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Rear Wheel / Wheel Set for 250 Pound Rider

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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

Rear Wheel / Wheel Set for 250 Pound Rider

Old 05-11-20, 02:54 PM
  #1  
Ugly Dwarf
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Rear Wheel / Wheel Set for 250 Pound Rider

At risk of hearing the saying, "You can have it good, fast, and inexpensive... Pick two.", I'll ask for some advice on wheels.

The bike is a ~10 year old 61cm Cannondale Synapse. I'm still using the original Shimano RS10 wheels (10 speed ultegra cassette), but at least one of the spokes is having issues (loosens up) and the wheel won't stay in true after I ride it (had them trued last week to fix a rubbing issue, and the problem returned within 40-50 miles).

I'm 6'5" and trending towards closer to 250lbs than I would like right now. I've been off my bike for a few years, but have started riding again in the last 4 months. I'm currently riding ~3 days and 50-75 miles per week, but may start to push that out to 100-150 if my schedule allows.

I've seen Ksyrium wheelsets in the $500-$600 range and I understand they are an excellent wheel for that price point, but are a little spendy for my current bike budget. They also give a weight rating (rider + bike) of 265lb, and I'm a bit over that. They're not completely off the table for me, but I'm resistant to spending more on wheels than my bike is probably worth.

I've seen lots of sales online right now, including some RS500 wheels for under $300 shipped, but they show a max rider weight rating of 220. Other wheels I'm seeing online have pricing in the $200-$300 range, but don't show a max rider weight. The guy at my LBS (who trued the wheels for me) suggested this issue may come back and that if it did I could either rebuild the wheel or get a new one - he commented that rebuilding was not a great option for this wheel, but that he could do it for about $150 (I have no idea what goes into rebuilding a wheel at that price). He said they could build me "a good rear wheel" that is better suited to my larger stature for about $300, but noted that it would come at some premium on wheel weight. They were busy and they were just fitting me in, he and I figured I should try the wheel out again, so we didn't get into specifics for either option.

So here is the question, what do larger riders consider the "Best bang for your buck" rear wheel / wheel set, balancing cost / strength / weight of the wheel?

To add more confusion, I currently run tubes. I've been told (by nearly everyone) that I should switch over to tubeless. What do other Clydes on here think of that? I'm guessing if I wanted to go that route I would need a new front wheel and couldn't get away with just buying a rear.

Thanks in advance for the input.
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Old 05-11-20, 04:15 PM
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IMHO good quality 32h rims should work fine..... 36 better

i think the unless you are riding bigger that 32mm tires at low pressures, tube is the way to go, less hassles in general. Some in goathead territory swear by tubeless even for smaller tires, but remember tubeless was to solve the pinch flat problem in big, low pressuer mountain bike tires

here is a set of 36h ultegra for $259 https://www.velomine.com/index.php?m...oducts_id=4502
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Old 05-11-20, 04:40 PM
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I am larger than you and rode Mavic Aksiums (24/20 spokes) for 10 years before I got my new bike. Zero issues with them. Only reason I don't any more is I got a new bike with through axles and they won't work on it. A lot of companies don't put rider weight limits on their wheels. Rolf, Bontrager, Spinergy to name a few.

You don't need 32 or 36 hole wheels. I wouldn't go less than 24 in the back, but I probably wouldn't go less than that. Take them to your wheel guy and have him go through them and make sure the spokes are properly tensioned.

My new bike came with DT Swiss 1850 wheels. So far I like them, but I only have 200 miles on them so way too soon to speak about durability. They are tubeless ready and the tires are tubeless ready, but I'm running tubes. I'm planning on switching over to tubeless soon though.
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Old 05-11-20, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by chadtrent View Post
I am larger than you and rode Mavic Aksiums (24/20 spokes) for 10 years before I got my new bike. Zero issues with them. Only reason I don't any more is I got a new bike with through axles and they won't work on it. A lot of companies don't put rider weight limits on their wheels. Rolf, Bontrager, Spinergy to name a few.
I broke a rear hub flange on a 24-spoke Bontrager wheelset riding hard over a train track. Would it have broken if I'd ridden lighter and unweighted the wheel? Probably not, and I am usually very good about doing that, but this is the kind of thing people do every day in the real world. I was around 275 or so at the time. So what's the OP to do, rely on your 10 years of not breaking a 24-spoke rear wheel, or rely on my experience of breaking a 24-spoke wheel? I have had other experiences as well, such as a 32-spoke rear wheel eating itself after not all that long a time. Granted, the rim in question (first-gen Pacenti SL23) was found in practice to be susceptible to exactly what happened to me (cracks around the spoke holes), but my heavy weight, even with 32 spokes, almost certainly precipitated that rim's demise sooner even than it already did with thinner riders.

