Durable road wheels?



What's my best solution for durable wheels at $300-400 for pair
(shimano compatible)?

Would I be better off building my own 3-cross bent-spoke wheels, or
buying some of the boutique wheels like entry-level mavic ksyriums or
the like? Or can I find some straight-pull hubs and build up a set of
those? (I can't locate any for sale online).

In my 15-years and 120,000 miles on the bike, I have nearly always
built my own wheels. I always start with an Ultegra or Dura-Ace hub,
then pick the best-value Mavic hoops (Open 4-CD, or whatever was
current at the time), and finish with some DT or Wheelsmith 14-15-14
spokes and brass nipples.

The problem is that my rear wheels only last about 18 months. I weigh
185 lbs. and do A LOT of hill repeats and sprint workouts in Austin.
This means vigorously climbing hills that max out at 26% (the steep
parts of Ladera Norte), and average between 10% and 14% for 300 feet of
elevation. I'm not the most powerful or fastest rider around, but I am
very tough on rear wheels.

They always fail at a drive-side spoke bend, or if I don't have
eyelets, maybe a drive-side spoke hole.

My front wheels last about 5 years before a spoke breaks at a bend, so
I'm just worried about the rear.

I'm proabably just a mediocre wheelbuilder. I don't use a tensiometer,
but pluck and listen for consistent tone instead. I maintain them
reasonably well, but only mess with them when I hear, see, or feel a
problem -- I'm lazy in this respect. I use three-cross both sides,
front and back (Shimano says radial is a no-no, and I couldn't care
less about the grams).

Nevertheless, the shop-built wheels I've ridden don't last any longer
than my own, so I'm not a bad builder.

So, I was thinking that straight-pull might be the way to go, but I
understand that they often just fail at the spoke head. It seems like
mavic ksyriums last people a really long time, but I don't know anyone
who rides the same gear as long as I do. I'm on only my 2nd road bike,
for instance, expecting to get 10 years out of a frame.

Any recommendations?

Thanks for reading all this,
Mike
 
R

Ron Ruff

Guest
[email protected] wrote:
> What's my best solution for durable wheels at $300-400 for pair
> (shimano compatible)?
>
> In my 15-years and 120,000 miles on the bike, I have nearly always
> built my own wheels. I always start with an Ultegra or Dura-Ace hub,
> then pick the best-value Mavic hoops (Open 4-CD, or whatever was
> current at the time), and finish with some DT or Wheelsmith 14-15-14
> spokes and brass nipples.
>


Those can be had for <$200 online with Ultegra hubs... much cheaper
than buying the parts. Then a little "tuning" by you... ie stress
relieving and tension adjustment. I like to put lots of marine grease
in the hubs, too.

BTW... using a heavier rim than the Open Pro on the back should help.

> The problem is that my rear wheels only last about 18 months.
>
> They always fail at a drive-side spoke bend, or if I don't have
> eyelets, maybe a drive-side spoke hole.
>

A broken spoke is no big deal after 18 months (12,000 miles?)... just
replace it. Even with a perfectly built wheel you can have a
"defective" spoke.

I don't know of anybody on boutique wheels who has ridden that many
miles without incident! But... maybe we will hear from some?
 
M

maxo

Guest
Are you and the shop properly destressing the wheels after tensioning
them up? Might help those spokes to get properly seated. ;)

I'd go for traditional wheels as the previous poster recommended. Throw
a 36 spoker back there if you're not a weight weenie.

Even though I run Mavics yet again, as the sales are too tempting--I've
heard lots of good stuff about other basic rims like Velocity and Sun.
I've even had a set of Alex rims that went years without a
touch-up--even though many grumble about them. Next time I build a set
for bumping around town, it's going to be plain jane Sun silver CR-18s.
Cheaper than dirt. :p
 
