth wheel is a DT Swiss 440 OC rim single eyelet with a DT 350 hub that I bought from Excel Sports.

The 1st an 2nd wheel were probably to low of a spoke count for my size. The 3rd an 4th wheel could possibly be because my wheel building skills are not real good.

Now a little about me I'm a 57 year old male 6'2" that avg's around 210 to 230 in weight depending on the time of year, I ride about 2 to 3 times a week on average during warm weather, an when I can on weekends during winter, an average about 3500-3700 miles a year give or take a little. Where I lived and ride is mostly hills and small mountains, The guys I ride with once during the week and weekend is usually a all out slobber fest.

So I need advice either how to build a better longer lasting wheel, or wheel builder that not really expensive.
One can say without fear of contradiction that rim cracks at the nipple are due to too much spoke tension. That may be because the rim is insufficient for the task or the spoke count is too low or you put the wheel under higher tension than needed. So, if the wheel held up well except for the rim cracking, then maybe you put in more tension than necessary. If the wheel had problems staying true or the NDS spokes were insufficiently tensioned (typically causing breakage) then you need more spokes or a stronger rim. That means a heavier wheel, and that is the price you pay for durability.
 

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I notice yesterday while truing my rear wheel some stress cracks starting to form around the spoke nipples. This is 5th rim in about 6 years that had this same issue, all at or around 1year an about 2000 to 2500 miles.

The 1st one was a Rol Volant 24 spoke 2x, the 2nd one was a 28 spoke 2x Rol Volant(a replacement by Rol). The 3rd was a Klinin 270 Rim 28 spoke that I built(my first attempt at wheel building) with the 28 spoke hub off of the 2nd Rol wheel. The fourth was a Pacenti Sl 23 32 spoke 3x that I built using a BHS hub, I also used nipple washers. The filth wheel is a DT Swiss 440 OC rim single eyelet with a DT 350 hub that I bought from Excel Sports.

The 1st an 2nd wheel were probably to low of a spoke count for my size. The 3rd an 4th wheel could possibly be because my wheel building skills are not real good.

Now a little about me I'm a 57 year old male 6'2" that avg's around 210 to 230 in weight depending on the time of year, I ride about 2 to 3 times a week on average during warm weather, an when I can on weekends during winter, an average about 3500-3700 miles a year give or take a little. Where I lived and ride is mostly hills and small mountains, The guys I ride with once during the week and weekend is usually a all out slobber fest.

So I need advice either how to build a better longer lasting wheel, or wheel builder that not really expensive.
Try an experiment. Get yourself a set of HED C2 or H+Son Archetype, 32/32 or 32/28, Ultegra 6800 or Durace 9000, Sapim Race or Force spokes and brass nipples. Lace them 3x for the 32h and 2x for the 28 at a DS tension of about 125-130 kgf and go riding. I think you will put more than 2500 miles on these wheels without any issues. Get away from the extra low weight rims and stay around the 480 grams mark for up to a mid-depth 622x17c rim if you are concerned about wheel longevity and durability. It has been my experience that such rim adequately balances performance with durability under most typical circumstances for a rider in your weight range.

Edit to add: Regarding advise on how to build better wheels, get yourself a copy of Musson's ebook on Wheelbuilding and follow the instructions.
 

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One can say without fear of contradiction that rim cracks at the nipple are due to too much spoke tension. That may be because the rim is insufficient for the task or the spoke count is too low or you put the wheel under higher tension than needed. So, if the wheel held up well except for the rim cracking, then maybe you put in more tension than necessary. If the wheel had problems staying true or the NDS spokes were insufficiently tensioned (typically causing breakage) then you need more spokes or a stronger rim. That means a heavier wheel, and that is the price you pay for durability.
I gotta agree with Kerry on all counts.

I see Velocity makes rims specifically for heavy riders. Might be worth trying one of those. If riding rims labeled "Clydesdale-specific" is too embarrassing, I'd recommend their 'cross/gravel A23 O/C. I'm a big fan of off-center rear rims because they'll distribute torque loads more evenly among the rear spokes.

I'm definitely surprised you've broken so many rims under so few miles; I find it hard to believe they were ALL over-tensioned since they were built by different people/companies, but that's the only conclusion that's plausible. So I have to agree that the next wheel needs to be built with less tension.

Tighter is not necessarily better.

Keep us advised if your next wheel suffers the same fate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
One can say without fear of contradiction that rim cracks at the nipple are due to too much spoke tension. That may be because the rim is insufficient for the task or the spoke count is too low or you put the wheel under higher tension than needed. So, if the wheel held up well except for the rim cracking, then maybe you put in more tension than necessary. If the wheel had problems staying true or the NDS spokes were insufficiently tensioned (typically causing breakage) then you need more spokes or a stronger rim. That means a heavier wheel, and that is the price you pay for durability.
A followup to your post about spoke tension, I took my Park Tool Tension Meter(Cant say if the tension meter is accurate or not) and check all the spokes on the Dt Swiss 440 OC 3x Rim 32 spoke wheel, the spokes are Dt Swiss Comp's, Mine measure 2.0-1.7-2.0, according to the Park Tool gauge checker supply with tension chart. The tensions are going clockwise from the DS.

