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I couldn't find a good answer to this in the rest of the forums.

I'm in the market for a new wheelset and I have a few choices that I'm going between. Several are paired spoke and the others are not.
I weigh 127 – 130 lbs and am not a pro. I live in Atlanta, so there’s lots of hills. I just got into cycling as a crossover as a former national champion speedskater, so I have a lot of potential if I decide to get into hardcore racing; so please keep that in mind with any opinions based on the riding characteristics. Any objective as well as subjective info is much appreciated.

I’ve seen “I don’t like paired spoke designs” several times around the forum, but not with any reason why.:mad2: Does anyone have any information as to why they do/don’t like paired spoke. At my level would it make a difference?:confused: My main goal is to get the lightest wheels possible along with good aero.

Thanx,

Craig
 

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Pairing the spokes was a way to make very low spoke count wheels with lighter weight rims. The lower the spoke count the father each spoke is from each other. When they to far away with a lightweight rim the rim starts to get a "wave" in it because each spoke is pulling the opposite direction and the rim is bending.

With paired spokes the spokes are pulling the rim at or nearly at the same point so the rim does not develop the wave, instead it gets what Rolf refers to as "cloverleafing". Since you have all the spokes pulling at points spread around the rim the rim is pulled out of round at those points.

Here are the problems with paired spoke wheels.

1. the tension level on the rim is higher because 2 spokes are pulling at the same point. So either the rim has to be made stronger and heavier to cope with the tension or the rim fails much faster then a normal rim.

2. When you do knock the wheel out of true if you do it at a point between 2 groups of paired spokes there is nothing you can do. Since there is such large unsupported spans of rim if your wheel goes out of true there there is no spokes to pull it back straight.

3. If a spoke breaks the wheel is usually unridable. Again because of the large unsupported spans of rim if a spoke breaks the wheel usually goes out true so far it is not rideable. Most low spokes count wheels have this problem to some extent but it exaggerated with paired spoke wheels.

4. Rims fail much faster because of higher stress concentration. This is mostly with Rolf wheels. Rolf is using very lightweight rims and paired spokes. So he is taking a very light rim and putting twice as much tension with 2 spokes at points of the rim that would normally have one spoke. So because of the doubled tension the rim eventually fails faster because it is under twice as much stress.
 

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csh8428 said:
Does anyone have any information as to why they do/don’t like paired spoke.
I'm not sure that they are really that terrible, but the issues that Ligero cited are true enough. Paired spoking was mostly developed to come up with something "new" and interesting looking. Manufacturers often do this even if it isn't quite as good as previous designs, just so they can claim to be innovative. Actually, over 100 years ago when bicycles were in their heyday, some manufacturers built wheels this way, but spreading the spokes out evenly was deemed superior... which is why they were done that way until Rolf "reinvented the wheel".
 

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On the plus side, paired spoke wheels have less drag (because of the low spoke count and 'smooth air' around the unsupported rim) and are lighter in weight. At your weight you could probably ride paired spoke wheels, but I think traditional wheels will give you more durability.
 

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rruff said:
Paired spoke wheels have slightly *more* drag if the number of spokes is the same. Having the spokes close together creates compression in the airflow.
Yup. That's another benefit that paired spokes can't claim. Gee, you'd think if Keith Bontrager put his name on 'em, they'd deliver a real technological smack down. Hmmm.
 

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Yea, Rolf and Trek had a thing, but I don't feel it has had any effect on wheel quality. I have a pair of Vector Pro's that I have ridden better than 35,000 miles. I had a spoke break on a ride and like all paired spoke rims like Bontrager, it was about impossible to ride. I needed to call someone to come get me. Other than that one spoke break, I have never had to do anything to those wheels. They have performed flawlessly and are great performers.

That said, I got a new Eriksen this year and went with DTSwiss 1450's which are awesome too. I went with the DT's because of my mechanic's recommendation and there aren't any other shops local that work with Rolf.

Final thought - I don't notice any difference between my old Rolfs and the DTs on side winds. The Rolfs have fewer spokes but are deep Vee, the DT's are shallow but have more spokes. Kind of a draw - they are both excellent in the wind.

Bottom line is that I wouldn't feel any problem going either way, but support from my LBS was the deciding factor for me.
 

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BizkitShooter said:
Yea, Rolf and Trek had a thing, but I don't feel it has had any effect on wheel quality. I have a pair of Vector Pro's that I have ridden better than 35,000 miles.
That is a great testimonial for the Pros... most people have had problems, especially with the hubs... but it shows that experiences vary. I don't believe that paired spoking is particularly bad... plenty of people have had good experiences with Rolf and Bontrager wheels... just don't get snowed by marketing BS... this is neither new, nor an improvement over conventional spacing.
 

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I have never seen the point of paired spokes other than as a marketing gimmick-the paired spoke designs create problems as Ligero noted, with no measurable benefits.The wheelset I own with the design feels flexy,yet is a heavy at the same time.I have never discerned any aero benefit to the designs in published wheel tests I have seen.Stick to conventional spoke spacing.
 

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I sold my Vector Pro wheels with one of my bikes last year. These were great wheels and I never had a single problem. Having said that, I've also had great luck with traditionally laced wheels. My luck with traditonal wheels was very builder dependent. Those built with skill, lasted forever. The others, they spent as lot of time on my truing stand.
 

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I just had the rear wheel rebuilt on my 2004 Rolf Prima Elans (WI hubs). The wheels have probably 10K miles on them. On the rear wheel, the braking surface has worn down enough to weaken the rim. The braking surface was getting bulges around each pair of spokes.

For the lightness of the wheels, I think I more than got my mileage out of the wheels. I had it rebuilt with a Velocity rim for $140 and I'm back in business. Not as light but that's fine as these are backup wheels these days.
 

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I road my rolf's for around 20k miles and they were extremely reliable in exceedingly tough conditions. I road them mainly in downtown Chicago and north. There was virtually never a road better than a C-. That said, I did not race them, only club rides now and again. The bearings weren't that great, but weren't bad either. I weight between 190-200. So you're consider them the most durable ever.
I went to neuvation M28aeros, which were stiffer, with better bearings. Now I'm on easton tempest2's, which kill 'em all. I wouldn't be suprised to see Paired spokes go bye-bye in the next few years.
 

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^^ rode...

personally i don't even like the aesthetics of the paired spoke... The bonty rims in particular are too few, paired and not a good looking wheel in my eyes. Not all low spoke patterns are afflicted w/ such vices... I lost a NDS spoke on my G3 laced campy (of which there are only 9) and i still rode it, didn;t even have to release my brakes ! big kink in the trueness but well enough.... and i aint light... ! rode it quite a bit including centuries before i got around to fixing it... and IMO the g3 pattern is quite attractive.... I think this is because campy must use heavier rims... working backwards from the zondas the front 24mm rim must be around 500g and the 28mm rear even more so !
 
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