Bontrager Race-X-Lite wheel questions...



D

Dave

Guest
Question for anyone who regularly rides both Race-X-Lite wheels and
conventional 32-spoke wheels...

I've been riding the Race-X-Lites and am annoyed by the flex in the
rear wheel. I'm trying to figure out whether this is a bad build or
simply a design limitation.

I weigh 150 pounds and am more of a spinner than a masher, yet when
riding the race-x-lites, I must open the rear brake pretty dramatically
to avoid brake rub when pedaling out of the saddle, at least a good
3-4mm extra clearance on either side relative to 32-spoke Open Pros on
the same bike. I really dislike the extra lever travel when running
the brake this way.

Is this typical? Comparing the spoke tension by feel to a showroom
bike, the wheel feels OK, but whether this is a reliable indicator of
anything I don't know. Pinging the spokes, there is considerable
variation in pitch on the non-drive-side, but I didn't compare this to
the showroom wheel so don't know how much variation is normal.

The wheel was out of true out of the box, which does make me wonder
whether the build was bad.

I'm trying to get a sense of what peoples' experiences have been. If
you go between Race-X-Lites and conventional wheels, how much extra
clearance do you require with the Race-X-Lites, if any?
 
In article <[email protected]>,
"Dave" <[email protected]> wrote:

> Question for anyone who regularly rides both Race-X-Lite wheels and
> conventional 32-spoke wheels...
>
> I've been riding the Race-X-Lites and am annoyed by the flex in the
> rear wheel. I'm trying to figure out whether this is a bad build or
> simply a design limitation.
>
> I weigh 150 pounds and am more of a spinner than a masher, yet when
> riding the race-x-lites, I must open the rear brake pretty dramatically
> to avoid brake rub when pedaling out of the saddle, at least a good
> 3-4mm extra clearance on either side relative to 32-spoke Open Pros on
> the same bike. I really dislike the extra lever travel when running
> the brake this way.
>
> Is this typical? Comparing the spoke tension by feel to a showroom
> bike, the wheel feels OK, but whether this is a reliable indicator of
> anything I don't know. Pinging the spokes, there is considerable
> variation in pitch on the non-drive-side, but I didn't compare this to
> the showroom wheel so don't know how much variation is normal.
>
> The wheel was out of true out of the box, which does make me wonder
> whether the build was bad.
>
> I'm trying to get a sense of what peoples' experiences have been. If
> you go between Race-X-Lites and conventional wheels, how much extra
> clearance do you require with the Race-X-Lites, if any?


Get thee to a quality wheel builder that handles Hugi/DT Swiss hubs.

Have the rear hub bearings replaced with ones that have DT Swiss stamped
on them.

This should solve your problem. The Trek bearings are crappola. My LBS -
the largest in the east USA when head to head with Jon Burke to no avail.
Trek simpley did not care. "But they have less rolling resistance..."

HTH
 
Dave wrote:
> Pinging the spokes, there is considerable
> variation in pitch on the non-drive-side, but I didn't compare this to
> the showroom wheel so don't know how much variation is normal.
>


Essentially none is best... you want tension to be even on each side. I
doubt this is causing your "flex problem", though.

When you wiggle the rim back and forth with your hand do you feel any
slop? If so, then you probably need to adjust the bearing-axle
clearance. I don't know how it is done on these wheels, though.
 
Dave wrote:
> Question for anyone who regularly rides both Race-X-Lite wheels and
> conventional 32-spoke wheels...
>
> I've been riding the Race-X-Lites and am annoyed by the flex in the
> rear wheel. I'm trying to figure out whether this is a bad build or
> simply a design limitation.
>
> I weigh 150 pounds and am more of a spinner than a masher, yet when
> riding the race-x-lites, I must open the rear brake pretty dramatically
> to avoid brake rub when pedaling out of the saddle, at least a good
> 3-4mm extra clearance on either side relative to 32-spoke Open Pros on
> the same bike. I really dislike the extra lever travel when running
> the brake this way.
>
> Is this typical? Comparing the spoke tension by feel to a showroom
> bike, the wheel feels OK, but whether this is a reliable indicator of
> anything I don't know. Pinging the spokes, there is considerable
> variation in pitch on the non-drive-side, but I didn't compare this to
> the showroom wheel so don't know how much variation is normal.
>
> The wheel was out of true out of the box, which does make me wonder
> whether the build was bad.
>
> I'm trying to get a sense of what peoples' experiences have been. If
> you go between Race-X-Lites and conventional wheels, how much extra
> clearance do you require with the Race-X-Lites, if any?


