Wheel Advice

4 replies [Last post]
Anonymous's picture

Can anyone recommend a reasonably priced wheel (+/-$200) for everyday training to put on a Cannondale R600. The rear wheel that came with it, Gipiemme T-Tre 30s, has been breaking spokes. Rider weight is 190.

Anonymous's picture
Bob Shay (not verified)
Wheels - suggestion

"I weigh in at 185lbs. My preference is for custom wheels - Mavic Open Pro Ceramic rims with 32 holes laced with 14 gauge spokes to Ultegra Hubs. Colorado cyclist builds them for me for $331 a set. You can buy either the front or back wheel for about half that cost. Plus, they have free shipping on wheels until October 2nd. WWW.coloradocyclist.com.

I have this wheel set-up on my Trek 2300 and Madone 5.2SL and have put in over 10,000 miles in the tri-state area without a broken spoke. All four wheels are still in perfect true. The great thing about ceramic rims is that they stop the bike quicker in wet and dry conditions - about 25% quicker.

Good luck,


P.S. I took a look at the spoke pattern and count of your wheel on the cannondale website. It looks like the wheel is built with 24 spokes. (My best guess is that your broken spokes are the result of a few spokes that have become loose over time due to a combination of rider weight and ordinary use of a 24 spoke count wheel. To keep your repair fast and cheap, you could just have a local bike shop retension your spokes, but you may have to have your spokes retensioned on a regular basis if you stay with a 24 spoke count wheel). Below is an excerpt from ""The Art of Wheel Building"" by Gerd Schraner(1999). After reading, you should decide if you want to rebuild the wheel with 24 or 32 spokes.

""The selection and number of spokes greatly influences the life expectancy and the strength of the wheel. The more spokes used, the more stable the wheel. The classic upper limit - classic because it has proven itself time and time again over years - is 36 spokes.""

""Thanks to the high quality of today's rims and spokes, 32 spokes per wheel are usually sufficient for mountain bikes and road bikes. Fewer spokes reduce weight and improve the aerodynamic qualities, but need to be given a higher tension which, on the other hand, require more stable, and thus heavier, rims. The weight advantage of fewer spokes is therefore lost on the rims. Fewer spokes improve the aerodynamics but - and this is an important point - only from speeds 30MPH+.""

""More spokes mean that the wheel is more stable not only radially but also laterally. When a rider stands up to pedal uphill, for example, the wheel reacts more directly to his pedaling power. A wheel with less spokes feels ""spongy"""".

""The higher the number of spokes, the better the simultaneous uptake of overload by the spokes. In case in doubt, always use a higher spoke count.""

The next section of the book goes on to talk about how he successfully built a 24 spoke wheel that still works after 1,000 miles with a mix of 14 and 15 gauge spokes."

Anonymous's picture
Fixer (not verified)
Loose Spokes

Breaking spokes, barring any accidents or the like, is a sure sign of a poorly built wheel. Not uncommon with the machine built wheels that come stock on production bikes. A good set of hand built wheels ought last until the rims wear through.

Locally, Yee at Conrads is an excellent wheelbuilder. If you wanna go mail order, Peter White Cycles is extremely highly regarded, and will warranty against spoke breakage (if you don't mind sending it up to NH for service).

Anonymous's picture
Christian Edstrom (not verified)

Take the existing wheel to a bike shop and have them re-tension and pre-stress the wheel.

In other words, the problem you're having doesn't stem from poor components. It stems from a poor (machine) build, with low and uneven tension. If the tension is increased and equalized, the wheel will be fine.

- Christian

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
Gipiemme T-Tre 30

Is that one of those funny shaped rims with paired spokes? Replace it with something stronger, like 36 spokes laced 3-cross - bombproof.

Excelsports.com builds good wheels - Ultegra hub 36 hole, Mavic Open Pro rim, 14/15g butted spokes (stronger than straight gauge because they can flex a bit more) laced 3X, brass nipples, $177.

Coloradocyclist.com is also very good. They have something similar but the webpage only lists the pair ($254) so the price is probably about the same BUT it's advertised with 14g spokes.

Yee (seen it spelled at least 3 or 4 different ways) at Conrad's builds excellent wheels.

I have to disagree about the ceramic coated rims - braking EFFORT might be reduced, but stopping distance is limited by traction. If you can lock up the rear brake and skid, no matter how hard or easy it is to squeeze the lever, then you have enough braking power to achieve minimum stopping distance.

The ceramic coating does help when it's wet though, by grabbing the brake pads immediately without that terrifying split second it sometimes takes for the pads to clear water off the braking surfaces before they start slowing you down. But if you ever hit a pothole and bend a rim, you might be able to straighten it but the ceramic will be cracked forever, and the thump-thump-thump-thump every time you brake will surely drive you crazy.

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