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Thread: Is the 32H wheel dead?

  1. #1
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    Default Is the 32H wheel dead?

    Reading through the triple crank thread, I wondered what else might be dead, and 32H wheels came to mind. Hardly ever see anyone riding on them. Mostly carbon and Mavic K-wheels. Even the food delivery guys have gone to deep section carbon wheels.

    Dead?
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    Default Re: Is the 32H wheel dead?

    A buddy of mine is 6'7" and weighs in excess of 200 lbs, which isn't fat for his height at all. He's a strong rider and not a waif. He just ordered a set of Boyd Altamonts and he wisely specced 32/28.

    It would be a huge mistake for manufacturers to abandon 32 spoke rims and hubs even though they're less common than they used to be.
     

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    Default Re: Is the 32H wheel dead?

    32 3x is all I ride. 6'1" 195ish.
    Guy Washburn

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    Default Re: Is the 32H wheel dead?

    I'm 5'11" and 170ish right now. My favorite wheelset is a 32h set of Mavic Open Pro Ceramics with Record hubs laced 3x with DT Revos. If I remember correctly, they weigh about 1550g, and cost less than $500 delivered from Colorado Cyclist 7 or 8 years ago.

    They're my favorite because I think they ride better than many modern prebuilts that seem to be aiming at the highest possible stiffness (which in turn people put balloon tires on to smooth out the ride). I know people will argue that there's no significant difference in wheel deflection and ride quality, but my butt, hands, and shoulders say otherwise.

    From a marketing and sales perspective, 32h might be dead though. They will definitely be dead if light, springy rims go away and all that's left are bricks designed for 20 spokes that have 32 holes drilled in them.
     

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    Default Re: Is the 32H wheel dead?

    32h probably is dying at the top end - especially for the weight weenies? I have a few pairs of 32 spoke hand builts on both Campy Record and R45 hubs, and they are fabulous all rounders. I'm also 5 11 and 175 so maybe that's the demographic for these wheels...? My guess why they may ride better is more spokes equals lower spoke tension required and thus more compliant ride? Hopefully a wheel builder here can explain?
    IF Crown Jewel / Shand Stooshie / IF Club Racer Disc / Ritchey Steel Break-Away / Colnago Master X Light

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    Default Re: Is the 32H wheel dead?

    Quote Originally Posted by j44ke View Post
    Reading through the triple crank thread, I wondered what else might be dead, and 32H wheels came to mind. Hardly ever see anyone riding on them. Mostly carbon and Mavic K-wheels. Even the food delivery guys have gone to deep section carbon wheels.

    Dead?
    I love that you always bring the NYC perspective but delivery people with deep section carbon wheels are an outlier in this statistical model as they are probably stolen wheels.

    I am not sure 32h is dead but like the triple it might become more of a niche product.

    I purchased Boyd's not that long ago, and as I have shared many times before I am built more like a sprinter/fireplug than a Spanish climber so I went 24/28. I probably should have gone 28/32 but that is no reflection on Boyd's wheels. I have also used/abused some Shimano RS-81 C24 16/20 wheels and was amazed that they never missed a beat or went out of true.

    I am not sure it is a fair comparison either because most people state that Triple => Double crank was/is about being less complicated to setup and maintain whereas more spokes => less spokes for wheels is about Aero and Weight but might actually be more expensive and difficult to maintain (ever try to find a factory spoke?).
     

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    Default Re: Is the 32H wheel dead?

    When it comes to carbon, yes.

    Alloy? Ehhhh...I guess, maybe, if building with cheaper parts? Or for fully loaded touring/tandem setups?

    I'm 175lbs and can hold a fairly respectable amount of power for 10s-1 minute whilst flailing all over the bike, and I don't have issues with flex in a decent 24 or 28-spoke factory or handbuilt wheel. Maybe if you're a 225lb trackie who's putting 1800w into a 10s effort...but really, for 99.7% of people, yeah, no reason at all. I've not found the ride of a 32h wheel markedly better, but that's also likely owing to the fact that I run lower pressure than most - typically 80psi in a 25mm rubber.

    Definitely niche. Uberniche, maybe.
     

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    Default Re: Is the 32H wheel dead?

    Let me walk to the basement and count the spokes on my Ksyriums...
     

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    Default Re: Is the 32H wheel dead?

    Yes. It's dead.
     

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Is the 32H wheel dead?

    Yeah nah.
    32 hole wheels have their place, particularly in this day and age of allroad/gravel/whatever bikes.
     

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    Default Re: Is the 32H wheel dead?

    I still have a few sets in active service. They live an unnaturally long time.
     

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    Default Re: Is the 32H wheel dead?

    Quote Originally Posted by Heisenberg View Post
    When it comes to carbon, yes.

    Alloy? Ehhhh...I guess, maybe, if building with cheaper parts? Or for fully loaded touring/tandem setups?

    I'm 175lbs and can hold a fairly respectable amount of power for 10s-1 minute whilst flailing all over the bike, and I don't have issues with flex in a decent 24 or 28-spoke factory or handbuilt wheel. Maybe if you're a 225lb trackie who's putting 1800w into a 10s effort...but really, for 99.7% of people, yeah, no reason at all. I've not found the ride of a 32h wheel markedly better, but that's also likely owing to the fact that I run lower pressure than most - typically 80psi in a 25mm rubber.