Sounds more like pre-load on the bearings is not properly adjusted.
What happens when you grab the wheel at the braking surface and pull
back and forth laterally; do you see movement down at the axle?

- rick
 
> I weigh 150 pounds and am more of a spinner than a masher, yet when
> riding the race-x-lites, I must open the rear brake pretty dramatically
> to avoid brake rub when pedaling out of the saddle, at least a good
> 3-4mm extra clearance on either side relative to 32-spoke Open Pros on
> the same bike. I really dislike the extra lever travel when running
> the brake this way.


I weigh 170lbs, am somewhere in-between spinning & mashing (depends who's
along on the ride; if it's triathletes, I'm a spinner, if it's Todd, the
human hummingbird, I'm definitely a masher!), and pretty much only ride
hills. I've got Race X-Lites, Race, and 32-spoke Open Pros (on Campy Nuovo
Record hubs, no less!). No difference in lateral flex that I've noticed
between them in the real world (meaning that I don't have issues with any of
them hitting the brake pads, and I don't have them particularly far from the
rim).

Could it be that the rear quick release isn't tight enough? Not just for
supplying appropriate preload to the bearings, but also to hold the wheel in
place. The newer quick releases don't offer anywhere near the clamping power
of the conventional (Shimano or Campy style) versions. It's a good idea to
lube the surfaces of the cam, which will allow you to get quite a bit more
clamping action.

--Mike Jacoubowsky
Chain Reaction Bicycles
www.ChainReaction.com
Redwood City & Los Altos, CA USA
 
Mike Jacoubowsky wrote:
> > I weigh 150 pounds and am more of a spinner than a masher, yet when
> > riding the race-x-lites, I must open the rear brake pretty dramatically
> > to avoid brake rub when pedaling out of the saddle, at least a good
> > 3-4mm extra clearance on either side relative to 32-spoke Open Pros on
> > the same bike. I really dislike the extra lever travel when running
> > the brake this way.

>
> I weigh 170lbs, am somewhere in-between spinning & mashing (depends who's
> along on the ride; if it's triathletes, I'm a spinner, if it's Todd, the
> human hummingbird, I'm definitely a masher!), and pretty much only ride
> hills. I've got Race X-Lites, Race, and 32-spoke Open Pros (on Campy Nuovo
> Record hubs, no less!). No difference in lateral flex that I've noticed
> between them in the real world (meaning that I don't have issues with any of
> them hitting the brake pads, and I don't have them particularly far from the
> rim).
>
> Could it be that the rear quick release isn't tight enough? Not just for
> supplying appropriate preload to the bearings, but also to hold the wheel in
> place. The newer quick releases don't offer anywhere near the clamping power
> of the conventional (Shimano or Campy style) versions. It's a good idea to
> lube the surfaces of the cam, which will allow you to get quite a bit more
> clamping action.
>
> --Mike Jacoubowsky
> Chain Reaction Bicycles
> www.ChainReaction.com
> Redwood City & Los Altos, CA USA


Thanks for the suggestions, guys!

There's no lateral play at the hub that I could see.

Per Mike's advice, I fastened the rear QR really, REALLY tightly and
that seemed to help somewhat. Strange that Bontrager would spec a
marginal-functioning QR on a hub that really seems to require high
clamping force.

Still definitely not as stiff as my conventional wheels, and the brake
is still more open than I'd like but its down to a point where I'll
live with it.

Very nice-feeling wheels at speed, though. For all the maintenance
hassles, low spoke-count wheels do have their advantages.
 
