Advice on wheels for heavy rider

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by BikeDemon, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. BikeDemon

    BikeDemon New Member

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    I am 6'4" and weigh 235lbs - I am into lifting, and am fairly lean (down from 275), so I don't anticipate losing much more than maybe another 10lbs. I am getting ready to buy a Cannondale CAAD10 with the SRAM Rival group, which comes equipped with Fulcrum Racing 7 wheels. The Fulcrum spec sheet says not to use these wheels if you weigh over 240lbs, and to be cautious if you are over 180. So naturally, I'm concerned whether I should upgrade to a 36 spoke wheel right off the bat. My questions are:

    1. What is common etiquette on this sort of thing? Does the bike shop cut you a break if you don't take the stock wheels? Do I have to try to sell them myself?

    2. Do I just replace the back wheel, or is it a better idea to get a matching set?

    3. Does anyone have experience with the Fulcrums that is a larger rider? Should I even replace them? Sometimes the cautionary statements from the manufacturer are just there for them to cover their butts in case something happens...

    4. Money is a concern, so I would prefer not having to build custom wheels. Can anyone recommend a decent heavy-duty wheelset for a reasonable price (somewhere in the $400.00 range?) Weight is not so much of an issue, since I am already heavy...

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated
     
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  2. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

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    Conventional wisdom on the forum is to have more spokes for a heavier rider.

    I am of similar height and weight and have a lot of experience breaking spokes. The good news is that the failures are not catastrophic, the wheels can be repaired and it is relatively easy to do. My spokes have always broken due to cyclic fatigue never due to overloading and the breaks always occurr on the rear wheel.

    I have approached some local wheelbuilders that have claimed they can make solid rear wheel for me to the tune of $150 and guarantee it against spoke breakage. I was told that 32 spokes would be plenty.

    Instead of purchasing the handbuilts, I decided to build a 36 spoke rear myself. Its much better than the el'cheapos I was running but still occasionally get a break on the non-driveside at the spoke nipples. This winter I totally redid the tension and replaced many spokes; I upped the tension on the non-drive side. Time will tell if they are any stronger.

    I have had good luck with some boutique wheels as well. Velomax/Easton circuits (now EA70 and no weight limit) have 28 rear spokes, I have not had any breakage in 5 seasons of riding. I also bought some Mavic Aksiums cheap and have had no breakage despite having only 20 spokes in the rear. With such a low spoke count breakage could mean a long walk home. I always carry spare spokes just in case.

    Vuelta Corsa HDs from Nashbar (also at bikeisland) have a claimed weight limit of 300lbs. When thery are on sale, they can be had for less than $200. They appear to be well reviewed and are advertized to be handbuilt.

    Talk to you LBS and see what they think. If there is a wheelbuilder nearby, get a quote for a wheel built to your spec.
     
  3. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    You ask the merchant if he will swap out wheels for you. He may charge something for that.

    I would get 36 spoke wheels. I like the Mavic Open Pro rims. Most any hubs.

    ---

    Worse comes to worse you buy a set of suitable wheels on the internet and sell the stock wheels.
     
  4. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    I know a 200-pound gym rat that has good luck with high Mavic Carbones. He's an animal and power-climbs like a much lighter rider. He finally tore up a rear last summer...poor ol' spokes just couldn't take squat dog's wattage. He had it rebuilt.

    I think a conservative combination like a 32-hole, 14 gauge, 3X setup with Open Pros would yield a decent service life on any quality hub. You might be an axle-bender on some of the weight weenie hubs so look the guts of the hubs you are considering.

    Rough roads or a power sprinter? Bomb those railroad crossings? You might want to go Tied & Soldered, but that really makes for a stiff wheel and the ride quality will be harsh.
     
  5. CyclinYooper

    CyclinYooper New Member

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    My LBS typically will refund the cost of a component (their cost, not retail), but only if it's applied toward a replacement. So, in essence, if you perform a swap out, you get a discount on the upgrade.

    Scott
     
  6. Eichers

    Eichers New Member

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    Hi BikeDemon, here is an 830g wheelset, that a fellow posted about and said the following ...

    They are probably not strong enough for you, but I thought it would nice too show the post :)

     
  7. davereo

    davereo Well-Known Member

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    Same here. He then in turn sells the swap outs on ebay if it is a line he dos'nt carry.
     
  8. BikeDemon

    BikeDemon New Member

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    Thanks for all your replies - my LBS said I'm stuck with the stock wheels, and it is up to me to sell them if I want (not thrilled about this), so I think I will ride on them and see how they are. If I can get a season or 2 out of them, then great. It's fairly flat around here, and I am not that hard of a rider. I will probably do between 1500 and 2k a season.
     
