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  1. #1
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    Wheel Stiffness Question

    I have a set of Stan's Archs laced up with some DT super comps and alloy nipples. I would like to get a bit more stiffness out of my next wheel set. I can feel the front wheel flex when I'm doing some out of the saddle climbing. Would going to DT competition and brass nipples get me there or would going to a set of Flows be a better idea. I don't want to go too stiff and make the ride any harsher than it is (fully rigid)

    I weigh 190 pounds. I ride mostly XC with no big drops or anything extreme.

    Thanks in advance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kev0153
    I have a set of Stan's Archs laced up with some DT super comps and alloy nipples. I would like to get a bit more stiffness out of my next wheel set. I can feel the front wheel flex when I'm doing some out of the saddle climbing. Would going to DT competition and brass nipples get me there or would going to a set of Flows be a better idea. I don't want to go too stiff and make the ride any harsher than it is (fully rigid)

    I weigh 190 pounds. I ride mostly XC with no big drops or anything extreme.

    Thanks in advance.
    Sturdier rims and thicker spokes will make a stiffer wheel. The nipples make little to no difference.

    Feeling front wheel flex and not rear is a bit strange. It could be fork or fork/hub interface flex rather than the wheel. Or even tire flex.
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    I don't think it's a good idea to skimp on spoke weight for this reason. In my experience (I weigh 180), spokes make a big difference in wheel strength. I go with the 3X Competition spokes on both Arches and Crests and I don't feel flex.

    My friend (170lbs) had a ZTR Race 29er wheelset rebuilt with stronger spokes and it worked just fine for him afterwards. Before that he was doing a lot of truing.

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    sorry I do get flex in the rear too when I'm sitting down over bumpy fire road stuff.

    I might trying going with an arch with 3x competition and see what that gets me. Is the new Crest stiffer than the Arch?

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    Quote Originally Posted by kev0153
    sorry I do get flex in the rear too when I'm sitting down over bumpy fire road stuff.

    I might trying going with an arch with 3x competition and see what that gets me. Is the new Crest stiffer than the Arch?
    No, the crest is not as stiff as the arch. You're comparing a 370ish gram rim to a 470ish gram rim. Flows are the only stans 29er rim I'm aware of that will be stiffer than the arch. I wouldn't worry about the stiffer rim in terms of ride comfort, as the wider flow rim spreads out the tire a bit and allows you to run slightly lower pressures.

    I'd go with either competitions for spokes, or wheelsmith DB14. DB14s should be as strong and weight is right in between the comps/supercomps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kev0153
    ...Is the new Crest stiffer than the Arch?
    Less metal, lighter weight does not equal stiffer. Especially when the basic shape has not changed.

    Yikes! I just checked the notubes site. Claimed weight for the Crest is 100g less than the Arch.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by kev0153
    I have a set of Stan's Archs laced up with some DT super comps and alloy nipples. I would like to get a bit more stiffness out of my next wheel set. I can feel the front wheel flex when I'm doing some out of the saddle climbing. Would going to DT competition and brass nipples get me there or would going to a set of Flows be a better idea. I don't want to go too stiff and make the ride any harsher than it is (fully rigid)

    I weigh 190 pounds. I ride mostly XC with no big drops or anything extreme.

    Thanks in advance.
    It is not possible that what you're feeling is related to wheel flex alone, and highly unlikely that you'll be able to tell a difference between Comps and S.Comps. As shiggy suggested, the whole front end of your bike is flexing. My addition is that your whole bike is flexing and wheel flex is a miniscule portion.
    The differences in stiffness between like wheels built with different spokes are tiny, which is ironic given the amount that people like to talk about it. To put it in perspective, where a wheel built with Comps might deflect 0.5mm on a given bump, an S.Comp will deflect ~0.51mm. The numbers are not exact, but the range is, which illustrates my point that ignoring inches of flex to say that one can feel a difference of hundredths (or thousandths) of an inch in flex is suspect.
    All that said, you're better off looking at options that address what actually is flexing, which would include a thru-axle and/or a tapered head tube.
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  8. #8
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    interesting... thanks for the info.

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    Quote Originally Posted by meltingfeather
    It is not possible that what you're feeling is related to wheel flex alone, and highly unlikely that you'll be able to tell a difference between Comps and S.Comps.
    Sorry that's incorrect, it is highly possible, and spoke gauge is one of the few real contributing factors to wheel stiffness.


    "Thicker spokes make a wheel stiffer, if all else is equal. A typical 32 spoke wheel built with 2.0mm spokes is about 11% stiffer than a similar wheel built with 2.0-1.45mm swaged spokes."