R

res09c5t

Guest
Another thing you might consider is to use one of the offset rims for the
rear. I know Velocity makes them and there may be other manufacturers. If
you're not familiar with them, they have an offset in them that evens out
the spoke lengths while leaving the tire centered, thus offsetting most of
the problems with dishing the wheel (the lower tension on the non-drive
side). If you are actually putting load on both sides of the rear spokes,
that would have to strengthen them a lot.
Lyle
<[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> What's my best solution for durable wheels at $300-400 for pair
> (shimano compatible)?
>
> Would I be better off building my own 3-cross bent-spoke wheels, or
> buying some of the boutique wheels like entry-level mavic ksyriums or
> the like? Or can I find some straight-pull hubs and build up a set of
> those? (I can't locate any for sale online).
>
> In my 15-years and 120,000 miles on the bike, I have nearly always
> built my own wheels. I always start with an Ultegra or Dura-Ace hub,
> then pick the best-value Mavic hoops (Open 4-CD, or whatever was
> current at the time), and finish with some DT or Wheelsmith 14-15-14
> spokes and brass nipples.
>
> The problem is that my rear wheels only last about 18 months. I weigh
> 185 lbs. and do A LOT of hill repeats and sprint workouts in Austin.
> This means vigorously climbing hills that max out at 26% (the steep
> parts of Ladera Norte), and average between 10% and 14% for 300 feet of
> elevation. I'm not the most powerful or fastest rider around, but I am
> very tough on rear wheels.
>
> They always fail at a drive-side spoke bend, or if I don't have
> eyelets, maybe a drive-side spoke hole.
>
> My front wheels last about 5 years before a spoke breaks at a bend, so
> I'm just worried about the rear.
>
> I'm proabably just a mediocre wheelbuilder. I don't use a tensiometer,
> but pluck and listen for consistent tone instead. I maintain them
> reasonably well, but only mess with them when I hear, see, or feel a
> problem -- I'm lazy in this respect. I use three-cross both sides,
> front and back (Shimano says radial is a no-no, and I couldn't care
> less about the grams).
>
> Nevertheless, the shop-built wheels I've ridden don't last any longer
> than my own, so I'm not a bad builder.
>
> So, I was thinking that straight-pull might be the way to go, but I
> understand that they often just fail at the spoke head. It seems like
> mavic ksyriums last people a really long time, but I don't know anyone
> who rides the same gear as long as I do. I'm on only my 2nd road bike,
> for instance, expecting to get 10 years out of a frame.
>
> Any recommendations?
>
> Thanks for reading all this,
> Mike
>
 
A

Art Harris

Guest
Mike wrote:

> I have nearly always built my own wheels. I always start with an Ultegra or Dura-Ace hub, then pick the best-value Mavic hoops (Open 4-CD, or whatever was current at the time), and finish with some DT or Wheelsmith 14-15-14 spokes and brass nipples.


> The problem is that my rear wheels only last about 18 months. I weigh 185 lbs. and do A LOT of hill repeats and sprint workouts in Austin.


How many spokes in these wheels? If less than 36, consider upgrading to
36. When you say the wheels only last 18 months, do you mean they are
not repairable? Please elaborate.

You say the spokes break at the DS spoke bend.

Three suggestions:

1) Make sure you don't have the long elbow DT spokes that were around a
few years ago.
http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/DTspokes.htm

2) Press the outbound spokes so they lay flat against the hub flange
before tensioning (as described in The Bicycle Wheel by Jobst Brandt).

3) Make sure you stress relieve the wheels.

I would certainly stay away from boutique wheels. Convertional handmade
wheels built with skill and good materials should last you a long time.
The quality of "shop built" wheels will depend on the shop.

Art Harris
 
Art Harris wrote:
> Mike wrote:
> How many spokes in these wheels? If less than 36, consider upgrading to
> 36. When you say the wheels only last 18 months, do you mean they are
> not repairable? Please elaborate.


Thanks everyone for the responses. I'm running 32s, I've only ever had
36s on my MTBs. I guess I should bump that up. It seems logical -- I
guess I've always bought pairs of hubs that are 32 each.

Usually I rebuild the wheel after the third spoke break because the
last two usually occur pretty close together. That seems to happen
around 18 months, with the first spoke break around 15 months.

>
> You say the spokes break at the DS spoke bend.
>
> Three suggestions:
>
> 1) Make sure you don't have the long elbow DT spokes that were around a
> few years ago.
> http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/DTspokes.htm


Yeah, that's not it. Good info though.

> 2) Press the outbound spokes so they lay flat against the hub flange
> before tensioning (as described in The Bicycle Wheel by Jobst Brandt).


Yep.

> 3) Make sure you stress relieve the wheels.


Yep.

> I would certainly stay away from boutique wheels.


That seems to be the concensus in this thread.

Thanks everyone for the responses so far.
 
Q

Qui si parla Campagnolo

Guest
[email protected] wrote:
> What's my best solution for durable wheels at $300-400 for pair
> (shimano compatible)?
>
> Would I be better off building my own 3-cross bent-spoke wheels, or
> buying some of the boutique wheels like entry-level mavic ksyriums or
> the like? Or can I find some straight-pull hubs and build up a set of
> those? (I can't locate any for sale online).