DS (20.5-22-21-22.5-21.5-20.5-22-21-22-22.5-20.5-22-21-20-22.5-22)
NDS (19-17-17.5-18-15-19-18-16-19-14-19-18-14-21-17.5-14)

Now according to the tension chart provided by Park T, A 1.7 spoke dia. at 20=1110,21=1220,22=1370 kps, A 1.8 spoke at 20=940,21=1050,22=1117,23=1310 kps.

So if the tension gauge is close to being accurate, what can we conclude from this.
 

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Hi. I'm Dan and I am a recovering wheel destroyer.

When I was young, I used to go through wheels like there was no tomorrow. I could destroy the then standard 36 spoke rear wheel in a couple months, which in all fairness was about 2000 miles.

And I have always been on the big side. When I was doing 250 miles a week I was around 230-240 lbs and I could easily put 1000 lbs on the leg press machine. I lived in SoCal, and one day a week I would ride at least a 1000 foot climb, often much more.

But then I found the strength to stop breaking wheels. Part of it was by changing my rear wheel. I had a Rigida alloy rim laced to a 40 spoke hub, and it lasted for over 40K miles.

The other part of the equation was to change my cadence. I started spinning around 90-100 rpm. I am convinced that both of these changes ( heavier wheels and faster spin rate) combined to eliminate my wheel breakage issues.

The short story: big, strong riders need to have heavier wheels, built by a competent wheel builder. They also need to be kind to the wheels they ride.

My current wheels use DT Swiss TK 540 rims laced 3X to Hope RS Mono 130mm hubs with DT Swiss Competition spokes and brass nipples. They were built up by Larry at Great Northern Bicycles in Fargo ND.

They have 3 years on them, which is about 10K miles. They should last for quite a few years, particularly since I have been putting about 1/3rd of my summer miles on the tandem and I switch over to a MTB ( WTB Asym i35, Hope hubs, and DT Swiss spokes, built by Larry) for my winter ride.
 

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One can say without fear of contradiction that rim cracks at the nipple are due to too much spoke tension. That may be because the rim is insufficient for the task or the spoke count is too low or you put the wheel under higher tension than needed. So, if the wheel held up well except for the rim cracking, then maybe you put in more tension than necessary. If the wheel had problems staying true or the NDS spokes were insufficiently tensioned (typically causing breakage) then you need more spokes or a stronger rim. That means a heavier wheel, and that is the price you pay for durability.
I am not a expert wheel builder but my read of Brandt's book is that rim cracks are caused by dynamic loads which are accentuated by the riders weight. Eventually the rim hole fatigues from all the tensioning/detensioning cycles and cracks.

To the OP, the answer seems super simple. Heavier rims with more spokes are more durable
 

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DT Swiss lists 1200 N as the maximum spoke tension for the RR 440 rims. You are certainly at or above the max tension on some of your spokes. And this is one where Mae West was wrong: too much of a good thing is NOT better.
 

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Another possible solution is to turn away from today's high asymmetric rear hubs and go with 7speed HG hubs (Shimano only, of course).
They are sometimes still available on ebay.

Put a longer axle in, add a spacer on the left side and you have a 130mm rear hub with well reduced asymmetry.
Of course, you have to loose one or two sprockets depending on frame clearance, but better load distribution is well worth it in my thinking.

To the same intent I mounted 7speed free hub bodies to 9/10speed hubs.
 

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I think DangerousDan has some very useful, first person insight into Ventura Roubaix's problem.

I've known some cyclists who have a very powerful downstroke, one you can see while riding behind them and feel as their speed changes aren't very smooth.

From the tension numbers listed listed by R.V., I don't see anything unusual, particularly since the wheel has been ridden considerably. I'd say the numbers are well within variation among each side separately. There's not much you can do about left/right variations because of dishing. True; the numbers on the drive side can be high, but while I use a tension meter I don't shoot for a specific number but for feel.

I'd also suggest the R.V. consider wider tires. While bumps are likely less of a contributor to his wheel problems than DangerousDan's explanations which are likely spot-on, it couldn't hurt to add some absorption to reduce tension losses from bumps.
 

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I should be a wheel destroyer but I've only cracked two rims from usage. I had a Pacenti SL23 V1 crack but I don't count it.

I've been as heavy as 260 coming off back surgery and I'm currently 220 at 6'2". With the exception of a set of Zondas and old Cosmic Carbones, all of my wheels are 3X32 with rims like Easton R90 SL, Excellence, Velocity Deep V, and CPX 33's. They were all handbuilt (by professionals) and I never touch them with a spoke wrench unless they are noticeably out of true and that is rare. I know people who "destroy" wheels and they're all "choppy" riders or guys who run over stuff.

