Author Topic: touring wheels  (Read 8512 times)

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Offline robo

touring wheels
« on: April 18, 2008, 01:43:01 am »
I'm lucky enough to be biking from Wyoming to Alaska-about 2500 miles- this summer. I understand there will be a few gravel stretches of several miles. The old Helicomatic rear hub on my 85 Trek has finally given up, so I'm in need of wheels.

Fully loaded with panniers front and back, the bike will have to carry about 160 to 170 pounds of rider and gear.- I like my little luxuries, but try to pack lightly.

Finally to the question: How much wheel do I really need?  I'm tempted to get Mavic a719 laced to 105 or Ultegra, but wonder whether something like Open Pro (which I already have) would survive the ride.  I would rather not use mtn hubs, as that would require spreading the rear dropouts, from their present 126 to 132 or 135cm, a proposition which scares me.

Thanks, Joan



Offline RussellSeaton

touring wheels
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2008, 10:48:36 am »
I recently had a Mavic Open Pro rim crack on me at numerous spoke eyelets.  Only about 5 year old rim with not that many thousands of miles on it.  All paved roads.  So Mavic rims don't excite me much.  I still have some but will pick a different rim brand when they die.

An Ultegra or 105 hub is the same hub as a Deore, LX, XT.  No difference in quality, strength, etc.  Just different axle length and number of spacers.

Gravel roads are likely tougher on tires than paved roads.  The wheels themselves don't really care.  Paved might be worse for wheels because the holes have sharp concrete/asphalt edges to dent rims.  Whereas the holes in gravel roads have rounded openings.  Less likely to dent rims.  Most gravel roads I've been on are packed so hard they are almost paved.  Just ride where the car wheels go.  Loose gravel and soft spots can cause you to lose control so be watchful.

If I was donig what you are doing, I'd build a new rear wheel with a new hub (105 or Ultegra) and a non Mavic rim.  36 spokes preferred.


Offline whittierider

touring wheels
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2008, 03:22:26 pm »
Quote
had a Mavic Open Pro rim crack on me at numerous spoke eyelets.

Our LBS owner says he's had a lot of trouble like this with Mavics but not with the Mavic CXP-33.

After cracking a half-dozen stock Bontrager wheels in very short order, we finally got wheels custom-built by Peter White of Peter White Cycles (see http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/wheels.asp ) after reading tons of glowing reports on his wheels on the tandem forum.  (His 36-spokers hold up perfectly well even for tandems on tour, so they difinitely will for a single.)  Even if you don't have him build your wheels, just reading his web pages will give you an idea of what works well and what rims he favors based on his very extensive experience.  If you do have him build your wheels, you'll talk to him and tell him the application, total weight, etc., so he can help you pick good parts and feel confident putting his lifetime warranty on the wheels.


Offline DaveB

touring wheels
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2008, 08:46:26 pm »
I've had excellent service from Mavic CXP-33 rims.  I retired one set after 29,000 miles and the rims were still fine but the sidewalls were getting mighty thin from brake wear.  It was a precautionary retirement, not a failure.

I have about 6200 miles on another set and they are holding up very well.  


Offline windrath

touring wheels
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2008, 05:07:45 pm »
Hi Robo -

What is your route from Wyoming to Alaska?  I rode from Fairbanks to Vancouver with a BOB trailer on a Trek 520.  The wheels are 36 spoke Bontrager with 35 size tires.  I don't see why you would need mountain hubs unless you are really going off road.  I had no difficulties whatsoever.

If you are on the Alcan, it is all paved albeit rough gravel and chipseal which is hard on the tires.  If you are riding the Cassier highway, there are areas where the gravel is pretty deep as well as unpaved sections that are more than several miles long.  You can't go fast no matter what kind of wheel you have.

I would love to know your route though if you can pass it back without too much difficulty.
 


Offline pstutler

Re: touring wheels
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2009, 11:15:21 am »
I have ridden a Trek 7100 500 miles on trail and road once and a Trek 7300 the same trip twice.
And, I bike a 47 mile paved loop on weekends at home. 

I need some advice.  My rear wheel goes out of round all the time.  I weigh 190 and on the 500 miles trips carry perhaps 25 lbs
in rear panniers.  The 47 mile trip is without baggage.
I don't abuse the bike.

Why do I have so much trouble with the rear wheel?
Can I buy a wheel that will work without going out of round?
Or should I resign myself to fixing this all the time?

