Minimal-spoke madness....

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
pete75
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Re: Minimal-spoke madness....

Postby pete75 » 8 Dec 2014, 12:14am

Must admit I prefer 36 spoke wheels myself but if someone else wants to use wheels with a lot less spokes so what? They spend their own money and are at liberty to get whatever cycling equipment they want or like.

pete75
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Re: Minimal-spoke madness....

Postby pete75 » 8 Dec 2014, 12:21am

DaveGos wrote: In the end modern road bikes are very good at what they are designed for but they are like racing cars and not very green and often you just have to but new components / wheels etc


Time was when racing cars were very green - well British ones anyway....... :D

reohn2
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Re: Minimal-spoke madness....

Postby reohn2 » 8 Dec 2014, 8:58am

pete75 wrote:Must admit I prefer 36 spoke wheels myself but if someone else wants to use wheels with a lot less spokes so what? They spend their own money and are at liberty to get whatever cycling equipment they want or like.

I don't think anyone's debating the point that people's money is their own to spend,but that compared to well built 36 or 32's,minimum spoke wheels won't last,have more chance of spoke breakage and if a spoke does break will go so wildly out of true and will be unridable until repaired which will be all but impossible by the roadside.
That risk could be worth it if such wheels offered some gain,but they don't other than are very marginally quicker and even then at sustained high speed that the vast majority can't sustain.
So once again we have the situation where salesmen/marketing men are telling gullible people a pack of half truths and lies,the vast majority of cyclist experience no gain whilst buying into short lived fashion of dubious use.
A parallel is close clearance frames,yesterday whilst out in the car we saw around 15 cyclist in the 15 mile journey all riding race type bikes,with such frames and no m/guards.It was raining mostly with heavy pulses of hailstone showers with temps down to 5or6deg and windspeed in the mid to high teens mph.
These chaps and chapesses,were flithy with road grime and looked very cold,It occurred to me that perhaps because of the said clearances they didn't know any better.
It's getting that way with wheels,10&11 cassettes,compact chainsets,23mm tyres,etc.
Whilst people will spend their money on whatever and I'd defend their right to do so,progress isn't always progress.
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I cycle therefore I am.

Brucey
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Re: Minimal-spoke madness....

Postby Brucey » 8 Dec 2014, 9:59am

I suppose that change is more or less inevitable. And more people cycling isn't a bad thing per se. But when so many of them buy 'racing equipment' (even though they are not racers and are not going racing) this has knock-on effects.

a) I think that it is now more difficult to buy really well made bespoke wheels locally. Good wheelbuilders are -as a direct result of the fashion for factory 'racing' wheels- no longer out there in any great numbers. So getting good wheels built for other purposes isn't that easy either. I see a lot of keen riders (who ought to be riding handbuilt wheels that are specced for their weight and riding habits) using, well, 'unreliable junk' I guess.

b) I think it is more difficult to even buy parts for durable wheels now. Even with the accessibility of components via the internet, there isn't really all that much choice. For example, look at CRC's offerings; they list less than twenty 700C rims (c.f. over two hundred different 'road tyres', two hundred and sixty derailleurs etc...) and once you stray outside of 32 or 36 spokes your choice is severely limited. There are not even that many 36h rims listed. It shouldn't be the case that (say) a 40h rim is a 'specialist item', should it?

c) I think that 'new cyclists' are being cheated; with the (largely false) promise of extra speed etc they are being cheated of the opportunity to ride practical, reliable, sometimes even comfortable bikes. Minimal spoke wheels are just a symptom of a broader underlying malaise. When every winter weekend ride turns itself into a filthy, muddy, bike-breaking Paris-Roubaix replica (but without the support cars...) I don't think cyclists or cycling are well served by this. It is hardly likely to encourage people to use cycling for practical transport, is it? That'd be like a restaurant saying; 'you had the dessert (that may have given you food poisoning...) now why not stay for the main course...?'...

If you compare this fashion (fad..?) with previous ones, e.g. MTBs; at least rigid MTBs had some underlying practical virtues. Not all that many, but some.

cheers
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iandriver
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Re: Minimal-spoke madness....

