Wheels with not many spokes.

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pete75
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Wheels with not many spokes.

Postby pete75 » 23 May 2013, 12:04pm

My son wants some Shimano wheels with about 24 spokes in the rear and about 18 in the front. Has anyone had any experience of wheels with not many spokes? Do they buckle easily ? I've never gone lower than 36 spokes.

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NUKe
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Re: Wheels with not many spokes.

Postby NUKe » 23 May 2013, 12:09pm

If he is not going fully loaded touring and he is not heavy weight himself he be fine.
I have a pair of Campag wheels which are 18 and 24, Spoke never needed to true them in 20,000 miles,
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andrew_s
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Re: Wheels with not many spokes.

Postby andrew_s » 23 May 2013, 12:13pm

They are fine to use, and more reliable than cheap machine built regular wheels.

If a spoke does break, the wheel will go much further out of true than a regular 36-spoke wheel would, quite likely so far out as to make the tyre hit the fork blade or chainstay, making the bike unrideable. Replacement spokes will cost more and may require ordering rather than just getting off the LBS shelf.

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Re: Wheels with not many spokes.

Postby Big T » 23 May 2013, 12:17pm

They are fine until you break a spoke, then they become unrideable. I was out with someone yesterday who broke a spoke on his front Mavic Ksyrium. The buckle was so bad that the wheel would hardly go round. I myself have broken a spoke in a rear Mavic Aksium. I had to ring my daughter to come and get me, because the wheel wouldn't go round without rubbing on the chainstays both sides.

Having said that, I've had a pair of Fulcrum Racing 7's and they've been flawless. They have the 2:1 spoking on the rear wheel. twice as many drive side as non-drive side spokes.

I'm sticking with handbuilts in the future, where a broken spoke doesn't mean the end of your ride.
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foxyrider
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Re: Wheels with not many spokes.

Postby foxyrider » 23 May 2013, 12:30pm

They are primarily intended for racing where a broken spoke, apart from being rare just means another wheel. I've used low spoke count wheels for mountain biking, cyclo cross and most types of road riding - in fact I've got Khamsin 20/27 spoke wheels running happily at the moment.

For durability use traditional wheels in 32 or 36 spoke, for 'performance' low spoke count is fine but they need to be looked after. :D
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Si
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Re: Wheels with not many spokes.

Postby Si » 23 May 2013, 2:05pm

I've a pair of 13 year old MTB wheels with similar amounts of spokes. In that time I've had one broken spoke and not buckles. I suspect that you can build a low spoke count wheel to be just as good as one with more spokes for every day use, however, quality will vary (just like with normally spoked wheels).

Oh, I should mention that the wheels, while being light were not much lighter than a set of well built, well specced 32/36 spoke MTB wheels.

The rear down side of using them bot MTBing is that bits of wood can get between the spokes much easier.

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Re: Wheels with not many spokes.

Postby Brucey » 23 May 2013, 3:45pm

Obviously if there are fewer spokes then, on a similar rim, the spokes see a higher fatigue stress and are more prone to breakage.

In many designs this is (for dead weight loading, anyway) mitigated by the use of deeper section rims, which are stiffer, and distribute the load differently between the spokes.

However lateral loading, as is found when riding out of the saddle, riding offroad, or whenever abrupt steering inputs are used, still loads the spokes in a similar fashion, because deep section rims are not necessarily very much stiffer laterally than standard rims.

Experience suggests that -everything else being equal- you are somewhat more likely to suffer a spoke breakage with a minimally spoked wheel (at any given quality level) and that it will be a bigger problem if it should happen.

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Mick F
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Re: Wheels with not many spokes.

Postby Mick F » 23 May 2013, 4:05pm

...... but aren't the spokes stronger in a modern minimally spoked deep section wheel?
Mick F. Cornwall

Brucey
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Re: Wheels with not many spokes.

Postby Brucey » 23 May 2013, 4:54pm

not that I've noticed....

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reohn2
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Re: Wheels with not many spokes.

Postby reohn2 » 23 May 2013, 6:15pm

Brucey wrote:Obviously if there are fewer spokes then, on a similar rim, the spokes see a higher fatigue stress and are more prone to breakage.

In many designs this is (for dead weight loading, anyway) mitigated by the use of deeper section rims, which are stiffer, and distribute the load differently between the spokes.

However lateral loading, as is found when riding out of the saddle, riding offroad, or whenever abrupt steering inputs are used, still loads the spokes in a similar fashion, because deep section rims are not necessarily very much stiffer laterally than standard rims.