  9. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    It's your choice, but I think that's a mistake. The wheels are clearly underbuilt for a person your size, so they won't last as long as they would for someone less than 180lbs. Also, you'll run the risk of having something un-nice happen on a ride to the wheels and subsequently your corpus. That un-nice risk might be small, but it still exists with a greater probability with you than someone lighter. You should also consider that using those wheels will greatly decrease their value should you want to off-load them later. Right now you could sell them for a decent sum on eBay and at the same time order a new set of wheels. It's likely in keeping the wheels that you'll not only have to pay for several or many spoke replacements as they break, but then you'll still end up paying for another set of wheels.
     
  10. Eichers

    Eichers New Member

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    Hi BikeDemon, Fulcrum Racing 7 wheels are inexpensive wheels, so as you have suggested simply ride them, enjoy them, and if they break, they break. In the meantime you can look into some other wheels, should the Fulcrum Racing 7 wheels break. They may surprise you and us :)
     
  11. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    I didn't realize tied and soldered made a wheel stiffer. I thought it was just to keep any spokes from clanging around if they broke. How does the soldering part work if the wheel needs truing down the road, or does the solder just need to be melted away?
     
  12. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    You were/are correct: tying and soldering wheels does not make wheels stiffer. Jobst Brandt--the living wheel guru, a wheel guru whose guruness is based on actual measurements--found no increase in stiffness in wheels that were tied and soldered. Any differences he found were within the noise of the measurement and not consistent. Tying and soldering is great for keeping broken spokes from flopping around, as you mentioned. That is why you see some pro wheels tied and soldered during the Spring Classics.....some, but not all. and that number of tied and soldered wheels is going down.
     
  13. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    JB used 35 pounds as his referenced deflection weight and I doubt he applied it as a shock load.

    Next time you are back in Ohio, stop by and I'll let you ride whatever wheelsets you choose out of my collection. Then ride the same roads on one of my tied and soldered sets. We can mount the same tires at the same air pressures. You will gain a whole new appreciation of 'stiff'. They do not give.
     
  14. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    FWIW. You, Brandt, and others may be correct with regard to tied-and-soldered spokes (and, for the record, I don't have a reason to disagree), but "the living wheel guru" apparently has a chronologically parochial knowledge of the bicycle wheel because, believe-it-or-not, there was a time before the spokes on a bicycle wheel were interlaced!

    That is, having tied-and-soldered spokes were the precursor to interlacing the spokes when the wheel was being spoked if lateral rigidity of the wheel was a concern ...

    • by my reckoning, it was more-than-likely a French wheelbuilder (I'll speculate/credit that it was a wheelbuilder at MAVIC; and possibly, around the time when he was lacing up one of the early sets non-wood rimmed wheels) who realized that interlacing might serve the same purpose as tying-and-soldering; but, it certainly could have been a British/Italian/other wheelbuilder; and, it could have been earlier-than-or-after the hypothetical wheelbuilder at MAVIC

    Regardless, I'll bet that Brandt's tests were only done with stainless steel spokes ...

    There is, IMO, a huge difference between a stainless steel spoke and a galvanized steel spoke; and, I suspect the test results would be different if Brandt were to run the same test on wheels laced with galvanized spokes.

    So, while a valid practice from the past may be a dubious practice in the here-and-now, the raison d'etre should not be so readily dismissed when the test is performed with contemporary components.
     
  15. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Okay!

    Your observation gives me a reason, now, to disagree with Brandt's analysis with regard to tied-and-soldered spokes BECAUSE I have long been in the camp that believes that a laterally stiff wheel is generally better than one that is not.

    BTW. There has been at least ONE other obvious-to-me error in Brandt's logic on another aspect of the bicycle wheel when it is mounted in a bike that is being ridden on the road which has made me suspect of Brandt's Masters-Thesis-turned-into-a-book.
     
  16. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    35 lbs is more than sufficient to generate measurable deflection in a wheel. Second, there is absolutely no reason for that load to be modeled as a "shock load." Third, according to a series of Mavic tests, riders are unable to reliably determine if a wheel is laterally stiff or not. Fourth, the human body is a lousy sensor. Jobs Brandt used sound methodology for his tests of wheel stiffness vs. tied and soldered or not. In tests run by Roues Artisanales, the highest lateral wheel stiffness of the wheels they tested was found to be 78 N-mm. Given that stiffness, a 35lb (155.68 N) force applied normal to the brake track would deflect 1.996mm. If the wheel stiffness was 1N-m different, the difference in deflection would be 0.0128mm, a value which could be easily measured. I'm willing to bet that a person on a bike cannot tell the difference between a wheel with a stiffness of 155.68N-mm or otherwise identical wheel with a stiffness of 154.68 or even 153.68N-m. The point is that it is very likely that a rider would not sense the difference in lateral stiffness between a tied and soldered wheel and one not tied and soldered. Shock loading isn't going to change that. Subjective data is not relevant and certainly not reliable.
     