    Definitely niche. Uberniche, maybe.
    I was just looking at DT alloy handbuilts. 20/24 lacing, RR441's, CX-Rays and DT350's for $770. And that seemed like a pretty good daily rider. If you are a bit heavier than I am, 24/28.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vandenberg View Post
    Yeah nah.
    32 hole wheels have their place, particularly in this day and age of allroad/gravel/whatever bikes.
    Certainly with rim brakes I guess.
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    Default Re: Is the 32H wheel dead?

    Quote Originally Posted by j44ke View Post
    I was just looking at DT alloy handbuilts. 20/24 lacing, RR441's, CX-Rays and DT350's for $770. And that seemed like a pretty good daily rider. If you are a bit heavier than I am, 24/28.
    I'd take a look at the DT 1400 DICUT OXIC or whatever they're called. Fantastic wheels and a pretty similar setup with rad black brake tracks and excellent braking.
     

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    Default Re: Is the 32H wheel dead?

    I have two sets of road wheels- Shamals and 32x Ultegra/ Open Pro CD.
    The former ride much more sprightly, but I leave the latter on my beater Cannondale that I commute on, and said commute includes about a mile of dirt.
    Both are pretty rock solid, but at the end of the day it's horses for courses.

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    Default Re: Is the 32H wheel dead?

    A year or so ago I bought my wife a major upgrade for her 2006 Cannondale Synapse. It included some handbuilt wheels from the guys at Signature, moments before they were ejected from their NYC digs. Shimano 105 hubs, DT Swiss RR440 rims, DT Swiss spokes...32 of 'em.

    I may have to steal them from the missus. They are da bomb!
     

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    Default Re: Is the 32H wheel dead?

    I think more than 32H wheels, I like 32H hubs and wish standard hubs came in lower # drillings. Like a pair a 24/28H set of Record hubs.

    But that's not a pragmatic wish, and at least with the Shamals I have, the spin is the same.
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    Default Re: Is the 32H wheel dead?

    Not dead yet. This evening I got in 50 miles on a set of wheels with 32 spokes f/r...Campy Record hubs, Mavic GP4's. They began life in the 8 speed era, and I converted them with a 9v freehub a few years later. 25 years down the road, I see value in overbuilt.....
     

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    Default Re: Is the 32H wheel dead?

    OK, I may sound (retro)grouchy, but it's a matter of trade-off between what actually works well for 90% of users vs. what sells well.

    Fewer spokes = higher tension per spoke. Sure, the steel wire is better than it was 40 years ago and the spoke itself is more reliable, but still the increased tension means the hub has to get beefed up, and so does the rim, at least where the spoke attaches. This means that the hub and the rim require more machining than before, which makes them potentially heavier and more expensive than they would otherwise be. So, a rim that would now cost $30 to build into a perfectly excellent wheel now costs $80. A hub whose $40 price tag could have gone toward better bearings now has to have colors and weird spoke attachments. These are all design decisions that serve the manufacturer and the sales person more than they serve the user.

    To what benefit?..

    OK, we can use crabon to make the rim lighter. But braking sucks, so we go to discs, which are heavier as a system (hub + rotor + caliper + fork - rim)... Net gain?..

    OK, deeper rims are more aerodynamic. But the presumed aerodynamic advantages kick in appreciably for 35mm or deeper rims, and only at fairly high speeds. How many of the users can realize those advantages?..

    On the sales floor, however, the look of deeper rims probably sells better. I have to admit that, to me, the deeper rims look more coherent aesthetically with larger diameter tubes of most modern production frames. (That said, shiny Shamals on a skinny-tubed EPO rocket from the late '80s has some aesthetic appeal...)

    I've hope, however, that those riding gravel / dirt to avoid all the texting morons behind the wheel will soon realize that shallow rims aren't slowing anyone down and could actually represent an optimal solution...

    /rant over/
     

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    Default Re: Is the 32H wheel dead?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pastashop View Post


    OK, deeper rims are more aerodynamic. But the presumed aerodynamic advantages kick in appreciably for 35mm or deeper rims, and only at fairly high speeds. How many of the users can realize those advantages?..
    Minor quibble, aerodynamic gains are actually a bigger time savings for slower riders. Sure the absolute watt savings will be lower at 20 than they are at 25, but because that person is pedaling for a longer amount of time on the route they end up saving more minutes than the fast guy would with identical equipment.
     

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    Default Re: Is the 32H wheel dead?

    On high end boutique brands 32h is pretty much dead obviously.

    On middle range / lower end the key is production cost. I don't think a set of 20h/20h Mavic Aksium ride better than a Mavic Open Pro rim / shimano 105 hub build. Yet lower spokes count mean lower time to lace the wheels and probably much lower production costs. It's hard to beat the price of a set of Aksiums or similar oems.

    The road disc brake world found a use for the 32h/32h for a little while when it was still a niche but nowadays cheap boutique wheelsets come in 24h/24h too. 32h hubs are still great for those people like me who like to recycle old noodly über lightweight tubular rims of the late 70s early 80s. I build a set laced to 320gr Mavic Argent rims. The end result is pretty much as light as my 28/28 mid depth carbon set, feels less snappy but much smoother/comfortable. I like it for big wind days or in slower long rides in the cold seasons. I plan to do another set with Campagnolo whatever strada wheels are collecting dust in my garage. Niche market tho.



    You'll still find 32h/32h on the lowest spec mountain bikes. I counted the spokes on my "all mountain" dt swiss rims and they are 28h which is also my sweet spot on carbon wheels for cyclocross (absurdly strong considering the number of time they have bottomed out for 4 years).
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