Postby iandriver » 8 Dec 2014, 2:30pm

A pros bike when the team car is not following them around:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_Ap2xbaIelz8/T ... C02251.JPG

Seen plenty decked out like this.
Supporter of the A10 corridor cycling campaign serving Royston to Cambridge http://a10corridorcycle.com. Never knew gardening secateurs were an essential part of the on bike tool kit until I took up campaigning.....

Bikefayre
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Re: Minimal-spoke madness....

Postby Bikefayre » 8 Dec 2014, 2:38pm

My own Land Rover uses Halo Combat stunt wheels which at 32 spokes is light enough. My others use 36 spokes as have my road bikes in the past. Do not like the fan type pattern of spokes as the gaps are too big. Think the 20 or so spoked wheels that are evenly spaced give lightness and strength in equal balance, plus they also give a road bike that nice competition/professional look too especially in black. For todays roads feel you need a minimum of 32 spoke wheel to survive or a minimum of 20 spoke wheel on a modern lightweight road bike. Have you noticed that some mountain bikes use the fan pattern, hence my reason for mentioning it. Think the black Halo rims are about right for a mountain bike.

ChrisButch
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Re: Minimal-spoke madness....

Postby ChrisButch » 8 Dec 2014, 5:19pm

Brucey wrote:
a) I think that it is now more difficult to buy really well made bespoke wheels locally. Good wheelbuilders are -as a direct result of the fashion for factory 'racing' wheels- no longer out there in any great numbers. So getting good wheels built for other purposes isn't that easy either.


True - but there never were a huge number of specialist wheelbuilders, and they were very unevenly distributed geographically. You had to be both well-informed (in pre-internet days) and determined to seek them out, and I doubt there were ever enough to meet the sort of demand we're talking about. After all, weren't most wheels, even towards the sportier part of the market, factory-made? In the 1960s and 70s the rough equivalent to the sort of new cyclist you mention would have been the young rider buying a 10-speed 'sports bike' which came as a complete bike out of the Falcon or Raleigh or whatever factory. Its wheels may have been hand-finished from separately-available components, but they were nonetheless factory-built. The market for specialist wheelbuilders (and for that matter framebuilders) was confined to the much smaller number of club-riding enthusiasts.

So I don't think it's the factory source per se which is the problem, it's the kind of wheels currently made in those factories. I don't imagine there's any technical reason why the automated or semi-automated processes now used to make those wheels couldn't be adapted to produce wheels with more and thinner spokes and lighter rims. It's the attitude of the industry which would need to change, and for that industry would need to be convinced there's a market case.

Incidentally, I've noticed a few straws in the wind in the other direction. I seem to remember reading that for this year's Paris-Roubaix and other cobbled classics some teams were experimenting with traditional wheels, and also I think that's been happening in cyclo-cross.

[Oh, and a confession - I do have a pair of the top-end version of Ksyriums which are a delight (in the right circumstances, which are what I keep them for)]

reohn2
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Re: Minimal-spoke madness....

Postby reohn2 » 8 Dec 2014, 5:28pm

iandriver wrote:A pros bike when the team car is not following them around:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_Ap2xbaIelz8/T ... C02251.JPG

Seen plenty decked out like this.


Where I live I get to see plenty of the top pros training on the road,usually flashing past me,or coming the opposite way,usually with a friendly wave.
I've yet to see one with mudguards fitted.
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Brucey
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Re: Minimal-spoke madness....

Postby Brucey » 8 Dec 2014, 6:41pm

ChrisButch wrote:
Brucey wrote:
a) I think that it is now more difficult to buy really well made bespoke wheels locally. Good wheelbuilders are -as a direct result of the fashion for factory 'racing' wheels- no longer out there in any great numbers. So getting good wheels built for other purposes isn't that easy either.


True - but there never were a huge number of specialist wheelbuilders, ...

.... I don't think it's the factory source per se which is the problem, it's the kind of wheels currently made in those factories.....


There were a lot more than there are now, and actually I think it is both the source and the kind of wheels being made.

The first thing I'd suggest to anyone entering a new cycling discipline (be it racing, touring, commuting or w.h.y.) would be to get a decent set of reliable wheels. Bad wheels are just a complete misery. In most of the clubs I have been in I'd say that in the past maybe 3/4 of the membership owned and used at least one set of handbuilt wheels, usually from a local builder. Hardly anyone used factory wheels for anything, because the OTP 'racing wheels' were actually no good for racing and the OTP 'touring wheels' were no good for touring on; they were just not strong enough. If you kept your OTP wheels that came with an OTP bike they would be consigned to life as 'spares' or rebuilt properly and then used for training or unladen work.

