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14511Re: [rootsradicals] strengthen my back wheel...

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  • Sean
    Dec 17 8:58 AM
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      There are a lot of factors as to why spokes break. Since you are running a 700c wheel, it could very well be you are exceeding the capacity of the wheel. Many road bike wheels are built with a 165 pound crit racer in mind. I myself experienced the spoke popping frustration of spokes that did not like my heavy abuse on one of my bikes a couple years ago. After messing around with spoke replacement and lots of time spent truing wheels I decided to try lacing my own wheels. 

      After a little research and some time spent reading Sheldon browns web library (http://sheldonbrown.com/wheelbuild.html) on wheel building, I plunged in. I was amazed at how easy it really was. If you can read and follow directions, you can build a wheel. Since that time, I have built a handful of wheels and all of them thus far have worked flawlessly. The beauty of a hand built wheel is that it is purpose built for an intended application. Often times with bikes we spend hours making painstaking decisions over the perfect component for our ride. However, when it comes to wheels (store bought machine built) it is often a compromise of something close to what we need or want, not exactly. All of that is resolved when you build your own, plus you get the pride of doing it yourself. 

      A couple of tips if you decide to jump into wheel building:

        1. Don't go buy a bunch of tools. You can get by with your bike frame and some zip ties in a pinch. The best option is to find your local bike co-op and do the work there. It is also a great place to meet bike folks and there will be some knowledgeable people that want to teach.

        2. Don't rush. Take your time and enjoy the process. I usually turn up the tunes, crack a beer or two and start lacing. When I get tired I stop and pick up again another day. It used to take me a couple hours. Now I can lace one in about 30 min and true one in about 15 to 20 min. 

        3. Shop around for parts. You can find smoking deals on eBay if you are patient and/or are not picky about brand names for your hubs and hoops. I would buy spokes and nipples from your local bike shop. This will eliminate buying the wrong length ones etc. I will tell you there are some online retailers that specialize in spokes and wheel building (some on eBay too). I have not tried them so I cannot speak to the success.

        4. Do your research. Sealed bearing hubs are best for xtracycle use. There are a lot of inexpensive mid range ones on the market. Hoops, I would go double wall. You can get some 29er stuff that will be very durable for your combo. Spokes, which is what started the discussion, quality DT Swiss double butted or triple butted is probably best for our application. The butting refers to the extra meat added where the stress on a spoke is seen. You can read up on it in the Sheldon wheel stuff. I also would recommend brass nipples, not the aluminum ones. The brass is way more durable and you will have less frustration with rounding them via spoke wrench.

        5. If all else fails, buy a handful of extra spokes and get good at swapping them. It is a good skill to have and eventually you will swap out all of the pesky weak ones.


      What part of the country are you located? There a couple bike co-ops here in Southern California if you are out here.

      Sent from my iPad

      On Dec 16, 2012, at 9:11 AM, "Maaz" <maud.aptekar@...> wrote:


      I am using my xtracycle to transport my kids. I have a 700c bike with touring bike tires. It was all going well, and we LOVE it but the rear wheel seems to suffer from too much weight. The spoke are breaking!
      Has anyone some tips on how to make it stronger or suggestion on getting a stronger rear wheel?


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