Author Topic: touring wheelset  (Read 5782 times)

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Offline polanski

touring wheelset
« on: February 15, 2005, 06:32:23 pm »
Touring wheelset upgrade-I am in the process of purchasing a FUJI touring bike and would like to upgrade the wheelset to avoid broken spokes. My dealer suggests a BONTRAGER SELECT which is 24 spoke with the thicker and heavier spokes. Is this wheelset suitable for fully loaded touring?


Offline RussellSeaton

touring wheelset
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2005, 08:48:42 pm »
NO.  Even though they are "boutique" wheels, they may be more than strong enough to handle loaded touring.  But, these Bontrager wheels, like any wheel, are not indestructable, and therefore you need to be able to find easily replaced parts in any bike shop.  Get normal 36 spoke heavy rims with Shimano hubs.  Every bike shop will have replacement spokes.  Every bike shop will have replacement axles and/or cones and/or ball bearings.  Every bike shop will know how and have the tools to rebuild and true the wheels.  I would not be surprised if the Bontrager wheels require special spoke nipples and definitely require special spokes.  Just get plain basic simple wheels.

One thing about thicker and heavier spokes is it only matters at the J bend at the hub.  All spokes break at the bend.  Spokes never break in the middle.  The thickness at the bend is dictated by what will fit through the spoke hole in the hub.  DT makes some extra thick 13 gauge (DT Alpine I think is the name) spokes that just barely fit through the hub spoke holes.

I'd also suggest just riding the wheels that came on the bike and seeing if they are as bad as you assume.  They are probably just fine and will serve you many years until many hundreds of dollars start burning a hole in your pocket.


Offline polanski

touring wheelset
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2005, 09:02:36 pm »
Thank you very much for your advise. You seem to know what your talking about and I appreciate it.


Offline DaveB

touring wheelset
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2005, 11:28:15 pm »
Russell has it exactly right.  Boutique, low spoke count wheels with non-standard hub bearings are the last thing you want for reliable touring service and for repair-anywhere capability.  

If the Fuji you are getting is a real touring model, I expect the factory supplied wheels will be completely satisfactory.  You might ask a good wheel builder to check them over for uniform and adequate tension but then plan on having them for a long time. The rims will probably wear out from brake pad abrasion before you break a spoke.

Years ago broken spokes used to be a real problem but are much less common now.  DT and Wheelsmith stainless steel spokes are very long lived if built up properly.  I have in excess of 28,000 miles on a set of wheels with Wheelsmith XL14 spokes (14/17/14 gauge so they are real light weights) with NO broken spokes and no need for truing.      


Offline polanski

touring wheelset
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2005, 01:27:37 am »
Thank you Dave for reaffirming Russell's response. Based on the quality of your responses I will be ordering my Fuji tomorrow with the standard factory supplied wheelsets. You guys not only saved me money but possible headaches on the road.