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard/wheel/index.htm


    Yes, Crest rims are much lighter than Arches. My point was that if you're looking for a lighter wheel, it's better to go with thick spokes and a thin rim. Many people seem to do the opposite, as was possibly the case here. The Arch should be a super-strong rim in our weight class. I know I've beaten the heck out of mine.


    Quote Originally Posted by kev0153
    sorry I do get flex in the rear too when I'm sitting down over bumpy fire road stuff.

    I might trying going with an arch with 3x competition and see what that gets me. Is the new Crest stiffer than the Arch?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TunicaTrails
    Sorry that's incorrect, it is highly possible, and spoke gauge is one of the few real contributing factors to wheel stiffness.
    I said impossible that it's "related to wheel flex alone," and that is absolutely true. Sorry to point out the obvious, but if the fork flexes, then you can't say you feel only wheel flex in the front end of the bike. My point was that, since wheel flex is tiny comparatively, better to look other places to solve flex issues.
    Quote Originally Posted by TunicaTrails
    "Thicker spokes make a wheel stiffer, if all else is equal. A typical 32 spoke wheel built with 2.0mm spokes is about 11% stiffer than a similar wheel built with 2.0-1.45mm swaged spokes."

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard/wheel/index.htm
    Thanks for providing links that make my point. I love Rinard's data and quote it often. So from 2.0 Champs to Revos the difference in stiffness is 10%. That may sound like a lot until you look at the difference in deflection of 0.1mm.
    That's for a difference in cross-sectional area of almost 2X (200%). OP's talking about Comps to S.Comps, which is a difference in x-sec area of about 10%. So what you're telling me is that my rough guesstimate is more accurate than I would have expected. Thanks!
    Quote Originally Posted by TunicaTrails
    Yes, Crest rims are much lighter than Arches. My point was that if you're looking for a lighter wheel, it's better to go with thick spokes and a thin rim. Many people seem to do the opposite, as was possibly the case here. The Arch should be a super-strong rim in our weight class. I know I've beaten the heck out of mine.
    I don't know what you're talking about, but pairing a light rim with thick spokes is a bad way to go.
    Last edited by meltingfeather; 08-16-2010 at 12:34 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by pvd
    Time to stop believing the hype and start doing some science.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by meltingfeather
    It is not possible that what you're feeling is related to wheel flex alone, and highly unlikely that you'll be able to tell a difference between Comps and S.Comps. As shiggy suggested, the whole front end of your bike is flexing. My addition is that your whole bike is flexing and wheel flex is a miniscule portion.
    The differences in stiffness between like wheels built with different spokes are tiny, which is ironic given the amount that people like to talk about it. To put it in perspective, where a wheel built with Comps might deflect 0.5mm on a given bump, an S.Comp will deflect ~0.51mm. The numbers are not exact, but the range is, which illustrates my point that ignoring inches of flex to say that one can feel a difference of hundredths (or thousandths) of an inch in flex is suspect.
    All that said, you're better off looking at options that address what actually is flexing, which would include a thru-axle and/or a tapered head tube.
    Agree 100% - Had a lot of front wheel flex myself, switched from 9mm QR to 15mm Thru fork, and now no noticeable flex at all - using the exact same front wheel.

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    I'll agree that a stiffer front axle is good out of ignorance from having it any other way on big wheels: in building my mountain bikes, I've gone from a Lefty to a 20mm TA, back to a Lefty.

    Just last week my old front hub locked up on my cross bike and to my surprise, I broke the skewer.

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    I see you have a history of this kind of debate, and that's fine, but how much a spoke flexes measurably is not as important and the overall flex of the wheel. Another way to see this is looking at a softtail frame. The chainstays themselves actually flex very little on a 1" softtail frame.

    Look at Section 4, the difference in Deflection around the wheel varies over 2mm between the stiffest and the flexiest.

    In practice thick spokes with a thin rim is a good idea, Industry9 pairs theirs with ZTR 355s commonly.


    Quote Originally Posted by meltingfeather
    I said impossible that it's "related to wheel flex alone," and that is absolutely true. Sorry to point out the obvious, but if the fork flexes, then you can't say you feel only wheel flex in the front end of the bike. My point was that, since wheel flex is tiny comparatively, better to look other places to solve flex issues.

    Thanks for providing links that make my point. I love Rinard's data and quote it often. So from 2.0 Champs to Revos the difference in stiffness is 10%. That may sound like a lot until you look at the difference in deflection of 0.1mm.
    That's for a difference in cross-sectional area of almost 2X (200%). OP's talking about Comps to S.Comps, which is a difference in x-sec area of about 10%. So what you're telling me is that my rough guesstimate is more accurate than I would have expected. Thanks!

