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Butted spokes and alloy nipples ok it for a big guy?(13 posts)

Butted spokes and alloy nipples ok it for a big guy?Ken of Fresno
Sep 7, 2002 10:03 AM
If you were a big guy (220) would you go with wheels built with double butted spokes and alloy nipples, or would you opt for the more durable straight 14g w/ brass nipples? I'm not sure that either of these options has anything to do with the durability/weight capacity of the wheel. What do you think?

Rims= Mavic CPX33 32 hole
Hubs= Ultegra
Spokes= ??? DT 14g or DT 14/15g???
Nipples= alloy (about $10 extra) brass (included)

Butted spokes yes. Brass on rear drive at least...TFerguson
Sep 7, 2002 10:26 AM
In my opinion, butted spokes are better than straight because the take more of the force in the non-critical center of the spoke rather than at the elbow or threads. Non-damaged spokes don't fail in the center.

Modern alloy nipples would probably be fine, but I feel safer with brass on the rear drive side. (Also on any disc brake side if that is relevant.)
yup, exactly nmgtx
Sep 7, 2002 10:41 AM
My wheel builder told me..........gogene
Sep 7, 2002 11:25 AM
......because I weigh 200#, I should have a wheel that is 32 hole, laced 3X with 14/15/14 double butted spokes and brass nipples. So I do, and with ZERO problems since I received them in February. Make sure that your builder stress relieves and properly tensions the wheels. With that your new wheels should last you for years.
re: Butted spokes and alloy nipples ok it for a big guy?GregJ
Sep 7, 2002 1:12 PM
Brass nipples all around. 14/15 spokes. Consider a 36 for the rear if available in CXP 33. I have seen numerous failures of alloy nipples over the years. Always on my friends' bikes as I have never used them. I have seen them fracture vertically, break off at the rim, and most commonly, seize up to the spoke rendering the wheel non-truable. I think they have their place for a special racing or climbing wheel, but for general purpose wheels, I would avoid them. I have a 28 hole version of this set-up. I like them a lot and they have held up well.
re: Butted spokes and alloy nipples ok it for a big guy?redtwin
Sep 7, 2002 2:03 PM
All this talk of "big" guys showing concern for their wheels has me worried now, especially since I weigh about 100lbs more than these so called big guys. I am a couple weeks away from my first road bike having only ridden MTBs before. The rolling stock on the bicycle I am planning to get is as follows.

Front Hub: Ritchey Pro Road, Black, 24H
Rear Hub: Ritchey Pro Road, Black, 28H
Spokes: Ritchey/DT Aero Bladed Stainless, Black
Rims: Ritchey Zero System OCR Pro Road, 24/28H, Black W/CNC Sidewalls
Tires: Vittoria Rubino Pro with Kevlar bead, 700 x 23c ultralight presta tubes

Does this setup seem inadequate for a recreational rider weighing over 300lbs?. I am already considering wider tires as I saw another thread recommending that, but if I am going to be faced with broken spokes and wheels constantly out of true what should be my next step?.

I would respectfully suggest...gogene
Sep 7, 2002 7:03 PM
...that you talk to your LBS about the wheels on your intended purchase. Wheelsets for 'Clydesdales' are not of the light, low spoke count variety. If you asked a good professional wheelbuilder to recommend a wheelset, he would probably tell you a slightly aero (for strength) 36 hole rim, laced 3x or 4x, with 14/15/14 double butted spokes using a good hubset. Tires of 700x25 would probably be recommended too. It sounds like you are buying a bike already set up with the Ritchey wheelsets. Ritchey builds good stuff, but often riders 200# and larger have different requirements in wheels. In my opinion, if your LBS says the wheels that you mentioned are O.K. for you, I would reconsider the purchase and visit another store. The easy thing to do would be to arrange a wheelset swap with your LBS for one that suits you better. There might be a dollar difference between the wheels but it will be to your advantage to do it. As an gauge, you can get a wheelset like I mentioned built, using 105 or Ultegra hubs, for about $250.00 or less. A Ritchey wheelset, like the one that comes on the bike you want could be sold for about $200~$250.
I would respectfully suggest...redtwin
Sep 7, 2002 7:40 PM
Thanks for the advice. The LBS (finally figured out what that meant)never brought up any concerns about my weight and the capacities of the bicycles he recommended and at the time I went there shopping I had not discovered this site and did not know about any concerns. I have scoured the web and have not found weight capacities of wheels and or bikes so I am going into the whole situation blindly.

