Low Spoke Count Wheels

Don’t try this with any of my handbuilt wheels.

Prebuilt low spoke count wheel systems are made for average riders. Average weight, average skills, average use(which is surprisingly low).  Don’t be an average rider.  Or for pros who get them free and also get someone to change it every time one goes flat.

Every rider wants light wheels but wheel weights and aerodynamics can be misleading.  The rims are stronger (heavier) to make up for getting rid of 1/3 of the spokes. The spokes that are left are at a very high tension. So high and few that they often need the more durable (heavier) brass nipples. This puts extra weight on the outside of the wheel. Exactly where you don’t want weight for accelerating fast. Brake a spoke or strip the nipple threads because of high tension and you loose a bigger percentage of the spokes you had making your wheel less stable. Bend a stiff rim with just a few spokes and good luck trying to true it.

And those aerodynamic spokes are not so aero in anything other than a very direct headwind. The same is true for that mid or deep rim profiles. Also if you got a wheel with proprietary spokes and you happen to brake one be prepared to shell out some hard earned green to replace just that one spoke. Not to mention the LBS probably doesn’t stock the lengths of proprietary spokes not even the most common ones. While any shop worth it’s spit has traditional J bend spokes or even a spoke cutter to make you one for about $1.

Don’t be fooled by the hype.

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