Author Topic: Anyone build a bike with two rear wheels?  (Read 7874 times)

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Offline JT_Cycling

Anyone build a bike with two rear wheels?
« on: July 24, 2008, 12:34:41 pm »
I'm getting ready to have a custom steel "adventure" bike built and am interested in opinions regarding having a custom steel fork made for a 130mm rear hub. Eventually I'm having bikes built for both my wife and I, we are both retiring from elite racing soon, for travel in remote areas. I am planning on using 700c wheeled trailers with minimal weight on the bikes, we both weigh about 150lbs. I would like to use 6 of the exact same wheel for interchangeability. I'm considering using American Classic RD 205 hubs 32 hole, Mavic Open Pro rims. 3x straight gage spokes, built with zero dish. In my experience the AM Classic hubs are pretty easy to service and have minimal offset (about 10mm). Open Pros for durability and availability. I plan on having the frame offset to accommodate the zero dish build. Using zero dish allows for a single spoke length. The front fork would need to be built with 130mm spacing and offset for the zero dish rear hub. Wheelbuilding is not my expertise and I'd love to hear other suggestions. Any other easy to service, small offset hubs I should look at? I'm also looking for suggestions on easy to service pedals, MTB type, I've always used Time's but I replace them often. Any other suggestions welcome...

Thanks! X-posted on RBR


Offline paddleboy17

Anyone build a bike with two rear wheels?
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2008, 01:41:32 pm »
I just finished having my adventure bike built by Waterford.  I had my bike built to accept a tandem wheel set, which meant 140mm rear spacing.  Like you, I did not want any dishing on the rear wheel.  I have to confess that I did not think you could make a rear wheel, non-dished, with 130mm spacing.

I have to carry spare spokes for the front and the rear as the lengths are slightly different, but spokes do not take much room.

I like panniers for on road, and trailer for off road as pannier would make the bike too wide.  

I don't know much about American Classic hubs.  It looks like they have loose bearings.  I chose a White Industries Daisy hub as the cartridge bearing are pretty bomb proof and low maintenance.  My wheel set is pretty rugged, so I don't worry about reliability.  I am OK with the fact that I can't ride with a spare wheel because I can't image how I would taco a wheel.

It sounds like you are concerned about ruggedness.  Maybe mountain bike hubs and 26" wheels would make more sense?

Where are you going that you need that kind of ruggedness?

Danno
Danno

Offline JT_Cycling

Anyone build a bike with two rear wheels?
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2008, 02:10:13 pm »
My frames are going to be built "monstercross" style. Basically cyclocross geometry with clearance for 29'er MTB tires as needed. Purpose is on and off-road trips with the ability to hit some singletrack along the way, Americans, Africa, Asia. Zero-dish road wheels used to be fairly common, Richey's were typical, I've got a pair on my SS cross bike now. Most use offset nipple holes in the rims. To do a zero-offset wheel with standard parts the chainstays need to be built asymmetrically. I don't even ride 26" wheels on my MTB's anymore, but I had thought about 135mm hubs, but that would make the fork even wider. The Am. Classics use standard sized cartridge bearings. Watch out for the pawl springs and ratchet ring on the Whites, the pawls and springs can break and I striped a ring out of the hub body once, under extreme use. I'm curious why you went with the tandem hubs?


Offline whittierider

Anyone build a bike with two rear wheels?
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2008, 03:10:30 pm »
I wrote this up just before the last post above.  Still, most of it applies.

There are several other things that contribute to the strength and durability of the wheel.  One of them of course is the build job.  I and our sons got wheels made by Peter White (see http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/wheels.asp ) after all the glowing reports on the tandem forum from tandem teams doing loaded touring on his wheels and not having any trouble.  If he can build wheels with a lifetime warranty for tandem teams doing loaded touring with nearly 500 pounds gross weight (all luggage on the bike), you don't need to be looking at non-standard things like using a rear wheel for the front of a single bike.  Peter White says that if the wheel is built well, even tandems don't need to go to 48 spokes.  (48 would still be better than using a rear wheel for the front though.)

