Minimal-spoke madness....

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

Postby Spinners » 17 Dec 2014, 7:18am

I've never broken a spoke myself, even in my years riding MTB's, and I've had no problems with factory wheels at all. The wheels I've had problems with were a pair of 'handbuilt' wheels (Centaur hubs on MA3's - 32/32) from Dave Hinde that fell apart on my first 200km audax.

In case you view this as a dig against handbuilt wheels, I gave my wobbly wheels to my local wheelbuilder and the result was a superb pair of wheels on which I sailed through the rest of my SR series and PBP.
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ChrisButch
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Re: Minimal-spoke madness....

Postby ChrisButch » 17 Dec 2014, 9:10am

iandriver wrote:I think you need to distinguish between factory and machine built wheels. Some of their very expensive wheels are essentially handbuilt built in the factory.


Key point imho

Brucey
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Re: Minimal-spoke madness....

Postby Brucey » 17 Dec 2014, 9:22am

sure, but a good part of buying handbuilt wheels is that the builder should understand who is going to ride the wheels and over what surfaces. There is no 'one size fits all' collection of components, build method or spoke tensions.

For example, possibly Spinners' original wheels were built with a lower tension that prevented (say) eventual rim cracking in most cases, but wasn't enough to absolutely guarantee that some spokes wouldn't back out in hard use. Second time around more tension, DB spokes, or threadlock could have been used.

Even if some factory wheels are hand tensioned, they are not built to suit the rider. It doesn't make it any easier to source parts or fix these wheels when they break, and it doesn't make them any more likely to run through the chainstays when you lose a spoke, either.

cheers
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Mick F
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Re: Minimal-spoke madness....

Postby Mick F » 17 Dec 2014, 9:43am

Brucey wrote:Even if some factory wheels are hand tensioned, they are not built to suit the rider. It doesn't make it any easier to source parts or fix these wheels when they break, and it doesn't make them any more likely to run through the chainstays when you lose a spoke, either.
............. so why do they exist even on run-of-the-mill "sports" bikes?
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ANTONISH
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Re: Minimal-spoke madness....

Postby ANTONISH » 17 Dec 2014, 9:56am

Brucey wrote:For example, possibly Spinners' original wheels were built with a lower tension that prevented (say) eventual rim cracking in most cases, but wasn't enough to absolutely guarantee that some spokes wouldn't back out in hard use. Second time around more tension, DB spokes, or threadlock could have been used.

Even if some factory wheels are hand tensioned, they are not built to suit the rider. It doesn't make it any easier to source parts or fix these wheels when they break, and it doesn't make them any more likely to run through the chainstays when you lose a spoke, either.

cheers


Rim cracking - I experienced that with a pair of hand built rims - a well known builder - Ambrosia rims ( I believe they may have had some history of cracking). TBH the cracking appeared in the rear rim after a camping tour so I wasn't inclined to take them back.
Sourcing spare rims was difficult when I wanted to rebuild the 105's and quite expensive - I was just being stubborn as I don't like throwing things away. With a normal wheel set I could have reused the hubs.
I think that the lower end factory rims are really produced as a consumable item, the cost of having them rebuilt professionally would probably be more than the cost of a new wheel set.

reohn2
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Re: Minimal-spoke madness....

Postby reohn2 » 17 Dec 2014, 11:13am

Mick F wrote:
Brucey wrote:Even if some factory wheels are hand tensioned, they are not built to suit the rider. It doesn't make it any easier to source parts or fix these wheels when they break, and it doesn't make them any more likely to run through the chainstays when you lose a spoke, either.
............. so why do they exist even on run-of-the-mill "sports" bikes?


