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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just bent my rear rim pretty good, and I was looking around online and saw people post about wheel maintenance. This is the one thing that I have never looked into doing on my bike. I have adjust my dérailleurs and disc brakes regularly, but never thought about tightening spokes. Does anyone have any info or suggestions for that?

I also saw a few people say that for big guys like me stock wheelsets are not as good as having a hand made wheelset from a good bike shop. What kind of rims should I look to get if I did that?

Lastly, what would be the cost of getting that done? My stock rear dérailleur is slowly dying, and my rear disc break adjustment is broken. I am already looking as spending some money, and I am thinking I might just get a Kona Kahuna 29er. At 6'6" and 285lbs, I hear its the thing to do.

Thanks.

And here is some info about me.

So, as stated, I am 6'6 and 285lbs. I do some trail riding but not as often as I would like. All this rain hasn't been helping my weekends either. I do ride to work (with the help of a train inbetween. it would be like 20 miles otherwise) every sunny day we have that it isn't below 30 when I wake up.

I have a Diamondback Response Sport '06 which was a pretty sweet bike for the money. All the parts are stock. Its actually held up quite well until this year. In the past month all three of my problems arose.
 

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A handbuilt set of wheels is the most foolproof way to go, but does get expensive. You'll bet better advice if you post the amount you're thinking of spending on the wheelset.

There is no doubt that if you mountainbike regularly, you will have ongoing maintenance costs.

If you know you're gonna move to a Kona 29er soon, it might make most sense to either do it now and sell your current bike as is, or get an inexpensive replacement wheel and then sell it...
If you need to stick with the one you've got for a while, it may be worth getting some less expensive wheels.

Whichever way you go, find a local shop that has someone who is good with wheels, they can re-tension a wheel, which can improve durability.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well, I have been eying that Kona for a while. I am just not too sure that I am ready to drop that kind of loot. As for the wheel set, I really wouldn't want to go much over 150. I don't think that my rim is totally shot, and I can probably get it repaired. I am not sure what the likely hood of it bending again would be if I maintained it better. I never thought to check my spokes regularly, and I am not sure what I would be looking for anyway. I guess to make sure they are nice and tight?
 

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Big fellas on a budget need to get friendly with a spoke wrench.

You can get a durable set of wheels for $150 - sets with XT hubs and Rhyno Lite rims can be found for that price all over the place - but they won't last if you don't retension them before you ride them for the first time. In that price range, you're getting machine built wheels. The spokes will be too loose and unevenly tensioned out of the box. Ride them that way and you'll be losing non-drive-side spokes on the rear wheel before you know it.

A couple of hours spent bringing up the tension and getting it even will be well worth the effort. The folks in the Wheels and Tires forum can help you with the necessary skills. The only essential tool is a good spoke wrench, and they're cheap. Truing stands and dish gauges are a nice investment, but your fork and frame are all you really need to get started.
 

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I played around with truing my own wheels with a spoke wrench at one point, but ultimately found that the techs at the local bike shop who do it all the time gave me better results. I can do a lot of repairs on a bike, but I leave spoke tensioning to the professionals, plenty of others are like me, YMMV.

The wheel may be repairable if it is just a little out of true, mostly straight but you can see it wobble when you spin it. If there are sections of the rim that are really "bent," then you may have to rebuild or get a new wheel. A good mechanic can tell you just by looking or you could post pictures here. As a rule of thumb, if you can spin the wheel in the frame, disconnect the rim brakes if that's what you run, it can be re-trued.

If it needs to be re-built, there's a good argument for biting the bullet and getting a new wheel set. I agree, at the $150 pricepoint, a set of machine built XT hubs to Rhynolyte XL rims is the way to go.

What sort of wheels you got now? The ones that came stock with the bike may not be worth re-building.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
They came stock with the bike. It still spins in the frame, its just pretty messed up. I think it should be repairable as long as I stick to the road on the way home today. If it crumbles underneath me, then its either time for a new pair or time to rethink that 29er I have been eying before I replace everything that needs replacing on this bike. I think I might just try to fix it myself if it doesn't worsen.
 

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look at a wheel set from pricepoint or jensonusa. I would go w/ a Sun Rhyno lite rim as I ride them and there super beefy and not too heavy. I have seen a set for around $150.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Turns out I busted a few spokes. The shop can true it for 35. I am just doing that. I don't know if I want to poor too muh into his bike right now. I would rather save for a 29er.
 