Thanks for any help.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: touring wheels
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2009, 12:05:58 pm »
I'm lucky enough to be biking from Wyoming to Alaska-about 2500 miles- this summer. I understand there will be a few gravel stretches of several miles. The old Helicomatic rear hub on my 85 Trek has finally given up, so I'm in need of wheels.

Fully loaded with panniers front and back, the bike will have to carry about 160 to 170 pounds of rider and gear.- I like my little luxuries, but try to pack lightly.

Finally to the question: How much wheel do I really need?  I'm tempted to get Mavic a719 laced to 105 or Ultegra, but wonder whether something like Open Pro (which I already have) would survive the ride.  I would rather not use mtn hubs, as that would require spreading the rear dropouts, from their present 126 to 132 or 135cm, a proposition which scares me.

I previously toured on a bike that came with Tiagra hubs.  I tore these down as part of the rebuild I did to get the bike ready to sell.  I was amazed at how well the hubs had held up.  I think that this is a great hub for budget conscious touring.

I am not sure that I would go with 105 or Ultegra hubs for touring.  Your weight is not going to be a problem, but the dust seals might be.  These hubs were designed for club rides and amateur racers.

I really can't comment on Mavic rims.  I own them.  I think more of Mavic's rims that I do their hubs.  I just have this impression that Mavic thinks everyone weight 165LBS or less.  I have Velocity Dyad rims on my new touring bike and I am real happy with them.
Danno

Offline paddleboy17

Re: touring wheels
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2009, 12:12:49 pm »
I have ridden a Trek 7100 500 miles on trail and road once and a Trek 7300 the same trip twice.
And, I bike a 47 mile paved loop on weekends at home. 

I need some advice.  My rear wheel goes out of round all the time.  I weigh 190 and on the 500 miles trips carry perhaps 25 lbs
in rear panniers.  The 47 mile trip is without baggage.
I don't abuse the bike.

Why do I have so much trouble with the rear wheel?
Can I buy a wheel that will work without going out of round?
Or should I resign myself to fixing this all the time?

Thanks for any help.

I am guessing that your spokes are poorly tensioned.

Not only must the wheel be round and true, but it must be done with spokes evenly tensioned.  This is hard enough on the front wheel, and it is even harder on the rear wheel.  Most rear wheels are dished, which requires spokes to be longer on one side.  I am in awe of competent wheel builders.

Find a competent wheel builder to go over your wheel.    Perhaps if you say where you live, you could get a recommendation from someone on this list.
Danno

Offline whittierider

Re: touring wheels
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2009, 02:43:53 pm »
Quote
I am not sure that I would go with 105 or Ultegra hubs for touring.  Your weight is not going to be a problem, but the dust seals might be.  These hubs were designed for club rides and amateur racers.

I'm sure they'll be fine.  Although the outside of the rear hub area normally gets extremely dirty on very short order, when I opened up my Ultegra rear hub last year after six or eight thousand miles to replace a skipping freehub body, the original grease inside the hub was still the transparent yellowish-green color, and clean.  Very nice.

For pstutler, I have to initially assume your Treks have the stock Bontrager wheels.  I would repeat what I wrote above, which is that I and my family have had very bad luck with the six Bontrager wheels we've had.  Not a one of them lasted more than a few thousand miles, and just yesterday a friend told us his Bontrager wheels were also cracked after just a few thousand, just like the Bontragers they replaced.  I can't tell you how many times I've read that from other Bontrager owners.  I have nothing against most Bontrager products, but they sure don't know how to make wheels.  There are plenty of good wheel brands, but for maximum confidence I and my family have gone to getting our wheels built by Peter White at the URL I gave above.  We have not been disappointed.  One of our sons gives his rear wheel very hard use, always carrying heavy hardware for work on a rack, riding on bad roads.  I can hardly comment on the life since he's only had it for a couple of years, but it has not even needed truing in that amount of time.  You don't have to put up with constant wheel problems if the wheels are built by someone who knows what they're doing.

Offline pstutler

Re: touring wheels
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2009, 04:09:27 pm »
I have ridden a Trek 7100 500 miles on trail and road once and a Trek 7300 the same trip twice.
And, I bike a 47 mile paved loop on weekends at home. 