You don't need 32 or 36 hole wheels. I wouldn't go less than 24 in the back, but I probably wouldn't go less than that. Take them to your wheel guy and have him go through them and make sure the spokes are properly tensioned.
I have yet to read anything from an experienced wheelbuilder who has dealt with heavy riders before that would agree with you on this. The universal advice, at least from what I've read in the past, has been that for heavy riders more spokes is better, plus having a decent and consistent build. If you rode the living crap out of a 24-spoke wheel for ten years and were just fine then my hat's off to you and congrats, but I don't see this good experience being generalized as a good idea. I can't point to everything I've read on the subject because it's been on a variety of forums and websites and blogs and such over the years, and is a topic of personal relevance to me since in my middle-aged return to cycling I've always been (and still am) a heavy rider. All I can say is that I've read a lot that contradicts the advice you're giving, and nothing that supported it.
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Old 05-11-20, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by SethAZ View Post
I broke a rear hub flange on a 24-spoke Bontrager wheelset riding hard over a train track. Would it have broken if I'd ridden lighter and unweighted the wheel? Probably not, and I am usually very good about doing that, but this is the kind of thing people do every day in the real world. I was around 275 or so at the time. So what's the OP to do, rely on your 10 years of not breaking a 24-spoke rear wheel, or rely on my experience of breaking a 24-spoke wheel? I have had other experiences as well, such as a 32-spoke rear wheel eating itself after not all that long a time. Granted, the rim in question (first-gen Pacenti SL23) was found in practice to be susceptible to exactly what happened to me (cracks around the spoke holes), but my heavy weight, even with 32 spokes, almost certainly precipitated that rim's demise sooner even than it already did with thinner riders.


I have yet to read anything from an experienced wheelbuilder who has dealt with heavy riders before that would agree with you on this. The universal advice, at least from what I've read in the past, has been that for heavy riders more spokes is better, plus having a decent and consistent build. If you rode the living crap out of a 24-spoke wheel for ten years and were just fine then my hat's off to you and congrats, but I don't see this good experience being generalized as a good idea. I can't point to everything I've read on the subject because it's been on a variety of forums and websites and blogs and such over the years, and is a topic of personal relevance to me since in my middle-aged return to cycling I've always been (and still am) a heavy rider. All I can say is that I've read a lot that contradicts the advice you're giving, and nothing that supported it.
I'm just posting from my personal experience. If you want to say I'm wrong then by all means say I'm wrong. It won't be the first time I've been wrong. I mean you did break a hub that was known to be prone to breaking though. I have broken one hub myself. It was on a set of Neuvation M-24s (20 spokes). I contacted John at Neuvation and he sent a replacement out immediately and said that should never have happened, as he doesn't put weight limits on his wheels. I no longer own the wheels as they were on a bike I sold, but the current owner has probably 20k miles on them and they are fine. He's not as heavy as me but I know he's over 200 pounds.

I'm not a wheel builder and don't claim to be. But what you mentioned is the key - even spoke tension and a decent build. I recommend anyone of any weight take a wheelset to a reputable wheel builder and have them go over it before they ride them. That's just common sense. That's what I've done on every set I've ever owned.