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tenbsmith said:
I played around with truing my own wheels with a spoke wrench at one point, but ultimately found that the techs at the local bike shop who do it all the time gave me better results. I can do a lot of repairs on a bike, but I leave spoke tensioning to the professionals, plenty of others are like me, YMMV.
I understand where you're coming from, and for a lot of people that's the best choice.

But in the OP's case, "let a pro do it" is not consistent with "$150 for a wheelset". IME - and I've seen this repeatedly with my bikes and those of friends - a $150 wheelset is not going to last long under a Clyde straight out of the box. The problem isn't the parts, it's the assembly; specifically, inadequate spoke tension in a machine built wheelset. Fix that and the wheelset can last forever if not abused too badly.

Like any technical skill, wheel truing takes patience and practice to learn. A good place to start is a set of wheels you're going to toss anyway if you can't fix them. That way at least you're not out any money if you screw 'em up worse. Or practice on some swap meet wheels. Who knows, you may wind up with your dream wheelset for well under $150.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Didn't take long for me to pop another spoke out. If I wasn't buying a first home in the ever expensive state of NJ, I would just drop the grand on the Kona. Maybe after I get my settlement. (got hit by a car crossing the street. being a tall clyde, I am mostly okay from it. Did a number on her windshield though.) Even if I did, I would like to keep a spare bike around, and I will look to get the wheel set recommended.

I wonder about my local shops ability to tighten the spokes right now though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

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EricB said:
Nothing wrong with straight gauge spokes, they're cheaper and heavier but every bit as strong as the fancy double-butted spokes.

But any wheelset in this price range will need some additional preparation before it will hold up under a Clyde. Spend the extra $10 for a good spoke wrench and hunt down a copy of Jobst Brandt's "The Bicycle Wheel". Then spend an evening cranking up the spoke tension and you'll be good to go.
 

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Another option is to ask cyclists in your area for a local shop with a good wheel builder. Then you could consider buying inexpensive wheels and paying him to make sure the tensioning is correct for good durability.

I broke a bunch of wheels when I first started riding. Eventually solved the situation with two things:
1) Handbuilt wheels Rhynolyte XL rims.
2) Learning to slow-down and lighten-up before hitting edges. Lightening up involves standing on the pedals and using your arms and legs to absorb some of the punishment.
 

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Chucko58 is dropping some good advice, take it in :thumbsup:

One other suggestion, find your local cycling club. Within the clubs there are usually a few wheel gurus who for the minimal cost of a 6 pack will learn you up on the basics ;)
 

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Have you tried messing with them yourself? It is not nearly as hard as people make it sound. I am only 200# but I built my front and back, my wife's wheels as well. It was pretty easy to be honest, just sit down and do it. Truing the wheel is of course far easier.

I got a stand for the 3rd wheel, but the first 2 I had nothing, just plucked the spokes to seeif they were tightened right.b I borrowed a tensiometer later and checked, my wheels were close to the same tension and correct tension than wheels bought from a builder. (both sets had been ridden for months at that point). I need to get a tensiometer now though as my wheel that is 2 years old while still true is making a sound that indicates to me something may be wacky.

I broke and dislocated my thumb though so I have plenty of time to fiddle later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I see a lot of Rhynolite rims on wheel sets, but nothing that says XL. I am weary of purchasing these. Should I be?

I generally do try to lighten up. I rode my existing rims fine for 2 years, 1 of which was heavy use, before this started happening.
 

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My buddy is getting into the sport and looking to do it on the cheap as well. He bought a bike, but didn't check out the wheels very closely and now needs a new wheelset. He's not very handy with a wrench and while I do my own maintenance I leave wheel building/truing to the pros (though that's probably going to change over this winter) so he was asking me what he should do. I pointed him to the Rhino Lite wheelset over at Jenson (on sale for 95) and told him to get those....but before even thinking about riding them to take them to a shop and have them re-tensioned.

Yes, I know that may be considered 'rude' but think of it this way: If he had to shell out more $$ to have a local shop build the wheels, he wouldn't be getting wheels at all. At least this way he stays in the sport and still throws a bit of money towards the LBS.
 

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i have a pair of mavic 823 rims that are tubeless i could build up with some hubs for you. but do u have disc brakes?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Yeah I have disc breaks.

So those ones at Jensen will work. They wanted 95 for one wheel at my LBS. I will just order those and maybe have them do the work. I have read a lot of reviews where they say the ryhno lite rims are a pain to get a tire onto.
 

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Just bite the bullett and buy crosssmax wheels

I tried several wheelsets and regular maintenance over the years but the only real alternative is to upgrade to Crossmax wheels....I have had no problems and I weigh in at about 245 and ride agressivley and regularly....they are pricey but worth the money....
 
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