The toughest wheels I've owned are the Campagnolo Zondas which can be had with a shimano freehub. I've had mine for 8 years and I've adjusted the rear hub a few times (cup and cone hub) and that's it. A trueing wrench has never touched them. Fulcrum Racing 3's are the equivalent and easier to find in shimano.
 

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All the hills are contributing the most to your spoke hole cracks. Climbing requires a lot of torque. Note, you can produce the most torque in the lowest gears because you can increase your cadence, but at a given speed the torque at the rear wheel is the same regardless of gear ratio.

The Velocity Chukker is heavy rim that is relatively wide and has a very thick spoke bed. It is commonly used for Tandems and is a great choice for your needs.
 

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Another possible solution is to turn away from today's high asymmetric rear hubs and go with 7speed HG hubs (Shimano only, of course).
They are sometimes still available on ebay.
A better solution that doesn't require scavenging old stock on the web is to use asymmetric rims. A few companies make them and they greatly improve the balance of spoke tension for rear wheels. The only reason they aren't standard is that it doubles the inventory requirements for rim manufacturers.
 

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Rim offset is about 3mm, I get 4-5mm (combining them would be cool).

The thread starter had no luck with a DT Swiss 440 OC rim.

I can't think of an offset rim with a thick nipple seat and sufficient height.
It seems there is only the flimsy stuff (Pacenti, Ryde Pulse...).
 

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I should be a wheel destroyer but I've only cracked two rims from usage. I had a Pacenti SL23 V1 crack but I don't count it.

I've been as heavy as 260 coming off back surgery and I'm currently 220 at 6'2". With the exception of a set of Zondas and old Cosmic Carbones, all of my wheels are 3X32 with rims like Easton R90 SL, Excellence, Velocity Deep V, and CPX 33's. They were all handbuilt (by professionals) and I never touch them with a spoke wrench unless they are noticeably out of true and that is rare. I know people who "destroy" wheels and they're all "choppy" riders or guys who run over stuff.

The toughest wheels I've owned are the Campagnolo Zondas which can be had with a shimano freehub. I've had mine for 8 years and I've adjusted the rear hub a few times (cup and cone hub) and that's it. A trueing wrench has never touched them. Fulcrum Racing 3's are the equivalent and easier to find in shimano.
I've cracked a few rear wheels (Ambrosio Balance, Mavic Open pro (twice), Mavic Open 4) over the years. In general it took many thousands of miles to reach that point. I also have a pair on Zondas and have been happy with them so far but I am a bit nervous because I am right at the weight limit
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
All the hills are contributing the most to your spoke hole cracks. Climbing requires a lot of torque. Note, you can produce the most torque in the lowest gears because you can increase your cadence, but at a given speed the torque at the rear wheel is the same regardless of gear ratio.

The Velocity Chukker is heavy rim that is relatively wide and has a very thick spoke bed. It is commonly used for Tandems and is a great choice for your needs.
Thanks Guys, for the reply's, I was just checking to see if what I had happening with the wheels cracking was all that unusual. The thing that I was curious about was that one wheel was a 24 spoke 2x, two were 28 spoke 2x, and two were 32 spoke 3x with one of the 32 spoke having nipple washers, yet they all failed at about the same time and mileage. Yes I do pedal with a lot torque on the climbs and really fast flatter sections, I try to spin with a higher rpm when I can.

I am considering the 32 spoke H+Son Archetype rim since I have two good hubs to use, and am also considering a custom build(If I can afford it) just dont really know who to use.
 

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Thanks Guys, for the reply's, I was just checking to see if what I had happening with the wheels cracking was all that unusual. The thing that I was curious about was that one wheel was a 24 spoke 2x, two were 28 spoke 2x, and two were 32 spoke 3x with one of the 32 spoke having nipple washers, yet they all failed at about the same time and mileage. Yes I do pedal with a lot torque on the climbs and really fast flatter sections, I try to spin with a higher rpm when I can.

I am considering the 32 spoke H+Son Archetype rim since I have two good hubs to use, and am also considering a custom build(If I can afford it) just dont really know who to use.

The Archetype is a good robust rim. That is a good choice and build with 32 spokes. The HED C2 Belgiums are great too, albeit expensive.

One question I have. What are you using to judge spoke tensions? Are you using a tensiometer? If so, are you sure it is calibrated properly? If it has ever been dropped, it will not read accurately. If you have a bike shop you are on good terms with, you could ask to compare readings with theirs. Which holes are you seeing cracks on? If it's always the rear DS, you may be using too much tension.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The Archetype is a good robust rim. That is a good choice and build with 32 spokes. The HED C2 Belgiums are great too, albeit expensive.

One question I have. What are you using to judge spoke tensions? Are you using a tensiometer? If so, are you sure it is calibrated properly? If it has ever been dropped, it will not read accurately. If you have a bike shop you are on good terms with, you could ask to compare readings with theirs. Which holes are you seeing cracks on? If it's always the rear DS, you may be using too much tension.
I am using a Park Tool Tension meter, may have dropped on carpet floor, the nearest bike shop is over a hour away. They might let me compare. All cracks are on DS.
 
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