Author Topic: Need a HEAVY duty wheel.  (Read 7818 times)

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Offline magno_michael

Need a HEAVY duty wheel.
« on: April 27, 2008, 05:45:24 pm »
After returning from my last mini tour with two broken spokes, I am willing to accept what I had always known.  Weighing in at a hefty 275 pounds, and carrying around 40 pounds of gear and rations, I need a monster rear wheel.
Can anyone recommend a knowledgeable wheel builder who can create this beast.  Or can anyone recommend specific components, ie rim, spokes, hub... I've got to figure something out, because there will be no more trips until I do.

Offline DaveB

Need a HEAVY duty wheel.
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2008, 10:21:25 pm »
Assuming you have a solo bike, will the dropouts accept (or be made to accept) a 135 mm wide hub?  If so, start with a good 40H tandem hub, respaced to 135 mm.  Then use a moderately deep section 40H tandem/touring rim laced with 14/15/14 db spokes.  

Offline John Nettles

Need a HEAVY duty wheel.
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2008, 01:07:58 am »
A recent discussion over on CGonaB talked about "Touring Wheels, Broken Spokes, & Wheels".

I think the no-cost no-weight concern wheelset was for rear 48 spoke front 40 spoke, dyad/aeroheat rims, straight 14gu spokes (I prefer 14/15/14 double butted), on Phil Wood hubs.

Obviously, you can adjust your spending to your needs.  In 30 years of touring, I have almost always used 48 spoke rims and while I am lighter, I have never had a broken spoke due except due to blunt trama (hitting curbs at speed while fully loaded sort of thing).  Due to your weight, I would strongly suggest the 48 spoke as that is what a lot of touring tandems use.  If you prefer reliability more than weight and cost, it is a good way to go.

A good book but very technical to read is The Bicycle Wheel by Jobst Brandt.  Somewhat boring for us non-tech types but it thoroughly discusses wheels.

Overall, the best advice is to get it very well built as a 36 spoke rim well built is better than a poorly built 48 spoke wheel.  Again, over on CGonaB specific builders are recommeneded.

Happy trails and may the wind be at your back!


Offline magno_michael

Need a HEAVY duty wheel.
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2008, 01:34:21 am »
Unfortunately, like most of us, money is an issue.  While I can't afford to spend top dollar, I also want a wheel I can be confident in on the road.  If I could get back on the road for around $300, I'd be a happy biker.  Is this a pipe dream, or reasonable goal.
Thanks for your input so far.

Offline whittierider

Need a HEAVY duty wheel.
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2008, 02:59:56 am »
After seeing tons of glowing reports on Peter White's wheels on the tandem forum, we've had him build us some wheels.  He gets excellent results on tandem wheels with only 36 spokes, because he has built thousands and knows wheelbuilding so well and knows what parts work best.  (I should add however that tandems' rear dropout spacing is usually 145mm, and Santana and maybe another tandem manufacturer or two use 160mm, allowing the hub flanges to be farther apart and giving a greater spoke bracing angle, which does make a much stronger wheel with a given number of spokes.)  Start by reading , then call him up (phone number is on the website) and tell him how much you weigh, how big a load, what kind of riding you do, worst expected road conditions, how much you hope to pay, etc., and he will help you choose a suitable set of spokes, rims, hubs, etc..  He won't put his lifetime warranty on wheels with aluminum spoke nipples, too-few spokes for the job, and a few other things.  We've been totally happy with the wheels he has built for us, but that's expected and really not saying much since they're all still less than two years into a lifetime warranty.


  • Guest
Need a HEAVY duty wheel.
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2008, 11:16:46 am »
For $300 you can get the following wheel set

Rims:   Sun Rhyno Lite
Hubs:   Shimano XT or Ultegra (depends on dropout spacing)
Spokes: DT Swiss Alpine III or straight 14 guage
Nipples:  brass, 14 guage (important!)

It you had more money, you'd upgrade to a fancier hub like a Phil Wood or White Industries, but you'll be more than fine with the lower bling Shimano.

Offline WesternFlyer

Need a HEAVY duty wheel.
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2008, 02:59:02 pm »
Try going to the Universal Cycles website. They have a custom wheel building page.  I had them build some new wheels for me.  They were beautiful and at a very reasonable price. One warning, they only have one person who does all the wheel building and he is limited to a few wheels per day so put your order in soon if you are taking off soon. w

Western Flyer

A wheel spins in a circle.
The still point at the center
gives it direction.
Be still.

   "The Parents' Tao Te Ching"
Western Flyer

We must ride light and swift.  It is a long road ahead.

King Theoden

Offline Clem

Need a HEAVY duty wheel.
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2008, 04:04:14 pm »
As a guy who is down to 275 after loosing a considerable amount of weight, I can relate from my experience, that 48 spoke wheels are the way to go. My touring bike has 135 mm rear spacing and I now use Phil Wood hubs and 48 front and rear and I no  longer worry about broken spokes. Several appropriate rims are available. This is probably overkill, but I got tired of broken spokes in the middle of the boondocks. Other less costly hubs are available for those who dont want to spend that kind of money.

Offline tgpelz

Need a HEAVY duty wheel.
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2008, 12:23:31 am »
I can relate to your problem.   I am 6'3" and weigh about 270 pounds.

I found that heavy duty spokes and a good rim are all I need.

I also insist that the builder use LokTite on the spokes so they don't loosen.

Did I forget to tell you that when I tour loaded, my bike weight is about 180 pounds with front and rear
Arkels, and a full ten Liter MSR water bag.

I also carry a fold up table and chair, in addition to tent, sleeping bag, stove, food, etc.

My last wheels were built by a local (SW Wisconsin) bike shop, with the loktite.  I have not had a problem in the last five years.

Since then I have ridden in Norway, for 10 days as well as Wisconsin.

Usually, I wear out rims, not break spokes.  


Offline tgpelz

Need a HEAVY duty wheel.
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2008, 12:25:04 am »
You should be able to have a good wheel built for less than 300 dollars.

Just us larger spokes.  

Tell the builder that you will be using the wheel for loaded touring!

This message was edited by tgpelz on 6-2-08 @ 8:27 PM