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Wheel advice - 700c rims

By hawkeye - Posted on 21 November 2009

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

I have a set of 700c rims on my commuter, which is a Cannondale Furio hardtail.

The rims are Mavic Open Pro's, laced to an XT rear hub and Lefty front, both 32H. They have been awesome ... until I put a rack and set of rear panniers on the bike and started carrying my work laptop to and from work.

Now, after each ride when I carry the laptop, I need to spend about half an hour tightening spokes and retruing the rear wheel. Sad I'm not kerb-hopping either. Unfortunately leaving the laptop at the office isn't always an option.

Any suggestions for suitable setup? Needs to have a disc hub. Silver rim preferred - I hate the machined brake track look with disc brakes. Sticking out tongue


My 2c, helpful as it may not be: Is spoke tension high enough to start with? If its too low, you'll be unwinding spokes every turn of the wheel as they hit bottom and unload. Weighing up the bike makes tension more critical I believe. Even 23's shouldnt be going out of true unless you've got major issues somewhere. Did adding the rack increase your total carried weight by much?

Ask roadie forums about a strong, low maintenance wheelset and the Open Pro/Ultegra combo is sure to be mentioned at least, oh, 6736 times.


Inadequate initial spoke tension may well have been a contributor - but I think the rim may well be toast now, unfortunately. Trying to get even tension makes it quite wonky.

The bags and rack added maybe 2kg absolute max. I think it is more to do with the fact that the laptop, shoes, clothes, toiletries, keys, spare change, kitchen sink are now effectively unspring weight - they don't have my legs to cushion the bumps and all the instantaneous shock force goes straight through the rear wheel. Plus, instead of being in the middle of the two wheels, it is now 6-8" past the back axle, so it gets to bear 110%of the weight instead of half.

All good points.

If the rim is cactus, what about a straight rebuild with a new rim? You get open pros in full silver. What about A317/319 Disc rims as a replacement? The A719 probably overkill (I think its more a trrekking rim).

If the hubs are fine (and 32 spokes should handle the riding it if its rebuilt) why go to the whole cost of a new wheelset?

That was the direction I was heading in - cutting the spokes and sending the hubs to be re-laced. I've noticed the front wheel could do with some work as well, so I may do both.

One thing to watch is how wide the rims are. I like my 23mm Conti slicks, so anything wider than 19mm gets a bit challenging.

There's a guy at Kingsford trading under the name "Chainring Transit Authority" who builds Velocity wheels who looks kinda interesting. We'll see if he responds to my enquiries.

Any tips for a good local wheelsmith would be welcome. I've had a go myself once - shall we say I got away with the consequences, and I was lucky. Sticking out tongue

Greg at TWE - Two Wheel Enterprises is de spoke und hub king:

If you are going to see greg, take the offending wheels and get them assessed by him.
There's tension, and there's 'even tension'.
I tension my spokes by ear, getting all the spokes to an even tension (tone), then true them for runout, first radially then laterally. The drive side will have a higher tension (tone) than the none drive side.
When they are evenly tensioned you should have no loosening issues, as the loads will be evenly distributed about the rim. You are looking for a nice high 'ting' on the drive side when you pluck them with your finger nail.

Greg should be able to assess whether a professional tension and true can save them, or if you are up for a new set of rims, and possibly spokes. Quality spokes can be reused a number of times, but if they are the wrong length for new rims you will need new ones anyway.


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