Dave wrote:

> Thanks for the suggestions, guys!
>
> There's no lateral play at the hub that I could see.
>
> Per Mike's advice, I fastened the rear QR really, REALLY tightly and
> that seemed to help somewhat. Strange that Bontrager would spec a
> marginal-functioning QR on a hub that really seems to require high
> clamping force.
>
> Still definitely not as stiff as my conventional wheels, and the brake
> is still more open than I'd like but its down to a point where I'll
> live with it.


Just another data point for you, I use X-Lites, I weigh about
180-185, I do about 6,000 ft/week of climbing, my brake
clearance is about the thickness of a business card, and my
brakes don't rub.

I use Dura-Ace skewers instead of Bontrager.


Larry Coon
University of California
 
Larry Coon wrote:
> Dave wrote:
>
> > Thanks for the suggestions, guys!
> >
> > There's no lateral play at the hub that I could see.
> >
> > Per Mike's advice, I fastened the rear QR really, REALLY tightly and
> > that seemed to help somewhat. Strange that Bontrager would spec a
> > marginal-functioning QR on a hub that really seems to require high
> > clamping force.
> >
> > Still definitely not as stiff as my conventional wheels, and the brake
> > is still more open than I'd like but its down to a point where I'll
> > live with it.

>
> Just another data point for you, I use X-Lites, I weigh about
> 180-185, I do about 6,000 ft/week of climbing, my brake
> clearance is about the thickness of a business card, and my
> brakes don't rub.
>
> I use Dura-Ace skewers instead of Bontrager.
>
>
> Larry Coon
> University of California


One other thing I did notice while inspecting the hub is that when I
have the wheel off the bike, there's about 2mm of lateral play in the
freehub. I can grasp the cassette and wiggle it back and forth. There
is no play at all in the axle.

The freehub play disappears when the wheel is in the frame with the QR
closed.

Is this normal? All the internals seem to be press fit rather than
screwed on so I'm reluctant to look around inside.
 
Dave wrote:
> Larry Coon wrote:
> > Dave wrote:
> >
> > > Thanks for the suggestions, guys!
> > >
> > > There's no lateral play at the hub that I could see.
> > >
> > > Per Mike's advice, I fastened the rear QR really, REALLY tightly and
> > > that seemed to help somewhat. Strange that Bontrager would spec a
> > > marginal-functioning QR on a hub that really seems to require high
> > > clamping force.
> > >
> > > Still definitely not as stiff as my conventional wheels, and the brake
> > > is still more open than I'd like but its down to a point where I'll
> > > live with it.

> >
> > Just another data point for you, I use X-Lites, I weigh about
> > 180-185, I do about 6,000 ft/week of climbing, my brake
> > clearance is about the thickness of a business card, and my
> > brakes don't rub.
> >
> > I use Dura-Ace skewers instead of Bontrager.
> >
> >
> > Larry Coon
> > University of California

>
> One other thing I did notice while inspecting the hub is that when I
> have the wheel off the bike, there's about 2mm of lateral play in the
> freehub. I can grasp the cassette and wiggle it back and forth. There
> is no play at all in the axle.
>
> The freehub play disappears when the wheel is in the frame with the QR
> closed.
>
> Is this normal? All the internals seem to be press fit rather than
> screwed on so I'm reluctant to look around inside.


Oh, I should note that the play was actually at the freehub body, NOT a
result of the cassette sliding around on the freehub. I removed the
cassette after I noticed it and was able to slide the freehub body
itself.
 
Dave wrote:

>
> Thanks for the suggestions, guys!
>
> There's no lateral play at the hub that I could see.
>
> Per Mike's advice, I fastened the rear QR really, REALLY tightly and
> that seemed to help somewhat. Strange that Bontrager would spec a
> marginal-functioning QR on a hub that really seems to require high
> clamping force.


Odd that they are using the QR to provide bearing pre-load, or at least
that is what Mike is intimating.

Anyway, those QR skewers are generally inferior for a number of
reasons. Read Sheldon's page on skewers
(http://www.sheldonbrown.com/skewers.html); he explains why that type
of design is less desirable, and one reason is that it provides less
force at the dropout for unit force applied at the lever.

- rick
 
Dave wrote:

> Oh, I should note that the play was actually at the freehub body, NOT a
> result of the cassette sliding around on the freehub. I removed the
> cassette after I noticed it and was able to slide the freehub body
> itself.


