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Tough Commuter Wheels?(10 posts)

Tough Commuter Wheels?C-Ling
Nov 4, 2003 5:45 PM
Hi, newbie here (just finished "Every Second Counts") wondering if anyone has any recommendations for tough urban/suburban commuter wheels. The current stock wheels have been trued a lot and are pretty much done for. 1st priority is toughness! Weight is a distant second. These things have to be able to handle lots of pot holes, a little off road and fairly large bumps/curbs without going out of true. I'm 160 lbs and I think my tires are 700x25c or something. Thank you for any/all consideration.

re: Tough Commuter Wheels?lyleseven
Nov 4, 2003 7:23 PM
You won't go wrong with a Mavic Open Pro with 520 rims. This is a heavy duty rim and will accept a 25 tire. It is routinely used for touring and commuting. You can get straight spokes or butted depending on your needs to strengthen it further. 32 hole will work but you could go 36 for even more strength.
Nov 4, 2003 9:07 PM
re: Tough Commuter Wheels?russw19
Nov 4, 2003 9:57 PM
I recommend you use a Velocity Deep-V rim. It is the strongest sub 600 gram rim on the market. It is used for a lot of cyclecross applications, and also makes a great strong touring rim. It has a nice added bonus of a 30mm aero profile, but that's not what makes it great, it's strength is is best feature. Also, use butted spokes! Contrary to what lyleseven said, do not use straight gauge spokes... they are NOT as strong as butted spokes. I know that seems opposite of logic, that butted and lighter spokes are stronger, but spokes are under tensile forces and actually act like a spring.. swagged spokes (butted) allow the spoke to compress and expand better under load and are therefore stronger. In fact, the strongest spokes you can buy are Sapim CX-Rays. They have a bladed profile and are almost as light (about a gram per spoke in road sizes) as titanium spokes are. They are the best spokes on the market and can be used for ultralight road wheels, or downhill mountain bike wheels. The catch is that they are very expensive, but if you can afford them, get them! Otherwise just go with a simple 14/15 butted DT or Wheelsmith spoke. But there is no reason to get straight gauge spokes other than they are cheap.

Build your wheels 32 spoke and 3 cross and you will be fine at your size. You could get 36 spokes for the rear, but you aren't really big enough that they will help that much over a well built pair of 32 spoke wheels. Use any good hub that fits your drivetrain, but steer clear of exotic hubs... normal hubs can be serviced by any mechanic including you in the future. If you ride Shimano, get a 105 or better hub, if you ride Campy, get the Centar or better.

Just my advice, take if for what you paid for it.

re: Tough Commuter Wheels?lyleseven
Nov 4, 2003 11:01 PM
Russ' wheel will be a lot more expensive than a Mavic Open Pro Rim, but a Deep V-rim is very strong also. If money is not an issue use double butted spokes.
re: Tough Commuter Wheels?russw19
Nov 5, 2003 8:43 AM
Always use double butted spokes. There is not a single reason not to. If money is the factor, think of it as a long term investment. Butted spokes are not only stronger, but hold true better due to their elasticity. They can flex (actually compress is a better word) more before they release tension. You will spend far less time and money trueing them. And a Velocity Deep V rim is actually less than a Mavic Open Pro from most suppliers (I just looked it up...) The only thing that would jack up the cost of my wheels would be if the poster took my advice about the Sapim spokes... they are expensive, but well worth the cost in my eyes. Certainly the cost is justified if anyone would be considering higher end boutique wheels (I know that's not what this poster asked about, but I wanted to add that.)

One really good thing about Open Pros and their cost being so reasonable is that you can find them pre-built at a large number of mailorder houses. That means competition and low prices.. but if you are having a good local wheel builder do your wheels for you by hand, get the Deep V's, you would be surprised at how nice they ride and how strong they are.

But for the record, I am NOT bashing anyone who would choose to use an Open Pro wheelset.. I have 3 of them myself! I just think that a couple other companies have finally caught Mavic with their rim dominance over the past 10 years... Velocity is one of them. So I was just giving an alternative to the standard "buy Open Pros" line. But do get butted spokes... there is no reason not to!

re: Tough Commuter Wheels?lyleseven
Nov 5, 2003 7:02 PM
russ: Where are you getting the best price on the Deep V rims? I am toying with the idea of building a set for my race bike with White Hubs, etc. I haven't had much luck in locating them and the prices were more than Mavic Open Pros which I can get for as little as 45-50 bucks apiece.
re: Tough Commuter Wheels?DaveLobster
Nov 5, 2003 7:27 AM
My recommendation would be 105 or Ultegra hubs with Bontrager Fairlane/Fairlane OSB rims, 32 14/15 db spokes laced 3x and brass nipples.

OSB is for "offset spoke bed" which means that the holes in the rear rim are not in the middle, but rather offset to the non-drive side. Typically the rear wheel is the one with the majority of the issues, and by using the OSB rim, you can get more even spoke tension on both sides of the rear wheel. I think this would benefit you more than going with a conventional rear rim with 36 spokes. Plus, the Bontrager is cheap ($29) and available at any Trek dealer.

Also, make sure you have them built by a knowledgable builder, which is probably more important than the components themselves.
Dave, you said the best line in this whole thread!russw19
Nov 5, 2003 8:45 AM
"Also, make sure you have them built by a knowledgable builder, which is probably more important than the components themselves."
PS Cost is an issueC-Ling
Nov 6, 2003 7:14 PM
PS forgot to mention this will be a fairly low end commuter bike so i'm looking for a low-mid range priced wheel/wheel set (do i just need a good rear cause that's the one that seems to have the problems?) considering the bike may be stolen. thanks,