Experience suggests that -everything else being equal- you are somewhat more likely to suffer a spoke breakage with a minimally spoked wheel (at any given quality level) and that it will be a bigger problem if it should happen.

cheers

That's my take on it too.
Less spokes must mean a greater load on each spoke which doesn't mean a thing to a rider with a car full of wheels following him, but it does if you're out on your own miles from anywhere even if you have spare spokes :?
A 36 spoked wheel can be trued up within minutes if one breaks even if you don't have a spare spoke as there's not much stress increase on 35 spokes.
I've looked at minimum spoked wheels in the past,it's the increased chance of breakage and possibility of being stranded that's stopped me from buying,but then I weigh 80kgs,so 36 spokes are a minimum for me with a 28mm tyre.
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pete75
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Re: Wheels with not many spokes.

Postby pete75 » 23 May 2013, 6:38pm

So all things being considered these http://www.rosebikes.co.uk/article/road ... aid:202991 are likely to be a better buy than these http://www.rosebikes.co.uk/article/shim ... aid:100100

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Re: Wheels with not many spokes.

Postby scottg » 23 May 2013, 7:12pm

Low spoke count wheels are also know as "Team Car wheels",
if you break a spoke, call the team car or take a wheel from
your domestique.

14f/16r is the new standard, 18/24 wheels are for vintage bikes.
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Mick F
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Re: Wheels with not many spokes.

Postby Mick F » 23 May 2013, 7:56pm

Mick F wrote:...... but aren't the spokes stronger in a modern minimally spoked deep section wheel?

Brucey wrote:not that I've noticed....

cheers
Don't get me wrong, I have no experience of these wheels and TBH I've not really seen them up close.

It's just that if you look at this for instance:
Screen shot 2013-05-23 at 19.54.28.png
The spokes look thicker and the hub flange looks stronger.

Are you saying this is an optical illusion?
Mick F. Cornwall

AndyK
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Re: Wheels with not many spokes.

Postby AndyK » 23 May 2013, 8:32pm

Mick F wrote:
Mick F wrote:...... but aren't the spokes stronger in a modern minimally spoked deep section wheel?

Brucey wrote:not that I've noticed....

cheers
Don't get me wrong, I have no experience of these wheels and TBH I've not really seen them up close.

It's just that if you look at this for instance:[picture]The spokes look thicker and the hub flange looks stronger.

Are you saying this is an optical illusion?


Weell... bear in mind that most such wheels have aero spokes so yes, side on they do look deceptively thicker. The spokes on my Shimano RS10 wheels (16 front, 20 rear) are about 1.6mm one way, 2.4mm the other, so I guess the cross sectional area is slightly bigger than a conventional round 14g spoke. The spokes have bigger nipples, which may make them tougher at the rim (where spokes never break anyway). It also means that standard spoke keys won't fit. :x

As it happens I did break two spokes on the rear wheel recently, the result of a nasty chain jam between the cassette and the wheel which must have fatally damaged a couple of spokes. (One spoke broke an hour later, another a week after that. As a fellow rider helpfully reminded me, my bike came with a plastic spoke protector but I took it off because I couldn't stand the creaks and rattles it made. So I've only myself to blame.) Anyway, as a result I can confirm that when you lose a drive-side spoke on a 20-spoke wheel like this, it goes WAY out of true. Even after undoing the QR on the brake calliper, the wheel still rubbed on each revolution and I could physically feel the wheel squirming beneath me as I rode.

On a conventional wheel I would simply tweak the surrounding spokes a bit (loosen the nearest, tighten the next-nearest) until the wheel was round-ish again, then carry on for miles. With only 20 spokes total, the neighbouring spokes are so far away along the rim that you just can't do that.

The replacement spokes are like hen's teeth. Bike shops don't hold them in stock and Shimano seems to have stopped doing the exact spokes my (one-year-old) wheel uses, so I had to bodge it with the nearest equivalents. I know someone who had similar problems getting a replacement spoke for a not-very-old Fulcrum wheel.

On the plus side, generally the wheels seem quite tough and I've not had any breakages other than these self-induced ones. Once you can get a new spoke, fitting it is simplicity itself, thanks to the straight-pull design. I fitted a new drive-side spoke without removing the cassette or even the tyre.

On balance though, next time I'd go for a conventional wheel with standard spokes. A friend just bought a fancy American Classic wheelset that's several hundred g lighter than my Shimanos, yet the rear wheel has 28 spokes laced 3x in traditional style.

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Audax67
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Re: Wheels with not many spokes.

Postby Audax67 » 23 May 2013, 9:22pm

Big T wrote:They are fine until you break a spoke, then they become unrideable. I was out with someone yesterday who broke a spoke on his front Mavic Ksyrium. The buckle was so bad that the wheel would hardly go round...


I wore out the rims of three sets of Kysriums without ever having a spoke go, and that included quite a few Audax rides of up to 1200 km with the bike fairly well loaded. Over some pretty ungentle roads, too, including chunks of Italy and forestry roads more holey than godly. I reckon you have to try pretty hard to break them.
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