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  1. #1
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    Downsides to more spokes?

    In looking at various wheel builds and deals out there, I see some that have higher spoke count than what I likely need. Other than some additional weight, is there any downsides or negatives?

  2. #2
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    No disadvantages to more spokes. Plenty of advantages.

    The extra weight is negligible. More spokes, especially on a rear wheel or a disc brake wheel will get you an overall stronger wheel.

    Except for one wheel set I built which was 24F/32R, all my others so far have been 32/32.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  3. #3
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    Not really unless you are going custom, want to use CX Rays, and looking to pinch pennies as much as possible.
    That might be another $30 or so comparing, say, 20/28 to 32/32. Money well spend it you might benefit. Kind of a waste if your weight and riding style is such that less spokes present no risk.

    I have otherwise identical rear wheels with 24, 28 and 32. I rarely use the same tires across all three but the few times I have I can't detect any performance difference.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lallement View Post
    In looking at various wheel builds and deals out there, I see some that have higher spoke count than what I likely need. Other than some additional weight, is there any downsides or negatives?
    More spokes means more weight and more aero drag. Significant? Not really. Obvious advantage is a stronger wheel.

    I would be interested in how you reached the conclusion that those wheels "have higher spoke count than what I likely need."

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lallement View Post
    In looking at various wheel builds and deals out there, I see some that have higher spoke count than what I likely need. Other than some additional weight, is there any downsides or negatives?
    not much downsides, but negatives? I can think of one negative, it makes you look luddite if you go 32spoke front and rear!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons View Post
    I would be interested in how you reached the conclusion that those wheels "have higher spoke count than what I likely need."
    I have been in touch with a few wheel builders who seem to feel that 24/28 would be sufficient, especially with a well built rim.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    not much downsides, but negatives? I can think of one negative, it makes you look luddite if you go 32spoke front and rear!
    Luddite?

    I have been called worse!

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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    not much downsides, but negatives? I can think of one negative, it makes you look luddite if you go 32spoke front and rear!
    This is exactly why I run 32 spoke wheels (besides being more durable); it keeps my Luddite Street-Cred intact.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveG View Post
    This is exactly why I run 32 spoke wheels (besides being more durable); it keeps my Luddite Street-Cred intact.
    It is good to embrace it and be proud.

    Now, just so I stay current- How is a Fred different from a luddite? What are the similarities and differences? Is there a site with a Venn diagram that will help?

  10. #10
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    As soon as you are rolling.....damned hard to count spokes anyway. When you get to the Coffee Shop before them at the end of the ride, you can laugh as they count spokes.

  11. #11
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    Although many that you find may be too preoccupied counting miles, watts, power, cadence, calories and logging the info to be able to count one more thing!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdhbrad View Post
    As soon as you are rolling.....damned hard to count spokes anyway. When you get to the Coffee Shop before them at the end of the ride, you can laugh as they count spokes.
    Repped! I just love it when I pass a 20-30 something guy up a hill with his $3K Zipp carbon wheels with minimal spoke count while I'm a 57 y.o. guy on my conventional 32 spoke alloy wheels!
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Repped! I just love it when I pass a 20-30 something guy up a hill with his $3K Zipp carbon wheels with minimal spoke count while I'm a 57 y.o. guy on my conventional 32 spoke alloy wheels!
    I'll be 66 in a week...…..24/28 gets it done for me. I just built a set of new wheels with WI Hubs, C Xrays, and the AForce AL33 rims. I am really liking them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lallement View Post
    It is good to embrace it and be proud.

    Now, just so I stay current- How is a Fred different from a luddite? What are the similarities and differences? Is there a site with a Venn diagram that will help?
    now this here is a little subjective and open to interpretation, depending on the weather forecast. But IMO, an ultimate luddite can be riding an expensive classic Italian steel all decked out with gold lugs and gold plated or polished chrome rim brakes (yep, I've seen them), and he may top it off with a tan leather saddle and matching bartape and classic Ambrosio wheels. But a Fred? you'll know one when you see one, and they come in all shapes and sizes, so don't just think Fred has to be a fat guy on a gramp's hybrid either.

  15. #15
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    I would also guess that many luddites can keep up with you or blow you away ("you" generically, not "you" OP), this is less likely for a Fred unless they are riding a Machete. Maybe one further advantage to 32/32 if you're a strong rider is that folks will marvel at how you ride so fast with "non-aerodynamic" wheels...

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    Downsides to more spokes?

    More spokes typically mean a stronger wheel. However, spokes are a lot better these days compared to the galvanized steel spokes of yesteryear so 32 spokes is more than enough unless you're a Clydesdale or ride a tandem or loaded touring bike, where 36 spokes might not be enough.

    Less spokes mean lighter weight wheels and better aerodynamics. Rim strength can make up for lack of spokes. There is a lack availability of 36 hole hubs and rims as well.
    Last edited by mfdemicco; 07-16-2018 at 03:53 PM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mfdemicco View Post
    More spokes typically mean a stronger wheel. However, spokes a lot better these days compared to the galvanized steel spokes of yesteryear so 32 spokes is more than enough unless you're a Clydesdale or ride a tandem or loaded touring bike, where 36 spokes might not be enough.
    Not true. The rim is the weakest link in the equation. Fewer spokes mean the load on the rim is concentrated on fewer points. More spokes spreads out this load over more points and is less stressful on the rim.