Is there merit to buying a 32 or 36 spoke wheel? Sure. I never said there wasn't. I'm just saying that in my experience having 24 or 28 spokes is not a reason to not consider a particular wheelset.
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Old 05-11-20, 09:44 PM
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I think it's worth pointing out the part that the rim has to play in all of this. While a 20/24 wheelset can work, the strength (=weight) that must be built into the rim can make that wheelset a less enjoyable experience to ride than a 32 spoke wheelset with a lighter rim. Another big consideration is that a spoke breaking on a 24 or less spoke wheel can render them unrideable. 32 and up can usually stay true enough or be mended on the road to make it home. I'm also not a big fan of ultralight hubs and soft light spline materials being used in wheels to bring their advertised weight down. That non-rotational mass doesn't really mean much to a big rider but can make a world of difference to longevity as we give them a pounding

FWIW I've never been a fanboy of Mavic wheels. They do look nice, but seeing riders in the bunches I've rode with over the years break one of their proprietary spokes and have a mountain of trouble sourcing new ones turned me off. Mavics came stock on my current bike and I sold them immediately.

I had a dream fatboy race wheelset made a few years ago. Kinlin XC279 rims 28/32 to CXray spokes and Dura Ace hubs. They cost me around $1k when I got them from Prowheelbuilder. They needed a true after the first few rides but have stayed true ever since (~5000km). I've since gotten into wheel building and built up my current MTB rims. I'll build up something to replace my wheels when they start getting old. Likely though, they will last a lot longer yet and I'll keep the hubs and just rebuild to new spokes and rim. If I get a new bike though, it will be a whole new wheelset as I'll be going to discs next.

Buy whatever floats your boat. There's good and bad points for every option that can be thrown at you. Another option to look at are Fulcrum wheels. I've seen a lot of them over the years and under a few 100-120kg riders and they've never failed aside from bearings needing replacement due to high mileage.
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Old 05-11-20, 10:20 PM
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230 now but I was riding at well over 300 for some time. At 250 you don't have to worry too much. The shimano wheels are not that great to begin with, almost anything will be able to replace it many under 50 bucks. If you do want to upgrade wheel just upgrade the rear wheel that is the one you have to worry about. Then you can get a 32 spoke count 1.5 or greater rim (that will actually fit the bike and you will be good but they are somewhat expensive. Rebuilding that wheel would be pretty silly but you could just replace the spoke and get some more life from it.
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Old 05-11-20, 11:49 PM
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Originally Posted by brawlo View Post
I had a dream fatboy race wheelset made a few years ago. Kinlin XC279 rims 28/32 to CXray spokes and Dura Ace hubs. They cost me around $1k when I got them from Prowheelbuilder. They needed a true after the first few rides but have stayed true ever since (~5000km). I've since gotten into wheel building and built up my current MTB rims. I'll build up something to replace my wheels when they start getting old. Likely though, they will last a lot longer yet and I'll keep the hubs and just rebuild to new spokes and rim. If I get a new bike though, it will be a whole new wheelset as I'll be going to discs next.
I built my own dream fatboy wheelset back in 2017, which I documented extensively on the forum. Of course not too many folks would be interested, since it was built really tough (36 spokes both fore and aft) but with high-quality hubs and very nice moderately deep carbon rims from Light-Bicycle. I fully admit that 36h was overbuilt for the front, but uncompromising toughness and durability were one thing I was going for, and these wheels have delivered. I've just ordered a new rim from a model that Light-Bicycle didn't even have when I built that wheelset that in theory should be even better for my purposes. I don't need a new wheel, but I wanted to build on this new rim, drop down to "just" 28h in the front, and see how it goes. Cycling isn't just an exercise for me, it's also a hobby, so I don't mind spending a little to learn and get to see how this rim/spokes/hub combo pans out. It'll be a rim exceptionally well matched for the 32mm tires I've been riding (the rim is 32mm wide external and 50mm deep). Everything's ordered, I just need the rim and other parts to come in and I'll get it built and start laying down the miles and see how it goes. My goal is to arrive at the ultimate no-holds-barred clyde wheelset.
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Old 05-12-20, 12:05 AM
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LB rims are nice. I have a set on my good velo track race wheels as seen in my avatar. The guy that built them for me worked at Zipp for a while, so he's seen some nice wheels and was pleasantly surprised by their quality. They've never needed to be trued and have seen maybe 1000km of race use
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Old 05-12-20, 12:21 AM
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Originally Posted by chadtrent View Post
I'm just posting from my personal experience. If you want to say I'm wrong then by all means say I'm wrong.
[snip]
Is there merit to buying a 32 or 36 spoke wheel? Sure. I never said there wasn't. I'm just saying that in my experience having 24 or 28 spokes is not a reason to not consider a particular wheelset.
I could be wrong here too. You're speaking from your experience, and your experience with a 24-spoke rear wheel while being a superclyde was a good one. It's hard to argue with success. As advice to superclyde-class riders, though, it just doesn't agree with advice I've seen from folks with far, far greater experience building wheels than me. That advice and my own two failed wheels lead me to believe that for big dudes more is better. It's a marketplace of ideas, and yours and mine both are just two drops in the ocean of info about this topic. OP would probably be well advised to let the Google Foo flow within him and read as much about the topic as he can find, then make up his own mind. There's a ton of it out there, including lots of discussions by wheelbuilders specifically addressing the issue of wheels for heavy riders.

