Author Topic: Best Touring Wheelset  (Read 15986 times)

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Offline Smudgy

Best Touring Wheelset
« on: October 17, 2017, 10:53:13 pm »
I'm currently touring on a set a Mavic A719 rims with Shimano 105 hubs. I paid about $400 for them. I love 'em. But I'm looking to have a new wheel set built just to have an extra. Before I do, I would like to hear some opinions on what are the best touring wheels out there. Is there something better than what I have? What's the cost? I don't mind spending some $$, a good set of wheels is worth it. BTW, I weigh about 210 lbs. and carry about 40 lbs. of gear. Thanks.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Best Touring Wheelset
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2017, 09:57:57 am »
I wouldn't change anything for touring (assuming your frame has 130mm/road spacing).

Now if this is your only bike, you might want to look at lighter rims, with skinnier tires, for non-tour riding.  The bike will feel surprisingly lighter and more responsive when unloaded.

But for spare touring wheels, you've got the closest thing to a "standard" for bulletproof wheels already.

Offline Smudgy

Re: Best Touring Wheelset
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2017, 11:14:14 pm »
Yes, 130mm rear axle. It's not my only bike. For years I rode on stock wheels that came with the bike, Araya I think. Every once in a while I would break a spoke or two. I bought a cheap set of wheels, trashed them in under 1000 miles. I mean unrideable. So I had these Mavic wheels hand built. I've never had a problem with them. Now I collect and tinker with older touring bikes. I'm building up an old Miyata frame with new modern parts to create a kickass touring bike. I want to put some awesome wheels on it. Sun Rims. No. Alex Adventurers. Maybe? I could take my old Mavics and put them on this new build and get something even better for my #1 bike. I just don't know what's out there. Is there something better? I'm looking for something solid and dependable, not just fancier. I don't intend for them to be spares, I want to tour on them. What about the real high end stuff? Hubs? Rims? What are you guys touring on? Any recommendations?

Offline zzzz

Re: Best Touring Wheelset
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2017, 08:39:43 am »
I don't know enough about the current offerings of rims to give you a suggestion on those. But if money (and to some extent weight) is not a major concern, Phil Wood makes hubs that are the gold standard for durability and have been for 40 years. They come in many configurations: width, spoke count, and disc/non-disc. Obviously, at 210 + 40lbs of gear you'll want to go w a higher spoke count and a 3x (or if you really want to go crazy, 4x) lacing .

Personally, I have American Classic "Hurricanes" hubs/rims on my road touring bike and they have been very solid for me having never had to turn a spoke during any of my five trips @ 2500-3500 miles each. But you outweigh me by 80 lbs between yourself and your gear and I think you would be better off w the Phils.


Offline DarrenBnYYC

Re: Best Touring Wheelset
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2017, 02:13:37 pm »
If you are looking for some durable, lightweight rims, these look pretty sturdy:    ;)

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Best Touring Wheelset
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2017, 04:06:06 pm »
You're using Shimano 105 hubs now.  So 130mm rear spacing.  Not 135mm for mountain bike hubs.  Get some Shimano Ultegra or 105 hubs.  Dura Ace are better, but not really for touring.  Lighter, shinier, prettier, etc.  But the bearings and cups and cones are the same.  Ultegra and 105 are also more common out in the world in bike shops.  So if you had to have something fixed, more likely to find the right part in the middle of no where.  Someone else mentioned Phil Wood hubs.  No.  They are nice, yes.  I built a 48 spoke rear hub for a friend's tandem.  But Phil need special tools to work on them.  Bearing press and a wrench to get the thing apart I think.  And generally you have to send them back to Phil for replacing parts and fixing.  Easier to work on Shimano hubs.  For spokes, DT or Sapim double butted 14/15 gauge spokes.  Or go crazy and get the 13/14 gauge spokes for super strength.  Or just go with straight 14 gauge.  All are good if assembled by a competent builder.  3 cross is good.  Brass nipples of course.  36 spokes is good.  No need for 40 or 48.  Those are tandem numbers.  Rims, I'm not sure.  Friend with the tandem used a Velocity rim.  But Alex, DT Swiss, Velocity are all good.  Just get a heavy duty one.  Heavier the better.

Offline cyclistdave

Re: Best Touring Wheelset
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2017, 10:16:50 pm »
you've probably already heard of this, but I've had some friend's mavic's start cracking and experiencing the spokes pulling out of the rim (pulling through the rim).