    Quote Originally Posted by mfdemicco View Post
    Less spokes mean lighter weight wheels and better aerodynamics. Rim strength can make up for lack of spokes. There is a lack availability of 36 hole hubs and rims as well.
    Reread both phrases I highlighted here and you will see they contradict each other. In order for a rim to work reliably with 20 spokes, it needs to be heavier than a rim would need to be to work reliably with 32 spokes. Weight wise, it turns out to be nearly a wash.

    Also, the aero advantages of using fewer spokes are negligible and won't be realized under 20mph. The rider is the least aero part of the bike.

    You may want to read this excellent article. I know the main topic refers to stiffness, but they make some excellent points:

    https://www.slowtwitch.com/Tech/Debu...ness_3449.html
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Not true. The rim is the weakest link in the equation. Fewer spokes mean the load on the rim is concentrated on fewer points. More spokes spreads out this load over more points and is less stressful on the rim.



    Reread both phrases I highlighted here and you will see they contradict each other. In order for a rim to work reliably with 20 spokes, it needs to be heavier than a rim would need to be to work reliably with 32 spokes. Weight wise, it turns out to be nearly a wash.

    Also, the aero advantages of using fewer spokes are negligible and won't be realized under 20mph. The rider is the least aero part of the bike.

    You may want to read this excellent article. I know the main topic refers to stiffness, but they make some excellent points:

    https://www.slowtwitch.com/Tech/Debu...ness_3449.html
    I'm not sure I agree. Cracking at the spoke holes is the major problem I see. Beefing up a rim at these localized locations (spoke holes) won't add much to the weight of a rim whereas adding more spokes I don't think addresses this problem. Aluminum weighs 1/3 the weight of steel too. The most reliable wheels I've had have been low spoke count Shimano WH-6800 wheels vs. 32 spoke Open Pro wheels I have.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by mfdemicco View Post
    The most reliable wheels I've had have been low spoke count Shimano WH-6800 wheels vs. 32 spoke Open Pro wheels I have.
    You're really comparing apples to oranges here. Mavic Open Pros are known for spoke hole cracking and even have a stated tension limit of 90kgF when most rims can handle 120kgF.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    You're really comparing apples to oranges here. Mavic Open Pros are known for spoke hole cracking and even have a stated tension limit of 90kgF when most rims can handle 120kgF.
    I just used the Open Pros as an example. I've had other rims crack and fail. Trek/Bontrager have been the worst. I crack and failed a Torelli, but that was after a lot of miles.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by mfdemicco View Post
    I just used the Open Pros as an example. I've had other rims crack and fail. Trek/Bontrager have been the worst. I crack and failed a Torelli, but that was after a lot of miles.
    I don't know very many people who HAVEN'T cracked a Bontrager rim - especially when they were doing the paired spoke design. Yours truly for one! 4K miles and the rear wheel was toast. And I only weigh 175lbs!
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    I don't know very many people who HAVEN'T cracked a Bontrager rim - especially when they were doing the paired spoke design. Yours truly for one! 4K miles and the rear wheel was toast. And I only weigh 175lbs!
    I wonder if there is any failure analysis on these rims. Could it be too high a spoke tension, too few spokes, wrong choice of aluminum alloy, quality problem with same, or too little strength at the spoke holes?

    I knew someone that rode RAM and said the Rolf wheels he had were the longest lasting wheels he ever used, so I don't think paired spokes are necessarily bad for rim life.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by mfdemicco View Post
    I wonder if there is any failure analysis on these rims. Could it be too high a spoke tension, too few spokes, wrong choice of aluminum alloy, quality problem with same, or too little strength at the spoke holes?

    I knew someone that rode RAM and said the Rolf wheels he had were the longest lasting wheels he ever used, so I don't think paired spokes are necessarily bad for rim life.
    Paired spokes concentrate forces rather than spread them out evenly. If you do that design, you need to have extra reinforcement at the spoke bed in the rim.

    Somehow Rolf and Campy do this design without problems. Bontrager didn't. It could be anything you mentioned in your first paragraph or a combination of. I believe the Bonty wheels I had were 20/24 spoke count which I'm sure didn't help either.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    I don't know very many people who HAVEN'T cracked a Bontrager rim - especially when they were doing the paired spoke design. Yours truly for one! 4K miles and the rear wheel was toast. And I only weigh 175lbs!
    I had a set of paired spoke Selects on an old Poprad. Those wheels were tanks. The only reason that I got rid of them was that I wore the rear brake track down too much. No cracks. So, some people have good luck with those things. Heh. The only rim I've cracked is an Easton EA90 XC MTB rim, and I'm pretty sure that was user error.

    Anyway, the only (very slight, really not even worth mentioning) negative that I've noticed with many-spoked wheels is noise. I have a pair of 28/28 aero spoke wheels, and compared to my other 20/24 round spoke wheels, the "whir" at 20mph and above is noticeable. Maybe that's just a function of the aero spokes, but I've had other aero spoke wheels not do that. I guess there's also a slight bit of extra weight and a slight bit of extra work to clean them, and I personally think that having more spokes on my road bike than my MTBs looks a bit wrong.

  25. #25
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    You can't get into the cool guys club if you have wheels with too high a spoke count.
    Too old to ride plastic

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