  17. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    No sweat.

    I'll set you on my old rear disk and let you do a comparison. After you've extracted the saddle from your ass, you can tell me what a luxurious, soft ride it was, too.

    No need to calibrate your rear, but feel free.

    I bought the first edition of JB's book many, many years ago. I couldn't even tell you where to look for it in the house. It's probably shimming a workbench leg in the basement.

    Those Askiums in the pic I posted? Wet noodles. You can feel it riding them. You can feel it with a simple push of one finger against a static rim. They yield much easier than my 32H-3x trainers. Easily detected by anyone that isn't brain dead. Or just trying to carry on an argument. They are softer radially and axially than my benchmark wheels.

    I prefer stiff wheels and have owned frames (let alone wheels) that flexed far more than 2mm (ran out of travel when the tire polished the inside of a stay). You fellas ride what pleases you. No worries. If you really think a tied and soldered wheel is no more stiff than one that isn't...more power to ya.

    For a big rider, tied and soldered is a good option 'if' you can put up with the stiff ride. Nope. I will not trade my time on tied and soldered wheels for all the words in JB's book.
     
  18. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    I see you're either not interested or not able to engage in an objective discussion and that you are willing to completely ignore real data. You're also interested it seems in make ridiculous suggestions. Fine. There is no value in discourse with you.
     
  19. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    I can offer to let you ride the wheels. Disk rear. Tied and soldered F&R. Standard F&R in various spokings, rim sections/materials. Standard rims in several heights.

    Same road. Same Tires. Same pressures. That's "real data". As real as it gets.

    Not some calculations in a book.

    I'll bet even you can detect the differences in stiffness.

    Bring Jobst along. I will be interested to see what he has to say about riding my tied and soldered set on a few on my county rounds.

    http://www.rouesartisanales.com/article-23159755.html

    "These graphs highlight the big manufacturers, often offering OEM, whose wheels always reach high lateral stiffness values. Because these giant manufacturers sell to a large population, sometimes light users, sometimes heavy users, their wheels have to offer extreme stiffness which also comes with durability. Indeed, a heavy rider stresses more the wheels than a light rider. If this heavy rider uses a too flexy wheel, it will easily go out of shape while sprinting and its spokes (most of the time the rear wheel non drive side spokes) will often lose their tension. This has three consequences: the wheel will go out of true if the spokes are not locked, the rider will feel the lack of stiffness which is poor for the performance and the spokes will have a shorter working life (and break)."

    "The stiffness of a wheel must be as high as possible to optimise performance under these conditions. However, not every cyclist will benefit from high stiffness. Only heavy and/or very strong cyclists may feel the difference between a wheel whose lateral stiffness is 45N/mm with another one at 55N/mm. Lighter riders and those who just want to enjoy a comfortable ride do not really have to focus on stiffness as an important criterion – inertia is likely to be far more important for them."

    You may not be a heavy rider or a strong rider. There are those that are. There are those that can easily detect a wimpy wheel assembly from a stout one. Just because you can not, do not presume to tell others that they can not.

    Look at the way that Lew wheel deformed under loading and read the comments about it. If a 195-pound strong rider got on that and claimed he could not tell the difference in stiffness between that a pair of 32-hole tied and soldered conventionals...well...we would have discovered our first, live cave man. A brain dead one at that.

    Look at the wide range of stiffness numbers! Look at the insane range spread within just one model of the same wheel over a year or two of production. Keep telling us the differences are too small for a rider with a few miles under their belt to get a handle on.

    Frankly, stiffness matters to some. For performance under certain situations. For handling. For ride quality/harshness. For durability.

    Almost anyone could tell the difference between my brick-hard track style road wheels and those Askiums. A 225-pound rider of modest power output most certainly could.

    Next time you get back to Ohio, send me an IM. I'll put you on some wheels that are very stiff and on some that are noticably flexy. I can't make it any more objective than that.
     
  20. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Your alleged "test" is a subjective test. Here's the important point: when you ask a person if something is stiff or not or if A is stiffer than B, you are asking for a subjective answer. Not objective. None of your tests will show that tied and soldered wheels are stiffer because lab tests show they're not. The beauty of such tests is that the same laws of physics apply in the lab as on the road. I'll believe actual data, no matter which way it points, but your statements? They're entirely subjective and not worth anything. They're opinions, and that's it. Your position was clearly stated when you suggested riding "noodly" wheels and comparing them to a disc wheel. Uh-huh. Right. Without anything objective, you've got nothing whatsoever to counter Jobs Brandt's findings on tied and soldered wheels, and you've got zero data to support any of your claims. It's obvious you are unwilling to apply any critical thought or objectivity. I will leave you with these links: Critical Thinking Scientific Method Objectivity in Science
     
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