I'm actually building a new front wheel that will have 28 spokes. I'd ride a rear wheel with 28, but if I want or expect the wheel to last for a long time (many thousands of miles) I wouldn't build one. Maybe it'd last, maybe it wouldn't, but I know this: the same rim and hub and spoke type with 32 or 36 of them will last longer under me.
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Old 05-12-20, 12:33 AM
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The rim material, rim width and tire width and pressure matter too but more spokes will be more sturdy, though I did use only 26 spokes at over 300 and none broke until recently one broke. I'd like to get 36 spoke replacements. I may go with the ones someonw posted in another thread here that are less than 200 for a set.

https://bicyclewheelwarehouse.com/BW...eore-Disc.html

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Old 05-12-20, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by SethAZ View Post
I broke a rear hub flange on a 24-spoke Bontrager wheelset riding hard over a train track. Would it have broken if I'd ridden lighter and unweighted the wheel? Probably not, and I am usually very good about doing that, but this is the kind of thing people do every day in the real world. I was around 275 or so at the time. So what's the OP to do, rely on your 10 years of not breaking a 24-spoke rear wheel, or rely on my experience of breaking a 24-spoke wheel? I have had other experiences as well, such as a 32-spoke rear wheel eating itself after not all that long a time. Granted, the rim in question (first-gen Pacenti SL23) was found in practice to be susceptible to exactly what happened to me (cracks around the spoke holes), but my heavy weight, even with 32 spokes, almost certainly precipitated that rim's demise sooner even than it already did with thinner riders.
.
I once built a set of wheels for a guy and told him the wheels were going to be total crap, it was some ultra-light rims from the late 80s-early 90s and even though they were 32 hole there was just no hope for them. He was a cat2 racer and probably weighed all of 130-140lb. Building them it was obvious they just wouldn't be up to the task. We trued those wheels 4 times in 4 weeks before he took them to another shop, who trued them twice. A third shop relaced them and then he brought them back to us for new rims and spokes. Problem was two fold, rims were weak and he rode like a bull in a china shop thinking with his weight he could plow through everything. He was known for blowing through wheels with no effort while despite having 80lbs on him and able to keep up with him in the cat 3/2 training rides my wheels never had issues, but I ride lightly and at the time rode 28h. Where you ride and how you ride can matter as much as what you ride; there are wheel combinations I would have no problem building for a 250lb person even with 28 or 24spokes though I would prefer above 250 to build 32h for greater longevity even if the wheels were strong enough.

Originally Posted by chadtrent View Post
I'm not a wheel builder and don't claim to be. But what you mentioned is the key - even spoke tension and a decent build. I recommend anyone of any weight take a wheelset to a reputable wheel builder and have them go over it before they ride them. That's just common sense. That's what I've done on every set I've ever owned.

Is there merit to buying a 32 or 36 spoke wheel? Sure. I never said there wasn't. I'm just saying that in my experience having 24 or 28 spokes is not a reason to not consider a particular wheelset.
Even though certain builds can support certain weights for reasonable lengths of time, I do think as a general rule it is best if people over 200 avoid 24h all together and over 250 avoid 28h. As I mentioned above, wheels can be built in the right combination and the rider does matter but it doesn't mean you should expect it to work past a certain point.
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Old 05-12-20, 11:02 AM
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Thanks all for the responses.