Straight pull spokes are not going to fix your 'problem', proper
wheelbuilding will.

Invest in a tensionometer and make sure you stress relieve well. Also
do a 36h rear, build well with good components. Since you buiold your
own, ultegra hubs, 14/15 DT spokes, a Velocity Fusion rim...36/3 cross
rear. NO wheel oputta a box will work as well as a well made handbuilt.
Crappy hubs(particularly the rear of Mavic wheels) and more money.
>
> In my 15-years and 120,000 miles on the bike, I have nearly always
> built my own wheels. I always start with an Ultegra or Dura-Ace hub,
> then pick the best-value Mavic hoops (Open 4-CD, or whatever was
> current at the time), and finish with some DT or Wheelsmith 14-15-14
> spokes and brass nipples.
>
> The problem is that my rear wheels only last about 18 months. I weigh
> 185 lbs. and do A LOT of hill repeats and sprint workouts in Austin.
> This means vigorously climbing hills that max out at 26% (the steep
> parts of Ladera Norte), and average between 10% and 14% for 300 feet of
> elevation. I'm not the most powerful or fastest rider around, but I am
> very tough on rear wheels.
>
> They always fail at a drive-side spoke bend, or if I don't have
> eyelets, maybe a drive-side spoke hole.
>
> My front wheels last about 5 years before a spoke breaks at a bend, so
> I'm just worried about the rear.
>
> I'm proabably just a mediocre wheelbuilder. I don't use a tensiometer,
> but pluck and listen for consistent tone instead. I maintain them
> reasonably well, but only mess with them when I hear, see, or feel a
> problem -- I'm lazy in this respect. I use three-cross both sides,
> front and back (Shimano says radial is a no-no, and I couldn't care
> less about the grams).
>
> Nevertheless, the shop-built wheels I've ridden don't last any longer
> than my own, so I'm not a bad builder.
>
> So, I was thinking that straight-pull might be the way to go, but I
> understand that they often just fail at the spoke head. It seems like
> mavic ksyriums last people a really long time, but I don't know anyone
> who rides the same gear as long as I do. I'm on only my 2nd road bike,
> for instance, expecting to get 10 years out of a frame.


We sell none but do a brisk business manitaining these Ksyriums. Rear
hub, rim, truing maintanance..for $800+, not sure what anybody is
getting.
>
> Any recommendations?
>
> Thanks for reading all this,
> Mike
 
T

Tim McNamara

Guest

>> The problem is that my rear wheels only last about 18 months. I
>> weigh 185 lbs. and do A LOT of hill repeats and sprint workouts in
>> Austin. This means vigorously climbing hills that max out at 26%
>> (the steep parts of Ladera Norte), and average between 10% and 14%
>> for 300 feet of elevation. I'm not the most powerful or fastest
>> rider around, but I am very tough on rear wheels.


But perhaps not as tough as someone doing, for example, loaded
touring. Although on those steep hills, your rear wheel is bearing a
lot of weight. I imagine you chew through rear tires pretty quickly
as well.

I'm 210-220 lbs and have broken only one spoke in probably 8-9 years
of riding 6000-7000 mile a year (racing, touring, JRA and brevets),
and that one broke under braking at the start of the threads.

>> They always fail at a drive-side spoke bend, or if I don't have
>> eyelets, maybe a drive-side spoke hole.


Sounds like you need to stress-relieve your spokes. Get a copy of
_The Bicycle Wheel_ by Jobst Brandt, which will explain the procedure
and rationale in detail. And of course, read the inevitable
"rebuttal" from jim beam which will be posted shortly, since Jobst's
name is like bacon to a bear for jim.
 
[email protected] wrote:
> do A LOT of hill repeats and sprint workouts in Austin.
> This means vigorously climbing hills that max out at 26% (the steep
> parts of Ladera Norte), and average between 10% and 14% for 300 feet of
> elevation. I'm not the most powerful or fastest rider around, but I am
> very tough on rear wheels.


Ladera Norte, 26%? Where does this figure come from, please? (I could
start feeling better about life here..)

> Nevertheless, the shop-built wheels I've ridden don't last any longer
> than my own, so I'm not a bad builder.


Which shop(s) are you using to build for you? Some offer a "free first
tuneup" (within a couple of hundred miles) on wheels they build. Have
you used this option? Some posters here will say that tuneup is an
admission of poor wheelbuilding, but it might be just the ticket for
you.