The differences (then and now) were that handbuilt wheels were more evenly tensioned, the parts were more carefully selected to fit one another (as well as fit the rider...) and the wheels would be properly stress-relieved.

The few occasions (in the last thirty years or so) when I've attempted to use factory wheels for anything more serious than riding down the shops, it has usually been a major disappointment, with an apparently endless train of spoke breakages, which obviously only ever happen at inopportune moments.

Re. Ksyriums; these just make me a bit sad. Mavic have made some fantastic rims and some decent wheels over the years, but the current selection are nothing to write home about. Not in a good way, anyway. One of the guys in an LBS (who knows I have an interest in such things) recently presented me with a fairly new-looking Ksyrium SL front wheel. 'This wheel...' he began, ' is a pile of ****** **** '. It had come into his shop with a broken spoke. No surprise there; a first year engineering student will be able to explain to you that there is no fatigue limit in aluminium, so if you actually use your Ksyriums, you will definitely lose spokes, perhaps sooner rather than later. The same student will be able to tell you that the fat aluminium spokes won't even be very aerodynamic, either... The spokes are very expensive, obviously, but replacing one or two isn't going to break the bank; (it certainly won't be as expensive as the taxi ride you just needed.... :roll: ).

But... the real trouble starts when the truing process begins; with these wheels you can't just stick a new spoke in and have the wheel come back true again by tensioning that spoke alone, oh no... you usually need to tweak the others if you want the wheel to come back just right, because rim will usually take a bit of a 'set' when one spoke breaks. The guy in the LBS had therefore attempted to move the nipples on the neighbouring spokes, and had encountered problems of the ' spoke is gonna yield in torsion before the nipple moves' variety. If one or two spokes are bad like this, no problem, just replace them. But he gone round every spoke in the wheel in turn and they were pretty much all like it. He ended up with 15 seized (and now twisted) spokes and three broken ones. So a new-ish looking wheel with one broken spoke was, (as well as a long walk home) in actual fact, a scrapper.

cheers
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Si
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Re: Minimal-spoke madness....

Postby Si » 8 Dec 2014, 8:14pm

Just to be contrary, my Rolf Propels are the most reliable wheels I've had. I think that they have something like 18 spokes, in bunches rather than equally spread around the rim.

I've broken a spoke in the rear (one in 14 years) and the rim stayed to within a couple of mm of true. They use normal spokes so it was just pop down to the LBS and buy another for 50p from the normal stock.

Weight wise they were lighter than the then choice 32ers.

:!: _HOWEVER_ :!: , the issue that I have with having them on an MTB is not strength but the gaps between the spokes :- fewer spokes, placed more closely together = big gaps, which on an MTB is an open request for all sorts of rubbish to get into the wheel and either jamb agin a fork/seat stay or get flung up into the rider's face.

iandriver
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Re: Minimal-spoke madness....

Postby iandriver » 8 Dec 2014, 8:19pm

reohn2 wrote:
iandriver wrote:A pros bike when the team car is not following them around:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_Ap2xbaIelz8/T ... C02251.JPG

Seen plenty decked out like this.


Where I live I get to see plenty of the top pros training on the road,usually flashing past me,or coming the opposite way,usually with a friendly wave.
I've yet to see one with mudguards fitted.


It's a reference to the wheels given that this thread is about wheels rather than mudguards. I've even seen a certain Texan at his height using 32 spoke 3x wheels on his training bike.
The pros you see obviously aren't team sky
https://twitter.com/TeamSky/status/399943135565840384
Last edited by iandriver on 8 Dec 2014, 8:29pm, edited 1 time in total.
Supporter of the A10 corridor cycling campaign serving Royston to Cambridge http://a10corridorcycle.com. Never knew gardening secateurs were an essential part of the on bike tool kit until I took up campaigning.....

RonK
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Re: Minimal-spoke madness....

