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greetings all

I have read a number of posts re so called heavy riders, light wheels with low spoke counts and possible durability/longevity concerns etc. Assume road wheels, 700*23C tyres etc.

My question is: How heavy a rider can afford to be (all up weight: including clothes, shoes, helmet, two full bottles of water i.e. 1.5kg/3.5lbs of drink, full saddle bag, pump, etc) before any particular wheel becomes a durability issue?

if other words, in my example, I weigh ~67kg plus say we add ~4-5kg for all rider winter clothing and all carry-on luggage, say ~72-73kg all up (~160 lbs all up load). When choosing some fancy low spoke lightweight wheels do I need to be concerned at 160#/73kg of load? I know this weight means any medium size road frame or carbon,alloy,steel or titanium is going to be fine for this weight but what about wheels?

How heavy does a rider need to be to begin asking questions about wheel longevity and durability? 180#? 200# ?

thanks in advance
 

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It depends on the rider's riding style. Some riders are very gentle on the bike, and seem to float over road obstacles. Others crash into them. Those riders will want heavier duty wheels for the same body weight. Some riders spend a lot of time out of the saddle on climbs and 'tip' the bike a lot, which puts stress on the rear wheel. Those riders are harder on rear wheels than riders the same weight who sit and spin (or who don't ride so many hills). Finally, some riders are ok with retruing their wheels every 1000 miles, while other riders want wheels they can ignore for 15,000 miles.

For instance, I'm 145lbs or less in season, and I'm pretty good at avoiding or hopping over road obstacles. But I ride a lot of climbs and my riding style stresses my rear wheels when I'm out of the saddle, so I have had problems with rear spokes breaking and/or the rear spokes loosen up on all the light rear wheels I have.
 

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I agree with what ericm979 says but I think most popular prebuilt wheels are engineered to handle 200 lbs. easily. I have two bikes, one with Campy Nucleons and the other with Velomax Circuits. The Nucleons have at least 15K and the Circuits have about 10K miles. I fluctuate in the low 180s. Both wheelsets have never been touched and are dead true. I used to break the occasional spoke years ago when I rode Open Pros so I'm not strange or anything. I have a very powerfull 250 friend who has a ton of miles on a set of Nucleons and has had no issues. I can't imagine a manufacturer selling a mass market prebuilt wheel with no published weight limit that can't handle bigger guys.
 
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