Ultra low maintenance bicycle wheels ?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Ad, Aug 11, 2003.

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  1. Ad

    Ad Guest

    Does such a critter exist?

    I remember purchasing a childs bicycle with heavy cast aluminum wheels almost 20 years ago, and this
    product proved truly bulletproof. In constrast, my college aged son can't seem to get any wheels to
    last on his mountain bike - even when he babies them.

    Surely a wheel option exists which would permit reliability optimization - instead of of
    performance?

    Your comments would be most appreciated...................

    Thank you,

    AD

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  2. Dan Brussee

    Dan Brussee Guest

    On Sun, 10 Aug 2003 22:38:17 -0500, "AD" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Does such a critter exist?
    >
    >
    >I remember purchasing a childs bicycle with heavy cast aluminum wheels almost 20 years ago, and
    >this product proved truly bulletproof. In constrast, my college aged son can't seem to get any
    >wheels to last on his mountain bike - even when he babies them.
    >
    >Surely a wheel option exists which would permit reliability optimization - instead of of
    >performance?
    >

    There are some wheels out there that are solid cast, but I would think they would be quite heavy.
    Alternatively, you should consider what is going on with the wheels he has.

    I cannot imagine a wheel "not lasting" under normal usage. What does he consider babying? Only
    jumping off 4 foot cliffs instead of 6? <smile>. Really, a well built wheel should last a good long
    time even under tough conditions. What is breaking? Spokes? Rims? Tires? Hubs?

    Dan
     
  3. B. Sanders

    B. Sanders Guest

    "AD" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Does such a critter exist?
    >
    > I remember purchasing a childs bicycle with heavy cast aluminum wheels almost 20 years ago, and
    > this product proved truly bulletproof. In constrast, my college aged son can't seem to get any
    > wheels to last on his mountain bike - even when he babies them.
    >
    > Surely a wheel option exists which would permit reliability optimization - instead of of
    > performance?

    Absolutely! There are wheels out there that are designed for the most extreme use imaginable. I have
    no idea what your son does to his wheels; but I guarantee you that if he survives the rides, so can
    his wheels. He's probably buying "weight weenie" superlight wheels and abusing them. That's a
    prescription for high maintenance and frequent replacement.

    I don't know what kind of bike he rides, so I'm going to assume "mountain bike." (Noting that there
    are many sub-classes of MTB's.)

    Get him a professionally hand-built set of wheels with 36 spokes, Shimano XT hubs and Sun Rhyno Lite
    rims. If he breaks those, then he's quite definitely *not* babying his wheels. The build quality is
    at least as important as the components. Spoke tension must be high, and perfectly even.
    Off-the-shelf machine-built wheels can't (or don't) provide optimum durability.

    Actually, there are probably lighter rims than the Rhyno Lite's that would perform admirably. I've
    heard good things about Mavic 521, Velocity Aero Heat and Bontrager Mustang rims. They're all in the
    reasonably-light weight range; but still have plenty of strength. Not quite as bombproof as
    downhill-specific rims; but considerably lighter.

    If you have truckloads of money, and you want the best wheels possible, get some Chris King hubs and
    lace them to Mavic 521's. They should be indestructible. They'll run you $450-ish; but your son
    won't have to replace them for a long time.

    -Barry
     
  4. Chalo

    Chalo Guest

    "AD" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Surely a wheel option exists which would permit reliability optimization - instead of of
    > performance?

    For the market segments who are hardest on their wheels-- that's freestyle/dirt jumping riders and
    tandemists-- 48 spoke wheels are the most certain approach to getting trouble-free wheels. This
    assumes that suitably sturdy individual components are used, and that the wheels are well assembled
    by an expert wheelbuilder.

    Wheels built without dish (symmetrically one side to the other) are stronger and more reliable by
    far than those which are dished to allow use of multi-gear clusters in the rear or disc brakes in
    the front.

    If your son is of normal size and weight, and if he rides for transportation rather than for
    thrills, there remains the question of what he may be doing to unduly tax his wheels. He should take
    some care not to side-load his wheels heavily upon mounting his bike, and he should stand up out of
    the saddle when he is able to anticipate large bumps. He should also take care to keep his tires
    inflated to a proper level for his weight and riding conditions.

    There is the possibility that he has not yet tried a pair of wheels which has been handbuilt or at
    least tensioned and stress-relieved by hand. Most machine-built wheels fail to live up to the
    durability potential of their components because of compromises in their assembly.

    Bicycle wheels are not a "one size fits all" commodity due to the range of demands placed upon them.
    If your son imposes demands on his wheels that are out of the ordinary, he may require extraordinary
    wheels to meet those demands reliably.

    Chalo Colina
     
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