I certainly can't do that on mine. Methinks you have
something broken, though one of the resident professional
wrenches will be able to tell you for sure.


Larry Coon
University of California
 

>
> One other thing I did notice while inspecting the hub is that when I
> have the wheel off the bike, there's about 2mm of lateral play in the
> freehub. I can grasp the cassette and wiggle it back and forth. There
> is no play at all in the axle.
>
> The freehub play disappears when the wheel is in the frame with the QR
> closed.
>
> Is this normal? All the internals seem to be press fit rather than
> screwed on so I'm reluctant to look around inside.


Hi Dave,

Is it still under the 1 year warranty?? My friend's Bontrage Race X
Lites develop exactly the same problem as yours. First, the dealer
recommended clamping the skewer tight and he tightened the hub tight
too just to be safe and warned that these wheels will flex -- even for
a 145lbs rider. It sort of solved the problem at first, except that
later on the rear hub was making some sort of strange rubbing noise
again especially when he stands up while climbing. He went back to the
dealer again, complained and this time, they replaced his wheels with
another set off another bike. After that, he has no problems
whatsoever -- no play and no rubbing while climbing..

Hope this helps..

David.
 
On Sat, 24 Sep 2005 04:13:21 GMT, David
<[email protected]> wrote:

> First, the dealer
>recommended clamping the skewer tight and he tightened the hub tight
>too just to be safe


I hope that doesn't mean what I think it means. Then again, these aren't
cup and cone hubs, so it almost certainly means something else.


Jasper
 
In article <[email protected]>, Jasper Janssen
<[email protected]> wrote:

> On Sat, 24 Sep 2005 04:13:21 GMT, David
> <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> > First, the dealer
> >recommended clamping the skewer tight and he tightened the hub tight
> >too just to be safe

>
> I hope that doesn't mean what I think it means. Then again, these aren't
> cup and cone hubs, so it almost certainly means something else.
>
>
> Jasper


Jasper,

The dealer couldn't figure out what was the cause of it. It's supposed
to be sealed cartridges and yet they treated the wheels like as though
they were cones and hubs. No sure why. They, however, replaced the
wheels under warranty with a newer set and those ones have performed
flawlessly for about 3000km or so. No rubbing and no need to tighten
the skewers to obscene torque.

David.
 
David wrote:
> >
> > One other thing I did notice while inspecting the hub is that when I
> > have the wheel off the bike, there's about 2mm of lateral play in the
> > freehub. I can grasp the cassette and wiggle it back and forth. There
> > is no play at all in the axle.
> >
> > The freehub play disappears when the wheel is in the frame with the QR
> > closed.
> >
> > Is this normal? All the internals seem to be press fit rather than
> > screwed on so I'm reluctant to look around inside.

>
> Hi Dave,
>
> Is it still under the 1 year warranty?? My friend's Bontrage Race X
> Lites develop exactly the same problem as yours. First, the dealer
> recommended clamping the skewer tight and he tightened the hub tight
> too just to be safe and warned that these wheels will flex -- even for
> a 145lbs rider. It sort of solved the problem at first, except that
> later on the rear hub was making some sort of strange rubbing noise
> again especially when he stands up while climbing. He went back to the
> dealer again, complained and this time, they replaced his wheels with
> another set off another bike. After that, he has no problems
> whatsoever -- no play and no rubbing while climbing..
>
> Hope this helps..
>
> David.


As reported earlier, tightening the QR did help somewhat, but after
another hilly ride today I still got some annoying pad rub. I stopped
by my LBS again and had a different mechanic look at the wheel.

He thought the drive-side spokes were clearly undertensioned. His
words were "want some sauce with these noodles"?

He squeezed the spokes way more firmly than I did when I compared the
tension to a new wheel, and he also grabbed adjacent pairs on the same
side, rather than two opposing ones. So a lesson learned there for me.
I'm a little annoyed that the first mechanic who looked at it (who
I've always found to be very capable) didn't notice this.

Anyway, he retensioned the wheel by hand (i.e. without a tensiometer).
The drive-side tension is definitely higher now. We'll see if that
fixed it.
 

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