IME (I used to race at about your weight), using 36h wheels will help.
The 32 thing, didn't that come from reading magazines about 142lb Euro
pros? --D-y
 
A

Art Harris

Guest
Mike wrote:

> Usually I rebuild the wheel after the third spoke break because the last two usually occur pretty close together. That seems to happen around 18 months, with the first spoke break around 15 months.


Only a few possible reasons for multiple spoke breakage like that: Bad
batch of spokes, lack of proper stress relieving, or excess/uneven
spoke tension. You want the right side spokes to be just tight enough
so that the left side spokes don't go slack. One trick is to use
lighter gauge spokes on the left (e.g., 15-16-15) so that they will be
less likely to go slack for a given tension.

Art Harris
 
M

Michael Press

Guest
In article
<[email protected]>,
"maxo" <[email protected]> wrote:

> Are you and the shop properly destressing the wheels after tensioning
> them up? Might help those spokes to get properly seated. ;)
>
> I'd go for traditional wheels as the previous poster recommended. Throw
> a 36 spoker back there if you're not a weight weenie.
>
> Even though I run Mavics yet again, as the sales are too tempting--I've
> heard lots of good stuff about other basic rims like Velocity and Sun.
> I've even had a set of Alex rims that went years without a
> touch-up--even though many grumble about them. Next time I build a set
> for bumping around town, it's going to be plain jane Sun silver CR-18s.
> Cheaper than dirt. :p


And still available in 27 inch! (630)

--
Michael Press
 
Q

Qui si parla Campagnolo

Guest
Tim McNamara wrote:
> >> The problem is that my rear wheels only last about 18 months. I
> >> weigh 185 lbs. and do A LOT of hill repeats and sprint workouts in
> >> Austin. This means vigorously climbing hills that max out at 26%
> >> (the steep parts of Ladera Norte), and average between 10% and 14%
> >> for 300 feet of elevation. I'm not the most powerful or fastest
> >> rider around, but I am very tough on rear wheels.

>
> But perhaps not as tough as someone doing, for example, loaded
> touring. Although on those steep hills, your rear wheel is bearing a
> lot of weight. I imagine you chew through rear tires pretty quickly
> as well.
>
> I'm 210-220 lbs and have broken only one spoke in probably 8-9 years
> of riding 6000-7000 mile a year (racing, touring, JRA and brevets),
> and that one broke under braking at the start of the threads.
>
> >> They always fail at a drive-side spoke bend, or if I don't have
> >> eyelets, maybe a drive-side spoke hole.

>
> Sounds like you need to stress-relieve your spokes. Get a copy of
> _The Bicycle Wheel_ by Jobst Brandt, which will explain the procedure
> and rationale in detail. And of course, read the inevitable
> "rebuttal" from jim beam which will be posted shortly, since Jobst's
> name is like bacon to a bear for jim.


I think another thing to mention is when a rim becomes deformed, either
thru low tension or wacking something, that spot on the wheel the
tension becomes low and breaking a spoke there is not uncommon. I think
he is seeing the results of too light of a rim, too low of tension, too
few spokes.
 
Tim McNamara wrote:
> I imagine you chew through rear tires pretty quickly
> as well.


Yep. 4-to-1 rear replacement rate vs. front :p

> I'm 210-220 lbs and have broken only one spoke in probably 8-9 years
> of riding 6000-7000 mile a year (racing, touring, JRA and brevets),
> and that one broke under braking at the start of the threads.
>
> >> They always fail at a drive-side spoke bend, or if I don't have
> >> eyelets, maybe a drive-side spoke hole.

>
> Sounds like you need to stress-relieve your spokes. Get a copy of
> _The Bicycle Wheel_ by Jobst Brandt, which will explain the procedure
> and rationale in detail. And of course, read the inevitable
> "rebuttal" from jim beam which will be posted shortly, since Jobst's
> name is like bacon to a bear for jim.


Yeah, I've probably not stress relieved well enough in the past. I also
haven't yet invested in Jobst's book. I ought to if I'm going to stick
out this wheelbuilding thing. Pretty silly. I've probably built 10
wheels (road and MTB) and never read it. Come to think of it, I just
got a 30% coupon for Borders...
 
[email protected] wrote:
> [email protected] wrote:
> Ladera Norte, 26%? Where does this figure come from, please? (I could
> start feeling better about life here..)


That's from measuring the distances and elevations using Google Earth.
I have a spreadsheet that takes start and end elevation, and distance,
converts to rise and run and gives a % grade.

The two steep sections of LDN are 26% (the one at the bottom, before
the Backtrail intersection, and the one at the top, approaching the
stop sign). Crazy huh?

