Building very strong wheels for a very big rider

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  • Hi everyone,

    A friend of mine is dating a guy who is both very tall and very heavy. She is a keen rider and likes touring, she wants to help him sort out his bike (an old steel tourer) so he can come on longer rides. I'm helping her with this; she's not on this forum.

    The main thing seems to be that the chap's size has meant that he has experienced more than one wheel failure in the past.

    I started thinking about building a wheelset using 40-spoke or even 48-spoke hubs/rims, but these seem rare/expensive/only-for-pre-1960s-track-­bikes-or-BMX.

    Then I started thinking that 36 spokes is fine as long as it's all very tough. Thinking something like Mavic A719 rims, DT Swiss Alpine 3 spokes, and something like Deore hubs.

    I don't know much about tandem wheels, but presumably the rears in particular need to be very tough (two people's weight + two people's luggage)?

    I thought I'd ask on here, in case anyone has relevant experience/advice/knows pitfalls to avoid/etc. I'd be grateful for any advice. Cheers!

  • Consider Ryde andra series or big bull. Sturdy stuff

  • Yeah, look at Andra 40's. Also look at dt Swiss hybrid hubs - they're meant for ebikes So are built with everything reinforced, thicker walls/flanges etc.

  • Ta very much both!

  • Very tall and very heavy are subjective. If possible add in some decent ballpark numbers.

    I’m 6’ 4” and have been 140kg, thankfully am now closer to 120kg but still have at least 20kg to get off.

    I lost faith the rear wheel on my trek hybrid 3 years ago with multiple spoke failures. It was infuriating, Also I couldn’t find a fix. Had I been on here at the time no doubt one of the wheel building experts would have been able to help.

    I got in touch with PIM cycles up north somewhere and they build a bombproof 48 spoke wheel for me. Kinlin Adhn rim, Suzue hub, sapim spokes. I wore out the brake track and subsequently did a rim swap myself with an identical rim bought from one of the tandem specialists.

    I sold that bike at the start of lockdown and the wheel went with it.

    Now I am on a 36 spoke Kinlin XR31 (the offset one) and an ultegra hub with sapim spokes. SPA cycles built this for me at a very reasonable price. It’s been superb and would recommend.

    I think it’s important to get to a decent sized tyre and stay with reasonable tyre pressures, say 32-37mm wide and 80psi.

    I’m targeting 32 spoke when I get to 100kg.

  • Love the goals bit at the end^ Aiming at 32! goodonya.

    To the OP
    I generally don’t break wheels, but have a habit of overbuilding them anyway.

    Can recommend Alpine III spokes in whatever spoke count you opt for, also consider Sapim Force which are similar and can be a bit cheaper. The best price I’ve found for Alpines in the UK is­s445p77731/DT_Swiss_Alpine_III_silver_sp­okes_13_15_14_g_%3D_2_34_1_8_2_mm_box_10­0_/Wheel_Spares

    If you’re building a tandem, I’d use 40 spokes minimum, and 48 is all good.

    There are good 48 spoke rims out there, Velocity cliffhanger is the obvious choice. Bitch to get hold of, and pricey. Tubeless too. Also velocity Atlas def come in 40, not sure if 48. Either would be not much better than Ryde’s heavy duty offerings (Andra 40 & Big Bull) but more spoke versions exist.

    Check out for some high-spoke hub offerings, including a Hope, various Orbit hubs, & Schmidt dynamos, in disc and non- , various spacings, etc. There are also cheaper rims in high spoke counts there, Exal I think.

  • shimano do an xt hub in 40h, nice silver hub, managed to find a front but never found the rear, that would be a good strong long lived hub set

    i built up the front wheel but then sold it.

    xt 40h to mavic a719 for an idea­71/#comment13752866

  • speaking from experience and having been at a regular riding weight of 120-130 KGS for most of the last 15 years, I have had significant success riding on London streets with the following:

    Road - Campy Record hubs laced 3 cross to DT Swiss RR 585 rims
    Fixie - Phil Wood 32h hubs laced 3 cross to H Plus Son SL 42 rims
    Fixie - Royce 32h hubs laced 3 cross to H Plus son archetype rims

    All used either SAPIM or DT SWISS spokes

    The bottom line is quality works....


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Building very strong wheels for a very big rider

Posted by Avatar for SoWhat @SoWhat