For the rear, you would do well to use a rim that has the spoke holes off center to virtually eliminate the dish, as shown here:



Deep-V rims add strength too, so at least for the front, I would go with something like the Velocity Deep V as shown here:



This rim is not so deep that it would give you any extra trouble handling the bike in strong, gusty crosswinds, but it will be able to dissipate more braking heat in long, steep, curvy downhills.  If you have two wheels with identical hubs, spokes, number of spokes, and quality of build job, but one has a deep-V rim and the other has a low-profile rim, the one with the deep-V rim will be quite a bit stronger and more reliable.  The deep V is not just for aerodynamics.  Unfortunately I don't know of any deep-V rims with the off-center spoke holes for the rear.

Instead of going to a non-standard fork, you would do better to go to a bike that uses 26" road (not MTB) wheels.  Using the same hubs, the smaller rim results in a better spoke bracing angle which also increases the strength.

Tandem rear dropout spacing is usually 145mm, not 140.  (The front is still 110.)  Santana and, I believe, one or two other manufacturers, use 160 in the rear for greater strength.  Santana offers 16-spoke tandem wheels that have a good track record for reliability, something that would be impossible with the common hubs.



Note also that the reason Shimano uses only cup-and-cone bearings, not cartridge bearings, is that cup-and-cone, when adjusted right, last much longer than cartridge bearings.  In a given size, cartridge bearings cannot accommodate the same size and number of ball bearings as cup-and-cone bearings.  When there's a durability problem with cup-and-cone bearings, it's because they are adjusted too tight.  Unfortunately, even on the showroom floor, most of them will be adjusted much too tight.  People adjust them so they feel smooth and have no play in them when they're out of the bike, and then when you squeeze the skewer down, you actually shorten the axle, making the adjustment much too tight.  When the wheel is out of the bike, there needs to be a little play in the bearings.  If it's the right amount, this will just barely disappear when the skewer is fully squeezed down.  From my own experience, I would estimate that cup-and-cone bearings should last at least 100,000 miles if not indefinitely if re-packed every 10,000-20,000.

This message was edited by whittierider on 7-24-08 @ 11:11 AM

Offline JT_Cycling

Anyone build a bike with two rear wheels?
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2008, 04:03:21 pm »
The main reason for using rear hubs on all wheels, six total, is for interchangeability. If any one wheel gets completely destroyed then a trailer wheel can be used to replace it and the wheel-less trailer hauled with the other one. I've used offset rims before, I've got some Richey zero-dish wheels on one of my cross bikes, but would be worried about finding replacements on the road. Something like an Open Pro is pretty easy to find. I'm more concerned about repair-ablity then strength, I know that sounds odd, but with most of our weight on the trailers we don't need overbuilt wheels. I've been racing  super light 29" MTB wheels for 2 seasons on east coast terrain with very few problems.                  


Offline whittierider

Anyone build a bike with two rear wheels?
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2008, 04:43:03 pm »
Sure-- my point was that if it's built right and built strong enough for the job, it won't ever need repair.


Offline wanderingwheel

Anyone build a bike with two rear wheels?
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2008, 01:20:40 am »
I hate trying to shoot down innovative thinking like this, but this looks like a solution in search of a problem to me.  This has been done before, take a look at the Surly Pugsley for an example.  They use 135mm spacing, 26" wheels, and disk brakes.  For the interchangeable wheels, they only mention singlespeeds, not cassettes.

Your proposed wheels, even built with zero dish, sound ill-advised to me.  American Classic hubs are certainly not known for their durability.  Maybe their recent designs are better, but my experience and all other American Classic users I know is that they are lightweight racing hubs.  Small bearings, weak axles, and poor freewheels are common problems.  I'd strongly consider something wider than 130mm dropout spacing.  It just makes sense all around, and allows you to use a beefier hub.  For easy to service hubs, the gold standard is Phil wood, but they are more than little pricey.

Open Pros are great for standard road duty, but I'd consider going with a beefier rim.  For a true adventure bike, I'd only consider 26" wheels.  Tubes and tires are easier to come by than high-zoot 700C, especially if you are looking for wider 700C.  There's no great reason to cut down on the number of spokes.  Use at least 36, it's really not any heavier and much stronger.  As you've already heard, the builder is more important than the parts, so find a good wheelman, and let him suggest the pieces.