Postby RonK » 8 Dec 2014, 8:22pm

SilverBadge wrote:If you take a 36H rear wheel as adequate, in reality an 18/9 spoking is pretty much equivalent as the tension becomes equivalent both sides. And you can manage with fewer on the front wheel as it bears less weight. Factor in straight pull spokes and deeper stiffer rims that distribute tension more evenly, something like 18/24 becomes feasible, if only delivering marginal benefits elsewhere. My 16/21 Eurus are "nicer" than my 32H Record/Open Pro, and have stood the test of time, though I don't commute on them like a friend of mine does.

My Eurus, bought in 2006, have had 40,000km of use. They have never needed truing or repair. I weigh around 100kg.
The theory is simple: a) cycling is inherently fun, and b) the less weight you carry, the more fun it is.

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bikes4two
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Re: Minimal-spoke madness....

Postby bikes4two » 8 Dec 2014, 8:24pm

They're catering to the Wiggo wannabe's and mamils who don't have a clue.


> This condescending term is often quoted on here - why is it so?
> I like many others have a few bikes in the collection ranging from a 'rescued from the tip' MTB, through two tourers to a fine CF Trek Madone.
> When out on the rescued MTB I enjoy the plod: when out on the Trek Madone I enjoy the added speed and acceleration and longer distances achieved due to light weight - it's absolutely nothing to do with wanting to be a Wiggo wannabe or any other sort of Wannabe
> On these bikes spoke counts range from 36 down to 20 per wheel. The recently worn out Mavic Aksium Race (20/24) spokes never suffered a spoke breakage and I've every confidence in their 20/27 spoke Campagnolo replacements.
> The only spoke breakages I've ever had have been on the 32 spoke wheels but that had something to do with my erstwhile un-clipping habit of turning shoe heels inwards

PS - Mamil - MAMIL :roll: If only I were that young :)
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RickH
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Re: Minimal-spoke madness....

Postby RickH » 8 Dec 2014, 8:50pm

I bought some minimal spoke wheels in 2009 (relatively cheap as they were slightly shop soiled - I think I paid about £120) when my bike needed a new rim.

My rear one had failed out on an audax. It was a good job I didn't do a couple of hundred miles extra riding before doing LEJOG otherwise the failure would have been in the North of Scotland! :shock:

A Kore wheelset with 20R/16F bladed spokes were the only Campag compatible wheels in stock at the bike shop & I didn't want to stop riding the bike while repairs were carried out so bought them. They are about 500g lighter than my main wheels (Campag Centaur hubs, Mavic Open Pro rims, 32/32). They give a slightly harsher ride, probably due to the deeper section rim, but have performed well apart from that. They mainly get used for longer, good weather rides when I want the lightest possible ride - without rack &, sometimes, mudguards - or the odd occasion when the other wheels are temporarily in "dry dock" and I still want to use the bike.

Rick.

iandriver
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Re: Minimal-spoke madness....

Postby iandriver » 8 Dec 2014, 8:55pm

bikes4two wrote:
They're catering to the Wiggo wannabe's and mamils who don't have a clue.


> This condescending term is often quoted on here - why is it so?
> I like many others have a few bikes in the collection ranging from a 'rescued from the tip' MTB, through two tourers to a fine CF Trek Madone.
> When out on the rescued MTB I enjoy the plod: when out on the Trek Madone I enjoy the added speed and acceleration and longer distances achieved due to light weight - it's absolutely nothing to do with wanting to be a Wiggo wannabe or any other sort of Wannabe
> On these bikes spoke counts range from 36 down to 20 per wheel. The recently worn out Mavic Aksium Race (20/24) spokes never suffered a spoke breakage and I've every confidence in their 20/27 spoke Campagnolo replacements.
> The only spoke breakages I've ever had have been on the 32 spoke wheels but that had something to do with my erstwhile un-clipping habit of turning shoe heels inwards

PS - Mamil - MAMIL :roll: If only I were that young :)


I think having a range of bikes is the experience of plenty of us. Different tools for different jobs. For some reason some people feel the need to dismiss things they don't like as fashion. It's a very fashionable thing to say in their peer group. Some of the modern stuff ain't great imho. But other things like disc brakes and led lights are great. The trick is to pick up the bit that works for you and disregard the rest. One persons experience that works for them doesn't make it right for you.
Supporter of the A10 corridor cycling campaign serving Royston to Cambridge http://a10corridorcycle.com. Never knew gardening secateurs were an essential part of the on bike tool kit until I took up campaigning.....