For my intended use, lightweight and low spoke count is not an issue, I would gladly accept a 1 lb increase in wheel weight if i could be assured that it would be safe and problem free (with regards to rider weight of course).

The thing is I don't like buying twice. I would rather spend more money once and buy a good bicycle that does not need upgrading, rather than buy an "entry-level" bike that I will want to upgrade in a year or two. This mindset has me looking at higher grade bikes with higher spec components which almost always have "lightweight, low spoke count" wheels, such as the Ritcheys mentioned, fitted as standard.

700X25 tires seem like a good idea/starting point mostly because they are inexpensive and easy enough to switch out. The added comfort will only be a plus.

I am buying the bike mail-order simply because the LBS didn't have anything in my price range that interested me, so I will have to wait until I get the bike before decide if there is a problem or not. It is good to know that there are solutions even if it will wind up costing me even more money which is what I wanted to save by buying "better" in the first place.
I agree with thisGregJ
Sep 8, 2002 7:38 AM
Performance bike has prebuilt wheels available that are fairly priced and may be suitable for a 300 lb. rider. Check out this, Shimano 105 hub, T520 rim, 36 hole, 179.98 per pair. The T520 rim is designed for touring, but I think it would make a really strong wheel for you.
Good points, but what about the rear dish?off roadie
Sep 8, 2002 9:56 AM
I'd worry about a 300lb rider on a conventionally laced 36 spoke rear wheel, because of the huge dishing in modern raod wheels. Even lightweight tandems take some pains to deal with the tension imbalance in conventional rear wheels, usually with longer axles (135 at least) and hub spacing.

The simplest way to adress this problem on a nomral road bike is with an assymetric spoke bed. The Ritchey one ( a great wheel normally) sounds to light in this case, but there are some that are designed more with touring in mind that might serve very well. I personally only know of the Bontrager Fairlaine, there may be others of similar design / purpose.

It might also be helpful to use lighter (maybe Wheelsmith DB14 or even DT Revolution) spokes on the non-drive side, with DT alpine (13/15/14) spokes on the drive side. Its counter intuitive that the thinner spokes would last longer, but they will elongate more for a given build tension, which will prevent them from going slack during thier un-load cycles as they pass the bottom position.
re: Butted spokes and alloy nipples ok it for a big guy?harry hall
Sep 8, 2002 8:32 AM
My prescription for you: First off, don't look at any bike with clearance for less than a 28c tire. Build wheels w/36 spokes, 14/15/14 both sides front, 14ga right side rear, 14/15/14 left rear, 28c or 32c tires. If you really weigh @300 lbs, there's no point in caring at all what stuff on your bike weighs; light bikes are a luxury for those under about 175 lbs.
DB 3X w/ brass ..... then get a 10gm lighter tire NMSpirito
Sep 7, 2002 10:15 PM
DB 3X w/ brass ..... then get a 10gm lighter tire NMredtwin
Sep 8, 2002 12:44 PM
Thank you all for the suggestions and advice. From all the spoke/wheel specs I have seen (and don't fully understand)I think I would be better off having a reputable buider suggest something based on my needs rather than me try to determine it for myself.

Lightweight was never a concern when shopping for a road bicycle. I ride a Klein MTB on the street now and not once have I felt that it was too heavy for my intended purpose, which is recreational street riding and physical exercise. The reason I wound up with a lightweight bicycle choice was because I wanted higher a spec frame and components to begin with, that way I wouldn't have the desire to spend money upgrading later.

At this point I will save the recommendations made, wait until I get the bicycle and then go from there as far as wheel replacement. I doubt the wheels will collapse under my weight, so I will see if I can squeeze by on smooth riding on our flat roads. If not, I know where to go to solve any problems.

Thanks again, this is really appreciated.