Spoke Count

Discussion in 'Bicycle Mechanics and Repairs' started by mondobongo, 6 Mar 2008.

  1. mondobongo

    mondobongo Über Member

    Been looking round at 105 wheels as want to replace the unbranded hubs on alex rims that came on my Giant Scr. Have noticed that wiggle etc are stating the spoke count as F16 R20 quite a difference to my current wheels.
    Are they going to be too flexy or more importantly are they going to be ok with my nearly 14 stone weight.
  2. hubgearfreak

    hubgearfreak Über Member

    the more spokes, the stronger the wheel.
    f32 r36 are going to be good and strong, and will stay true longer.
    also, f16,r20 will have to have slightly heavier rims to compensate for the reduced spoke count, to go that few is more about marketing than sense

    if like me you're no light weight, then without wishing to be rude, the extra few spokes won't make a noticeable difference in total weight either
  3. gkerr4

    gkerr4 New Member

    i think they will be fine!

    I have a set of those 105 wheels (the R561's) with 16f / 20r spokes - I was >13st when i got them - no problems at all. I even did a coast-2-coast (C2C route) ride on them - never a problem - they are rock solid and were a good upgrade on my trek pilot. they are certainly NOT flexy - unlike the wheels they replaced which used to rub the brake blocks when out of the saddle.

    oh also - they look the business!! and will make a great upgrade to your SCR.

    I now have a set of campag Eurus on my new bike - and they too are 16f / 20r and are (again) rock solid - although they were a bit more expensive right enough.
  4. kyuss

    kyuss Über Member

    I am over 17 stone have ridden 20/16 spoke wheels in the past so at 14 stone I'm sure you'll be fine. They are not necessarily more flexible or even weaker, and the most consistently true wheels I've had were the 20/16's. The drawback of low spoke counts is that in the event of a spoke breakage, you can forget riding the bike home. It's something to keep in mind. Spoke breakages aren't that common that you should worry too much about it, but chances are it will happen eventually. Whether you fancy a long walk home or not is up to you.

    For instance, I broke a spoke on my 36 hole Mavics just last week (only the 3rd ever in over 20 years cycling) and the wheel only went out of true very slightly. 30 seconds with a spoke key and the wheel was straight and strong enough to get me home. I even rode it to the lbs next day to pick up the replacement spoke. Compare that to the experience I had 2 years ago when a spoke went on my 20 hole Xero's. It went so far out of true it wasn't only rubbing the brake blocks but the seatstay as well. No amount of twiddling of nipples could fix it. In fact I had to walk 3 miles home carrying the bike, as the wheel was locked solid against the seatstay.
  5. GrahamG

    GrahamG Über Member

    I've been convinced by the old schoolers that low spoke count wheels should be saved for the special occasions that warrant them (racing, sportives or any other event), the rest of the time some good old fashioned 32 or 36 spoke wheels will be more reliable, serviceable (even in the back of beyond if you ever ride abroad) and as pointed out above, should you brake a spoke or two, they will probably still be rideable with minimal fuss.
  6. hubgearfreak

    hubgearfreak Über Member

  7. gkerr4

    gkerr4 New Member


    Hmm - for this one-off occasion I am prepared to not listen to the late great Sheldon.

    I don't think shamal ultra's or any top end factory wheelset can be described as a scam.
  8. hubgearfreak

    hubgearfreak Über Member

    that's the beauty of marketing, those took in by it don't think themselves gullible:tongue:
  9. gkerr4

    gkerr4 New Member

    yes but surely the fact that

    they have great free-running bearing hubs
    they are stiff as you like
    they weigh feck-all

    counts for something.....

    I believe that, as in most things in life - you get what you pay for - I actually have Eurus wheels - they are the same as shamals bar the carbon hubs - they are awesome - they weigh 1500g genuine and they cost £360 - i doubt i'd have got any better all-round decent wheels from handbuilts or any other route for that matter - for that price.

    so are they a scam too?
  10. hubgearfreak

    hubgearfreak Über Member

    not just gullible, but evangelical to boot:biggrin:
    more spokes = stronger & longer lived wheels.
    if you want them for an important race, you're welcome to spend your money on them.
    if you want them for general riding around on, also spend your money on them, if you wish to.

    i haven't ever weighed a pair of wheels, or indeed any other bicycle component. i did once weigh me holding my bike & it came to over 100kgs. but it's comfy, reliable and strong. i suspect that the combination of me & your weaker, less comfy bike would only be a few % less.

    i concede the point that i don't race, but just cycle & build for the fun of it, but even if i did you wouldn't ever convince me that another 36 spokes on a bike wasn't a worthwhile weight penalty to incur for the advantages they give:becool:

    may the wind be behind you tomorrow, and the thorns on the opposite side of the road:biggrin:
  11. simon l& and a half

    simon l& and a half New Member

    Streatham Hill
    I take issue with HubGearFreak. My 16/16 arrangement is as tough as old boots - the first set of rims wore out from brake use after 17,000 miles. The wheels are pretty light.

    I've also got the 16/20 105s on the Kirk (don't ask) and they're as good as new.
  12. hubgearfreak

    hubgearfreak Über Member

    and SB presumably?

    that your wheels lasted that mileage is good luck, skilful riding, whatever.

    maybe they are adequate for your riding?? but there are knocks that bike wheels will occasionally take that would break a 16 spoker and leave a 36 spoker untouched.. they are stronger - - i take it that no-ones arguing this point?

    the OP is asking for advice, and mine is that if like me he's 13-14 stone, then an extra 36 spokes in the total weight of bike and rider is a penalty worth paying in terms of shunning potential knocks in the future:becool:
  13. simon l& and a half

    simon l& and a half New Member

    Streatham Hill
    I'm arguing it. Going into the back of a bus, getting rammed by a bus, and commuting in London at a decent pace is a pretty fair test.

    It's not the number of spokes it's the quality of the wheels. I've did have a cheap Alex 32 spoke wheel that went out of true almost immediately. Had I been using the Alex wheel when I hit the back of a bus sufficiently hard to give me a headache for a week I'd have thrown away the wheel - but the 16 suffered not one millimetre of bend.
  14. hubgearfreak

    hubgearfreak Über Member

    it's both, of course:becool:

    badly built wheels are badly built, regardless of spoke count

    but with equal quality rims and equal quality assembly
    more spokes = substantially stronger wheel, whilst being only marginally heavier
  15. gkerr4

    gkerr4 New Member

    how did you get to the point where my bike is also less comfy than yours?

    my bike is very comfy indeed thanks.

    also - you forgot the fact that 32/36+ spoke wheels look like crap
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