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Thread: Minimum spoke count--disc hubs

  1. #1
    rfj1862 is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Minimum spoke count--disc hubs

    Hi all,

    First post, and a potentially dumb question for people with more wheel building experience than me.

    Is it reasonable/safe to build a 16 front/20 rear disc brake wheelset for a road bike? Not something I'd ordinarily consider, but I have a set of older 16/20 carbon fiber rims that I'm not using because the braking with rim brakes is awful, particularly in the rain. Yes, I have a source for 16/20 disc hubs.

    I weigh ~145 lbs, if it matters, and I've been riding a regular 16/20 wheelset for years with no issues.

    John

  2. #2
    Bobqzz is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: Minimum spoke count--disc hubs

    Can you build a 2x wheel with 16 spokes?

    Strikes me as a really bad idea, but I've never done it.

  3. #3
    rabo is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: Minimum spoke count--disc hubs

    Can you drill the 16 to 32 holes? It sounds awful light to me. But no expert either.

  4. #4
    Human Epic Jolt is offline One of a kind Vsalonista
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    Default Re: Minimum spoke count--disc hubs

    ask. rolf.

  5. #5
    aaronv's Avatar
    aaronv is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: Minimum spoke count--disc hubs

    Who makes these 16/20 disc hubs? If you can't at least 2x lace then it is a no go unless the hubs you are considering take some different type of spoke.

  6. #6
    dsaul is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: Minimum spoke count--disc hubs

    I'm far from an expert, but I've built many disc MTB wheels and I would never even consider building a 16 spoke or even 20 spoke disc wheel. On a disc wheel, all of the braking force is transferred from the hub, through the spokes to the rim. That is a lot of force trying to pull the spoke nipples out of the rim and 16 or 20 spokes is not enough to prevent that from happening in my opinion.

  7. #7
    brucew's Avatar
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    Default Re: Minimum spoke count--disc hubs

    I'm not an expert in anything cycling. But at this stage, I'm also not sure there are any experts in low spoke-count road-disc wheels. You're likely breaking new ground here—the bleeding edge.

    My primary commuter, an '06 Trek Portland, came with BB7s and 24-spoke wheels at both ends. The wheels were the infamous Bontrager paired-spoke wheels, with 2-cross lacing on the disc versions. If you squint, you could say they functioned effectively as 12-spoke wheels. The bike itself—with a CX front end and a touring rear end—stretches the definition of “road bike”, but it's what I bring to the conversation.

    So factor all that in when considering my experience with them.

    On the front, I never experienced any problems with them, but subjectively, they never really felt solid. They weren't necessarily flabby, wiggly, or loose feeling, but they never had that solid, roll-over-anything, or firmly-planted-in-the corners feel that I have with my rim brake wheels. Even an ancient, 20-spoke paired-lacing Neuvation that came on a second-hand bike I bought, subjectively feels better.

    The rear was problem city. I went through three rear wheels in two years and 8,000 miles. They wouldn't stay true, I broke spokes almost weekly, and spokes pulled through the rims with regularity.

    I replaced them with retro-grouchy 32-spoke, 3-cross handbuilts front and rear—the bike is, after all, my primary commuter. Now those wheels do feel rock-solid and firmly planted.

    So I think that 16/20 road-disc wheels will likely not have decent road feel, and may be subject to higher maintenance needs, even at only 145 pounds of rider weight.

    Since this is uncharted territory, I say go for it. Find out, report back, and increase the body of knowledge in this area.

  8. #8
    nspace is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: Minimum spoke count--disc hubs

    I think 16 hole only gives you the option of going radial or 1x. I wouldn't be building anything less than 2x for a disc wheel to handle the stresses from braking. I'd be more inclined to go 2x with 24h.

  9. #9
    drietz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Minimum spoke count--disc hubs

    Quote Originally Posted by nspace View Post
    I think 16 hole only gives you the option of going radial or 1x. I wouldn't be building anything less than 2x for a disc wheel to handle the stresses from braking. I'd be more inclined to go 2x with 24h.
    +1.

    I'd be fine with building a front 24hole disc wheel for a cross country racer that really wanted a light rig, and it can, and has been done. 20holes would be pushing it. 16holes, in my opinion, is just not enough.

    I'd say you're better off selling those rims and finding something different.

  10. #10
    Ras72's Avatar
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    Default Re: Minimum spoke count--disc hubs

    I'm currently riding a Poprad disc with OEM Bontrager 24h wheels. Personally, I'm searching for something with a greater spoke count. I would not go with less...

  11. #11
    Zen Cyclery's Avatar
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    Default Re: Minimum spoke count--disc hubs

    As mentioned, I think you would be much better off trying get some better rims. I would never lace up a set in 16/20, even a non disc for that matter.

    Even if you did, who makes disc road hubs in a 16/20 count?
    Visit http://www.zencyclery.com for custom, handbuilt wheels.

    Like us on http://www.facebook.com/zencyclerywheels

  12. #12
    nahtnoj is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: Minimum spoke count--disc hubs

    Quote Originally Posted by Zen Cyclery View Post

    Even if you did, who makes disc road hubs in a 16/20 count?
    Someone whose company is outside the reach of US law.

  13. #13
    brucew's Avatar
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    Default Re: Minimum spoke count--disc hubs

    Quote Originally Posted by Ras72 View Post
    I'm currently riding a Poprad disc with OEM Bontrager 24h wheels. Personally, I'm searching for something with a greater spoke count. I would not go with less...
    Same wheels that came on my bike. See my other post above.

  14. #14
    sine is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: Minimum spoke count--disc hubs

    20 spokes on our tandem disc wheels. Looks like Kinlin 30 rims and hubs are white industry.

    To date I'm impressed with these Rolf wheels. To France and back (of course packed for the flight over) and roughly 2K miles of riding. Strong and true.

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