Author Topic: Wheels advice  (Read 77 times)

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Offline Alphonsin

Wheels advice
« on: June 18, 2024, 03:59:07 am »

I recently did a week tour around the Atlas mountains in Morocco. I went on my gravel bike with a set of cheap WTB wheels I bought a while back (24 spokes). I had panniers on the back (Ortlieb) and they were flapping about on gravelly paths because the "hooks" kept coming lose off the rack. When I picked up speed, it was smashing the pannier rack. I think because of that, as well as the weight and the wheels, my rim cracked. I did eventually start strapping the backs to the rack with bungee cords, but it was probably too late by that point.

On my road tourer, I have 32 spoke hope 20five wheelset but I feel that for a gravel bike the rim is a bit too narrow (I think it's 20 mm internal width and the gravel tyres are 45 mm). So, with that blurb, what wheels do you use for touring/bikepacking? I want something bomb proof. Hope so far have treated me well, but I was thinking of trying something else at a similar price point.

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Wheels advice
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2024, 07:30:18 am »
Welcome to the ACA forums!

I have toured for 45+ years so I am pretty old school about certain things.  If bomb proof means to you that you never want to deal with it again, consider more spokes and decent rims.  I would suggest you look at as they are one of the preeminent wheel builders in the country.  Though the website is not the best layout and design and is a bit quirky at times, it gives you a lot of great information.  Just be sure to look at all the various links since it is not laid out as well as it could be, i.e. pages by manufacturer, not wheel type as much. 

Tailwinds, John

Offline davidbonn

Re: Wheels advice
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2024, 09:10:17 am »
+1 to what John said.

If there is a custom wheel builder in your area, I'd suggest giving them a call and talking about what you think you'd need, listen to their advice, and perhaps let them build your wheels if they can be helpful.

Executive summary on what you should be looking for:

  • High-quality alloy rims.  Hint:  a rim that isn't offered with 36 or 40 spoke holes probably isn't strong enough in the first place
  • 36 or 40 spokes
  • If you can, have a symmetric rear wheel build instead of one that is "dished in"
  • If you can, try to have a wider axle spacing on the rear wheel (you probably can't)

Modern custom wheel builds can still be reasonably lightweight but astonishingly strong and can take a lot of abuse.

If you have a limited budget, build a better rear wheel.