How much impact can a road bike wheel take?

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by BikerM, Sep 5, 2011.

  1. BikerM

    BikerM New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2011
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    So I recently bought a new road bike and really want to make sure it will last!

    But with the road we have, the wheel is taking a beating... I have a Trek Madone 5.2 with Bontrager Race wheel... To my knowledge, they are entry level stuff... are they going to come apart one day?
     
    Tags:


  2. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2003
    Messages:
    3,233
    Likes Received:
    95
    No, but in my experience most stock wheels could use some professional work (tensioning and dishing) before they're ready for dirt roads, railroad crossings, and miles of really bad road taken at speed.
     
  3. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2010
    Messages:
    1,333
    Likes Received:
    90
    Road wheels can withstand a surprising amount of radial impact from potholes and road debris. I have seen wheels shrug off jolts that have nearly launched riders and have left them physically and mentally shaken. Wheels are not as strong against lateral forces, but you shouldn't encounter them in normal riding.

    Oldbobcat is right to have off the shelf wheels checked over before riding; many entry level wheelsets seem to have uneven tension and be less true than I fancy. Wheels fail primarily from cyclic fatigue and wear, items like loose spokes will accelerate that process. Simply picking the spokes and listening to the tone is a good way to check for even tension. Squeezing adjacent spokes together also works, but is perhaps not as accurate. There is a lot of good information here and on the net regarding wheel maintenance.
     
  4. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    Messages:
    12,596
    Likes Received:
    160
    How long is a rope? That's the same magnitude of beating a bicycle wheel can take. If still in doubt, just inspect your wheels at regular intervals and certainly after any unique experiences (running over giant protrusions or holes in road; energy exchange with cars/curbs; crashes), and service or have them serviced regularly. All else being equal, wheels with less spokes need more servicing and care than wheels with more spokes, and the same is true of lighter wheels versus heavier wheels. Please note, however, that all else is rarely equal.
     
  5. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    Messages:
    10,057
    Likes Received:
    185
    A set of wheels built by folks who really know what they're doing will take a massive amount of thashing.

    Factory built wheels, especially those built on a machine, will fair less well. The top of the line Shimano, Zipp and HED wheels however, can easily handle as much as your wrists can take comfortably.

    As alienator said, inspect your wheels at regular intervals and get problems fixed sooner rather than later. If you have a track pump and use it a couple of times a week to inflate the tires, take a few seconds to spin the wheel and note any irregularities. Look at each side of the rim and look for the rim being out of true and any damage to the braking surface.
     
  6. BikerM

    BikerM New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2011
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for everyone's feedback! I will have to monitor/inspect more wheel from now on! Thx
     
  7. By-tor

    By-tor New Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2011
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    0
Loading...
Loading...