So you are probably on the right path when it comes to looking for a new build

Offline Smudgy

Re: Best Touring Wheelset
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2017, 08:53:11 pm »
Thanks for keepin it real cyclistdave. That's what happened to my Sun Rims. Several spokes pulled through the rim, split the rim. Wheel destroyed, trip nearly ruined. Had to hitch 10 miles to a bike shop for a new wheel. After your post, I checked into the Mavics doing that. They turned out a bad batch of rims about 10-15 years ago. A manufacturing defect. Supposedly they fixed the problem. I've got over 10,000 miles fully loaded on mine, still good as gold. I even took them down the C&O, fully loaded, pretty rough. No problems. I'll probably have a new set built the same. Thanks all for the replies.

Offline Smudgy

Re: Best Touring Wheelset
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2017, 10:31:48 pm »
In case you wanted to know how this little drama ended, I went down to my LBS and talked to Cho, local bike wizard. We agreed to go with the Velocity Dyad rims 36 holes with Shimano 105 hubs. Hand built by a pro, can't go wrong. I want to see for myself how they compare to the Mavics. Thanks again.

Offline driftlessregion

Re: Best Touring Wheelset
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2017, 09:15:55 pm »
Good decision! Dyads  are great. Load up the bike and go, 36 hole Dyads will be fine!

Offline DaveB

Re: Best Touring Wheelset
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2017, 08:42:12 am »
For years I rode on stock wheels that came with the bike, Araya I think. Every once in a while I would break a spoke or two. I bought a cheap set of wheels, trashed them in under 1000 miles. I mean unrideable.
What you experienced is common with OEM and low cost wheels unless the LBS or the owner checks and adjust them for proper tension.  These wheels are always machine built and the tension is often uneven and too low.  Properly "tuned up" these wheels can be durable and have a long service life.

Offline tablatom

Re: Best Touring Wheelset
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2018, 09:15:37 am »
I have had Deore/Mavic A319 rim/hub on 2 bikes with around 3000 miles on them without a single spoke going.

For the price, no brainer really.

Often in that milage above i have had 2 panniers full of shopping, and my 3 year old boy in a heavy child seat.
I am 95kg, and most of these miles have been done on a rough cycle track.

Very impressed with them.

These are the rims and hubs that come with all the sub £1000.00 Boardman bikes.

Offline LeoBurns

Re: Best Touring Wheelset
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2018, 09:58:05 pm »
I’m placing an order this week for a set of Rolf Prima double spoke disc wheelset with 20 spokes in front/back - centerlock so I can pack everything in the suitcase... going out with 28mm to start.

Offline tbessie

Re: Best Touring Wheelset
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2018, 12:47:43 pm »
I'm having my dream touring bike set up, and I'm getting Velocity Atlas rims with Phil Wood touring hubs.

My older (Bruce Gordon) touring bike has Mavic A719 rims on it and they've been quite fine; I might have chosen those again, but I'm getting this bike to use 650b wheels, and they don't make that rim in 650b; so I'm getting the Atlas rims.  The guy who's building the wheels for me is the wheel builder for Rivendell, and he said that Rivendell worked with Velocity to develop the Atlas.

- Tim
Touring: Bruce Gordon Rock 'n Road Tour (2014)
Touring: Custom Steve Potts Ti with S&S Couplers (2018)
Century/Weekend: Custom Titanium Firefly with Campagnolo Chorus (2017)
Every Day: Bianchi Brava frame, Campagnolo Mirage (1999)
Every Day Backup: Jamis Quest parts on a Surly Pacer frame (2012)

Offline misterflask

Re: Best Touring Wheelset
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2018, 06:46:02 pm »
I built up a set of touring wheels with Ultegra hubs and Sun-Ringle CR18s.  On a steep descent in Kentucky a car in front of me was lollygagging, forcing me to brake more than I would normally and heating up the rims.  With the extra expansion stress, a section of about three spoke holes broke out of the Ultegra hub.  {To Shimano's credit, the hub was out of warranty and they traded it back so they could examine it.}  I've also broke a ratchet pawl in an Ultegra hub.  So my current thinking is that using Ultegras on touring wheels is like plowing with a thorobred.  Also, a surprising number of riders on the TA made fun of my 'fancy' hubs.  The Ultegra hubs are now spinning happily on a road bike.

I now use velo-orange touring hubs because of the no-tool freehub disassembly and I like the retro high-flange look.  My second choice would be Shimano Deore.

Make sure that you end up with some name-brand (DT or Wheelsmith) butted spokes which are stress relieved after building.