So far I've resisted the impulse to buy the Mavic Ksyrium Elites I found being sold online for $450. They're pretty, and light, and it's what the "cool kids" have... but I'm really not any of those things.

I need to remind myself that while a relatively strong rider, I'm not in my 20's (or even 40's) anymore and I'm not in this for competition (besides the occasional attempt to beat down a friend on a particular Strava segment). Buying something a little heavier, but that will carry a load and won't require frequent trips to the LBS for truing is probably the smart play.

Anyone else want to weigh in on going to tubeless? I'm in the San Francisco Bay Area, and goat heads are a concern on many of the local trails. I've been running Gatorskins (25cm) with tire liners, so I'm not going ultralight there. I'm just wondering if larger riders on road bikes find the move to tubeless to be better at combating flats, or as a way to recover that weight from heavier wheels?
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Old 05-12-20, 03:50 PM
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Probably don’t take this as weighing in but rather thinking out loud.

I saw a lot of chat about going tubeless up to maybe a year ago but not much has come across my radar since. I’m a bit like you and run liners inside my tyres, but I race and therefore run GP4S2s. My biggest concern with tubeless was because I race, I run high pressures. Hard cornering at maybe 80psi and a 120kg rider don’t mix well. From there, there wasn’t a sealant that I’d come across that coped with high pressures either. So the tyre might seal as the pressure dropped, but I’d have a bike and perhaps me covered in sealant as it got to a point where the puncture sealed. I’d read a few stories of that happening. So perhaps with sealant I could keep going to get home without stopping, but I’d rather be clean and not have to clean my bike and take 5min to change my tube. I run tubeless on my MTB but those pressures are much lower.

I’d be keen to hear if things have progressed in the world of tubeless though as it does make sense
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Old 05-12-20, 06:17 PM
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I started out at 265 lbs 3 years ago when I began cycling. I was down to 250 when I bought a 2015 Cannondale Synapse with Reynolds 45cm carbon wheels in August 2018.

I'm down to 224 now and have ridden these (no weight limit) wheels for over 8,300 miles and they're riding as smooth as the day that I bought them.

Reynolds wheels have no weight limit so would work for you. They'll increase your speed a tad and cushion bumps in the road a tad over aluminum wheels, as well. I see sets for sale on different FB forums for anywhere from $500 to $900, fairly often.

Good luck and keep riding!

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Old 05-13-20, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Ugly Dwarf View Post
So far I've resisted the impulse to buy the Mavic Ksyrium Elites ......... and it's what the "cool kids" have... but I'm really not any of those things.

I'm not in this for competition (besides the occasional attempt to beat down a friend on a particular Strava segment).

Anyone else want to weigh in on going to tubeless?
Dear Dwark (or whatever your name is)
You know you want the Ksyriums....... Iím not ďthe cool kidsĒ Iím 56!
You know you can beat my Segments (unless that rear wheel folds) Iím 56!
Tubeless....I went, got the T-shirt, never looked back! Oh and Iím 56!

Next time we ride feel free to brag about beating the old guy again.

You really want to be just like me

your friend (honest)

Barry
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Old 05-13-20, 01:13 PM
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Ha ha... once again Barry2 , this is not all about you. ;-) I'm just a luddite who doesn't want to change for the sake of change or spend money on something I won't appreciate over what I have been using..

If tubeless really is better for heavier road bike riders, I'm interested in knowing how / why. Given the "tire pressure estimators" I've looked at, it sounds like my optimum rear pressure 25 or 28cm tires (I believe that's "tyres" to you) would be over the recommended max on tuebless (100psi?).

I heard being a proper Englishman adds 10-15 years to the age you act, so yes, you're old.

XOXO

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Old 05-13-20, 03:20 PM
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There's 500 lbs people riding without tubeless nonsense lol
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Old 05-14-20, 09:09 AM
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I don't necessarily think tubeless is "better". Well, on mountain bikes I definitely do, and on gravel bikes. On the road I have never had a flat problem anyways. I will say that I like tubeless because I can run less pressure and not worry about pinch flats. So the ride is smoother.

