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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm returning to road bikes after a 15 year break. I have noticed that many of the bikes now have low spoke count wheels. I was looking a a pair of new wheels from Performnce, but the 16 front / 10 rear bladed spokes do not look like they will hold up.

I'm concerned that such wheels are too fragile for me. I weigh about 190 lbs. I will be running 25c wide tires. I ride for fitness, on roads that range from good to moderate. Should I stick to conventional 32 spoked wheels?
 

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hi, I'm Larry
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Yes, stick with 32

The majority of low spoke count wheels are just marketing hype. Now if you are a competative racer some of the high end low spoke count wheels do offer a slight competative advantage but I doubt if the performance wheels fall into that category.

The 32 spoke wheels can be repaired with common parts locally. If you break a spoke you can still get back home. And most importantly, if you break a spoke the wheel is less likely to taco and self destruct sending you flying over the handlebars like superman into God know what.

I train and ride my 32 spoke wheels 99% of the time. I save my low spoke count wheels for racing only.

Check out the pictures of Lance and other contenders during training rides and see what wheels they are using (32 spoke wheels)
 

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Yeah--at least 32, and maybe bigger tires, too

There are several reasons to stick with 32-spoke, more or less conventional (3-cross) wheels. Bimini's covered most of them. I'm a little heavier than you are, but two guys I ride with are almost exactly your size, and we've all given up on trick wheels. Who needs a wheel that turns a 2-minute roadside tweak into four days in the shop?
In my experience, too, 25mm would be the absolute minimum tire size. A lot of modern bikes won't fit anything much bigger, but if you can use 28s or even 32s, it's worth trying.
 

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Game on, b*tches!
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Probably.

32 count will do you fine. However, if you really feel the need to plunk down some extra $$ on low spoke count wheels, get Ksyrium Elites. They are absolutely indestructable and have served me quite well. I weigh as much (or a little more, right now:mad: ) as you. No trueing in over 3 yrs. Can't beat that.
 

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Clear Lake, TX
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At 135 lbs, I like the Ksyrium Elites too

1770 grams isn't feather light, but is light enough to make a noticeable difference. I've ridden the Elites enough to enjoy the ride. They accelerate well and are still comfortable. Sealed cartridge bearings are nice to keep the crud out during those occasional wet rides. I'd avoid the cheaper Equipe's. The higher up SL's are a nice race wheel, but I've seen far too many rims crack at the spoke nipple area. The spokes wholesale at $5 each, and the wheelset is $800. Not exactly a best bang for the buck in my book!

Another good possibility is a wheelset that your LBS can order from Quality. Open Pro rims, Hugi 240 hubs, 32 3x rear, 28 2x front, and they weigh just 1533 grams. They might run about $550-$600, but they are an incredible wheelset. A stronger, costlier option would be Chris King hubs, 32 3x front/rear on CXP-33 rims. Talk about durable, smooth, and strong without much weight!

Stick with tried and true designs for ease of maintenance and longer life. Wheelsets that have hidden spoke nipples in the rims (require removal of the tire to true) are a red flag warning. Some nipples are placed at the hub, but this can be trouble for emergency roadside repairs if the problem is with the rear wheel's driveside spokes.



Kram59 said:
32 count will do you fine. However, if you really feel the need to plunk down some extra $$ on low spoke count wheels, get Ksyrium Elites. They are absolutely indestructable and have served me quite well. I weigh as much (or a little more, right now:mad: ) as you. No trueing in over 3 yrs. Can't beat that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Looking at OEM

I was looking at a new bikes that have low spoke count wheels, not at building some custom wheels. Seems like they would not put wheels on new bikes that would not hold up (due to possible law-suits). But you never know...

Looks like most of them won't take tires wider than 25c either.

Thanks for the advice.
 

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Game on, b*tches!
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Check with the bike shop. They may be able to "swap out" the low spoke count wheels on a set of say, open pros if you really like a particular bike.
 

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Honestly, just get the bike that fits you best from a shop you can trust. Most of the lower end wheelsets will be just fine to get you riding again. 190 isn't that big. There is some decent bikes at performance and some crap. Some of the Giants seem like nice deals. See if you have a Specialized Dealer in town.

Models like this one:

http://www.specialized.com/SBCBkModel.jsp?spid=5975&JServSessionIdroot=741q215i1d.j27004

and this one:

http://www.specialized.com/SBCBkModel.jsp?spid=6010&JServSessionIdroot=741q215i1d.j27004

would handle your weight without too much problems. Also I rode 23's at 197 pounds without issue. Now I am at 183- go me!

Coolhand
 

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lyleseven
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215 lbs. and....

riding low spoke count wheels (very reasonably priced) from Speedreams and Mike Garcia's wheels. Have both a 16 and a 28 wheel with no problems due to weight. These weigh in at 1500 grms similar to the Ksyrium SC's (expensive) which have also caused me no problems.
 

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SoCal--S Beach to the Dam
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1,031 Posts
Coolhand said:
Honestly, just get the bike that fits you best from a shop you can trust. Most of the lower end wheelsets will be just fine to get you riding again. 190 isn't that big. There is some decent bikes at performance and some crap. Some of the Giants seem like nice deals. See if you have a Specialized Dealer in town.

Models like this one:

http://www.specialized.com/SBCBkModel.jsp?spid=5975&JServSessionIdroot=741q215i1d.j27004

and this one:

http://www.specialized.com/SBCBkModel.jsp?spid=6010&JServSessionIdroot=741q215i1d.j27004

would handle your weight without too much problems. Also I rode 23's at 197 pounds without issue. Now I am at 183- go me!

Coolhand
Yes it is,i'm 192 and didnt get the ritchey wheelset on my fuji because of my weight and the ritcheys being a bit on the cheap/low spoke side. My Mavic Elites have 18/22 i think and 2000 miles with zero problems.
 

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shokhead said:
Yes it is,i'm 192 and didnt get the ritchey wheelset on my fuji because of my weight and the ritcheys being a bit on the cheap/low spoke side. My Mavic Elites have 18/22 i think and 2000 miles with zero problems.
If you never rode them, how do you know they were a problem?

Obviously, a nice set of hand builts is the best solution, but for someone looking to get back into riding at an affordable price that may not be an option right now. If he starts logging the miles, that would be the next logical upgrade though.
 

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SoCal--S Beach to the Dam
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Thats where it started.Then when i was buying the bike,i asked.He said at my size,i might want to consider a better wheelset. He said some $350 mavics,i forget which ones, would be better and said he would give me 150 bucks for the ritcheys which he did'nt even sell. I said thats fair but i want the elites.
 

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shokhead said:
Thats where it started.Then when i was buying the bike,i asked.He said at my size,i might want to consider a better wheelset. He said some $350 mavics,i forget which ones, would be better and said he would give me 150 bucks for the ritcheys which he did'nt even sell. I said thats fair but i want the elites.
Nicely done. Sounds like you have a pretty good shop.
 
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