You tried Smokey Valley near the bottom of LDN? I need to find out what
that peaks out at with GEarth, but it's steeper than LDN at its top...

> Which shop(s) are you using to build for you? Only from new bike purchases. Most recent was Excel Sports when I ordered my Ritchey Road Logic (my current bike, and I love it to death). Previously, I had a Bridgestone RB-1, and I had bought a pair of wheels from Colorado Cyclist for it.


> IME (I used to race at about your weight), using 36h wheels will help.


Yeah, it seems the right way to go.

Thanks,
Mike
 
Qui si parla Campagnolo wrote:
> Invest in a tensionometer and make sure you stress relieve well. Also
> do a 36h rear, build well with good components. Since you buiold your
> own, ultegra hubs, 14/15 DT spokes, a Velocity Fusion rim...36/3 cross
> rear


Well, looking at the Fusions, there are no eyelets. Every rear rim I've
had without eyelets has failed at the spoke hole. I'm sure I wasn't
maintaining the wheel properly, but I'll happily take the added weight
for peace of mind here.
 
T

Tim McNamara

Guest
"Qui si parla Campagnolo" <[email protected]> writes:

> I think another thing to mention is when a rim becomes deformed,
> either thru low tension or wacking something, that spot on the wheel
> the tension becomes low and breaking a spoke there is not
> uncommon. I think he is seeing the results of too light of a rim,
> too low of tension, too few spokes.


Well, he said:

In my 15-years and 120,000 miles on the bike, I have nearly always
built my own wheels. I always start with an Ultegra or Dura-Ace
hub, then pick the best-value Mavic hoops (Open 4-CD, or whatever
was current at the time), and finish with some DT or Wheelsmith
14-15-14 spokes and brass nipples.

So I'd doubt that the rim is too light, and he's made good choices in
hubs, spokes and nipples. He didn't say how many spokes, but 32 is
pretty common. So the candidates for the cause are fairly limited:
overall spoke tension too low, spoke tension on just one or two spokes
too low, or lack of stress relieving.

In any event, he should still read _The Bicycle Wheel_ and try higher
tension and stress relieving.
 
M

maxo

Guest
Michael Press wrote:
> In article
> <[email protected]>,
> "maxo" <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> > Next time I build a set
> > for bumping around town, it's going to be plain jane Sun silver CR-18s.
> > Cheaper than dirt. :p

>
> And still available in 27 inch! (630)
>
> --


And in 26x 1 3/8--I've thought about putting them on momma's old German
single speed.
 
[email protected] wrote:
> The two steep sections of LDN are 26% (the one at the bottom, before
> the Backtrail intersection, and the one at the top, approaching the
> stop sign). Crazy huh?
>
> You tried Smokey Valley near the bottom of LDN? I need to find out what
> that peaks out at with GEarth, but it's steeper than LDN at its top...


Well, like I said, I can feel better about life now <g>.

I think I climbed Smokey, slowly, once by bike. It's hard on motor
vehicles, too.
--D-y
 
[email protected] wrote:
> [email protected] wrote:
> > The two steep sections of LDN are 26% (the one at the bottom, before
> > the Backtrail intersection, and the one at the top, approaching the
> > stop sign). Crazy huh?
> >
> > You tried Smokey Valley near the bottom of LDN? I need to find out what
> > that peaks out at with GEarth, but it's steeper than LDN at its top...

>
> Well, like I said, I can feel better about life now <g>.
>
> I think I climbed Smokey, slowly, once by bike. It's hard on motor
> vehicles, too.


I'm glad I could help :)

Yeah, it's amazing to see how many more oil stains there are on Smokey
Valley. The cars are at such freak angles that the oil is resting on
gaskets overnight. I've slipped my rear a couple times on the oil.

-Mike
 
Art Harris wrote:
> Mike wrote:
>
> > Usually I rebuild the wheel after the third spoke break because the last two usually occur pretty close together. That seems to happen around 18 months, with the first spoke break around 15 months.

>
> Only a few possible reasons for multiple spoke breakage like that: Bad
> batch of spokes, lack of proper stress relieving, or excess/uneven
> spoke tension. You want the right side spokes to be just tight enough
> so that the left side spokes don't go slack. One trick is to use
> lighter gauge spokes on the left (e.g., 15-16-15) so that they will be
> less likely to go slack for a given tension.
>
> Art Harris


I thought you wanted pretty high tension on the drive side. I really do
need to read TBW. I've been greasing nipples and threads and getting
things pretty tight. Not crazy tight, but certainly beyond what you
describe.
 

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