I like the idea of making the trailer wheel and you bike wheels compatible, more so that you don't have an extra tire size than anything else.  However, larger wheels are inherently weaker than smaller wheels, and trailers can punish wheels.  The weight on the trailer is not suspended (as your weight is, by your arms and legs) so any bounces will hit the trailer harder, even if it has only a fraction of your weight.  Also, you can't precisely guide the trailer, so it usually seeks out the biggest bumps and worst places to get stuck.  For this reason, I'd go with smaller wheels on the trailer.

Sean


Offline paddleboy17

Anyone build a bike with two rear wheels?
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2008, 01:55:36 pm »
I took the weekend off, looks like I missed some good content.

I went for tandem wheels for two reasons.  

[list=1]
  • I wanted a non-dished rear wheel for strenth
  • I wanted the beefer (stronger) tandem wheels as I am commited to panniers.


I suppose that would have made me a candidate for a Co-Motion, but I wanted a lugged frame.  You always hear, buy a steel bike as you can find a tig welder anywhere.  There might be tig welders everywhere, but how many of them are experienced at welding thin walled  exotic tubing?  I felt I might be more likely to find someone who could braise.  But if truth be told, I got a lugged frame for the beauty of the frame.

My dealer wanted to build the bike up with Shimano hubs.  I have had a good personal history with Shimano hubs, but a friend of mine has had a terrible time with the little rubber booties (they use to protect the cones) rotting with UV exposure.  Shimano is not real good at providing spare parts for anything more than a year old.  I would have like to get Phil Wood hubs, they were too expensive, and that is how I settled for White hubs.

If you are bound and determined to use a trailer, I think there is an argument for standardizing on one common tire for everything.  Having interchangeable wheels seems like overkill.  But having to carry extra tubes and tires because you trailer uses a different wheel size, is a burden.


Danno
Danno

Offline JT_Cycling

Anyone build a bike with two rear wheels?
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2008, 03:51:17 pm »
I've gotten some good feedback, and I think I have a plan. I'm going to have the frame built with 132.5mm dropouts so I can run either hub, and offset for a zero dish wheel. I've got to do some hard looking at hubs, I think I'll go 135's but I'm undecided on loose balls vs. cartridge. For now I'm going with a regular front wheel, hopefully built with the same size spokes, and I'll use the same on one trailer, and a spare rear on the other. That way we are pretty well covered, unless she divorces me in the middle of Africa! I don't plan on going too crazy with the rims and spokes, I'm more worried about accidents then damage from normal use. Since I want to be able to run true road tires 26" wheels are out of the question. I also want to be able to put some 29'er tires on and have that nice big contact patch and easy rolling for the really rough stuff. Now I just need to sort out the trailer. Anyone use a Extrawheel ? They look pretty well thought out and reasonably light. Here's a extreme version! http://forums.mtbr.com/showpost.php?p=2762622&postcount=17


Offline whittierider

Anyone build a bike with two rear wheels?
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2008, 05:02:03 pm »
Quote
You always hear, "buy a steel bike as you can find a tig welder anywhere."  There might be tig welders everywhere, but how many of them are experienced at welding thin-walled exotic tubing?

Good point.  We have a neighbor who has been welding all his life.  Since he does welding for aircraft where the certifications and inpections are quite stringent, I'm sure he's far more skilled than most; yet when I told him about the thin-walled bike tubing, he said he wouldn't touch it.
Quote
Since I want to be able to run true road tires, 26" wheels are out of the question.

According to http://sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html , 26x1 (not 26x1.00) is 650c, having a bead seat diameter of 571mm.  Our kids grew into, and out of, a tiny triathlon bike with 650c wheels, and I still have a 19mm-wide spare tire for it with a 160psi rating.  (We usually put 23mm tires on it.)  There are quite a few performance-oriented road tires available in 650c-- it's just that you won't find them in stock in most bike shops.  You'd have to plan a little ahead and have a spare in your own personal inventory for when the need arises, then order a replacement.  It's a way to get a stronger wheel.