I need some advice.  My rear wheel goes out of round all the time.  I weigh 190 and on the 500 miles trips carry perhaps 25 lbs
in rear panniers.  The 47 mile trip is without baggage.
I don't abuse the bike.

Why do I have so much trouble with the rear wheel?
Can I buy a wheel that will work without going out of round?
Or should I resign myself to fixing this all the time?

Thanks for any help.

I am guessing that your spokes are poorly tensioned.

Not only must the wheel be round and true, but it must be done with spokes evenly tensioned.  This is hard enough on the front wheel, and it is even harder on the rear wheel.  Most rear wheels are dished, which requires spokes to be longer on one side.  I am in awe of competent wheel builders.

Find a competent wheel builder to go over your wheel.    Perhaps if you say where you live, you could get a recommendation from someone on this list.

Thanks for the reply.  I am located in Eagan, Minnesota.  If anyone has a good suggestion, I would greatly appreciate it.

Re: touring wheels
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2009, 04:44:57 pm »
Check out Grand Performance on 1938 Grand Avenue in St. Paul, MN.  They have some great mechanics at their shop.  Just make sure to let them know what style of riding you intend to use the wheels for, and they'll tension them up accordingly.  www.gpbicycles.com

Offline pstutler

Re: touring wheels
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2009, 05:28:00 pm »
Quote
I am not sure that I would go with 105 or Ultegra hubs for touring.  Your weight is not going to be a problem, but the dust seals might be.  These hubs were designed for club rides and amateur racers.

I'm sure they'll be fine.  Although the outside of the rear hub area normally gets extremely dirty on very short order, when I opened up my Ultegra rear hub last year after six or eight thousand miles to replace a skipping freehub body, the original grease inside the hub was still the transparent yellowish-green color, and clean.  Very nice.

For pstutler, I have to initially assume your Treks have the stock Bontrager wheels.  I would repeat what I wrote above, which is that I and my family have had very bad luck with the six Bontrager wheels we've had.  Not a one of them lasted more than a few thousand miles, and just yesterday a friend told us his Bontrager wheels were also cracked after just a few thousand, just like the Bontragers they replaced.  I can't tell you how many times I've read that from other Bontrager owners.  I have nothing against most Bontrager products, but they sure don't know how to make wheels.  There are plenty of good wheel brands, but for maximum confidence I and my family have gone to getting our wheels built by Peter White at the URL I gave above.  We have not been disappointed.  One of our sons gives his rear wheel very hard use, always carrying heavy hardware for work on a rack, riding on bad roads.  I can hardly comment on the life since he's only had it for a couple of years, but it has not even needed truing in that amount of time.  You don't have to put up with constant wheel problems if the wheels are built by someone who knows what they're doing.

They are Bontrager.  And I have had several fail.
Twice I biked across Spain on those wheels.  Had to have them repaired numerous times on each trip.
On the second trip, the rear free wheel / flywheel stripped and so the bike became unusable.
I can't say how disappointed I am in the wheels.

I will look at the URL you recommended.  Thanks very much.

Offline pstutler

Re: touring wheels
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2009, 05:28:56 pm »
Check out Grand Performance on 1938 Grand Avenue in St. Paul, MN.  They have some great mechanics at their shop.  Just make sure to let them know what style of riding you intend to use the wheels for, and they'll tension them up accordingly.  www.gpbicycles.com

Thanks for the info!

Offline driftlessregion

Re: touring wheels
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2009, 10:35:16 pm »
I have 10,000 miles on my Ultegra hubs including loaded touring from 1-6 weeks in duration, and the occaissonal gravel road. No problems whatsoever. The strength of the wheel overall is the most important factor. In fact, I just bought some super light wheels for daily riding and will relegate my Ultegra/Velocity Fusion wheels for touring.

Offline JimF

Re: touring wheels
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2009, 11:06:42 am »
Hi, Robo:
My touring bike (loaded) has Mavic A719 rims. They have about 7,000 miles (11k km) on them, and have held up well. I further "bombproofed" the rear wheel with a Chris King hub (when I ended up in mud during a Kansas storm, the easy cleaning and lubing of the hub mechanicals was a savior.) The miles include mostly road, but have a portion on unimproved roads, trails, and, unintentionally, road warning strips (not fun). Anyhow, I pay attention to spoke tension (Park has a valuable tool for that for those who ride a lot and/or rough on wheels) and wheel truing. Good luck.