Because for the most part people follow fashion like sheep,they see the successful racers riding X type bikes,in X colours,wearing X type clothing and want to be in with the in crowd.
IMO there's a lot of people getting into the 'new golf' walking in blind as bats with scant knowledge other than reviews read in glossy magazines with snazzy photos,al froth and little substance.
I don't want to mention C+,but I will coz they deserve the exposure :shock: :? :)


That's not to say that all minimum spoke wheels and their owners are to be lumped into that category as has be shown by some of the experiences by posters above,but if minimum spoke wheels fail,it's likely to be catastrophic and spares hard to come by.
OTOH conventional 32 or 36 spoke wheels can be rebuilt with new rims,hubs and spokes lasting for a long time min spokers generally are use and throw away consumables and more so the cheaper end ones on low to mid range and some higher end bikes.
If the gains where high and losses low they'd be a good buy,as it is the gains aren't much and the downsides really bad even potentially dangerous,and when wheels are costing upward of £400,things are getting silly from my POV.

Contrast that with a 36 spoke wheel spoke breakage which with a 5 minutes spoke key tweaking by the roadside and away you go,get home replace spoke with the spare you bought when you bought the wheels,no worries.
But now we seem to have entered a time where the only spares people carry are as minimal as the spokes,but the mobile phone is essential kit.On more than one occasion I've stopped to offer assistance to stranded riders to be told ''the wife's on her way to pick me up'' and mostly they've been stranded by a puncture!
This is the era of taking the bike into a shop for servicing much like you'd do with you're car,and changing the bike for the latest model,because last years colour is out of fashion.
Again that doesn't apply to everyone but it's becoming more prevalent,and so it goes,hey ho,it's a brave new world and the poverty of affluence :?
I'm aware I'm an old phart brought up in the fix it yourself school of instruction,so don't beat me up too much :mrgreen:
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robc02
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Re: Minimal-spoke madness....

Postby robc02 » 17 Dec 2014, 7:50pm

it still contains an implicit assumption that (say) 20 spokes are a lot more aerodynamic, or lighter, or something, than (say) 32 skinnier spokes when built onto a similar rim.


....well, I don't know about a lot more - a bit more maybe! Its also the case that many such 20ish spoked wheels have bladed steel spokes that are skinnier than the round spokes typically used for 32s, in which case it is reasonable to assume a small aerodynamic benefit. I know this doesn't apply in all cases - some minimally spoked wheels have bizarrely chunky spokes and a few 32s may have skinny bladed spokes. Since (I thought) the main aim of minimally spoked wheels was to create less drag then having large round spokes is surely counterproductive?

Of course, any such benefits are small overall and only likely to be relevant for racing.

Nevertheless, many people have had bad experiences with locally built wheels, maybe due to poor build quality as discussed earlier, but have had good experiences with factory built, minimally spoked wheels. I have spoken to quite a few people like this and they are quite happy to buy more factory made wheels in future. For me, spares availability and low running costs are more important for most of my riding.

On more than one occasion I've stopped to offer assistance to stranded riders to be told ''the wife's on her way to pick me up'' and mostly they've been stranded by a puncture!


I've experienced that as well - it seems quite alien to me to call for assistance for anything other than a major breakdown (I once had to do it when my single chainring snapped).

iandriver
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Re: Minimal-spoke madness....

Postby iandriver » 17 Dec 2014, 8:25pm

Brucey wrote:sure, but a good part of buying handbuilt wheels is that the builder should understand who is going to ride the wheels and over what surfaces. There is no 'one size fits all' collection of components, build method or spoke tensions.

That's a very gold point. I wonder how many hand built wheels are ordered over the net now without talking to anyone also.

Every time I see these threads, I mention kevlar spokes. I do worry about the deflection issues though which no emergency spoke will solve. I've stumbled across 2 riders with broken spokes on audaxes this year. One a 32 spoke rear, the guy got round just. The other a mavic low spoke rear wouldn't turn past the chain stay and locked the rear solid. It is unnerving to see a wheel with a simple failure locked solid in the bike.
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reohn2
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Re: Minimal-spoke madness....

Postby reohn2 » 17 Dec 2014, 9:12pm

iandriver wrote:.......... The other a mavic low spoke rear wouldn't turn past the chain stay and locked the rear solid. It is unnerving to see a wheel with a simple failure locked solid in the bike.


It would/could've been far worse if it'd been a lock up on a front wheel,think faceplant :shock: .Not healthy.
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