Author Topic: Touring wheel configuration  (Read 872 times)

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Offline jdbruce18

Touring wheel configuration
« on: May 14, 2014, 07:31:44 pm »
Building a touring bike, most likely a 700c LHT. Curious to see what configurations people choose for their wheels.
I will most likely be lacing them myself, ordering parts separately.
So what do you guys like as far as rim width, spoke number, spoke type, hub brand and style, things like that? Standard caliper brake, canti, or disk? Also, brand and model would be appreciated.

Offline DaveB

Re: Touring wheel configuration
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2014, 08:53:05 am »
If you have the LHT frame, the brake type has been defined already.  If not, this is going to be a long thread as opinions and recommendations will be all over the place. 

A bit more info is probably useful:

1. What  type of touring do you plan?  Fully loaded and self-contained?  "Credit Card" with minimal luggage and no camping or cooking? Van or car supported?
2. What type of terrain?  All paved roads?  Some dirt and gravel roads? 
3. How much do you weigh?
4.  Are you going to be riding in "developed" countries only (i.e. always near a bike shop and cell phone service) or in undeveloped and remote countries and areas? 

All of these factors will have an influence on the type of wheels and tires and brakes you need.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Touring wheel configuration
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2014, 09:56:18 am »
For 700C touring wheels you cannot go wrong with fairly standard wheels.  36 holes.  Wide, heavy, strong, tough, durable rims.  Whatever model those happen to be.  Many companies make wide, heavy, strong rims with 36 holes.  Just find them.  Hubs, Shimano.  One of their middle of the road mountain bike models.  Check whether your bike is 130mm or 135mm wide rear dropout.  That kind of determines whether you get mountain (135) or road (130) hubs.  Not the high dollar, expensive, maybe more fragile, light XTR model.  All Shimano hubs are good.  Road or mountain.  Just get a regular priced one.  14/15 stainless spokes with brass nipples.  These wheels will work everywhere.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2014, 11:35:45 am by RussSeaton »

Offline DaveB

Re: Touring wheel configuration
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2014, 12:22:21 pm »
The LHT is spaced for 135 mm hubs so that's not an issue.  I agree than any Shimano hub is a good choice and the XT is probably the "sweet spot" in the MTB lineup.  It's available both with and without disc brake rotor mounts so buy the one to suit your brake choice although the disc-ready hub is fine for rim brake wheels too.   

Shimano's web site no longer lists the XT hubs as separate items and you may have problems finding 36 or more hole hubs these days as 32 seems to be the standard.  However, Jenson still lists the XT in disc form with 36H drilling: http://www.jensonusa.com/Hubs/Shimano-XT-M756A-Rear-Hub¬

Offline jdbruce18

Re: Touring wheel configuration
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2014, 01:40:41 pm »
I don't have the frame yet as I hadn't settled on whether disk would suit my needs. I've always been told they're amazing in wet conditions, but have only ever ridden standard road bikes with caliper style rim brakes.
 Planning to do fully loaded and self-sustained touring over almost entirely paved roads with some light gravel and dirt, all within the US.
I weigh about 155, but am eighteen and of average height so I will be gaining weight over the next few years from filling out, though nothing drastic.
I will most likely be in rural areas much of the time, but I'm pretty familiar with wheels and the repair of them. What type of emergency wheel stuffs do people bring?
And what counts as wide as far as a rim goes? I've never dealt with anything wider than 23 on a road frame.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2014, 03:33:44 pm by jdbruce18 »

Offline jdbruce18

Re: Touring wheel configuration
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2014, 04:52:39 pm »
Also, how reliable are hydraulic disc brakes on tour? Seems like once something goes bad with them away from a shop, you're pretty screwed.

Offline DaveB

Re: Touring wheel configuration
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2014, 09:18:40 pm »
The rim vs disc brake debate is still raging and can get pretty heated at times.  It's almost as bad as the Shimano vs Campy arguments of the past. 

So this is MY opinion and MY take on brakes.  Others can (and will) chime in with agreement or disagreement as they wish.

Bicycle stopping distances are not limited by their brakes but by their tire grip and the tendency of the rear wheel to lift under hard braking so claiming one form of brakes provides better stopping then others is misleading.  Any decent rim or disc brake will lock both wheels quite nicely.  So the main differences are:

Disc brakes may work a bit better in the wet but good rim brakes with good pads are very close behind. They are also a bit better at heat absorption on long downgrades and keep the heat away from the tires.  However, they can be overheated if used poorly just like rim brakes. 

Disc brakes don't cause rim wear and this can be a consideration for true off-road MTB use but road rims last a long time anyway.
 
Disc brakes complicate and slow wheel installation and changes.  Probably not a big issue until you have a flat in the rain as it's getting dark.

Disc brakes are heavier and their frames and forks are heavier as they have to be reinforced to take the braking forces and discs are less aero but these are all mostly non-issues with a touring bike.

Front disc brakes used with standard downward facing fork dropouts tend to eject the front wheel under braking forces.  It is ESSENTIAL that a fork with good "lawyers lips" AND a strong internal cam (Shimano or Campy type) quick release skewer be used.  Some fork designers have adopted either front facing dropouts or, better yet, through axles to avoid this problem.   The Disc LHT seems to have standard fork dropouts so I assume they have substantial lawyer's lips.  If you go that way keep the qr skewer TIGHT.

Mechanical disc don't have the modulation or ease of operation of the better hydraulic models but they make it up in simplicity and ease of repair.

To me disc brakes on road and touring bikes are still a work in progress and I expect developments in the future will make them more user friendly.           
 

Offline JDFlood

Re: Touring wheel configuration
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2014, 10:01:51 pm »
I use rim brakes with 36 spoke front and 42 spoke rear for light touring wheels and 42 spoke front and 48 spoke rear on my loaded touring.

Offline misterflask

Re: Touring wheel configuration
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2014, 03:46:38 pm »
I got over-fancy and built up a set of touring wheels on Ultegra hubs, which was a mistake.  The rear hub was replaced twice under warranty.  I finally built a set of road wheels on the Ultegra hubs and built my touring wheels on Velo-Orange hubs.  The Velo-Orange rear hub can be disassembled to replace a spoke with NO TOOLS, which is cool.  I've been using Sun CR18 rims which are solid and economical.  Spokes are DT 2.0/1.8 Competitions of which I've yet to break one.

Offline DaveB

Re: Touring wheel configuration
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2014, 04:49:41 pm »
I got over-fancy and built up a set of touring wheels on Ultegra hubs, which was a mistake.  The rear hub was replaced twice under warranty.
I have to ask how the Ultegra hubs failed.  Basically all Shimano road and MTB hubs have a stellar reputation for smoothness, durability and ease of maintenance and my experience with them bears this out.  So I'm really interested in what happened to yours. 

Offline misterflask

Re: Touring wheel configuration
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2014, 05:17:07 pm »
>I have to ask how the Ultegra hubs failed.

Before I started touring on the wheel, the ratchet pawls cracked.  I'm not really a high power cyclist, either.
On the TA, I was on a long descent in KY behind a slow car, using the rim brakes.  When the wheel heated up, a chunk of the flange encompassing three spoke holes broke out (these were three-cross 36spoke wheels).

I like the Ultegras in my current road wheels.  I threw the comment out there because I think this was a misapplication for the hub.  In all fairness to Shimano, they took the cracked flange back beyond warranty because they wanted to inspect it.

A shoutout to my LBS, The Hub in athens, who pushed along both warranty claims even though I didn't buy the hubs from them.  I'm more supportive of my LBS now.