    I don't know what you're talking about, but pairing a light rim with thick spokes is a bad way to go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TunicaTrails
    I see you have a history of this kind of debate, and that's fine,
    I have a history in this kind of debate because I try to prevent the kind of misinformation you are providing. Changing spokes from S.Comps to Comps is not going to solve the OP's problem. Strength and stiffness are not the same, btw. You should read up some on spoke diameter and strength, I think you'd be surprised.
    Quote Originally Posted by TunicaTrails
    but how much a spoke flexes measurably is not as important and the overall flex of the wheel.
    Overall wheel flex is what I was talking about, supported by Rinard's data. You linked it, why not have a look?
    Quote Originally Posted by TunicaTrails
    Another way to see this is looking at a softtail frame. The chainstays themselves actually flex very little on a 1" softtail frame.
    I don't get the softtail comparison, but even on my hard tail i can push the wheel and see the stays flex. I can lock the brakes and rock the bike back and forth and watch the fork flex. I can hold the wheel between my knees and twist the handlebars and watch the whole steering system flex. What's the conclusion about wheel vs. frame flex?
    On a 1" softtail frame the chainstays flex 1", btw. That's because they're connected to two points (BB shell & axle) between which the 1" of travel happens. Relevance = nil.
    Quote Originally Posted by TunicaTrails
    Look at Section 4, the difference in Deflection around the wheel varies over 2mm between the stiffest and the flexiest.
    This is a red herring.
    I compared Comps and S.Comps in otherwise identical wheels, supported by the data you linked. If you'll recall, that's directly relevant to the OP's question. I was trying to inform him in his decision about which way to go about resolving perceived flex in his front end.
    How is a figure comparing wheels of vastly different materials of construction, spoke counts, lacings, sizes etc. relevant? An Aerospoke flexes more than a 650c "new style" RevX, so? Aren't the Aerospoke spokes thicker than the RevX's?
    Quote Originally Posted by TunicaTrails
    In practice thick spokes with a thin rim is a good idea, Industry9 pairs theirs with ZTR 355s commonly.
    No it is not. Read any book on wheelbuilding to find out why. I9 spokes are aluminum, btw, which is a different animal.
    Last edited by meltingfeather; 08-16-2010 at 04:50 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by pvd
    Time to stop believing the hype and start doing some science.
    29er Tire Weight Database

  15. #15
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    Just to close the loop on this. I've decided to build some new wheels using Flow Rims and Comp spoke with brass nipples.

  16. #16
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    Very heavy for no reason...

    Elasticity of the spokes is important.
    Very important also is the tension of the spokes. Because i will modify the point where the spoke on the other side loses tension, giving a non linearity in the curve.
    Also very important is the geometry of the hub ! You want the flanges to be as much spread out as possible.

    By the way if you really go with the flows, take the 36 holes version
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    By existing hubs are 32 hole and my weight weenies days are well behind me but thanks for input. I'm running some big fat tires on these wheels so I don't feel like weight is a big deal. Plus need to drop some serious weight from my body before I worry about several grams in my wheels.

    My riding style has changed over the last few years. When I originally built the super comps/archs wheel combo I was racing, 30 pounds lighter. Now I'm 30 pounds heavier and really don't race anymore. We just had a baby and money is tight (also the reason I"m 30 pounds heavier, sympathy weight gain is real) and I want a solid wheel set with minimal fuss.

    Assuming I can drop this weight, I might get back into racing. If that is the case I can always go back to my arch/supercomp wheelset since I know what I'm getting there.

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    Wow, is this the 100K SS Michaux and La Ruta Kev? 190#?

    I just had a set of Flows built exactly as you mentioned for my Rig with a set of 2.4 Ardents. I've managed to keep my weight down, during a 2yr hiatus, to 145#. So these may be on the more-than-enough side but I haven't regretted going bigger with any bike part yet.

  19. #19
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    ha yep that's me. Getting married and having a kid change your priorities and limit your free time. Baby just started sleeping through the night so I'm no longer a walking zombie. I'm a born again bike rider and hopefully racer.

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    Checked my hardtail for flex of rear wheel vs. front. Front wheel flexed much more. Most of it was because of very low pressure in the front tire but when I ride it, it doesn't seem noticeable.
    Would you rather have flex in your tire or your wheel?I don't think a wheel flexing 1/2 inch would feel very controllable.
    My brain went from "you probably shouldn't say that" to WTF!

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