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Advice on wheels for a heavy guy(12 posts)

Advice on wheels for a heavy guybikerduder
Nov 6, 2001 8:45 PM
I recently upgraded the components on my bike to Dura-Ace, and went ahead and bought the front and rear 32-hole hubs. I currently have Rolf Vector Pros on the bike and want to make a change. The Rolfs have been good wheels, remaining true, but after 2 broken spokes and a factory rebuild, I want wheels that will get me home on those long Sunday rides in the farmlands west of Chicago. If you haven't experienced a break on a 16-spoke wheel, let me tell you, it is unridable, as the rim deforms about 2" at the break. Because of the spoke tension, you can't work on them on the side of the rode and have to take them to the LBS to fix. Last break I had to walk/carry the bike for 3 miles before someone took mercy on me and picked me up.

About me: I am 6'2" and weigh 225+. I have a history of breaking spokes and cracking rims on any rear wheel I've ever ridden. I am considering Mavic Open Pros with the DA hubs, but would like advice on other rims and spoke options. Any other heavy riders out there have some experience/suggestions?

P.S. Anyone want to buy some used Rolf Vector Pros?
get some 36 spoke wheels! (nm)Rusty McNasty
Nov 7, 2001 5:45 AM
re: Advice on wheels for a heavy guybrider
Nov 7, 2001 6:59 AM
When I weighed 155 (at a height of 5'11") I rode 36 spoke wheels (Mavic Open 4CDs) all the time for training (raced 32 and 28 spoke wheels). Now at 200 lbs (after a few years of heavy weight training), I'm still using THE SAME 36 spoke wheels with no problems. As you've found, the lower the spoke count, the more the wheel deforms when a spoke breaks. When the Shamals first came out, I saw a guy at a TT start dent the rim on a chanstay when a spoke broke. You should be okay with 32 spokes on the Open Pros, just don't try to get fancy with lacing patterns or go with light gage spokes. You might consider going with a 36 spoke rear, but you may have trouble finding a 36 hole DA hub.
Second the 36...check Velocity Deep V rims, toocory
Nov 7, 2001 9:06 AM
I'm about 220 now, but in spring I weighed 260. When I started pushing hard to get the weight off, I broke three or four spokes on a couple of different 32-hole wheels.
I swapped one for an old 36-spoke Mavic MA-40 from a bike I crashed years ago. It probably has 3,000 miles on it, and it's worked all summer with one light truing.
For the other bike, a local shop laced a 32-spoke Velocity Deep V to my hub. I was doubtful, but it worked fine until last week, when an alloy nipple (I wanted brass; the guy convinced me) snapped. Even with a broken nip, though, it stayed true enough that I could ride 20 miles home. Only problem is weight--I think the rim is 520 grams, and you can feel it.
Standard answerBlubbersaddle
Nov 7, 2001 9:47 AM
32 x 3 no silly lacing anywhere on OPs with nicest hub you can afford - well built. You won't (easily) find anything better.
Nov 7, 2001 9:48 AM
I mean 36, not 32.
Whatever happened to 36 spoked wheels?guido
Nov 7, 2001 1:32 PM
So these spokeless wonders are breaking, huh? Back in the old days, materials weren't as durable, so anything less than 32 spokes was considered risky. But now that materials are so much sturdier, spoke counts are disappearing. They have to make the rims really stout so that fewer spokes are required to hold it true.

So it appears that a nice box section lightweight rim, held together with 36 spokes, is still the strongest wheel, despite marketing hype surrounding the latest featherweight wonders. Anyone noticed how many 32 spoked wheels were still being raced in the TDF? Quite a few.

It is fun to ride the latest cutting edge technology. It keeps up a continual market for new and innovative products, and advances the state of the art. But if the new product doesn't perform in some situations at least as well, if not better than the old, as for example Rolf Vector wheels with a heavy rider, the manufacturers and retailers should admit it.

I weigh 155-160, and have ridden on 36 spoked wheels for almost 20 years. I've trained and raced on them, climbed mountains on them, toured and commuted on them, and they have never let me down. They and their cousins, 32 spoked wheels, are really durable. Tensioned properly, they will stay true for several seasons, virtually maintenance free.

I have a hard time understanding why bigger guys don't appreciate that the heavier you load up a bike, the stronger the wheels should be. Bikes aren't like cars. A strong rider needs a strong frame. A heavy rider need stout wheels and larger tires.

And until Rolf Vectors get as strong and durable as my ancient 36 spoked wheels, I'll keep my money, thank you.
Whatever happened to 36 spoked wheels?bikerduder
Nov 7, 2001 2:51 PM

Don't get me wrong - these have been great wheels. I rode 1,500 miles before I had the first break, and the second break occured at the same place as the first within the next 500 miles, the theory being that riding with the one broken spoke for 20 miles weakened the other. I was fortunate on the first break - it occured during GOBA in June, and we happened to have a Trek factory mechanic on SAG duty. The second break is the one that deformed the wheel so bad I couldn't ride it. Of course, Murphey's law dictated that I be at the farthest/remotest point in my ride when the break occured. I've had no problems since Trek rebuilt them. Believe it or not, this is a good amount of miles without a spoke break for me! During the whole time I've had them (now 3,750 miles)they have stayed perfectly true, without the slightest wobble, and they truly make me 'feel' faster.

No, my biggest concern has been getting stranded if another break occurs. I ride out to very remote locations on my Sunday rides, and I don't want to repeat the walk/hitch hike again. I just want a wheel I can count on to get me home if a spoke breaks. Trek pushed these wheels as bullet-proof. I now know that nothing is. Too bad it took me $600 to figure that out.
re: Advice on wheels for a heavy guydfoclv
Nov 8, 2001 5:16 AM
I'm 6' 3", weigh 215 give or take a few pounds depending on the time of year. I use Mavic CXP33 32 spoke rims with Dura Ace hubs, 14/15/14 gage spokes with alloy nipples. Very strong rims, I have only had the rear wheel trued once in 3 seasons of use.
LBS give nod to Mavic Ksyriums SSC mnjagiger
Nov 8, 2001 5:25 AM
Sure they would give you the nodTallywhacker!
Nov 8, 2001 8:42 AM
They stand to make $500 in profit from you. Ther'es a sucker born every minute...
re: Advice on wheels for a heavy guyWinnebago
Nov 8, 2001 7:18 AM
Man, are you lucky I came across this posting. It sounds like you and I are the same weight and size, and for the last 23 years now have been a bike mechanic. Me becoming a mechanic all started when I too used to break spokes and got tired of have the LBS rebuild or fix them for me. So I started learning and experimenting with many different options. I read all of these postings, and the only one that I found to be true is the idea of a CXP33, although a very heavy rim but very strong(key word, start with a strong rim) and also the MAVIC Ksyriums. Believe it or not, I have had a set of these now for 2 years and have had no problems, and their very light. As for all these other postings, 32 or 36 holes isn't going to make that big of a difference. The difference is the wheel builder, any mechanic knows how to lace up a wheel, but do they really know how to build it with proper spoke tension on both sides. I also have a set of Open Pro's (32 hole) and have no problems with them either.

Good Luck, email me directly if you would like to solve this issue.