And just to add more to the spoke conversation, I will say that I just counted the spokes on my main wheels (Mavic Aksium Race) and they are 20/20, not 24/20. I was probably pushing my luck with them, but I successfully pushed it for a decade.
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Old 05-14-20, 04:30 PM
  #20  
squirtdad
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tubeless and ride etc.

the first thing on getting a good ride is buying good tires, whether tubed, tubeless or tubular..... and they are not cheap. I remember at how amazed I was the first time i put high end tubed tires on a bike....I had cheaped out before on tires...night and day difference, will never cheap out again

if you want the smoothest ride go for tubular, nothing compares (and personally they seem to me to be less hassle than tubeless ymmv )

no matter what you get make sure you can handle a flat....get the tire off, put it back on seated, etc. Tubeless are NOT Flat proof....and (no experience here but based on all the posts in mechanics) apparently can be a hassle with things like bead setting on the road. I know with a tubed tire, after I put a new one on....if it was tight going on, I do a simulated flat fix with the gear i carry to make sure I can do it in time of need course I carry 2 tubes, a pump and a patch kit...
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Old 05-14-20, 05:44 PM
  #21  
Digger Goreman
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After warping a standard Trek rear rim at 255lbs, bought a set of Rhyno Lites off fleabay, 36h, and have occasionally hit hard potholes without damage (bloody well NOT intentional). Reviewers called them "bomb-proof" and a member said he leapfrogs boulders without damage.... Cost, dunno, got mine used for 75 usd with hubs and a 9 speed cassette. All still going strong years later.
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Old 05-14-20, 09:31 PM
  #22  
SethAZ 
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Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
no matter what you get make sure you can handle a flat....get the tire off, put it back on seated, etc. Tubeless are NOT Flat proof....and (no experience here but based on all the posts in mechanics) apparently can be a hassle with things like bead setting on the road.
Royal female dog to remove and reseat a tubeless road tire on the side of the road. Absolute PITA. And then once you get it on, you will have to blow a CO2 cartridge to seat the bead and pray that it works, or that you have enough more CO2 carts to try again. When I've seated tubeless road tires in my garage I can't use a floor pump or a low-capacity compressor; the air volume rate just isn't high enough. Instead, you either use a CO2 cartridge, a high-volume compressor, or this little tank I have that's sold specifically for seating tubeless tires. It's a little air tank that looks kind of like a MAPP gas cylinder for a torch you might use while soldering pipes or something. It's got a Presta valve on it and you use the floor pump to pump up the tank, attach the tank's hose to the valve stem on the wheel with the tubeless tire, and then turn a valve on the tank to let all the air rush in as fast as possible. It actually works really well and will nearly always seat a tubeless tire, but of course you wouldn't carry this during a ride. On a ride, if the CO2 cartridge doesn't seat the bead, you're making the call of shame.
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Old 05-16-20, 08:00 AM
  #23  
c_m_shooter
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I have been running a set of Velo Orange touring hubs and rims for about 10 years now. 36 hole rear 32 hole front, they outlasted my Cross Check and are now on a Soma Pescador.
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Old 05-16-20, 08:46 AM
  #24  
MRT2
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Originally Posted by c_m_shooter View Post
I have been running a set of Velo Orange touring hubs and rims for about 10 years now. 36 hole rear 32 hole front, they outlasted my Cross Check and are now on a Soma Pescador.
I also have a set of wheels built around Velo Orange Grand Cru Touring hubs. I went 36 front/36 rear. Probably not necessary for the front wheel, but I figured the extra weight was negligible compared to piece of mind.
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Old 05-18-20, 08:51 AM
  #25  
ahanulec
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FWIW one of my mountain bikes is 23 years old. After finally breaking a few too many spoke that I went in for rebuild. Itís a Mavic rim on a Shimano hub with 32 spokes.

i think the most telling thing about that wheel is how much itís survived. Iíve been riding that bike weighing as much as 290lbs and the wheels have landed my safely when Iíve had the bike in the air.

I think the quality of the build is the most important.
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